Updated: Sep 25, 2020
Our favorite place we have been by far is Huntington Beach in California. I would say Athena is a pretty cultured dog. She has visited baseball parks, the Grand Canyon, and Huntington beach. She has seen the snow, the lake, the desert, and the ocean. Maybe Huntington beach was such a spectacular place because it was the first time Athena had ever been to the ocean. All in all, it was a good experience for the family. Athena will often travel with us, which got me thinking about posting the top places that we have been to and enjoyed.
Top 5 places we have visited and recommend to bring your dog:
#5 The Snow
I decided not to specify what areas because it wasn’t the location but rather the experience. It had been a couple of years since I had visited the snow. Typically, it is not my favorite season. While throwing snowballs and building a snowman is enticing, I am not a fan of the wet and cold. However, we decided that Athena had not yet seen the snow and we couldn’t let her miss out on the opportunity to discover a new environment. Boy Howdy did she love the snow. The moment we found an area to safely let her off-leash, she was bouncing through the snow and trying to grab the snowballs we threw at her. I highlighted some of our snow adventures in the article Snow Day! Sometimes Athena brings out the inner child in us to relax and enjoy the little things in life.
#4 Morgan Hill Territory
We first visited this hike when the ground was still wet, so be prepared for a slippery ride (I only fell a couple of times). Despite the muddy ground, this hike was stunning during the wet season with the beautiful moss-covered forest and the aroma of fresh rain. The entire trip consisted of Athena’s nose pressed to the ground and she discovered all the different sites/smells. It was very reminiscent of trails on the mountains in Arnold without the hour or two of traveling time. Things to consider for this hike are excellent hiking shoes, tick prevention (Athena came home with an uninvited visitor), and water safety. The creek in this area would be cold and strong from the letdown. I would classify this trail as fairly easy but on the way out, it can become difficult due to the uphill nature. Post-hike workout, the local brewery in Lodi is an excellent area to bring a puppy dog to enjoy lunch on the patio with your furry companion.
#3 Bootjack Campgrounds/ Stinson Beach, CA
It could be that this weekend was my birthday, but this trip holds a special place in my heart. When thinking of what I wanted to do, nothing sounded better than relaxing with my honey and our dog in the wilderness. It is important to check the sites that you will be staying for warnings such as fleas/ticks, cougars, and bears. Remember that the dog food you bring may not seem appetizing to you but is appealing to a bear. At the beach, Athena was allowed to explore off-leash but was leashed at the campsite. Most sites have restrictions such as not leaving your dog alone (I don’t know who would) and ensuring that they are in a confined space, such as a tent. This was another reason Athena’s kennel training is very beneficial. Before going on hikes, check to make sure your furry friend is allowed. We always do preventive care as well such as spraying and applying topical treatment for fleas/ticks. The beach was unlike any other we had visited before. With a dusky sand appearance, it almost looked ashen but beautiful at any time of day. It compared equally to the green forest with damp leaves and moss from the night rainfall and serene sound of water rushing through the creaks. Whether we were exploring the small towns, the beach, or the lush green wood, it was a wonderful time.
#2 The Lake
It could be that Athena is profoundly full of energy, but nothing says a good time like the lake. During a hot summer day, this is a wonderful option to cool down, enjoy the water, and expend some energy. Athena has a dark coat that protects her pretty well; however, dogs with lighter and shorter coats can suffer from sunburns. We often prepare for the lake by bringing a pop up for shade, snacks, and water. Don’t forget to pack a to-go bowl for the doggo’s water. In a pinch, for dogs, you could turn a waste bag into a portable bowl. Many lakes are dog friendly but require your furry friend to have a leash. I’ve noticed if you find a remote/secluded area on the shore, you can often get away with letting your friend off-leash if they are well mannered. We have even run into other pet owners and let them enjoy playtime. After a day in the sun and water, I find it best practice to wipe Athena down thoroughly to prevent UTIs.
#1 Huntington Dog Beach, CA
The atmosphere was so lively. With approximately twenty to thirty dogs of all shapes and sizes running amongst the beachy sand and waves, it added extra zest to the normal dog park atmosphere. Because it is not gated, there was a slight concern that Athena would run off possibly. I recommend that you do not bring a dog that will bolt at the first chance. A majority of the dogs had a wonderful playful time with fetch and swimming in the ocean. I remember watching Athena experiencing the ocean. When the saltwater hit her tongue it was like watching a baby trying a lemon for the first time. I just loved watching her discover the waves, although I was slightly concerned about her being swept away. Despite my concerns, Athena did a fantastic job at the beach. She made new doggy friends, pooped about 4 times (we were traveling from the desert where she refused to poop on rocks), and checked off another experience with Mother Nature. The members of the beach were friendly as well. The only downside was having to pay for parking! This adventure was so neat, it always comes up in our conversation when determining where to vacation.
Thanks fur reading,
The Pawsitive Writer