Home Americas The Ultimate Guide to Dog Friendly Carmel By the Sea, California

The Ultimate Guide to Dog Friendly Carmel By the Sea, California

written by ParoChak July 7, 2016

A Guide to Dog Friendly Carmel

Carmel-by-the-sea is a quaint little coastal town in the Monterey Peninsula next to the Pacific Ocean and is known for its European charm, natural beauty and best of all, zero fireworks during fourth of July. Carmel is incredibly dog friendly ( it is perhaps the most dog friendly town in California) , as a result of which we’ve visited this seaside town several times, especially to escape the 4th of July fireworks. This post is my guide to all pet parents to showcase how incredibly dog friendly Carmel is by providing details on dog friendly activities, dog friendly Carmel hotels, dog friendly beaches in Carmel and finally, dog friendly restaurants as well as wine tasting rooms that welcome dogs.  Read this dog friendly guide to Carmel to find out all the fun things that you can do with your dog in Carmel.

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Dog Friendly hotels, Carmel

Cypress Inn

We have been to Carmel four times now with our dog Babu, and have always been amazed at how many dog friendly hotels are present in this small town. Of all the pet friendly Carmel hotels that we’ve stayed, the most memorable one undoubtedly was the elegant boutique hotel Cypress Inn, owned by yesteryear actress and animal activist Doris Day. No surprises that the Inn is the best dog friendly hotel in Carmel with everything geared towards the comfort of your canine companion. The hotel has its own restaurant (Terry’s lounge) with both indoor and outdoor seating welcoming dogs, but advance reservations are recommended in this dog friendly Carmel restaurant since it is insanely popular due to its delicious cuisine (Californian American leaning towards sea-food as is the norm with everything in the Monterey Peninsula) and because it welcomes dogs.

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Our room, albeit small, was very beautifully decorated and came with a plush blanket and water bowl for Babu (things that I really appreciate). Plus attendants make the rounds in the evening handing over complimentary chocolates to every room, so I guess it cannot get better than this. Breakfast is your typical continental fare and was complimentary, but the best part of the restaurant is its lounge with a fireplace (nesting a real, crackling fire in its hearth) that seals the deal. The lounge is open to all visitors for a drink or for guests to cozy up with their dogs as they listen to live music. On Saturdays, there is a live musical performance by a Liza Minelli-esque lady who will charm you with her soulful crooning.

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Briarwood Inn

Cypress Inn is the most popular and definitely pricey dog friendly hotel in Carmel, and gets booked very quickly, specially for the July 4th weekend. Another pet friendly Carmel hotel, where we have stayed repeatedly, is Briarwood Inn bed and breakfast, a cute little inn minutes away from downtown which welcomes dogs and also has complimentary breakfast. They do have some restrictions based on your pet’s size, so please enquire before you book! Both times we arrived to spacious, well kept rooms (larger ones can accommodate up to three people) with a fireplace and they had thoughtfully laid out a doggie treat on our bed! We loved our stay there both times and highly recommend it to pet parents looking for more economical options for dog friendly hotels in Carmel.

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Dog Friendly beaches, Carmel

Carmel beach

The most popular, and also dog friendly beach in Carmel is undoubtedly Carmel beach at the very end of Ocean avenue, where man and canine can have a jolly good time frolicking in the sand. Being on the coast, Carmel experiences foggy mornings and warmer afternoons, so do pack accordingly while going to the beach, dress in layers and do not forget the sunscreen. The beach is super popular and gets crowded pretty quickly, so it is best to arrive early to snag a spot in the sand.

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Garrapata beach

If you are looking to leave the crowds behind at Carmel beach, Garrapata beach, a secluded dog friendly beach on the way to Big Sur, is definitely the beach to visit. It’s a fairly straight road along Highway 1 and once you reach the beach, you get onto a well cordoned off trail that leads to stairways leading up to the beach. It is a white sand beach with lots of kelp around. As is the case with all beaches in NorCal and Central Valley, the water and the weather itself is cold, windy and chilly. So please dress appropriately! Dogs on leash are welcome on the trail and on this pet friendly Carmel beach. If you arrive in the morning, you will have the beach pretty much to yourself to enjoy the salty air and solitude. This place is an excellent lookout spot for California gray whale migration and has dense, native vegetation all around. Pretty summer flowers blooming all around plus the foamy waves gave us many picture-perfect shots.

