As a dog owner, it’s unfortunate to see the words “no dogs allowed” when you are about to go into a restaurant or park. Luckily for dog owners, Santa Cruz County is overall, very canine-friendly. There are some places, such as Capitola Beach, where dogs are strictly not allowed, but for every spot where dogs are prohibited, there are others nearby that will welcome your four-legged friend with open arms, and possibly, a water bowl. The following are some of my favorite dog-friendly spots in Santa Cruz.

First on the list, my family’s personal favorite, The Crepe Place. Not only do they serve the most mouth-watering crepes on the planet, they have tail wagging service for dogs. Dogs are only permitted on the patio, but you will find it to be one of the most charming places in Santa Cruz. Bursting with character, the garden patio is a relaxing place to dig into one of their famous crepes, or on Monday nights, to watch a classic movie on their projector screen. Pick up a list of movies showing for the month at the front and make it a memorable date night for the whole gang.

The Goodwill Bookstore welcomes dogs. Take a stroll in the bookstore with your fury friend. This place is a gem for those looking for rare books. The selection is mesmerizing so you may be in there for a while.

Next stop, a perfect Sunday hike at Lighthouse Field State Beach. There’s a parking lot just past the lighthouse, on your right, with a man-made trail off the lot towards a breeze walk. Your dog will love this stroll, and all the beautiful trees to explore hidden in small nooks off the beaten path. The beach itself is dog-friendly. Fido will be in good company with other ball chasers, wagging wet, happy tails. It is a great place to socialize your animal and give them the freedom of being off the leash.

With locations in Santa Cruz and the Seacliff neighborhood of Aptos, Marianne’s Ice Cream will provide both you and your dog with a hand-crafted, refreshing scoop of ice cream. That’s right, both of you. Marianne’s sells French Vanilla doggy scoops for only a dollar. (Half a scoop is free). French Vanilla only though, they say, because it’s the only flavor made with egg.

Finally to cap our list try taking a nice relaxing stroll on the docks of the Santa Cruz Harbor. With plenty of places to sit and watch the sunset this is a perfect place to bond with your pooch and spread the puppy love as you watch the setting sun dip below the horizon.







  • KenK

    The information on this page is incorrect. Leashes are required on Its beach at all times. There is a big sign at the top of the stairs leading to the beach. The regulation is also stated in the State Park publication “Where can I take my dog”. The author is confusing with Millers Cove, 1/2 mile north. Dogs are allowed off-leash there before 10:00AM and after 4:00 PM