California’s Central Coast: A Dogcation Destination

The Salty-Sandy Adventures of Blueberry and Holden

Dogs like a good road trip as much as you and I do, and for a couple of mountain hounds there is no better camping destination than the coast. They love the beach; it’s easy to get extra dirty and dogs, like trucks, are most happy when covered in dirt.

A jaunt in the surf followed by some good rolling in the sand works well, and said pooch is even happier if he/she finds something stinky to roll in.

Spooner Cove, Montaña de Oro SP.

On a recent road-trip to the Central Coast, Blueberry, our lick-happy, bird-chasing, 10-year-old pooch, not only found surf and sand, but she also found thorns, ticks and a new best dog friend, Holden. (We were dog sitting.)

The volunteer working inside the Montaña de Oro State Park ranger station pointed emphatically at the “No Dogs on Trails” sign, but continued to elaborately describe where dogs were, in-fact, welcome.

While the trails were off-limits, the beach at Spooner Cove was okay for dogs on-leash, a rule that almost no dog followed. Pooches of all breeds and sizes dragged their leashes in the sand, barking at birds and playing in the surf.

Sand Dollar Beach, Big Sur.

It was turning out to be an epic dogcation.

A few days later, we happily discovered that dogs were welcome at the Inn at Morro Bay. Blueberry and Holden were stoked.

The previous week we camped at Pismo State Beach, where there was a wide sandy-beach with stagnant water and plenty of sticks to chew on. And we spent a night at Ancient Peaks Winery’s Santa Margarita Ranch where the dogs had the pleasure of running wild in the grassy hills, collecting ticks and swimming in the bass pond.

Spooner Cove, Montaña de Oro State Park.

We were sure that we would make good use of the hotel’s $50 pet-cleaning fee.

Morro Bay is a sleepy seaside town and a portal for outdoor adventure. You’ll find kayaks and stand-up paddleboards for rent and mountain bike trails to ride. There is a golf course, an oyster farm, and wineries nearby. You can go on a whale watching tour or spend the day ocean fishing. And the town seems to be a mecca for salt water taffy shops. (Yes, salt water taffy is made from salt and water. No, it is not salt water from the sea.)

There are a slew of pet-friendly businesses in Morro Bay. Tourists walk the Embarcadero with their pooches, there are poop bag dispensers along the paths, and there’s a “dog beach” just north of town.

Sand Dollar Beach, Big Sur.

Eventually we continued our road-trip north and headed to the locals’ favorite, Plaskett Creek Campground in Big Sur. The views from the bluff were stunning and the nearby Sand Dollar Beach was yet another destination for dog frolicking and beachcombing.

It was two weeks of surf-sand-nap-eat-repeat. Blueberry and Holden had salt in their hair, and sand on their paws. It was a doggone good vacation.

More: Postcards: Morro Bay, California | Plan a Camping Roadtrip on California’s Central Coast

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