15 Pup Popular Dog-Friendly Activities in Monterey, California

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dogs are feeling joyful in monterey ca

On the central coast of California surrounding the southern end of Monterey Bay, the city of Monterey was incorporated in 1850 and has just over 30,200 residents. However, during the summer, you may see close to four million! Just 100 miles south of San Francisco, the city is a popular tourist attraction as well as a major business contributor. 

Monterey is also a city of firsts. Here, you will find the state’s first newspaper, printing press, school, library, and theater. The climate makes this a great place to visit and to live, with high temperatures in the 60s and 70s all year long. It also has more sunny days than the rest of the country on average. 

The city is also known for its beaches, such as the Carmel-by-the-Sea villages and waterfront, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Big Sur. You will find miles of coastline, dozens of parks, and even a castle. And with so many places in Monterey being dog-friendly, you will have no trouble staying busy with your pup. 

Go Beaching: Local Beaches

Monterey has several dog-friendly beaches where your fur puppy can play in the sand and splash in the sea. Del Monte Beach is right there in downtown Monterey and welcomes pups as long as they are leashed and well-behaved. Open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., this is the perfect spot to spend the whole day with your dog. Right next door, Monterey State Beach is also pup-friendly for leashed canine companions. It is popular with the pups as well as anglers, paragliders, kayakers, and divers. 

To let your cuddle buddy play off the leash at the beach, head south about five miles to Carmel City Beach. It is the most pup popular in the area because it is one of the only beaches that allow dogs to swim and play without a leash. Just remember to pack doggie bags and some extra water, and make sure your pooch is voice-controlled.

Stay in Style: Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa

Some hotels do not allow dogs, while others tolerate them. But at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa, they encourage you to bring your fur baby along. They love dogs and feel that they should be just as pampered as their human guests. He will get a plush bed, his own toy, a set of bowls, and organic treats. He is also welcome to join you at one of the nearby dog-friendly eateries. 

They have dog-friendly suites with fireplaces, dining rooms, living rooms, and a private patio where you can walk to the dog park on the premises, The Barking Lot. The best part is that the pet fee is donated to Max’s Helping Paws Foundation. They also have a spa with a gym and steam room, jacuzzi, and hot tubs as well as three restaurants on-site. If you have any little humans, they will love the playground and board games.  

Watch the Whales: Monterey Bay Whale Watch

If you have never seen whales and dolphins in the wild, you are really missing out on something special. Sure, you can go to the aquarium or zoo to see some in captivity, but that is something completely different. With the help of the Monterey Bay Whale Watch crew, you are almost guaranteed to see one or the other, or even both. From April to December, you can see Orcas, Blue Whales, and Humpback Whales.

From January to April, you get the chance to see the elusive Gray Whales that only cut through the Bay Area when migrating. No matter what time of the year you go, you will be treated to views of dolphins, seabirds, and sea lions. You may even get lucky enough to see the rare albino white killer whale in October. Choose from morning or afternoon trips of three or eight hours. Your pup is welcome as long as he is leashed at all times.

Escape from the Room: Escape Room 831 

Do you enjoy puzzles or like solving clues? You and your cuddle buddy can join others in an escape adventure at Escape Room 831. You can enjoy the game with friends and family or join in with others to solve clues about a time machine, bank robbery, an Egyptian tomb, or save a New York City train from derailing. Or try to disarm a nuclear vessel in time to save yourselves and the world, or prove your innocence at a maximum security prison. 

You can bring your pooch with you to help you solve the riddles and clues within 60 minutes. It will be up to you and several others to work on the puzzles and crack the codes. One of the most popular rooms is the Alice in Wonderland Dream at their lighthouse location. Or go to the other location at Oscar’s Playground to visit Mystical Manor. Hurry to find all the clues within the 60 minutes allotted and earn a certificate!

Hit the Trails: Local Hiking

If you enjoy hiking, walking, or jogging, why not take your puppers on some of the trails in Monterey? There are more than 50 trails that welcome dogs from short and easy to lengthy and difficult. If you and your pooch are new to hiking or just want a short walk to enjoy together, try the Frog Pond Trail, which is an easy one-mile stroll in Frog Pond Wetland Reserve. It takes about 20 minutes on average and is a very popular trail. 

For a little bit more difficulty, the Huckleberry Hill Loop Trail in Veteran’s Memorial Park is almost two miles with a 554 elevation gain. It takes about an hour to complete on average, and you will likely see others along the way. Another awesome dog-friendly path is the Earl Moser Trail Loop in Jack’s Peak County Park. It is popular for families and pup parents and is moderately challenging, with about two miles to complete. 