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Dog Friendly hiking in Carmel

If you are in the mood to hike in Carmel with your dog, may I suggest Mission trail park and Nature preserve? This is a dog friendly hiking trail trail which meanders through miles of green wherever the eyes can wander. We hiked for only a mile or so of the five miles, but this is definitely one of those non tedious, beginner level dog friendly hike that everyone can enjoy at a relaxing pace! The trail head is close by to downtown Carmel and is either a 20 min walk or 7-8 min drive.

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Dog Friendly Things to do in Downtown Carmel

Albeit small, downtown Carmel is cute as a button and stretches across a few streets and avenues. Every corner that we turned too was beautiful and charming with flowers or secret paths/tiny green Shangri-la like gardens tucked in! Not to mention the extremely cute and quaint store signs, unexpected red doors (my favorite) , cute boutiques and art galleries strewn everywhere! Most businesses are dog friendly (unless they sell food/edibles) and as a result you can explore most of downtown Carmel with your dog without any problems! Simply enjoy strolling around in downtown Carmel and take in the pretty sights of flowers blooming, tiny little shops and quaint, delightful signs everywhere. Carmel is such a tiny town with residential areas adjacent to the business center/heart of the city, that everything can be covered within a day on foot if you are simply wandering around. But if you really want to take everything in, slowly and surely, then stroll at your leisure and you will come across many a hidden surprise, such as secret garden tucked away in an alley (next to Carmel bookstore) or beautiful gardens in small lanes adorned with local shops and restaurants. Because of the weather, most people dine al-fresco with their dogs and most restaurants here have that option. Finally, do not forget to get some chocolates from Lula’s or peep into the Alice in Wonderland gift shop if you are visiting! I also highly recommend Dawn’s dream winery which is a cute little dog friendly wine tasting room in downtown Carmel.

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Dog friendly restaurants, Carmel

Carmel was definitely built for dog-lovers and offers plenty of dog friendly restaurants to choose from. Almost all restaurants here are very welcoming to dogs with outdoor seating areas or beautiful patios. That is not all, many businesses (those not selling food items) welcome dogs in their establishments and also keep a bowl of water outside for thirsty pooches. We explored quite a few dog friendly Carmel restaurants during our repeat visits and loved our dining experience at all of them. Before I start, I must warn you that advance reservations are a very good idea at these pet friendly Carmel restaurants if you are visiting with your dog over a busy holiday weekend because all outdoor spots are taken by similar pet parents who are visiting.

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Some of the places we dined with Babu are as follows:

a) Dinner at Carmel Bistro Giovanni, a small Italian bistro with a beautiful patio and a very welcoming server. S settled for a vegetarian penne pasta while I gulped down my prawns in coconut sauce over linguine with sheer delight, along with my glass of a Monterey Pinot Noir. Like most restaurants around, the food had a Mediterranean influence with fresh local flavors that were light to the palate and featured seasonal, local catch. We loved the food and highly recommend this dog friendly dining place to all pet parents planning a visit to dog friendly Carmel.

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b) Lunch  at Basil Restaurant, another very popular spot with locals and visitors, specially dog-owners owing to their heated patio. Advanced reservations are highly recommended. Our food comprised of small plates and entrees (they have excellent vegetarian options) and I enjoyed my carrot-ginger pureed soup, herbed gnocchi and ravioli heartily, while S got some sautéed spinach and savory french toast for himself. Service was incredibly slow, but if you have all the time in your hands then this is a great dog friendly Carmel restaurant  to dine because of the food alone!

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c) Dinner at Cypress Inn, our hotel (with prior reservation) and fortunately we got a seat at the beautiful courtyard at their super popular dog friendly restaurant where dogs simply lounge in the courtyard (wrapped in comfy blankets) near your feet as you dine. You can also reserve an indoor seat since they have a special dog friendly section inside for pet parents. Food, wine and service were divine and our server was very friendly and caring. It felt very nice dining outside with a cool breeze caressing our faces, Babu slumped on his plush blanket and with many dog parents with their pooches around us. I again got another pasta dish, aka shrimp scampi after wolfing down some Monterey Calamari while S got a beet salad and vegetarian risotto. I don’t know what it is about Carmel, but I had some of my best pasta there this time around and must have eaten my weight in them!

