Home Americas Pet Friendly Vacation at Santa Barbara: A Helpful Guide

Pet Friendly Vacation at Santa Barbara: A Helpful Guide

written by ParoChak December 15, 2013

Explore Santa Barbara

This post is my way of contributing to the scant information that is there on the internet with regards to pet friendly destinations and vacations. Hopefully, the information here on(gleaned from various sources), will be helpful to those for whom a large part of their conscious world revolves around their fur babies and who love to travel with them. This is the third time that we traveled with Babu (the previous two destinations being Carmel and Mendocino), but this time I have the perfect blog to document everything, so here goes our road trip to a fun pet friendly vacation in Santa Barbara. Read all my other pet friendly adventures and travels here.


santa Barbara Travel Dogs pets California

We drove to the warmer climes of Santa Barbara, 300 some miles south of San Francisco, during this Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The idea was to enjoy a vacation with “everyone” in the family, i.e. with the four-legged bundle of joy. The drive itself was uneventful, barring the time when we got horribly lost trying to locate that one Indian restaurant that was open near Santa Cruz on Thanksgiving day or when Babu decided that he’s had enough of the backseat and plopped himself right on my lap for the last one hour of the journey. By the time we reached our destination, all three of us were figuratively (one of us literally as well) were dog-tired and somehow dragged ourselves to the hotel room. Dinner consisted of take-out from a Thai restaurant (one of those rare ones open Thanksgiving night, thank God!) since it did not have an outdoor seating (hotels usually do not allow you to leave your pet behind in the room unattended at any time).




The next three days in Santa Barbara were spent in engaging in all kinds of dog-centric activities, which was the whole point of the vacation anyway. It did require quite a bit of planning since there was driving involved. Thankfully, the weather, barring some rain on Black Friday, did not cast a cold blanket on our plans. Santa Barbara is a beautiful, clean beach-city with lots of amazing beaches dotted along the Pacific shoreline and quite a few of them are dog friendly (either off or on-leash). Add to that there are several dog parks (which we did not go to), The Botanical Gardens, wineries and other recreational spots where your canine companions are welcome. Downtown Santa Barbara is dog friendly for several stores (those which do not sell food items) plus the gorgeous weather (lower 70s (F) even in November) allowed for outdoor seating at restaurants. Overall, both Babu and us enjoyed our time there. We did not go to any of the wineries, although I did get a taste of some Central Valley Pinot before we left. Much like its northern (and more famous) brethren of Napa and Sonoma, Central Valley and Santa Barbara are also home to famous wineries due to the Mediterranean climate they enjoy. Our trip back to SF was equally uneventful, and much shorter, but a wee bit taxing on my lower limbs since Babu decided to travel the entire time perched on my lap.


So here’s a list of places to stay, eat and have fun while you are in Santa Barbara. Don’t let some unhappy reviews fool you about Santa Barbara not being dog friendly enough! Although you cannot beat SF or Portland in that department, we did not have any reason to complain! One last disclaimer: the information below, with some personal inputs, has been jotted from different sources on the internet and is one of those things which was done quite a few weeks ago. I will try my best to credit the information to the rightful source/author with an earnest request to not bludgeon me with accusations of plagiarism due to the lack of one (such are the perils of the times we live in). This list is meant to share information and to help other pet parents save precious time from Googling their life away  in exasperation before going to one more place with their fur baby.


Dog Friendly accommodation in Santa Barbara

We stayed at Motel 6 (Corona del Mar) since we did not want to rake up an arm and leg in expenses and also because this chain of hotels is dog friendly and does not indulge in breed discrimination. Motel 6 is exactly what it is-a motel. So do not have your hopes too high (even at knee level) by any means. They skimp on some basic amenities such as the customary shampoo/lotion/conditioner bottles which you will find in most 2-3 stars hotels in USA and provide two sorry looking tiny soap bars, so please pack in some extra toiletries on your road trip. The one thing that really helped though was the fantastic location. All our morning walks were along the sea beach since the ocean was a stone’s throw from the motel. For more options and information on dog friendly hotels and things to do, see here and here.

