The weather is turning colder and we are still about four weeks from departing on our next adventure (more on that later). Luckily, we’re getting our pet travel fix by reading your stories!

We’re happy to have Kelley Denz guest posting today! Autumn is a great time to take a road trip with your pet – the weather is lovely and the crowds are gone. Kelley’s look at California’s northern coast is making us wish we weren’t on the other side of the country!


Rusty on the Beach
Rusty on the Beach

If you love the ocean and are traveling with your dog, Fort Bragg/Mendocino is the perfect destination. I like to go in the fall when there are fewer tourists. You can kayak, take a fishing trip, camp at MacKerricher State Park, hike the Redwood forests, explore glass beach, visit the botanical gardens, stop in at a pet friendly winery, or check out the nearby light house.

There are several pet friendly hotels in Fort Bragg, but on this trip we stayed at Howard Creek Ranch Inn, which is a remote bed and breakfast located right on the ocean. One of the benefits of this inn is that you have access to a private beach where you can let your dog off leash. My husband and I loved walking along the beach (for over three miles) looking into tidal pools and enjoying the feel of the sand beneath our feet.

The dogs played along the water’s edge and investigated everything we came across. Rusty was especially curious about one particular sea anemone. He put his nose into it and left it there for a few seconds. He was surprised when it started to close around his nose. It was funny watching him. He jumped back in shock and then tried to understand it by looking at it from several different angles.

While you’re in Fort Bragg make sure to visit to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, where leashed dogs are always welcome. In the fall the gorgeous dahlias are in full bloom. A real treat, some of these colorful flowers open up nearly as big as your head. You can also walk down to the cliff house where you can see seals playing out in the ocean and check out the whale rib bone and vertebrae on display.

Fort Bragg Botanical Gardens
Family Photo at Fort Bragg Botanical Gardens

Next we were off to see Point Cabrillo Light Station (Built in 1909). A short ½ mile walk down a paved road or dirt trail brings you to the lighthouse where you can walk inside and explore the museum and gift house. The helpful and friendly volunteers will warmly greet you and your pooch. They even had treats for Sadie and Rusty!

After visiting the lighthouse drive into the town of Mendocino for lunch. There are many pet friendly restaurants with outside dining areas perfect for you and your dog. After lunch, take a stroll though the historic downtown. You’ll discover many of the shops are dog friendly and have treats at the ready.

Photo Credit: All photos in this post are by Kelley Denz

Kelley Denz is the author of Critter Minute, a website and blog about natural dog products and fun, helpful tips for dog lovers. Like her post? Leave a comment to show your appreciation.

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