If you don't already know I LOVE the central coast of California. I grew up going to Morro Bay as a kid to visit my great aunt and uncle. I still visit many times a year and one of the main reasons I love it and keep going is it is so dog friendly! That is huge part of what makes it the perfect place for my central coast dog photography sessions. If you are interested in a dog photography session and live on the central coast please visit my contact page for dates and to get in touch with me to schedule.
Here’s some of my favorite places to bring your pack! I will be adding more to this as time goes on so check back before your next visit. And feel free to share your favorite central coast places with me! I would love to check them out.
WHERE TO STAY.
I have stayed at all these places with my dogs. Always check when making a reservation to make sure the policies haven’t changed and they are still dog friendly and in some cases still have breakfast.
Inn At Morro Bay - Morro Bay - This beautiful historic hotel is always a delight and probably my favorite out of the three I shared. We sprang for the full bay view room and let me tell you it did not disappoint! The photo in the banner at the top of the page is from our room at our last visit. The room was clean, the grounds were immaculate, and there is a restaurant in the lobby that is dog friendly on the patio. The food and service are excellent! The hotel is located in the state park across from the golf course and next to the heron reserve. Bella and I like to walk from our room to the back bay and enjoy some of the small trails there.
456 Embarcadero - Morro Bay - This is a great hotel. It’s across the street from the waterfront and our room had a great view. Plus we had free breakfast while we were there!
Cayucos Beach Inn - Cayucos - We stay here at least once a year! This is a great hotel. It’s a short walk to the beach no matter which way you walk to it. It is also close to the down town area. The rooms are very nice, the beds are comfy, and they have continental breakfast. It’s also across the street from the Sea Shanty (more on that later) and a small park. It’s also a short walk to the beach.
WHAT TO DO.
A Kayak Shack - Morro Bay - While there are lots of places that rent kayaks this is the only one in Morro Bay with a beach entrance option, all other have you go from a dock. Located in the state park, this was the perfect set up when I took Bella. The rates were reasonable and included a life jacket. The employees that helped me that day were great. Especially Maddie! It was a great time.
Walk the Elfin Forrest - Los Osos - This is a pretty easy walk with views of the beautiful estuary. BUT Be careful there is poison oak present in parts of it.
Hike the Black Hill Trail - Morro Bay - This is a fun hike that is easy to moderate in my opinion. I took my 17 yr old dog on it when she was 15 and she did fine. It has amazing views from the top. I have always seen lot’s of people on the trail as well so I have always felt safe.
Coleman Park and Beach - Morro Bay - Dogs must be on leash. This is the area right around Morro Rock. Theres a couple miles of beach that are dog friendly going towards cayucos. There is also a bike path and a harbor walking path that runs from the back of Morro Rock to the other side of the embarcadero. There is also a public bathroom here if you need one.
Lost Isle Adventure Tiki Boat Ride - Morro Bay - I have not brought my dogs on this but I saw dogs on it when I was on it! This is such a fun time being out on the water. The captain is so knowledgeable and shared facts about the area, the bay, and the wildlife. They also off a 21 + sunset cruise where you can buy drinks. Next time I have the girls with me we will go on this! Dogs have to be well behaved and used to being around people.
Spooner’s Cove at Montana De Oro State Park - Los Osos - There are no dog friendly hiking trails in Montana De Oro State Park. Spooner’s Cove is the only place that is dog friendly and the drive there is beautiful. Dogs must be on leash. It’s a neat area to explore. Plus I have heard the trails in this state park are known to be crawling with ticks at times so it’s good we can’t bring our furry friends.
Cayucos Beach - Cayucos - The beach is pretty much all dog friendly and beautiful!
San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden - San Luis Obispo - The botanical gardens are beautiful! We had a wonderful visit there. Dogs have to be on leash and you must pick up after your pup.