Be mindful of: rules for pet owners in Santa Barbara county

Off Leash Dog Areas

In general, dogs are required to be leashed within county parks and open spaces unless an off-leash privilege has been established for a specific designated area. The standard canine policy is set forth in the Santa Barbara County Code.


Dog friendly activities in Santa Barbara

We spent our time between the Arroyo Burro Beach County Park, Rincon Beach Park, Downtown, Boardwalk and the Marina. Dogs can scamper off leash in those two beach parks and are allowed on leash in several other places (see list below). Babu ran, barked, dug his sand hole and lay there and generally was a very happy camper on the off-leash beaches.



Dog-friendly beaches

1) Goleta Beach County Park -5990 Sandspit Road Goleta
2) Arroyo Burro Beach County Park -2981 Cliff Drive, Santa Barbara
Located at 2981 Cliff Drive, this county park is the portal for the best known off-leash spot in the Santa Barbara area. Dogs are required to be on leash through the parking lot and bathing beach until, passing Arroyo Burro Slough, dogs are welcome to run free and cavort in the Pacific Ocean surf below the city’s Douglas Family Preserve. Self service dog wash stations provided by Wripples, Inc.
Hours: Daily from 6:00 AM to Sunset
3) Rincon Park and Beach -Bates Road, SB
4) Summerland Beach -Evans Avenue, Summerland

Off-leash Dog parks
1) Girsh Park Off-leash Dog Pilot Program -7050 Phelps Road Goleta
2) Douglas Family Preserve -Linda Street, SB

Dog-Friendly Parks
1) Beach Walkway -Cabrillo Blvd, SB (Motel 6 is on Cabrillo Blvd)
2) Chase Palm Park -323 E. Cabrillo Boulevard, SB
3) Plaza Del Mar -129 Castillo Street SB
4) Shoreline Park -1200 Shoreline Drive SB
5) Toro Canyon County Park-Located at the entry to this 74-acre wooded park, the off-leash canine play area consists of a fenced lawn area shaded by oak trees. Parking and restroom immediately adjacent. Address: 576 Toro Canyon Park Road
Hours: Daily from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM, and 4:00 PM to Sunset
6) Tucker’s Grove Park-fenced off-leash area at Kiwanis Meadow is now open all hours the park is – from 8:00 a.m. to sunset. The new play area is at the eastern end of the park, and is near ample parking and a public restroom. This area also provides easy access to the San Antonio Creek Trail, a mostly shaded 1.5-mile route that heads northeasterly to a trailhead at CA Route 154. Tucker’s Grove County Park is located at intersection of Turnpike and Cathedral Oaks Roads.
7) W.O.O.F Pac Park at Waller Park-Located in the flagship Waller Park in Santa Maria, this 3-acre canine play area features fenced lawn areas for large and small dogs, double entry gates, canine drinking fountains, and benches for seating. Restrooms and Wripples self service pet spa located nearby. W.O.O.F. stands for “Winners Of Off-leash Freedom.”
Hours: Daily from 8:00 AM to Sunset
This dog park is closed periodically on Thursdays for maintenance.

Dog friendly spots
1) Tabano Hollow Neighborhood Open Space
Fenced lawn area with drinking trees, drinking fountain, and benches.
Hours: Daily from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM and from 3:00 PM to sunset
2) Patterson Neighborhood Open Space
Unfenced lawn area located at University Drive and Calle Aparejo.
Hours: Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 10:00 AM

Dog-friendly attractions
1) Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park -Painted Caves Road, Goleta
2) Santa Barbara Botanical Garden -1212 Mission Canyon Road, Santa Barbara
3) Stearns Wharf -Cabrillo Blvd Santa Barbara (aka Boardwalk)

Dog-Friendly Wineries and Vineyards
1) Municipal Winemakers -28 Anacapa Street Santa Barbara
2) Oreana Winery -205 Anacapa Street Santa Barbara
3) Stearns Wharf Vinters -217-G Stearns Wharf Santa Barbara

For more dog-friendly wineries around Santa Barbara, visit this excellent website and this one too.



