The Best Dog-Friendly Day Trips in California

July 14, 2020 6 min read

In need of a day trip that also involves bringing your dog along with you? As an overall dog-friendly state, California has plenty of options for you and your adventurous pup to explore what the state has to offer!

Trust us, your dog probably needs some excitement in their life and a day trip would be the perfect opportunity to get them out and tire them out. After a big, hearty, raw food breakfast, pack up some venison treats in the car, and get going! For a dog consuming a healthy diet, you never want to leave them stagnant and bored in the house.

A healthy dog deserves a healthy lifestyle so be sure to plan activities outdoors often! It will surely be a long, fun, tiring day that you won’t regret. In case you needed to treat you and your dog to a fun getaway we have some options for you.

The Best Dog-Friendly Day Trips in California

Cabrillo Tide Pool Trails - San Diego

What better place to start than in one of the most dog-friendly cities, San Diego. No matter where you’re coming from it will sure be a beautiful drive down the coast. Be sure to crack a window for your dog to bask in the fresh ocean air. This trail is relatively short and easy but it is the views of the ocean and tide pools that are the most exciting. Be sure to check a tide map to see which times of the day will be best to visit. According to some websites, there is an entrance fee to pay per person (not your dog) to visit this scenic area but what is a small price to pay for a day trip that you and your dog will cherish forever?

Check them out here. 

Country Kennels Dawg Waterpark - Murrieta

Let’s take a drive up the coast and a little more inland where it often gets quite hot in the summer. Time to cool off with some fun water activities just for your dog! Open swim sessions require no reservations on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 1 pm to 5:30 pm so get there early enough to have plenty of time in the sun and water. If your dog is a beginner, you can sign them up for swimming lessons in the big pool! Pool toys, sprinklers, and lots of splashing are provided...maybe just bring a towel.

County Kennels Dog Park

Dog-Friendly Wineries - Temecula

While you’re in the inland area, why don’t you stop for a quick wine break with your furry day trip date and stop at a dog-friendly winery? There are plenty of options to choose from but Baily Vineyard, Miramonte Winery, and Gershon Bachus Vintners are highly rated dog-friendly wineries in the Temecula area. Sit in the shade and enjoy a nice, crisp chardonnay while your dog takes a nap in the shade. Don’t forget to give them some venison treats you brought with you on this trip! 


Palm Springs Air Museum - Palm Springs

Have you ever been allowed inside of a museum with your dog? Probably not, but this one is pet-friendly and the best admission...for your dog of course! Although your dog might not be interested in the 59 large scale planes it will sure look cool in photos. The museum even extends outdoors so you and your pet can get some fresh air while still looking at the incredible preservation of planes from the past. 

Westridge Canyon Back Wilderness Park - Los Angeles

Deep in the city of LA, away from the bustling streets of the city, the Santa Monica Mountains provide more than 1,500 acres of open space for you to find the best trail to hike on with your dog. Leashed dogs are welcome on every trail unless signage states otherwise. With moderate to medium inclines, you and your dog will work out your legs and be sure to be sore the next day! There are many trail entrances and parking in different parts of the wilderness park, so go explore!

Anza Loop Trail - Malibu

An easier, more relaxed trail with beautiful views of Malibu is this 7.5 mile Anza Loop Trail. Quite the lengthy walk than what your active pup might be normally be used to but it’s worth a shot! After all, you are looking to pass the time for your day trip, why not stroll through the rolling hills of Malibu and be distracted by the wildlife around you? Your dog will surely be distracted by all the foreign smells. You and your adventure pal will truly feel accomplished after finishing the loop trail. Going for lunch or a meal afterward in Malibu, yet another dog-friendly city will feel well deserved after this hike.

Malibu Beach with Dogs

Pacific Valley Bluff Trail - Big Sur

Much more north of Malibu lies more beautiful views of the coast in Big Sur. Although that PCH drive is already breathtaking, if you and your antsy pup need to get out and stretch your legs, this trail is a sweet and short walk that leads to the edge of the cliff overlooking beautiful views of the ocean. This will give you an opportunity to get some of that fresh, salty air and definitely get some great pictures too!


Douglas Family Preserve - Santa Barbara

This 70-acre property features an off-leash dog park, hiking trails, and even a beach they can run free! With beautiful views of the coast of Santa Barbara, you’re sure to spend a couple of hours with your excited pup on this off-leash paradise. You might even want to stay for the sunset.

douglas kennels dog

Crissy Field - San Francisco

San Francisco is very dog-friendly for the most part so you’ll have no trouble finding dog appropriate activities here! But Crissy Field offers the most breath-taking views of the Golden Gate Bridge that will definitely be the highlight of your trip. Dogs are allowed off-leash in certain parts of the conservancy park like the big grassy field and alongside the water just be mindful of the crowded areas. This is sure to be a landmark photo-op you won’t want to miss.

chrissy fields dog friendly

Sundial Bridge - Redding

Here’s a bridge you can cross with your dog and enjoy all the views that come with it! Cross from one side of the Sacramento River to the other to explore both sides of the bridge. Cross over to the Turtle Bay Exploration Park so bring a picnic blanket and some treats to sit by the water and enjoy your day trip with your dog! Redding is also famed for its many trails that lead to beautiful waterfalls and green escapes that allow dogs too. This is a perfect day trip to escape and plan a full day of activities and fun with you and your dog. Don’t forget to visit the Shasta Dam while you’re there too!

Russian River/The Barlow Shopping District - Sonoma County

Want to take your dog on a kayaking adventure? Hop on a custom made SOAR canoe designed to fit you and one other dog so you can drift off down the relaxed river. Make sure you and your dog have a life vest because safety first! If you’re done kayaking for a bit, post up a spot alongside the river to anchor your fishing station. You might surprise your dog by catching a fish or two. 

Dog Rafting At Sanoma

The Barlow Shopping District - Sonoma County

Once you dry off from your kayaking adventure at the Russian River, stop by Sebastopol to grab a bite to eat! Sonoma County is full of dog-friendly things to do and The Barlow in Sebastopol is a 12-acre outdoor market that features local food, wine, and spirits. Dogs are allowed on leashed and patio areas of restaurants so the hardest thing you have to do is pick a place! Another option is to vendor hop and taste one item from each spot so you don’t miss out on anything. Don’t forget to order some of the best Sonoma County wine while you’re there and bring a bottle home to enjoy.

Day tripping with your dog is now easier than ever if you live in a dog-friendly state like California! There’s almost no excuse not to take your dog with you on trips anymore. If you have a car and space for your pup, be sure to pack up essential supplies and hit the road! If you feel like you might have to pack overnight supplies in case you drive too far, check out our blog on California’s Best Dog-Friendly Hotels to call for a reservation. If you do have a longer trip planned be sure to pack up some frozen raw dog food in a small handheld cooler for easy storage. This would be easier than bringing cans of wet food or a 10-pound bag of kibble that’s for sure!