Take a Tour: Tours for Days

From free walking tours to detailed narrative bus tours through the city, Monterey has plenty to choose from. They even have a ghost tour. Pups 40 pounds and under are welcome to take a ride on the Ghost Trolley to experience the ghostly history of Old Monterey. Learn about the Spanish Horsemen, murderous betrayals, and hangings. It takes 90 minutes, and you can join in on Saturday nights at 8 p.m. in the parking lot of the Dust Bowl Brewing Company. 

The Original Monterey Walking Tour is the most highly-rated tour in the city, providing information, entertainment, exercise, and fun. Your pup is welcome as long as he is on a leash. They have two choices. The morning Cannery Row tour and the afternoon Monterey walking tour. If you want a free tour, check out the Monterey Free Walks for some unforgettable fun. They work on tips only, so it is nice if you give them a tip even though it is free. 

Go Hunting: Magical Monterey Scavenger Hunt

Another kind of tour you and your cuddly canine compadre can enjoy in Monterey is the Magical Monterey Scavenger Hunt. If you have never done a scavenger hunt, you are in for a treat! This two-hour trip can accommodate up to 30 people and includes some of the most famous attractions. You will meet at a local spot where you and the guide will go over the rules and do a warm-up. However, you will be driving your own vehicle, so you do not have to worry about walking too much.

Each stop you come to includes a challenge that you will have to do once you find the spot you are supposed to be in. You will send a photo to your host to show them you are there before moving on to the next one. The locals are also involved in helping you find clues. Every stop is different, and you can choose alternative sites if one of them is not dog-friendly. 

Take a Drive: 17-Mile Drive

For something totally different, take your pooch on a 17-mile drive through Pebble Beach, Carmel, and Spanish Bay. The famous 16.8-mile tour starts at Shepherd’s Knoll on Highway 68 and ends at Ford Meadow in Carmel. From the Knoll, you will cruise along the roadway, where you can see intriguing forests, soft white-sand beaches, and stunning coastal cliffs. Some of the awesome stops along the way include Huckleberry Hill, Seal Rock, Arrowhead Point, Fanshell Beach, and Cypress Point Lookout. 

There are also quite a few parks, recreational stops, and restaurants, including the Spanish Bay Inn, the Lodge at Pebble Beach, SFB Morse Botanical Reserve, Granite Beach, and Moss Beach. You will also pass dozens of fabulous mansions, beautiful lush green golf courses, and interesting attractions like The Lone Cypress and Bird Rock. Everywhere you go on the Monterey Peninsula is surrounded by beauty and intrigue, from the ocean views to the Ghost Trees.

Get Social: Local Dog Parks

The most pup popular dog park beside the beaches is El Estero Lake Dog Park at El Estero Park in south Monterey. It is located on the western side of the park between San Carlos Cemetery and the lake. The ground is softwood chips, and they have plenty of room to run and play. You can take him down to the lake to see the ducks afterward, but make sure he is on a short leash. 

If you want a lot more room for your canine companion to run around off his leash, take a trip to Rip Van Winkle Open Space, where he can explore 20 acres. Less than two miles west of downtown Monterey, this fenced pup space is perfect for getting rid of those zoomies. To the southeast, a few miles, Pacchetti Dog Park is another fully fenced off-leash park for pups. With 1.7 acres separated for small and large dogs, everyone can have a blast here. 

Taste the Wine: Local Vineyards

There is a good reason why the wine from the Monterey area tastes so delicious. The cool ocean air makes the grapes grow to perfection with a sweetness you cannot get anywhere else. Another reason is that the vineyards are certified organic without additives or enzymes. Dawn’s Dream Winery is one of the most popular, as she brings more than just delicious wine flights to the tasting room. She also brings dog treats. 

Another place your pooch is welcome is the Scheid Vineyards Carmel Tasting Room. They let you swirl, sniff, and sip wine while your fur baby enjoys some water and organic treats. There are two different wine-tasting flights every day. Joyce Carmel Tasting Room on Carmel Valley Road also loves pups, and they are welcome to join you as long as they are leashed. Finally, the Galante Vineyards Tasting Room on Ocean and Seventh Avenues was the very first wine-tasting room in Carmel, and its colorful decor makes it the perfect spot for pics. 

Shop til You Drop: Del Monte Shopping Center

Del Monte Shopping Center has 70 different shops and eateries to peruse, and many of them allow your precious pup to join you. Since it is an open-air center instead of an enclosed mall, you and your cuddly companion can stroll along and do some window shopping until you find a dog-friendly store you can shop at. The most obvious one is Petco. But you may end up leaving with a lot of bags, so save it for last. 