Elephant Seals - San Simeon - Just a short drive up the coast, about 30 minutes, you can see one of the states largest elephant seal preserves. Depending on the time of year you can see a lot of them, none of them, or sometimes you can see the babies! The docents are so knowledgeable and always friendly. And on your way there keep an eye out for the zebras outside of Hearst Castle.
Pismo Beach Butterfly Grove - Pismo Beach - If your visit to the central coast is between November and February be sure to check out the butterfly grove in Pismo Beach. It's pretty magical to see that many butterflies in one place. This protected area is part of the California State Parks, for more info on dogs in the park or the BARK Ranger program visit their website HERE
WHERE TO EAT!
Top Dog Coffee Bar - Morro Bay - This place is great for breakfast and lunch. They have a nice variety of yummy eats and specialty drinks. They have dog friendly dining in front of the shop and in the magical back patio. Top Dog also sponsors a service dog, Cooper, with New Life K9’s. New Life K9’s trains service dogs through a prison inmate training program and provides service dogs to veterans and first responders. You can also order their coffee from home from Rescue Me Coffee. Top Dog also sells adorable dog accessories from my other company Bella B's BARK-ery!
Taco Temple - Morro Bay - This place has amazing food and equally amazing customer service and the patio is dog friendly! You can also call in your order for pick up and take it back to your hotel or favorite picnic spot. I love the red cheese enchiladas and if you like carrot cake theirs is SOOOOOOO GOOOOOOD! It’s a busy place, and for good reason, so be prepared to possibly wait a bit before getting a table or take out but IT IS WORTH IT.
Splash Cafe - San Luis Opisbo and Pismo Beach - If you love clam chowder then you will love the clam chowder in a bread bowl at Splash Cafe! It is so delicious! I prefer the San Luis Obispo location since it has an outdoor patio and usually a much shorter line than the original location in Pismo has.
Schooners Wharf - Cayucos- They have delicious food and a dog friendly patio. It’s also a short walk to the Cayucos Beach Inn.
Robins Restaurant - Cambria - They have a few dog friendly tables on a beautiful garden patio. Food is delicious and they use a lot of local produce.
Lil Hut - Morro Bay - Delicious food with a dog friendly waterfront patio with great views of the bay and Morro Rock.
Three Stacks and A Rock Brewing Company - Morro Bay - If you like craft brews this is the place for you! They have many craft beers as well as ciders and wines. They also have a limited selection of food that go well with the drinks. Nice outdoor patio so you can bring your pup.
House of JuJu - Morro Bay - Right on the main street of embarcadero. Nice dog friendly Patio.
Sea Shanty - Cayucos - Sea shanty has great food and PIES that you can eat on their dog friendly, heated, patio.
Noi and Doi’s Second Street Cafe - Los Osos - This place is known for their delicious Thai food and let me tell you it did not disappoint when we went. They have a few options for out door seating with your pup too.
Where to Shop.
Maddie Mae’s Pet Pantry - Cambria, Pismo and Templeton - Did you forget anything you needed for your trip? Poop bags, treats, food? Well all that and more can be found in Cambria at Maddie Mae’s pet pantry!
The Garden Gallery - Morro Bay - This store is beautiful and has plenty of plants but also many lovely gifts for all occasions. They are dog friendly!
House of Jerky - Morro Bay - They have delicious jerky and meat sticks for humans but they also have some for the pups.
The Ugly Mug Ceramics - Morro Bay - If you love handmade pottery you will love this place! Shell and Aimee make everything from mugs to dog bowls and everything in between. The also love dogs! When we go to visit Bella never wants to leave!
Gaia's Garden and Apothecary - Morro Bay - This is a beautiful shop selling crystals, plants and other specialty items to support your wellbeing.
Seven Sisters Gallery - Morro Bay - If you love unique high quality jewelry this is the place to go! They have a beautiful selection of jewelry and other gifts.
Smoobage - Morro Bay - I love this this store!! They have adorable souvenirs and so many great gifts. I stop in at every visit just to see what they have that is new and exciting.