Updated: Sep 7, 2021
“Pet Friendliest“ Town in America!
Growing up, my grandparents would take my brother and me to Carmel during school holidays. On each trip their Lhasa Apso, Robbie would come along. I feel that I "grew up" in Carmel/Monterey, we were there so often. However, although I have many memories of our times there, I cannot recall Robbie being with us 24/7. So when we finally decided to take Maverick, a 52lb Husky, on his first overnight trip to one of my favorite places, it seemed so daunting. Where would we stay? How would we eat? We soon found that Monterey & Carmel are two of the most dog-friendly places you can go! Now, we have made multiple trips over to the Coast to get away from the cruel 100+ summer days in Fresno, CA. Each time, we have been able to explore new areas and had the best time with Maverick always along for the ride!
“Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.” — John Steinbeck
Let the Adventure Begin!
Since it was Labor Day weekend, we left at 6:30am to start our drive over to the Coast. from Fresno. It takes about 2 hours and 30 mins to drive to Monterey Bay from the Central Valley. We make our first "potty" break in Los Banos. This was also where we get breakfast. As a kid, we always used to stop in Los Banos for McDonald's. These days, we opt for coffee! Entering into the town is always my cue to place our mobile Starbucks order at the location on HWY 152 & Ortigalita (1363 West Pacheco Blvd). During COVID, finding human bathrooms that are open for use can be a challenge. In the same shopping center as the Starbucks is a Target with open restrooms right inside the door. For your pooch, there are a number of lawn areas. Be sure to pick up after your pets!
Tip: Traveling solo with your pup? Head into the PetsCo at HWY152 and Ortigalita with your pooch. Bathrooms are located at the South-West corner of the store in the very back.
Continuing on, we make our way from Los Banos directly to Carmel-by-the-Sea for a mid-morning walk/hike starting at Monastery Beach and ending at Carmel River Beach. This is a quite trail with a few uphill branches for those wanting to climb to an incredible view. Maverick loves climbing to the peak and watching the wildlife. He also enjoys a good run through the Ocean and paddling in the tide pools. We decided to exit the trail at Carmel River Beach to use the restrooms and also to let Maverick take a swim in the Carmel River. We then headed back to Monastery Beach.
Tip: The main lower trail is wide, however the branch-off trails are tight and you will need to watch for Pacific poison oak. (Leaves of three, let it be!)
Before heading back toward town, we made a quick stop at the Carmelite Monastery Of St. Teresa across HWY 1 from the beach. Beautiful in so many ways! The landscape is so serene and the architecture of the Monastery itself is breathtaking. We did not get out of the car to walk around, but there are little benches available for sitting and reflecting with an amazing ocean view.
We make our way North on HWY 1 now toward Rio Road and The Barnyard Shopping Village. We recently discovered the most delightful French bakery, Lafayette Bakery & Cafe located at the Barnyard (3659 The Barnyard Carmel CA - E22).
Lafayette Bakery offers both sweet and savory breakfast and lunch menus of the most delicious creations. Everything is freshly baked and to die for. You can even purchase whole loaves of their fresh bread. They offer a selection of coffees and tea as well. With an outdoor patio area, this bakery is the perfect, pet-friendly pit stop to refuel after your morning walk. Mum and I opt for the Apricot Almond Tartan, Raspberry Snail, and a Ham and Cheese roll to share.
If you need more room for your furry friends to sit, make your way into the Barnyard Shopping Village and you will find multiple patio areas offering tables and chairs.
Lafayette Bakery is closed on Tuesdays.
If it is a busy weekend (ie. holiday) be prepared to wait in line. But it is sooooo worth it.
By 11 am, the bakery may be sold out of many items so be sure to get there early!
Refueled and ready, we make our way out of the shopping center and take Rio Road/Junipero St North to Ocean Avenue then West to Scenic Rd to find parking along the Carmel State Beach. This is a lovely scenic walk with multiple access points to the beach itself. This scenic trail will have you in awe of the views of the ocean, pebble beach, and the fabulous homes that line the front. Although the actual trail ends at Martin Way, Scenic Rd will take you all the way to Carmel River Beach. Be sure to take your pup by the "Carmel Dog Bar" for a water break. The "bar" is located at Carmel Point between Carmel River Beach and Carmel State Beach along Scenic Drive. Check out the Trail details HERE!
Tips: Dogs are allowed to be off-leash at Carmel State Beach, but must be kept on a leash when you are walking along the trail or at Carmel River Beach.
If shopping is your desire, downtown Carmel-by-the Sea has everything you could wish for, and 95% of the shops, cafes, restaurants are dog-friendly. Take Ocean Ave from Scenic Drive into Downtown and explore the many boutiques and art galleries. Some of my favorite shops/sights are;
Cottage Of Sweets - offering fresh fudge as well as sweets from Great Britain!
Diggidy Dog - A cat & dog boutique offering yummy treats, fashionable leashes, and collars as well as pet photo events.
Jane Austin At Home - A cute antique store offering a wide range of cards and curiosities
Cypress Inn - This pet-friendly Inn was owned by Doris Day for more than 20 years. An avid pet lover, Ms. Day "worked tirelessly rescuing, healing, and placing thousands of abused or neglected animals. Eventually, she started her own organization: Doris Day Pet Foundation which later became the Doris Day Animal Foundation (http://ddaf.org/dd/). She later initiated the Doris Day Animal League (www.ddal.org)." Sit in the Courtyard with your pet and enjoy a drink
By this time, we are ready to check into our accommodations and have a nap. When we are in the area, we are lucky to have the the option to rent a friend's family apartment. However, as Carmel and Monterey are known for being Pet Friendly central, there are a number of establishments that allow pets (including the previously mentioned Cypress Inn). Here are a couple that I am familiar with;
Coachman's Inn Carmel - This is the inn where my grandparents always stayed when we were kids. This is a cute boutique B&B style inn that provides a wine & cheese mini picnic as well as Breakfast for two!
Best Western Victorian Inn - Monterey - My best friend stayed here with two large Malamutes. She said it was great.
For a list of Pet Friendly restaurants, check out this list!