Macy’s is one of the most popular dog-friendly stores, as well as Sephora, GAP, and Pottery Barn. Whole Foods even welcomes your fur puppy. Any of the eating establishments with outdoor seating will let your pup join you, too. California Pizza Kitchen is a delicious spot to grab some lunch. Or you can refuel yourself at Starbucks. Need a new phone? The Apple Store is also pooch popular. Be sure to bring your own doggie bags to pick up after your pup. 

See the Row: Cannery Row

Although some have never heard of it, Cannery Row is one of the most popular vacation spots in central California. Located at the historic Monterey Bay waterfront, Cannery Row is also known as the Gateway to Monterey County, with its array of shops, boutiques, cafes, and bars to explore and enjoy. Many of the places are dog-friendly, including Blue Fox Cellars, The Wine Experience, and Johnny Rockets, as well as Tidal Coffee, Cooper’s Pub, and the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. 

You will have to keep your canine companion on a leash six feet or shorter at all times and bring lots of doggie cleanup baggies to pick up anything he drops. While you are there, be sure to stop by Carmel Ridge Winery for a drink and try some delicious pizza and pasta at Louie Liinguinis. If you are looking for a dog-friendly hotel, try the Best Western Plus Victorian Inn, Casa Munras Hotel, or The Clement.

Learn About Beer: Dust Bowl Brewing Company

Your dog cannot have any beer, but he is welcome to join you while you taste some of the local brews at the pup-popular beer rooms and breweries. Dust Bowl Brewing Company is on the Monterey Recreation Trail just feet from Fisherman’s Wharf. They offer 24 different craft beers on tap, with favorites like Hops of Wrath, Dirty 305, and Confused Therapist. The outdoor beer garden has everything you need to enjoy the evening with your pup pal.

There are fire pits and heaters for those chilly nights, corn hole games and darts, and a Wedo’s Taco Truck in case you get hungry. If you want some beer to go, they have that too! In fact, you can order kegs to go if you are having a party. They also sell all sorts of cool souvenir items like hats, t-shirts, beer mugs, and shot glasses. Bring water and doggie bags for your fur pup. 

Get Some Homemade Treats: Pacific Pet Treats

Located on Wave Street by Cannery Row, Pacific Pet Treats has a vast array of delicious snacks and treats for your cuddly buddy. All of their dog treats and snacks are made with no sugar and have locally sourced ingredients. Most of the ingredients are veggies, but they also specialize in fresh fish. They have salmon burgers, cod skins, calamari steaks, and calamari cookies, as well as dog bones, halibut chews, and salmon chips. 

The store also has a boutique where they sell fun and functional items hand-picked to specific standards. Some of these include treat dispensers to keep your pup busy when you are, stylish outfits to dress up your pup, and special brain-building toys to enrich your fur baby’s life. The owners, Christina and Lance, started making treats for their dogs. He loved it so much they decided to share it with the world. Make sure you keep Fido on a leash while you are here. 

Get a New Hairdo: Local Dog Groomers

Give your pooch a new hairdo at one of the local dog groomers while you are in town. Monterey has a lot of pet parents, so there are quite a few groomers and doggie spas where you can take your canine compadre for some pampering. Home Away From Home Pet Spa on Tenth Street is a multi-functional place with a hot yoga studio, veterinarian, and even a dog rescue clinic. Besides daycare and boarding, they also do bathing and grooming. 

Grooms by the Bay is another great place for making your pooch look and feel special. They do grooming and nails by appointment only. They are so good that they even do grooming for shows. Signature Paw Spa specializes in cage-free doggie daycare with walks, snacks, and entertainment, as well as grooming and styling. But that is not all! They also do massages for your precious pet, which helps with circulation, flexibility, and movement.  

The Final Woof

One of the best ways to enjoy a new city is a tour. Monterey has several that are dog-friendly, whether you want to ride in a van, take your own vehicle, or walk. Or you can take your fur baby for a trip on the 17-mile Ride. If you are in the mood for a swim, take your pooch to one of the local beaches. You can also take him shopping with you on Cannery Row or Pacific Pet Treats. Another way to help your fur baby enjoy Monterey is with a new hairdo. There are quite a few groomers in the city. Or you can take him to a dog park to play with other pups. 

Photo of author
Patty Oelze is a freelance writer who is also in the process of getting her PhD in Psychology. She has been writing about dogs and other critters for about 10 years and has a plethora of animals at her home including several cats, some chipmunks, a dozen raccoons, two foxes, one coyote, and herds of deer. She and her husband have been living in the Missouri Ozarks for years where she enjoys taking care of wildlife, fishing, photography, boating, and of course, writing.

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