The San Mateo coast, which stretches from Pacifica to the northern edge of Santa Cruz County, covers 40 miles of some of California's best coastal landscapes. Of course, the best way to experience all this natural beauty is to get down onto the beach, and if you can do so with your dog, then you're guaranteed a paw-fect day out.
Montara State Beach is about eight miles north of Half Moon Bay and 20 miles south of San Francisco. It's a much-loved spot among surf fishers and anyone who likes beachcombing and exploring tide pools, but its best feature is that leashed dogs are always welcome.
Accessible via two points from the bluff area, Montara State Beach offers you and your canine companion the opportunity to get your paws wet and explore this stunning stretch of coastline. It is a popular spot, however, so you'll need to make sure that your dog is well socialized and behaved around people and other pets.
You'll also need to keep your pet on a leash no longer than six feet at all times, and take care to clean up after your furry friend whenever necessary. But if you can do that, you and your pooch are sure to have a grrr-eat time romping along the beach and meeting plenty of other dog lovers and their pets.
Montara Mountain, which is perhaps more commonly known as McNee Ranch, is also part of Montara State Beach. This northern spur of the Santa Cruz Mountains features coastal mountain habitat and some sweeping ocean views, and just like the beach itself it's open to leashed dogs.
Parking for Montara State Beach is available at the end of Second Street, while restrooms and picnic areas are also included at the site. The next time you're heading through the area along Highway 1, take a turn off to this soft, sandy beach and give your dog a chance to enjoy some time beside the sea.