Carmel-by-the-Sea: A Paradise for Travelers and Their Pets

Carmel, CA …Carmel-by-the-Sea, in April, was named’s Best City for Pet Travelers 2013. Carmel won the honor in a hotly contested readers poll, in competition with more than 100 other cities. The win confirmed what frequent visitors and Carmelites already know: Carmel welcomes pets with open arms, treats and much, much more.

The Carmel-by-the-Sea Visitor Information Center (San Carlos Street, between 5th and 6th) provides tourists with a map featuring almost 30 pets-welcome restaurants and more than 20 pet-friendly inns, most within a short stroll of Carmel’s shopping and pet-friendly beach.



Carmel City Beach is a mile of white sand that stretches along Carmel Bay. Every day of the week, dogs are welcome to run leashless there, retrieve tennis balls, get splashed by the ocean, and meet and greet other canines. Carmel Beach is a great spot for a doggy workout and human companions love the beach’s views of the Pacific, Point Lobos and Pebble Beach.

Walking around town is also fun for doggy visitors, who get to drink from water bowls in front of shops on almost every Carmel street, and are often provided biscuits besides. Carmel Plaza, an open shopping plaza and home to Tiffany & Co, Tommy Bahama, and Khaki’s of Carmel, has a special “Fountain of Woof”, for its upscale doggy shoppers. Animal lovers also can view much pet-themed art in Carmel, including the blue dogs of George Rodrigue. After shopping, dogs of a religious bent are welcome to take in services at the historic Church of the Wayfarer, just across Lincoln Street from The Cypress Inn.

Indeed, it may have been Carmelite animal lover, Doris Day, who first brought Carmel’s pet-friendly ways to the attention of a broader audience. The elegant, 44-room Cypress Inn, owned by Miss Day and business partner Dennis LeVett, instituted a pets-welcome policy when it opened its doors in 1986. Actress and local, Betty White, is also known for her devotion to animals. She is often seen on commercials for the Monterey SPCA; while the restaurant at Mission Ranch, owned by former mayor, Clint Eastwood, sits astride a sheep’s meadow, where sheep graze lazily on a patch of land that looks out to Carmel River and the Santa Lucia Mountains.

Carmelites have kept canine companions since the city was founded. One famous local dog, named Pal, who roamed Carmel around 1940, is buried at Carmel’s Forest Theater, at Mountain View Avenue and Santa Rita Street. The poet, Robinson Jeffers, whose Tor House sits on Carmel Point, buried his beloved bull dogs in the garden there, and wrote a poem, “The House Dog’s Grave.” Visitors to Carmel can tour Tor House and its grounds on docent-led walks on Fridays and Saturdays.

Carmel-by-the-Sea, founded in the early 1900s, is located on CA’s rugged Pacific Coast, 120-miles south of San Francisco, next to Pebble Beach, and a short drive from Big Sur. The city boasts hundreds of shops, art galleries, restaurants, cypress and pine trees in abundance, and dogs in profusion – cats too.