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d) Lunch at a charming dog friendly Carmel restaurant named Casanova, which is closest to Ocean avenue. We loved the mediterranean/french fare and the tiny courtyard where we could relax and enjoy our meal with lots of dogs near tables all around!

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e) Dinner at the popular mediterranean joint Mundaka, which again had outdoor seating and mouth watering Tapas as well as delicious Sangria.

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f) Breakfast at Village Corner, another dog friendly Carmel restaurant with a welcoming fire-pit to keep you warm on chilly Carmel mornings, which is also one of the very few restaurants open on 4th of July. Breakfast was omelette for S and buttermilk pancakes for me and then we headed off north, back to the city! For those interested in some sweet indulgence, Carmel Bakery (open on July 4th as well) , Little Swiss Cafe selling Cheese blintzes (serving breakfast) and Patisserie Boissiere with fresh baked good and french pastries (plus savories for lunch) offer the perfect opportunity to do so and must not be missed. None of these had outdoor seating and were crowded as well, due to which we gave them a miss.

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There are many other dog friendly restaurants in Carmel and if you are staying at the Cypress Inn, they will provide you with a list of all the pet friendly restaurants in downtown! Bring Fido also has some excellent recommendations that you can read here.

Dog Friendly attractions, Carmel: 17 mile drive

Ending this dog friendly guide to Carmel with one of the best road trips in California that is also, you guessed it right, dog friendly! I am talking about the famous 17 mile drive that loops between Carmel in the south and Monterey in the North that takes you through famous points along the coast such as Lone Cypress and Pebble beach. This is definitely one dog friendly activity that you must indulge in while coming to Carmel from the north or if you have some time on your hands and want to venture out of downtown.

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I hope you enjoyed reading this dog friendly guide to Carmel by the sea, a safe haven for dogs during 4th of July and an excellent place with all things dog friendly! If you enjoyed reading this, do read my other dog friendly destination guides in California for more pet friendly travel inspirations. Carmel is the gateway to Big Sur and the beautiful Pacific coast, so do go ahead and read this Pacific coast highway road trip for more travel inspiration!

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Like this post? Pin it here

Dog Friendly Carmel: This is a dog friendly guide to Carmel by the Sea, a European town in California which is super welcoming to dogs. Read this guide for all dog friendly activities and complete list of dog friendly restaurants. Pin it to your Pet travel board today! #dogfriendlytravel #travelwithdogs #california

Dog Friendly Carmel: This is a dog friendly guide to Carmel by the Sea, a European town in California which is super welcoming to dogs. Read this guide for all dog friendly activities and complete list of dog friendly restaurants. Pin it to your Pet travel board today! #dogfriendlytravel #travelwithdogs #californiaLooking for the perfect Northern California (USA) getaway with your dog? Then read this ultimate dog friendly Carmel guide packed with the best attractions, beaches and restaurants in the most charming European seaside town in California. Pin this to your California or USA board now! #carmelbythesea #dogfriendlyguide #dogfriendlytravel #california #USA #travelwithdogs #petfriendly #travelwithpets #californiabeaches

 

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61 comments

maegan July 1, 2017 at 3:31 am

Your pup is absolutely adorable! What a great town to have so many doggie options. I have 2 spaniels and we love traveling with them!

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Rhiannon July 1, 2017 at 4:41 am

This is such a cool idea! I love that not only is the beach pet friendly, but restaurants too! Your photos are gorgeous by the way 🙂 makes me wish I was at the beach!

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Elise July 1, 2017 at 4:41 am

This is my kind of article! Vancouver is very dog friendly too, except the housing! So if you find an apartment that allows dogs you have to keep hold of it! Love how he’s smiling in the first pic with the fountain – ADORBS!

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Sapna July 1, 2017 at 9:18 am

This really nice that restaurants and other establishments are dog-friendly. Great place to be especially for dog parents.

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Lia July 1, 2017 at 2:17 pm

Your freaking dog is such a muffin omg!!! We drive past Carmel all the time on our way down south and have never actually stopped and explored it. Adding it to the weekend trip list for sure 🙂 We don’t have a dog, but it sounds like our chances of seeing OTHER people’s dogs (and living vicariously through them/making dog friends) are very high 😛

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Kris July 1, 2017 at 3:18 pm

Awww, this hits a soft spot since I’m currently curled up on the couch cuddling with my own dog. I so wish I could take him traveling with me, but he’s not well-behaved enough to go on vacations. We’re pretty much limited to camping locally with him, and he stays at my parents’ when I go further.

