Pet Travel Guide
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 $10 fee per vehicle for regular day use. $15 on weekends and holidays.
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.
Upton Beach: In the northern end of Stinson Beach, 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.
Places to Hike:
Although leashes are law on all preserve 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 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, Dogbone Meadow Dog Park, Deer Island Open Space Preserve
Nick's 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.
Side Street Kitchen has patio dining, a kid’s menu, is dog-friendly, and has catering options for large parties too. Look at fresh, wholesome salads, sandwiches and suppers for dine-in or take-out.
The Most Pet-Friendly Lodgings
Best Western Corte Madera Inn: A lush, five-acre resort-like setting in the heart of Marin County, the Best Western Corte Madera Inn is just minutes from the excitement of San Francisco and the beauty and natural wonders of Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties. 56 Madera Blvd., Corte Madera, 415-924-1502
Four Points by Sheraton: A pet-friendly hotel option for travelers with complimentary WiFi, outdoor pool, hot tub, and outdoor patio with a fireplace. Book one of the Deluxe Patio rooms for plenty of space for your furry friend to play and relax. Up to two pets are allowed per stay. Please contact the hotel directly for pet policy details. 1010 Northgate Dr., San Rafael, 844-631-0595
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 to 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.
Nick's 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. 23240 Highway One, Marshall, 415-663-1033
The TraveLodge - Mill Valley: Located only 15-20 minutes from downtown San Francisco in beautiful Mill Valley. Our 52 attractively furnished guest rooms and suites offer a choice of King, Queen and Double size beds. 707 Redwood Highway, Mill Valley, 415-383-0340
America's Best Value Inn: Located in beautiful Marin County, the Inn 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 to this hotel, the pet stay is complimentary. 1600 Lincoln Avenue, San Rafael, 415-456-4975 or 888-845-5246.
Note: Things change! It is recommended to check often for changes with each hotel policy.
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.
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.