Marin County is a great place to be a dog. You will find everything for your four-legged friend, from open space environments to dog-friendly restaurants and hotels. Here are some places your pooch will probably love.
Best off-leash beach:
Dillon Beach. This private beach in the northern part of Marin is very well maintained and allows dogs - assumed they are under voice control – to be off-leash between the tide line and the water. From the parking lot to the high tide line the leash is required. There is a $5 fee per vehicle.
1 Beach Avenue
Best remote beach:
Kehoe Beach, Inverness. This quiet, least accessible beach in Marin is located north of Point Reyes Station. Due to the wildlife, leashes are required. Directions: From Inverness, drive Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to the fork. Turn right on Pierce Point Road and drive about four miles. Park at the roadside and follow the signs about a half mile to the beach.
More pooch-friendly beaches:
Limantour Beach, Point Reyes: Not so quiet as Kehoe Beach, but most people prefer this beach. It is a very beautiful, big beach. Signs show that on some parts of the trails, dogs are prohibited. You may walk with your dog to Santa Maria Beach. Directions: From Highway One, turn between Olema and Inverness onto Bear Valley Road. Look for Limantour Road and turn south all the way to the beach.
Stinson Beach/Dog Beach: In the northern part of Stinson, where private houses are built, leashed dogs are permitted. Dogs are also allowed in Stinson Beach’s picnic area by Eskoot Creek. Directions: Take the Beach exit from Highway 1. Turn right to the parking lots and park at the north end. Go right at the sign “no pets allowed on beach”. Where the private houses start, dogs are allowed.
Bolinas Beach: Dogs are allowed to run off leash. Dogs should always be under voice control, as there are horseback riders. Directions: Follow the main street in Bolinas, Wharf Road, to the end.
Places to hike
Although leashes are law on all preserve’s trails, your pooch can be off leash on the fire roads.
Indian Tree Open Space Preserve, Novato: If the weather is hot, these trails are probably the best choice. Walking through cool, shaded woodlands of oak keeps you and your four-legged friend cool. At the top you mostly can also expect a cool place because it is often foggy. Dogs are allowed off leash on fire roads - watch horses!
Directions: Take the DeLong Avenue Exit from U.S.101. It becomes Diablo Avenue. Turn left on Hill Road and take a right on Indian Valley Road. Drive all the way to the end, park the car on this road and walk left at the spur road marked “Not a through Street” at the south of Old Ranch Road. Cross Arroyo Avichi Creek right at the entrance.
Gary Giacomini Open Space Preserve, Woodacre: In the lower areas you will find the old-growth redwoods; the higher you walk the grassier it gets. For a fun route park at the intersection of the Redwood Canyon Drive and start your hike at the nearby trailhead.
Terra Linda/Sleepy Hollow Divide Open Space Preserve: from the ridge, you have a wonderful view of the turquoise-roofed Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael and the bay and hills of Solano County. You can either climb up to the ridge or use the highest entrance on the ridge.
Directions: drive to the very end of Ridgewood Drive and step over that low locked gate.
More open space preserves and parks recommended for dogs:
Fairfax: Cascade Canyon Open Space Preserve
Mill Valley: Mount Tamalpais State Park, Bayfront Park
Novato: Mount Burdell Open Space Preserve, Dog bone Meadow Dog Park, Deer Island Open Space Preserve
San Anselmo: Loma Alta Open space Preserve, Sorich Ranch Park
San Rafael: Fields of Dogs, San Pedro Mountain Open Space Preserve, Santa Venetia Marsh Open Space Preserve
Dog Friendly Restaurants
Nicks Cove: Bring your doggy to the outside seating area. Very pet-friendly Restaurant offers self-made treats. You can find plenty of water bowls for your thirsty pooch.
Panama Hotel and Restaurant, 4 Bayview Street, 415-457-3993. A very pet-friendly restaurant. They even offer a "Yappy Hour" with discounts and free organic dog biscuits for your puppy (Tuesday-Friday 4:00-5:30 pm). Additionally, dogs may dine during restaurant hours with their owners, in specified areas.
The Most Pet-Friendly Lodgings
Extended Stay Deluxe Hotel: gives you the choice of budget studios for business travel, relocation, temporary housing or vacations as well as suites for daily, weekly and monthly rentals. Pets are allowed and a fee will be charged. Beyond this, please be respectful of other guests and be sure to stay attentive of your pet. Please contact the Extended Stay hotel directly to learn more about the pet-friendly program and to secure a full copy of the pet policy. 1775 Francisco Blvd East, San Rafael, 415-451-1887 or 800-EXT-STAY.
Inn Marin: A very pet-friendly and accessible hotel. Grooming and daycare can be booked. You can bring up to two pets per unit (fee required). It features excellent amenities for people with disabilities and people traveling on business. Call 415-883-5952 for rates. 250 Entrada Drive, Novato.
Marin Suites Hotel: With 100 spacious suites the Marin Suites provides exceptional attention to their guests with their unique needs. Up to two Dogs (limit: 20 pounds) can stay with you in one room for a fee. 45 Tamal Vista Blvd, Corte Madera, 415-924-3608 or 800-362-3372.
Nicks Cove: At Nick's Cove, pets are part of the family. We make sure that every traveler – even your pet – always feels right at home. That's why our pastry chef bakes our own signature healthy dog treats directly from our kitchen, and it's why we leave plenty of water bowls around for thirsty animals. Dogs are allowed in dedicated cottages and the outside of the restaurant.
Panama Hotel and Restaurant: The Hotel offers four rooms for lodging that are pet-friendly. These rooms feature tile or hardwood floors. They provide pet bowls, towels and a small canister with liners for pet waste. The pet fee is $15 per night per pet, with a two pet maximum. A refundable $200 cleaning deposit is required at check-in. 4 Bayview Street, San Rafael, 415-457-3993.
TraveLodge: Located in beautiful Marin County, the TraveLodge offers amenities like a Suite with Fireplace, an Outdoor pool, spa, and Fitness Center. You can bring your pooch for an additional fee. 7600 Redwood Blvd, Novato, 415-892-7500.
Villa Inn: You can bring one dog in this hotel, it stays for free. 1600 Lincoln Avenue, San Rafael, 415-456-4975 or 888-845-5246.
The Most Pet-Friendly Businesses
Town Center Corte Madera: The shopping center welcomes (well behaved) dogs. The health department does not allow animals in food establishments, but several of our restaurants have outdoor seating where dogs can be nearby. Our non-food tenants have their own policies, some allow and some don’t.
Trek Winery: You can bring your four-legged friend to their outside patio.
Village at Corte Madera: Dogs are welcome at the shopping center but each store at the Village establishes its own policy regarding dogs. Most of our retailers do allow animals in the store, but there are some who do not.
For more information visiting Marin County with pets check:
Source: The Dog Lover’s Companion to California by Maria Goodavage