Natural beauty stands at the base of Santa Cruz’s appeal. It is everywhere, from the redwood-studded hillsides to the pristine shoreline with miles of walking paths and bluff-top vistas. This California bayside town, with miles of sand and surf, attracts surfers and beach lovers as well as pet-owners that want to take their companion with them whilst traveling and exploring the area surrounding this Californian city.
What better place to spend your day than on the beach? At the end of West Cliff Drive lies Natural Bridges State Beach, a stretch of soft sand edged with tide pools and sea-sculpted rock bridges. From October to early March, a colony of monarch butterflies roost in a eucalyptus grove.
This is the perfect place to watch the sunrise or sunset, to go surfing or swimming and to bring your dog. You can find lifeguards and toilets on site as well as parking facilities in case you have your own rental car. For the latter there is a fee.
Another activity that would be perfect for you and your pet is a walk through the redwoods at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. This is something that your four-legged companion will definitely appreciate. Only a few miles from downtown Santa Cruz, on Highway 9, this 1,800-acre park offers 15 miles of trails through thick, cool forests, and golden meadows.
A favorite pick for a leisurely walk is the 3/4-mile Redwood Grove Trail, a wide and flat loop around an ancient stand of giant redwoods. On summer weekends, you can join one of the many guided tours of the Grove Trail, which start from the Nature Center. Be sure to call ahead to secure your spot.