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Beach Day!

I had a few days off from work and Steven suggested that we kick off the nice weather with a trip to the beach. Now that we are a family of kids and dogs, it gets to be harder to find activities that will be friendly to all family members. That's one of the reasons the beach is a great family activity for us.

But which beach?

Sometimes we go to Half Moon Bay, but the only beach we found that allows dogs also allows horses, and it was quite the poopy mess the day we went years ago. Shelby was just a puppy, so the first thing she did was try to eat a big pile of horse poop. (If things have changed, please leave a comment.)

We love Carmel beach, but we weren't sure about Vin sitting in the car for that long a drive.

That left Santa Cruz beach. Some of you may recall our last vacation was in Santa Cruz, and we learned that they didn't allow dogs downtown. A quick search on the Internet revealed that the shop owners had voted to in March to give dogs a 6 month trial to see how things go.

We decided that we would have to go downtown just to prove that dogs can be good citizens. We ate lunch at Walnut Street Cafe where Shelby stayed covertly tucked under Steven's chair. She wasn't a complete model citizen. She ended up getting excited and barking at another small dog, but recovered when Steven started feeding her under the table. She shifted her focus from the dog to the snacks, and there was no further trouble.

Walnut Street Cafe

They have a few tables out on the sidewalk, and their menu is kid-friendly. I ordered the California Burger which was so awesome that even Vin ate a bite, and typically he regards burgers with fascination and suspicion. It's a great casual restaurant, with friendly staff, and a changing table in the restroom. I'll have to remember it when we visit Santa Cruz again in August.

After a little walk downtown, we headed to the beach. Dogs aren't allowed on the wharf or Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, but there's plenty of sand where a leashed dog is welcome. Shelby found a mussel shell, which was then given to Vin to add to his "sand cakes" that he was busy building and smashing.


The beach wasn't very crowded, though the wind was not exactly cooperating with us; so after about an hour and a half, we headed back to the car and visited one of my favorite fabric shops, Hart's Fabrics. They carry a lot of neat retro and Japanese prints, though every time I visit, I have to remind myself that Vin is a boy, and that prints with cute cherry blossoms do not become him.

We headed home sleepy and covered in sand, but happy that we were able to enjoy some nice outdoor time with the family.

May 15, 2010 | Permalink


AAWWW....Sounds wonderful Winnie....you could make a " girly " outfit for Shelby with cherries and pretty prints !!!
Always glad to hear about a nice family outing. Simple times like this are what you will remember for ever.....
Cheers...have a wonderful summer ( It's still so darned cold and windy in Ontario Canada .. we are still waiting for spring to start !!!! )

Posted by: Ann Crago | May 15, 2010 7:42:27 PM

That's great that you have dog-friendly beaches nearby so that you can bring Shelby on your family outings...where I live, the closest beach that allows dogs is about 40 minutes away & you need to buy an annual permit from the city & carry it with you when you visit the beach. Also, the hours and days that the dogs are allowed on the" Dog Beach" are limited and strictly enforced. Most of the other area beaches don't allow dogs on the beach, their boardwalks or beachside sidewalks. I did take one of my dogs to the Dog Beach a few times but parking is limited and finding a parking spot during "Dog Hours" was almost impossible. My younger dog has never been to the beach!!! I guess some places are a lot more dog-friendly than others...looks like Vin had a great time playing with his toys in the sand!

Posted by: Helene | May 16, 2010 8:12:06 AM

Hi Winnie. So glad you were able to find somewhere that kids and dogs could play and
I just hope that more places will allow dogs and responsible owners to enjoy together. If dog owners would pick up any accidents left by their dogs, and watch that their dog(s) do not bark or snarl excessively, then the dog and the kid(s) will enjoy the day. You have been so kind to share your family with us...thank you for your blog and Shelby still looks great!

Posted by: Jade | May 17, 2010 10:47:26 PM

Hi Winnie, Long time fan but first time posting. I live in the area and often take our pug to this beach:
http://www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=532 (Montara State Beach) I recommend going down the second set of steps next to the paved parking lot (aren't as steep) No horses! But there are usually families, surfers, other dogs and even sun! We also go to Pacifica beach (colder-usually no sun) but that may be too far for you. We haven't been in about a year because I have been pregnant and recently had a baby boy. Our pug has adjusted well but has had his lap time cut down to very little! Love reading your blog! Thanks!

Posted by: Ari | May 19, 2010 1:06:46 PM

We love going up to Ocean Beach in SF. On Saturday mornings there is a small dog gathering from 10-12. We usually just pick a spot and Loki will play with the group as they walk up and down the beach as they pass.

Posted by: Katherine | Jun 1, 2010 7:59:21 AM

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