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Kate July 1, 2017 at 3:25 pm

I had never heard of this town, but I’m now dying to visit! I’m a huge dog lover and have two. So this looks like the perfect vacation for us and them! Awesome photos too!

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Bridget Williamson July 1, 2017 at 3:34 pm

Love this! I’d love to take my dogs on holiday, they would lose their minds at the beach!

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Karyna @ KOSAN TRAVEL July 1, 2017 at 3:37 pm

This looks so beautiful! I’ve never been but I’d love to one day. I’d especially love to see the grey whale migration!

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Hannah July 1, 2017 at 5:14 pm

What a fun/unique travel post idea! And great pictures. I loved that you gave a great overview from restaurants, to hotels, along with things to do. I’m sure your puppy enjoyed the beach walks!

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Esther Zaga July 1, 2017 at 5:24 pm

On of my next trips is going to LA and drive up to SF, and stop on carmel, and now this little town is on my lists of stops! thank you for your post, and of course eat at one of the restaurants you recommend!

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Vanessa July 1, 2017 at 5:57 pm

Great post, I love all the photos! I’ll have to bring my dog here, he would love it.

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Alaine July 1, 2017 at 6:04 pm

You doggy is so cute! I have never had a dog but the very few friends who have them (most my pet parent friends have cats) are always looking for dog-friendly places. I love your pics of this quaint place and the food pics look really delicious!

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Alissa July 1, 2017 at 7:14 pm

I’ve wanted to go to Carmel for years! It looks so cute and charming! Thanks for sharing this dog-friendly guide 🙂

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Miranda July 1, 2017 at 7:59 pm

I’ve heard the beach in this area is dog friendly, but didn’t know that about the restaurants or hotel! Milwaukee, WI is pretty dog friendly; there are lots of restaurants with outdoor seating similar to these. Hard to not pet all the pups everywhere 🙂

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jin July 1, 2017 at 8:34 pm

This is an adorable post! I’ve always wanted to travel with my dog but it’s hard to find a city that is dedicated to dogs. I live in a dog friendly city of Austin, but we haven’t come across many dog friendly places in north america. This is great to know! And btw, love the name of your blog – I was also born on the year of the monkey!

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Erin July 1, 2017 at 9:31 pm

Lovely post! It looks like a beautiful place to visit. It’s so nice how many dog-friendly options there are. There is still so much of California that I need to see. Hope you have a wonderful 4th of July!

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Kelly July 1, 2017 at 10:19 pm

It is so nice that people with pets have a place that they can go where they can enjoy themselves without having to worry about the fireworks. Thanks for letting me know and I am also not a fan of fireworks

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Isadora July 1, 2017 at 11:00 pm

Any dog-friendly place gains a positive point in my judgement, I see no reason for places to don’t accept animals, dogs bother much less than most of the human visitors lool I like how he beach there is very empty so you can play with your dog without any problem, in my city, there is always that person who will totally freak out if you bring your dog with you to the beach!

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Eemma Iseman July 2, 2017 at 1:35 am

Loved your pics! So fun reading about traveling with a pet. I am getting a puppy towards the end of the summer and I have always been curious of what traveling with a pet was like. Your pup looked like s/he enjoyed the trip as well!

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Jessica Bradshaw July 2, 2017 at 1:42 am

My dogs would have a hay day here! I love your photos. This place looks like a blast.

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Alyssa J July 2, 2017 at 4:05 am

Have I told you have the cutest dog? 😍😍😍😍😍 Babu is so adorable! And Carmel looks lovely! I love how you capture the details in all your photos, it looks like a quaint little city!

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Annika July 2, 2017 at 4:07 am

This is such a lovely post. I always like to learn of places where me and my fur-baby can travel together. It is a great idea for the 4th of July since they don’t have fireworks.

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Pascale July 2, 2017 at 6:16 am

What a wonderful and elaborate post! Traveling with a dog can indeed be a challenge. Luckily there are places where they are starting to acknowledge that. The thing is to know about them. Posts like these help! Thank you!

