The Most Dog-Friendly Destination in Central California

I love any opportunity to get to travel and adventure with my dog Millie, but it’s definitely not always easy. From restaurants, to adventures, to hotels, it’s a LOT to coordinate and figure out where to go. Luckily, Monterey, California took care of EVERYTHING and made it SO easy for us to travel! Here are some great dog-friendly places in Monterey.



The Hofsas House in Carmel-By-The-Sea was not only dog-friendly, they are one of the most unique places I’ve ever stayed. With the Bavarian feel, family-owned atmosphere, and beautiful balconies and fireplaces, it was an amazing welcome to the area. Speaking of welcome, being greeted with a travel dog dish, treats for millie, and wine and cheese for me, I was in heaven.


There are so many options for dog-friendly activities in the Monterey area. Starting off with Carmel Beach. Millie LOVES to run off-leash but there’s not many areas that this is possible other than dirt dog parks and the occasional trail (although a dog her size I usually keep her on-leash just to be safe). So when we were told about Carmel Beach, it was our first stop! Millie LOVED running along the ocean waters, dodging waves, and making new friends.

One of the most surprising adventures that I was able to take Millie on was our Whale Watching Tour with Discover Whale Watching. Luckily she had been on a ferry to Mackinac City before so I knew she did alright on boats. Everyone was super sweet and accommodating. They kept calling her the ocean-dog. She did great! The only thing to note is that if the waters are super rough, which they were for us, it might be hard on your furry friend. Millie seemed to do ok (better than me) but I wasn’t sure what to do if she got sea-sick as well, and the tour ended up being five hours instead of three. But the guides were so wonderful and made sure we got to see multiple whales and dolphins on the tour. Monterey also has options for doggy day-cares if you want to leave your dog behind for the ride.

One adventure that we got to do that we did leave Millie behind for was an e-bike tour with Big Sur Adventures. It was my first time doing e-bikes and let me tell you, I’m pretty sure this ruined regular bikes for me! It was SO much fun zipping along the coast at 20 mph with little to no effort and a great way to see the scenic 17-mile drive route. I highly recommend this dog-free adventure if you go to Monterey as well.


Finding places to eat that are dog-friendly is always the most difficult part of travel planning with Millie. Monterey had SO many options! it really surprised me. The most shocking was that she was able to join us for wine-tasting at TWO different wineries!

First we headed to Cima Collina Winery in Carmel Valley. This patio was so beautiful and had a separate outdoor bar, a fire ring, and amazing decor. There was so much seating outside and the staff was wonderful giving us a beautiful tasting outdoors while Millie relaxed in the sun.

The next tasting room we hit was right down the street at Twisted Roots Vineyard. I couldn’t believe that both places gave us the option to sit outdoors OR indoors! That was a first for sure! But with their adorable Italian-esc. patio and lion-head fountains we again chose to sit outside and enjoy the California weather while having the most incredible tasting. This award-winning winery also has an incredible story and aesthetic. To learn more about Twisted Roots Vineyard, check out this blog.

The restaurants also had beautiful patios that I was able to take Millie to. On our last day we ate at Cafe Fina right on Old Fisherman’s Wharf and Millie was not only allowed to join, she even got her own menu!!! This place won me over with it’s charm, ocean views, and friendly staff, and it was also hands-down the most amazing meal I’ve ever had! From the best clam chowder I’ve ever tasted (yes that includes chowder in Maine), to the beautifully stuffed fish, and handmade cannolis, every course seemed to get better and better. For more details on Cafe Fina, click here to read why this was my favorite place to eat in Monterey.

Monterey was such an amazing place to visit in general but getting to bring Millie along made it extra special for me. Everyone treated both of us so welcoming. I love when you can go to a destination for two days and feel like you’ve been gone for a week relaxing and adventuring. I highly recommend checking out Carmel-By-The-Sea and Monterey, dog or no dog!

To learn more about this area go to and watch the full episode below!