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Sunny, scenic, and right on the ocean, Westport, CA is a little known Mendocino County treasure. Originally known as Beall’s Landing, Westport was once a booming timber town, but the Great Depression led to a collapse of the local industry. The population never truly recovered, and even today, Westport is home to only sixty full-time residents, a couple of inns, and one old-style general store. Nevertheless, tourists flock here every year, drawn to the sweeping sea views, the contrast between the sandy beaches and the rocky shoreline, and the laid-back, small-town pace of life.
It should come as no surprise that Westport doesn’t have its own dog park, but you and your pooch shouldn’t have too "ruff" a time finding a place to stretch your legs! Pete’s Beach is a gorgeous spot for a leashed walk, and features some interesting rock formations to boot. You won’t find much in the way of doggy dining here either, but the Westport Inn and Deli does a mean sandwich for takeout, and it’s just a quarter of a mile away from the beach. And if your buddy longs to run off-leash, don’t worry -- you’ll find plenty of pawesome dog parks, as well as some furrifically fur-friendly hiking options, just a short drive away!
Technically located a couple of miles north of Westport in DeHaven, Westport-Union State Beach sits right at the limit of California’s lost coast, a long, sparsely populated stretch with little highway access. The beach isn’t the most popular destination, but it’s a pawfect place for you and your pooch to experience the unspoiled natural wonder of the area, with its gorgeous views of the mountains and ocean. Though the three mile coastline is rugged, there’s still enough sand for you two to take a stroll on. Keep in mind that there’s limited cell phone service, so you might need to wait until you get home to upload your snaps!
Bohemian yet family-friendly, Fort Bragg sits just thirteen miles south of Westport, so it’d be a huge faux paw not to visit! The city’s Maple-Chestnut neighborhood in particular welcomes wagging tails with open arms -- it’s home to the Fort Bragg Dog Park, a fantastic place to let your furry friend run free! The dog run is huge -- there’s enough space in both the large and small dog areas for even most rambunctious furball to burn off their excess energy. Bags and water are provided, but be careful -- the park doesn’t get much shade, so you might want to give it a miss on a hot day.
If Maple-Chestnut is dog-friendly, Noyo is a true pup’s paradise. The working-harbor neighborhood is quaint, compact, and surrounded by forested trees -- and it’s home to the mutts-visit Noyo Dog Beach! Your salty sea dog is sure to have a whale of a time splashing about in the shallow waters, and there’s a good sandy stretch that’s just pawfect for a spirited game of catch or tug of war. Waste bags are provided on-site, but be sure to bring your own water. Afterward, consider stopping in at Silver on the Wharf. They do the best fish tacos in town, and they even have their own menu for doggy diners!
Inglenook is a quiet, rural place, but the state park at its limits makes a trip to this tiny town well worth it! MacKerricher State Park is best known as the site of the Ten Mile Beach Trail, a converted railway line with a rather deceptive name -- the trail is only three miles long, not ten. Your leashed pooch is welcome to join you as you wander past sweeping ocean vistas and lovely lagoon views, but keep in mind that pets are not allowed on the sand dunes at the end of the route. You’d have to be barking mad not to go!
If you two are looking for something different to do, why not drive down to downtown Fort Bragg and take a tour on the Skunk Train? The original Skunk Train was a small, self-powered locomotive that ran on the line during the early twentieth century, which got its nickname from the smell of the fumes from its gas-powered engine. Don’t worry though -- the restored carriages aren’t quite so pungent! The track runs through majestic Noyo redwood forests, and the knowledgeable guides will fill you in on the area's history along the way. Leashed pooches are welcome, but there’s a fee for a doggy ticket -- an extra $10. A small price to pay for dog-friendly fun!
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