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Aurelia Teslaru July 2, 2017 at 8:52 am

Loved your article! It is so awesome that such places exist! I hope that in the near future there will be more places like this one! Hopefully, my country will soon have pet friendly places. 🙂

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Global Brunch July 2, 2017 at 10:10 am

Love this! I know how hard it can be to include a pet in to your travels. I rarely get to take my dog along on my adventures, but when I do it makes it all the more special.

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Louise Allonby July 2, 2017 at 3:16 pm

I love this post! Anything with dogs and travel. Your photos are incredible and your dog is so cute. A lovely read. I like how places are becoming more dog friendly, it’s great

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Meghna Malhotra July 2, 2017 at 3:24 pm

Wow. Finally someone writes thoughtful posts for those lovely fluffy creatures! I don’t own a dog but would certainly love to visit and see all the happiness and fluff around =) Loved you photos of Carmel beach =)

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Cherene Saradar July 2, 2017 at 4:32 pm

Carmel looks incredible! I love hearing about dog friendly places! Your dog is adorable!!

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Nina Danielle July 2, 2017 at 6:26 pm

I’ve never heard of this area! Guess I know where my next vacay with my pup is going to be!

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Abbi @ Spin the Windrose July 2, 2017 at 6:30 pm

Oh gosh your pup is so adorable! I’ve recently started taking my dog with me on longer trips and it’s so nice to find places that accommodate to our furry friends’ needs. Loved this post and your photos are gorgeous!

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C-Ludik July 2, 2017 at 7:40 pm

Lovely photos (your dog is so cute), brought back memories ! I visited Carmel few year ago and I love this small city. Carmel-by-the-Sea, stretched along a beautiful beach, is a retreat for artists of all kinds, painters, writers, and poets… I’m happy to see that you dog enjoyed the place too 🙂

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Theresa July 2, 2017 at 8:22 pm

A great place to stay with you fur baby! Looks lovely.

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Sarah July 3, 2017 at 12:51 pm

I love pet friendly itineraries, especially restaurants that don’t mind the pups in tow! Carmel looks perfectly quaint & beautiful! 🙂

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Melissa @ The Family Voyage July 4, 2017 at 3:13 am

I’m so glad they’re welcoming of your furry friend! I’ve never made it as far as Carmel, but I did get up to Big Sur and that central coast region is absolutely stunning!

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Lindz @ I've Been Bit! July 4, 2017 at 1:57 pm

While I don’t have a pooch to travel with, Caramel still looks like a beautiful town! The food looks delicious too!

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Renee Hahnel July 4, 2017 at 5:00 pm

Such a great post! I have NO idea that this place existed, despite having traveled in the Bay area before. I am hoping to get a pup in the near future so will definitely keep your recommendations in mind 🙂

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The Dash Kitten Crew July 26, 2017 at 4:47 am

What a lovely place and it looks perfect for a relaxing time. Not everyone enjoys running from place to place but just chilling somewhere like this looks like heaven to me!

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Kelly July 26, 2017 at 11:57 am

I’m always on the look out for dog friendly places and adventures! Looks like you and Carmel had a wonderful time visiting such a beautiful place. Lovely photos and such detail.

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Sonja of Montecristo Travels July 26, 2017 at 12:15 pm

never heard of this area! MUST put it on our list! We tend to favour Europe as a destination but this is totally worth it. And as somewhere a little closer to home – maybe a good place to think of as a “get away”. Anywhere that has pet friendly dining gets 5 paws rating from us!

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Heather Wallace July 26, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Wow! Your photos are absolutely gorgeous and I’m sold. I’ve never been to Carmel and want to book a trip there immediately.

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Kamira Gayle July 26, 2017 at 1:14 pm

I used to live in Southern Cali but never visited Carmel. This area looks divine and suited exactly what you needed- relaxation. I can tell the town is dog friendly by al the photos. Food looks delicious. Penne pasta is a favorite of mine too. Another city to add to my bucket list. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us.

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Cathy Armato July 26, 2017 at 3:15 pm

Great information and photos in this post! It’s a wonderful comprehensive guide to dog friendly Carmel – I pinned it to my Pet Travel board. We lived in Phoenix for several years but never made it to Carmel. It was always on our list but we just didn’t get there. I really hope to take the dogs there one day. Thanks for this great information.
Love & Biscuits,
Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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Lola The Rescued Cat July 26, 2017 at 5:19 pm

I’ve always wanted to visit Carmel and that part of California in general. This post and your photos are making me want to plan a vacation! Thanks for all of this information.

