San Rafael best known outdoor area is the China Camp State Park, which surrounds the Chinese American shrimp-fishing village and salt marsh in a historical preserve. The 1,500+ acre park is home to hiking, mountain biking, open spaces, and beautiful scenic views. Be careful, though, China Camp State Park hosts an array of wildlife including owls, coyotes, deer, raccoons, and many other dog-annoyed critters.
If you're opting for something a bit more low-key, McInnis Park is great for walking and hanging out with your canine companion. Not technically a dog park, McInnis hosts expansive wetlands, a small pond rover can swim in, and a few large lawn areas.
Dogs love hiking French Trail Loop, a scenic, shaded, loop through Redwood Groves that returns through the Steam Trail. There are a few options along the hike to make it shorter or longer depending on how your pooch is feeling and how isolated you want to be. You will be without cell service, so be sure to pick-up a map at the park at the Skyline Gate Staging area near Pine Hills Drive.Staying the night? Marin Suites Hotel, Extended Stay America - San Rafael, and Motel 6 make the list as your best bet. Each allows pets, although some at an additional nightly fee.
Santa Venetia is located 2.5 miles north of San Rafael. It offers locals several dog friendly activities to choose from, including a visit to beautiful Lagoon Park. This natural wonder spans 10 acres and surrounds a manmade lagoon that makes it the perfect destination for walking and playing with your pup! For a more structured outing with your dog, you can visit the lagoon’s Civic Center Dog Park on the premises. It is a fenced in, off-leash park that includes a kiddie pool, running water, and donated tennis balls you can use to play fetch with your pooch!
3.5 miles south of San Rafael and off the Redwood Highway, Greenbrae is a very family friendly neighborhood that has entertainment and activities for your four-legged child. Neighborhood Park has a dog park on the property that is a small but open space for dogs and owners enjoy. Directly across the Corte Madera Creek lies Piper Park, which is surrounded by water. It has a boardwalk, walking paths and a dog park that all can be enjoyed with your doggie! Enjoy a beer afterwards at the Marin Brewing Company that allows pooches on the patio.
3.5 miles from San Rafael, the town of Larkspur has plenty of restaurants and local parks nearby. Piper Park is a beautiful area surrounded by water with a boardwalk that you and your pooch can enjoy! The park also has a dog park on the premises where you and your pup can meet and socialize with other dog lovers. Larkspur Path, also known as Corte Madera path that was previously an unused railroad strip this "rail-trail" is now the perfect place to walk Fido in Larkspur and take in some nature and history!