As a crazy dog mom, I am always looking for things to do and places to explore with my four-legged furry friend. Unfortunately, as any dog parent knows, planning a pet-friendly vacation can be difficult. These challenges have motivated Jett and I to make it our mission to help others by sharing some amazing dog-friendly vacation ideas. Our first stop: Santa Monica, California.
Santa Monica is a popular beachfront city in Los Angeles county. Its most famous attractions are the Santa Monica Pier, which includes a small amusement park, and the Third Street Promenade, an open-air pedestrian-only mall with shopping, restaurants, and live music. Visitors will find a lively beach scene with a city feel.
Our Dog-Friendly Accommodations:
Jett and I stayed at the dog-friendly Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. Let me start by saying the hotel is located in one of the best spots in Santa Monica. Beachfront and next to the world-famous Santa Monica Pier, it is also within walking distance to all the shops at the 3rd Street Promenade. The views of the beach and pier are stunning and you can even catch a sunset over the Pacific. As a special treat, the hotel offers pool side movies to entertains kids and adults alike. We found the rooms to be modern and tastefully decorated. Jett was impressed by the staff’s warm welcome and loved the bag of dog treats. The hotel charges a one-time fee of $100 per stay for up to two pets of any size. The fee includes amenities such as beds, bowls, treats, and they even offer a gourmet room service menu for cats and dogs.
Things to Do:
Jett and I love visiting new dog parks. It’s gives him a chance to mingle with the locals. Fortunately, there are several dog parks within walking distance of the Loews hotel. We stopped by Pacific Street Park to give Jett a chance to run around and meet some new furry friends. The park was fully fenced and well maintained with trash cans, poop bags, and even a dog water fountain. It was conveniently located next to a veterinary hospital just in case you have any troubles or problems. Jett had a blast and met a few friendly terrier mixes, a Samoyed, a vizsla, and a spaniel.
Jett and I love to bike and the Loews was perfect! The Loews hotel is not only located perfectly for biking along the beach, but also offers free bike rentals. Of course, we gladly took advantage of this amenity, grabbed a bike and headed out to the beach bike path. The Marvin Braude bike trail is a 22-mile paved bike trail runs along the coast from Torrance County Beach to Will Rogers State Beach. We biked north for about 3 miles north until the bike path ended at Will Rogers Beach. Apparently, you can continue onto Malibu but would need to ride a short stretch along Pacific Coast Highway. We headed back and biked another 4 miles south. There are cafes and shops along the way so you can stop for water or lunch. The trail wasn’t too crowded since pedestrians and joggers had their own lane.
Unfortunately, Santa Monica beach is not dog-friendly. Although dogs are not allowed on the beach, leashed dogs are allowed on the Santa Monica Pier and along the surrounding boardwalks. Leashed dogs are also allowed on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. In addition to biking along the beach, we walked along the pedestrian path south to Venice Beach for some primo people watching.
There are several places to shop in Santa Monica. The best known is the Third Street Promenade. Third Street Promenade is a pedestrian-mall with stores, restaurants, and live music. Nearby Santa Monica Place is another open-air shopping mall featuring Nordstrom. Finally, for a more unique shopping experience, Montana Avenue has more than 100 high-end boutiques along its 10-block stretch.
I have to start by saying Santa Monica has no shortage of amazing restaurants, and many have dog-friendly outdoor seating. We dined at Orto, an Italian restaurant with a beautiful outdoor patio full of heaters to keep you warm and toasty. The waiters and staff were incredibly sweet to Jett, brought him water immediately, and fussed over how cute he was. This is a must for all dog parents, right? We joined friends and had the Burrata and prosciutto, calamari, Chilean Sea Bass and cavatelli with black truffles. All the food was yummy and Jett approved of the table treats he was allowed to sample.
Best Time to Go
Any time is a good time to visit Santa Monica. Located in coastal Southern California, the weather is always temperate. Since we went in May, we experienced “May Gray,” which is what the locals call the heavy marine layer. We weren’t bothered we get “May Gray” in San Diego. If you don’t like overcast days, you should also avoid “June Gloom.” If you like warm weather, go in late summer, which is usually the warmest time of year for coastal Southern California
Jett gives this vacation his 4 “paw” rating! Lots of great activities for humans and furry companions to enjoy.