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Amanda Genovese July 26, 2017 at 6:18 pm

Wow, your photos are stunning! It looks like an AMAZING destination that I would loooooove to visit. The Cypress Inn looks absolutely gorgeous – I would love to stay there with my Wynston. Carmel is on my list of places to travel with my dogs!

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Shelby Gottschalk July 26, 2017 at 6:24 pm

Absolutely stunning! Always love your photos. 🙂 Pup looks happy too.

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Karen July 26, 2017 at 6:50 pm

Love all the images. Carmel is my dream place to live. Have a friend that lives in Santa Cruz, that’s a great city too! Haven’t been to CA in quite a while. Seeing these pictures is really making me want to return…………..thinking next year it shall be! 🙂

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Debbie July 26, 2017 at 7:23 pm

Looks like such a great trip! I love finding places like this that are super dog friendly. That beach alone would make my dogs so happy. Great tip about calling ahead for a spot on the patios. There’s nothing worse than showing up and not being able to find a spot where you can have your dog. Also, I’m hungry now. All that food looked amazing!

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Shannon Adams July 26, 2017 at 8:47 pm

What a beautiful place! We visit the Bay Area a lot and your photos made me long to be back there! I will definitely be checking this place out! It’s nice that they include the pet-friendly restaurants. That bistro is going on my list, too! Yum!

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Tonya Wilhelm July 26, 2017 at 9:27 pm

I love traveling with Dexter. This looks like an amazing place to visit with a dog. I love that they do not have fireworks. Something a lot of dogs and dog parents would enjoy. The food looks super tasty too!

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Sweet Purrfections July 26, 2017 at 10:50 pm

What beautiful views and wonderful looking food. I’m sure the visit was that much better because pets were welcome. This looks like a place I should put on my bucket list to visit because it looks so peaceful.

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Lorie Ham July 26, 2017 at 11:40 pm

What an interesting and fun article–I may just have to plan a trip with the pup. The photos were great too. It looks like a great place to visit!

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Dolly the Doxie July 27, 2017 at 12:21 am

I chose your blog because I’ve never seen it before and really enjoyed it! I’m amazed to hear what a good time you can have in Carmel and surprised at the deserted beach because I always imagine the place packed with tourists. I am from yesteryear so I know Doris Day well and would just love to stay in her hotel some day. Sandra and Dolly

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Ruth Epstein July 27, 2017 at 1:35 am

I have heard so much about Carmel and my friends with their dogs go all the time, hopefully I will be able to visit on of these days. Great info and pics, thanks

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Beth July 27, 2017 at 2:23 am

I went to Carmel once when I was a teenager, I think it is the prettiest place I’ve ever seen. I want to go back and see it again. Knowing that it is dog friendly just makes me want to visit it more!

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Joely Smith July 27, 2017 at 4:07 am

What a stunning place to visit! The food looks so very good too! I love how more and more places are becoming dog-friendly! I hope that our town becomes more accepting to pets too!

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Dear Mishu July 27, 2017 at 11:16 am

Wow, beautiful photos! Carmel Dog Beach is my favorite beach in the world — that’s where I spent every birthday when I lived in California. You can also make bonfires there, which are fun and fine for dogs if you keep them tied up!

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Jana Rade July 27, 2017 at 3:20 pm

This place looks amazing; so much fun to be had. Though Cookie would likely resent the temperatures.

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Talent Hounds July 27, 2017 at 4:12 pm

I went to Carmel quite a few years ago and your beautiful photos have reminded me I loved it. I didn’t have my dogs with me at the time but great to know it is so dog friendly- your dog is very cute. The food shots made me very hungry- looks great.

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Mary Beth March 3, 2018 at 8:15 pm

Girl, I’m living 3 miles from C-by-the-Sea! We’re only here for 9 more months, but before we go, we’re gonna do all. these. things! (Sans dog… I keep telling my hubs no!)

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Katherine March 3, 2018 at 10:44 pm

Isn’t Carmel just gorgeous? I loved it and wished we were there for more than just a weekend when we visited. And of course now I wish I had a puppy to share it with!

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