Dog friendly restaurants in Santa Barbara

We dined at places with outdoor seating (remember you cannot leave your pet unattended in the hotel room at any time plus there is something intrinsically disgusting if you want to have a ball in the town at night with your pet locked up miserably in the hotel room, an unknown strange place for him/her all by him/herself) and thankfully found quite a few places which allowed dogs in the patio area. Our favorite places in downtown (comprising of a stretch on a single street called State street actually) were: Tupelo junction function (for southern comfort food morning, noon or night), Brasil arts cafe (serving lipsmacking acai berry breakfast bowls and smoothies plus amazing Brazilian fare for lunch), Adama Vegan cafe and Bakery (they had a charming seating area) and Cadiz (Italian dinner).



Most cafes have outdoor seating and are therefore on the list below:

Dog-friendly restaurants (with dog friendly outdoor seating/patio area). Please check reviews online for availability and call to find out change in policies, if any.

Crushcakes & Cafe -4945 Carpinteria Avenue, Carpinteria
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf -4991 Carpinteria Avenue, Carpinteria
Tony’s Italian Dinners and BBQ Ribs -699 Linden Ave, Carpinteria
Baja Fresh Mexican Grill -7127 Hollister Ave, Goleta
Fresco Cafe North -5940 Calle Real, Goleta
Hollister Brewing Company -6980 Market Place Drive, Goleta
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf -5745 Calle Real, Goleta
The Natural Cafe -5892 Hollister Avenue, Goleta
Pierre Lafond Montecito Deli -516 San Ysidro Road, Montecito
Baja Fresh Mexican Grill -3851 State Street, Santa Barbara
Chipotle -723 State Street, Santa Barbara
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf -3052 De La Vina, Santa Barbara
Crushcakes & Cafe -1315 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara
Dargan’s Irish Pub -18 E. Ortega Street, Santa Barbara
Emilio’s Restaurant -324 W Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara
Fresco Cafe -3987 State Street, #B, Santa Barbara
Intermezzo -813 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara
Java Station -4447 Hollister Avenue, Santa Barbara
Le Cafe Stella -3302 McCaw Avenue, Santa Barbara
Mesa Cafe -1972 Cliff Drive/H 225, Santa Barbara
Pascucci’s Restaurant -729 State Street, Santa Barbara
Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro -516 State Street, Santa Barbara
Pizza Mizza -140 S Hope Avenue, Suite 102A, Santa Barbara
Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro -3315 State Street, Santa Barbara
Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro -1324 State Street, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Shellfish Company -230 Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf -811 State Street, Santa Barbara
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf -3052 De La Vina, Santa Barbara
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf -1209 Coast Village Road, Santa Barbara
The Natural Cafe -508 State Street, Santa Barbara
The Natural Cafe -361 Hitchcock Way, Santa Barbara
Tupelo Junction Cafe -1218 State Street, Santa Barbara
Vices & Spices -3558 State Street, Santa Barbara
The Summerland Beach Cafe -2294 Lillie Avenue, Summerland

More from Yelp (please double check reviews on YELP before making a dash for these places):

Sambo’s Restaurant
Breakfast & Brunch, Diners
216 W Cabrillo Blvd
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Phone number (805) 965-3269

Cielito Restaurant
Mexican, Seafood, Tapas/Small Plates
1114 State St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Phone number (805) 965-4770

Louie’s California Bistro
Salad, Italian
Dogs Allowed
1404 De La Vina St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Phone number (805) 963-7003

On the Alley
Seafood, Sandwiches, Burgers
Dogs Allowed
117 Harbor Way
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Phone number (805) 962-6315

Hoffmann Brat Haus
German, Belgian
Dogs Allowed
801 State St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Phone number (805) 962-3131

Scarlett Begonia
merican (New), Breakfast & Brunch, Cafes
Dogs Allowed
11 W Victoria St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Phone number (805) 770-2143

Arch Rock Fish
Seafood, Fish & Chips
Dogs Allowed
608 Anacapa St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Phone number (805) 845-2800

Jeannine’s Restaurant
American (New), Breakfast & Brunch
Dogs Allowed
15 E Figueroa St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Phone number (805) 966-1717





