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Dog Friendly. Santa Cruz, California

University Terrace Dog Run

Meder Street and Nobel Drive. Santa Cruz, California 831-420-5270

Dogs are allowed off leash in University Terrace from sunrise to 10 am and from 4 pm to sunset. They are allowed on-leash from 10 am to 4 pm. The park is on the corner of Meder Street and Noble Drive. Please check the signs for the off-leash area in the park.

Lighthouse Field

West Cliff Drive. Santa Cruz, California 831-429-3777

Your dog can go leashless from sunrise to 10am and 4pm until sunset. Leashes are required between 10am and 4pm. This open field is across from the West Lighthouse Beach where dogs can run leashless during certain hours. This field is not fenced and there are several busy streets nearby, so if your dog runs off-leash, make sure he or she is very well trained. It is located on West Cliff Drive, just north of the Lighthouse, and south of Columbia Street. It is also across from the West Lighthouse Beach. To get there, head south on Hwy 17. Take the Hwy 1 North exit, heading towards Half Moon Bay and Hwy 9. Merge onto Mission Street (Hwy 1). Turn left onto Swift Street. Then turn left on West Cliff Drive. Limited parking will be on the right or on other sides of the field.

West Cliff Drive Walkway

West Cliff Drive. Santa Cruz, California 831-429-3777

This is a popular paved walking path that follows the beautiful Santa Cruz coastline. It is about 2 miles long each way and is frequented by walkers, runners, bicyclists and of course, dogs. It is located on West Cliff Drive, north of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and south of Natural Bridges State Beach. While dogs are not allowed on either the Boardwalk or the State Beach, there is a dog beach along this path called West Lighthouse Beach. There are several areas where you can park near the path. The easiest is by the north end of the path: Heading south on Hwy 17, take the Hwy 1 North exit towards Half Moon Bay and Hwy 9. Merge onto Mission Street (Hwy 1). Turn left onto Swift Street. Then turn right on West Cliff Drive. Turn right onto Swanton Blvd. Parking is available on Swanton Blvd. If you prefer to park closer to the Boardwalk, follow these directions: From Hwy 17 heading south, take the Hwy 1 North exit towards Half Moon Bay and Hwy 9. Merge onto Chestnut Street. Turn left onto Laurel Street, then right onto Center Street. Make a slight left onto Washington Street and Washington will become Pacific Avenue. Then turn right onto Beach Street. There is limited metered parked available near the Municipal Wharf.

East Cliff Coast Access Points

East Cliff Drive. Santa Cruz, California 831-454-7900

There are many small dog-friendly beaches and coastal access points that stretch along East Cliff Drive between 12th Avenue to 41st Avenue. This is not one long beach because the water comes up to cliffs in certain areas and breaks it up into many smaller beaches. Dogs are allowed on leash. Parking is on city streets along East Cliff or the numbered avenues. To get there from Hwy 17 south, take the Hwy 1 exit south towards Watsonville. Take the exit towards Soquel Drive. Turn left onto Soquel Avenue. Turn right onto 17th Avenue. Continue straight until you reach East Cliff Drive. From here, you can head north or south on East Cliff Drive and park anywhere between 12th and 41st street to access the beaches.

Its Beach

West Cliff Drive. Santa Cruz, California 831-429-3777

Your dog can go leash free from sunrise to 10am and 4pm until sunset. It is not a large beach, but enough for your water loving dog to take a dip in the water and get lots of sand between his or her paws. According to the sign, dogs are not allowed between 10am and 4pm. It is located on West Cliff Drive, just north of the Lighthouse, and south of Columbia Street. It is also across from the Lighthouse Field off-leash area. To get there, head south on Hwy 17. Take the Hwy 1 North exit, heading towards Half Moon Bay and Hwy 9. Merge onto Mission Street (Hwy 1). Turn left onto Swift Street. Then turn left on West Cliff Drive. The beach and limited parking will be on the right.

Mitchell's Cove Beach

West Cliff Drive at Almar. Santa Cruz,  California 831-420-5270

Dogs are allowed off-leash on Mitchell's Cove Beach between sunrise and 10 am and from 4 pm to sunset. They must be on-leash during other hours. The beach is along West Cliff Drive between Woodward and Almar. While off-leash dogs must be under voice control.

