Looking for the perfect vacation that can include your best furry pal?
Southern California can get very hot during the summer. To take a break from the temperatures and still be close to home, consider a quick trip up the coast to Mendocino. Located about 150 miles north of San Francisco, Mendocino is the ultimate dog-friendly town. Known for its spectacular scenery, Victorian villages, great wineries and redwood forests, it is a traveler’s delight—and, it’s very dog-friendly!
Little River Inn offers a unique package for active pet families (see ad on page 87). Here are a couple of highlights from the area.
LITTLE RIVER INN. Pups are in paradise at the beautiful and historic Little River Inn on the Mendocino Coast of Northern California. Because Innkeeper Cally Dym believes dogs are part of your pack, her family-owned resort offers an incomparable experience for a vacation with your furry friend.
The crown jewel of their dog-centric hospitality is the River Dog Package that includes a kayaking trip for you and your dog atop a purpose-built, super-stable craft. Gentle breezes ruffle your pet’s fur as they skim along, communing with nature and maybe even a friendly otter.
Little River Inn has room for your pooch to roam on their grounds and a cozy parlor in the main building where dogs and their humans can dine together. Miles of hiking trails also surround the property, and there’s a dog-friendly beach just across the street. Doggie welcome gifts includes a towel for after-adventure clean up, tasty treats, and water and food bowls.
The Inn is a hit with humans, too. There is a day spa and full-service salon, a 9-hole Audubon-certified golf course, and regulation tennis courts. You will find dog-friendly rooms for every budget, including two private coastal cottages. The Inn’s wedding planners even incorporate dogs into ceremonies on request! 7751 CA-1, Little River, CA 95456, 707.937.5942, littleriverinn.com
LULA CELLARS. Lula Cellars is a small production, ultra-premium label located in Anderson Valley’s Deep End. The goal of Lula Cellars is simple: to produce quality, world-class wines of great value and sell them directly to consumers through their tasting room and website. The Lula Cellars Tasting Room is open seven days a week. The welcoming staff is knowledgeable about the wines and growing regions and local history. Come by and say hello to our winery dog, Honey. No reservations required. 2800 Guntly Rd, Philo, CA 95466, 707.895.3737, lulacellars.com
NOYO BEACH—OFF-LEASH BEACH. It’s tricky finding this beach in Fort Bragg but worth the effort if your dog likes to play off leash at the beach. Turn east on North Harbor Drive and continue into the harbor, proceed to the end until the road curves right and follow downhill into the harbor. Keep going around the hairpin, past the charter boats and restaurants. You’ll go around a few bends and turns, just keep going until you’ve passed under the bridge. Doggy beach goes all the way to the sand.
SKUNK TRAIN. History buffs and locals know that the Skunk Train was built in the 1880s to move logs from the coastal town of Fort Bragg to the inland cowboy country of Willits. Today, the railroad’s steam and diesel-powered trains chug through dense woods and zigzag along the lively Noyo River, providing unparalleled access to the Pacific Coast Temperate Rainforest. Young and old (and their furry companions as well!) delight as the trains travel through tunnels and cross over trestles, all while sending clouds of steam skyward. Beginning in May, the Skunk offers Rail Bikes that you can ride along the tracks, as well as a Trail Loop hike through some of the most unspoiled redwood forest in the world. Take a two-person Rail Bike ride on the tracks along the picturesque Pudding Creek Estuary. A Trail Loop is also available for riders of the Pudding Creek Express who wish to disembark and walk a 1-mile loop before getting back on the train. Skunk Train (California Western Railroad), 100 W. Laurel St, Fort Bragg, CA 95437, (707) 964-6371, skunktrain.com