Additionally, these are some other pet friendly shopping centers and stores (dogs welcome on leash). Basically, they are allowed anywhere food items are not sold (i.e. a cute store selling British goodies was off limits for Babu. The kind British lady/shop owner offered to hold him in her lap while we looked around but I knew better and refrained)

Pet-Friendly Shopping Centers
La Cumbre Plaza -120 South Hope Avenue SB
State Street Shopping Area -100-700 State SB

Pet-Friendly Stores
Lemos Feed and Pet Supply -4945 Carpinteria Avenue, Carpinteria
Lemos Feed and Pet Supply -320-A S Kellogg, Goleta
Anthropologie -1123 State Street, SB
Big 5 Sporting Goods -3935 State Street, SB
Big Dog Sportswear Store -6 E. Yanonali Street, SB
Coach -3825 State Street, SB
Coach Factory Store -808 State Street, SB
Healthy Pet -3018 State Street, SB
Lemos Feed and Pet Supply -330 E. Gutierrez Street, SB
Macy’s Paseo Nuevo -701 State Street, SB
Nordstrom -17 W Canon Perdido Street, SB
Office Max -219 E. Gutierrez Street,SB
Petco Pet Store – Santa Barbara – Central -3985 State St., SB
Petco Pet Store – Santa Barbara – East -19 South Milpas St., SB
The Gap -615 Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara (+ the one on State Street)
The Territory Ahead -515 State Street, SB
The Territory Ahead Store -515 State Street, SB
Urban Outfitters -624 State Street, SB


More helpful links




http://ourmesaneighborhood.com/friendsOfDP.html (most of the information on dog friendly beaches and parks were obtained from this site and www.santabarbaraca.gov). Please check the sites before your trip to be abreast with any change in policies.


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Santa Barbara dog friendly vacation travel

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Lori Hilliard October 25, 2017 at 3:02 pm

You’ve obviously done your homework – the list of dog-friendly businesses, beaches, etc. is excellent. I find myself wanting to fly to Santa Barbara just to enjoy some shopping and dining time with my dog. I live in Pennsylvania, where there are very few dog-friendly venues. It’s a shame, because people in Pittsburgh LOVE their dogs!

Debra Bailey October 25, 2017 at 3:24 pm

SO many fun things to do and see! Our dogs’ favorite thing about vacations near the beach are the off-leash beaches where they can run and play with other pups in the sand and surf 🙂 Looks like you guys had a blast!

Michelle October 25, 2017 at 3:30 pm

Lots of great dog friendly information in this post! I love the beach photos too!

Shayla October 25, 2017 at 3:46 pm

My brother lives there! We may have to make a dog friendly adventure happen this upcoming year!

Lola The Rescued Cat October 25, 2017 at 9:54 pm

Wow! That is really an extensive list of dog friendly places! It must have taken a lot of time to research all of that. As always, I love your photos!

Tenacious Little Terrier October 25, 2017 at 9:58 pm

The beach looks like a great place to run or roll! Good thing you guys found food, I find that the hardest part of traveling with dogs. What did you think of Portland’s dog-friendliness?

Jana Rade October 25, 2017 at 11:49 pm

It looks very lovely. But I think it would be too hot for Cookie’s taste. Our guys always prefer snow to heat.

Beth October 25, 2017 at 11:50 pm

Santa Barbara is a beautiful place! I’m glad that it is so dog friendly!

Robin October 26, 2017 at 1:16 am

Santa Barbra looks like a gorgeous place to visit! They really do have a lot of dog-friendly places there. I wonder if they would be cat-friendly as well. It is great that so many places are allowing people to include their pets in the travel plans these days. Pets are part of the family!

Jodi Clock October 26, 2017 at 2:03 am

Recently was in CA. It amazes me how pro-pet friendly they are. Thank you for this!

Kamira Gayle October 26, 2017 at 11:17 am

Wow what a great in depth post. I pinned your post as well. I’ve driven up the California coast once before however never stopped by Santa Barbara. I’d always heard wonderful things about SB. Thanks for sharing your perspective. Beautiful photos.

Talent Hounds October 26, 2017 at 12:45 pm

Santa Barbara is so beautiful. Great photos as always and excellent tips and resources. Kilo and I love the beach.


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