Seabright Beach

Seabright Ave. Santa Cruz, California 831-429-2850

This beach is located south of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and north of the Santa Cruz Harbor. Dogs are allowed on leash. Fire rings are available for beach bonfires. It is open from sunrise to sunset. To get there from Hwy 17 south, exit Ocean Street on the left towards the beaches. Merge onto Ocean Street. Turn left onto East Cliff Drive and stay straight to go onto Murray Street. Then turn right onto Seabright Ave. Seabright Ave will take you to the beach (near the corner of East Cliff Drive and Seabright).

Twin Lakes State Beach

East Cliff Drive. Santa Cruz, California 831-429-2850

This beach is one of the area's warmest beaches, due to its location at the entrance of Schwann Lagoon. Dogs are allowed on leash. The beach is located just south of the Santa Cruz Harbor where Aldo's Restaurant is located. Fire rings for beach bonfires, outdoor showers and restrooms are available. It is open from sunrise to sunset. To get there from Hwy 17 south, exit Ocean Street on the left towards the beaches. Merge onto Ocean Street. Turn left onto East Cliff Drive and stay straight to go onto Murray Street. Murray Street becomes Eaton Street. Turn right onto 7th Avenue.

PetSmart Pet Store

490 River St. Santa Cruz, California 95060 831-429-2780

PetSmart Pet Stores and PetSmart.com offer pet food, treats, leashes, toys and just about anything else that your dog may need. Your licensed and well-behaved leashed dog is allowed in the store.    

Edgewater Beach Motel

525 Second Street. Santa Cruz, California 95060 831-423-0440 or 888-809-6767

This motel has ocean views, beach views, and 17 uniquely designed suites (for one to eight people). Some of the rooms have ocean views, microwaves, refrigerators. A couple of the rooms have fireplaces, private lawns and full kitchens. Non-smoking rooms are available. While dogs are not allowed on the Boardwalk or on the nearby beach, they are allowed on the West Cliff Drive Walkway. Walk to the waterfront, then go north (away from the Boardwalk) along the sidewalk on the street closest to the ocean. It will become a walkway that is used by walkers, joggers and bicyclists. If you walk about 1 1/2 - 2 miles, you'll reach several dog beaches (see Parks). To get to the motel, take Hwy 17 south. Take the Hwy 1 North exit. Then take the Ocean St exit on the left towards the beaches. Head towards the beach on Ocean St and then turn right on San Lorenzo Blvd. Turn left on Riverside Ave and then right on 2nd St. The motel will be on the left. Ample parking is available in their parking lot. There is a $20 one time additional pet fee.

Guesthouse International

330 Ocean Street. Santa Cruz, California 95060 831-425-3722

Pets are always welcomed. There is a $10 per day pet fee.

De Laveaga Park Disc Golf

Branciforte Ave.  Santa Cruz, California

Santa Cruz is quickly gaining recognition for being home to one of disc golf's premier courses. Disc golf is similar to golf with clubs and balls, but the main difference is the equipment. Discs are shot into elevated baskets/holes. Your leashed dog is allowed to go with you on this course (pick up after your pooch). Rangers patrol the park frequently and will fine any dog owner that doesn't have their dog on a leash or doesn't clean up after their pup. This course has 27 baskets and is part of an over 1200 acre park which allows dogs. If you do not have any discs, you can purchase them at various locations in the Santa Cruz area. You can purchase discs at Play it Again Sports in Soquel, on Soquel Ave right past Capitola Ave. Another place that sells discs is Johnny's Sports in downtown Santa Cruz. New discs cost about $8.00 to $12.00 depending on the make and model. To get to the park, take Hwy 17 south to Santa Cruz and exit Hwy 1 south (towards Watsonville). Take the first exit, Morrissey Blvd (the exit has a sharp 90 degree turn). Turn right at the stop sign, and then go to the end of the street where it dead ends at Branciforte. Turn right. Go over Hwy 1, stop at the stop sign, and continue straight up the hill. Follow the signs to the De Laveaga Golf Course. Go approx. 1/4 mile past the club house and the disc golf parking will be on the right. The first hole is across the road in the Oak Grove. Maps should be available.

Harbor Water Taxis

Lake Avenue. Santa Cruz, California 95062 831-475-6161

The water taxis run inside the Santa Cruz Harbor only. The taxis are small barges (flat-bottomed boats). They have several very short hops across and around the harbor. It's something fun to do while walking around the harbor. If you are on the east side of the harbor by Lake Ave., you and your dog can take the taxi across the harbor to dine at Aldo's Restaurant (see Restaurants). There is more parking by Lake Ave than by Aldos. The taxi's are seasonal, usually running from May through October. There are several spots around the harbor where you can catch the water taxis and there is a minimal fee for the taxi. To get there from Hwy 17 heading south, take the Ocean Street exit on the left towards the beaches. Turn left onto East Cliff Drive. Go straight to go onto Murray Street. Turn right on Lake Avenue (East Santa Cruz Harbor). Take Lake Ave until it ends near Shamrock Charters. There is a minimal fee for parking.

Lighthouse Point Surfer's Museum

W. Cliff Dr. Santa Cruz, California 831-420-6289

This lighthouse is home to California's first surfing museum. Well-behaved, leashed dogs are allowed inside. It is open from noon to 6pm daily, except it is closed on Tuesdays. The museum is located on West Cliff Drive, about a 5-10 minute drive north of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

Santa Cruz Harley Davidson Motorcyles

1148 Soquel Ave. Santa Cruz, California 95062 831-421-9600

Well-behaved, leashed dogs are allowed in the store and the museum. They have dogs come into the store all the time. The museum, located inside the store, features vintage motorcycles, memorabilia, photos and more. Located at the corner of Soquel and Seabright.

Aldo's Harbor Restaurant

616 Atlantic Avenue. Santa Cruz, California 95060 831-426-3736

Aldo's outdoor dining area overlooks the Santa Cruz Harbor. They are open for breakfast and lunch. After dining here, you can go for a walk around the harbor. To get there from Hwy 17 south, exit Ocean Street on the left towards the beaches. Merge onto Ocean Street. Turn left onto East Cliff Drive and stay straight to go onto Murray Street. Then turn right onto Seabright Ave. Turn left on Atlantic Ave. The road ends by the restaurant. Limited street parking or harbor parking lots are available.

Black China Cafe and Bakery

1121 Soquel Avenue. Santa Cruz, California 95062 831-460-1600

This outdoor café/bakery is combined with a furnishings, accessories, and gift store that sits in front of the café. They specialize in vegetarian food and bakery items. Visitors with dogs can use the back entry to the café by the alley. Dogs must be well behaved, leashed, and cleaned up after at all times.

Cole's Bar-B-Q

2590 Portola Drive. Santa Cruz, California 95062 831-476-4424

This award winning BBQ establishment allows your dog to join you at their outdoor tables. They must be attended to at all times, well behaved, and leashed.

Engfer Pizza Works

537 Seabright Ave. Santa Cruz, California 95062 831-429-1856

This restaurant serves pizza. Dogs are allowed at the outdoor tables.

Las Palmas Taco Bar

55 Front Street. Santa Cruz, California 95060 831-429-1220

This taco bar allows dogs to sit at their outside tables. Dogs must be well behaved, leashed, and cleaned up after.

New Leaf Westside

2351 Mission Street/H 1. Santa Cruz, California 95060 831-426-1306

The New Leaf stores specialize in natural health and beauty products, and believe in foods for optimum health; their deli reflects this. Dogs are not allowed in the store, but you may go in and order from the deli and sit at the tables outside with your dog. Dogs must be attended to, well behaved, and leashed.

Pleasure Pizza

4000 Portola Drive. Santa Cruz, California 95060 831-475-4999

This pizza place serves slices and whole pizzas. It is located near the East Cliff Coastal Access Points/Beaches (see Parks). To get there from Hwy 17 south, exit Hwy 1 south towards Watsonville. Take the 41st Avenue exit. Turn right onto 41st Avenue and the restaurant will be at Portola Drive.

Santa Cruz Veterinary

2585 Soquel Dr. Santa Cruz, California 95065 831-475-5400

24 hours for emergencys. 8 - 5 pm for routine visits.

Santa Cruz Pugs

Events at various dog parks around Santa Cruz, California 95060 831.359.8071

We are a free pug play group, open to all. No cost to attend, and attendance is not restricted to pugs. All dogs welcome. We hold events on the 2nd and 4th Sunday's of every month, as well as Wednesday evenings in the summer, and holiday parties. See our events calendar for more info, which can be found on our website.


See the Santa Cruz County School District map of the school districts in Santa Cruz County that your child may attend. Click on the plus + or minus - buttons to enlarge the map. Before making any decision on buying a home, call the school district to be sure your potential home is in the district you want. As schools face economic problems, some schools may close or the boundaries may have changed. You can contact the Santa Cruz County Office of Education at 831-476-7140 or visit www.santacruz.k12.ca.us/schools/public_schools_administration.html for the information on the website of the schools or districts and call the appropriate one.


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