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Romantic escape to dog-friendly Carmel.

With the lovely spring weather upon us comes spring-fever. A quick romantic and nearby getaway destination lies just  a few miles to the south of the Bay Area.  The Monterey Peninsula is a sure-fire way to spark some springtime romance.

For your hour and a half drive to the Monterey Peninsula, you will receive the beauty of the central coast shoreline, pristine beaches, beautiful spring weather and fabulous dinning.

Carmel:  There are no more beautiful beaches to be found anywhere in the world.  Carmel's main beach affords more than a mile stretch of pure, white sand.  At lower tide, jogging at the surf's edge is an invigorating, spiritual adventure. 

Directly above the beach is Carmel's famous walking path.  Surrounded by native plants and flowers, the path affords the visitor who chooses not to deal with the sand, a lovely, peaceful walk with fabulous views of Cypress Point and Pebble Beach. 

Note that the main Carmel Beach is "dog-friendly."  Your furry friend is allowed to run free or swim unleashed under voice command.  Very few California beaches welcome your pooch like Carmel.  Even doggy fresh-water bowls are placed at the beach steps to quench your puppy's thirst.  Clean up after your pet with waste removal, disposable gloves located in dispensaries along the walking path. 

Carmel's main beach is located one mile off Highway 1.  Turn right onto Ocean Avenue when arriving from the north from San Francisco.  Continue down Ocean Avenue until you arrive in the beach parking lot.  Note also that there is parking on all of the parallel to Ocean side streets as well as on the streets above the beach. 

Where should you stay in Carmel?  Carmel has dozens of small inns, bed and breakfasts and small, boutique hotels.  Check the Visitor's Guide for Lodging information. 

If you are traveling to one of the world's most pet-friendly town with your dog, Carmel's Cypress Inn is the place to stay.  Many other inns accept dogs, you won't find a warmer pet welcome than at Doris Day's Cypress Inn.  BTW, the dinning room and lounge are a local's favorite.  The food is fabulous and the only problem to be found is narrowing down your search to which delightful dish you will order! 

Photo of Cypress Inn Patio by Brad Coy

The atmosphere in the lounge is casual and friendly; dogs are welcome while you eat in the foyer area located directly outside of the dining room and on the pretty, enclosed outdoor patio, as well.  You can sip a cocktail in the outer lounge area with Fido at your feet while you and your furry friend socialize with the other pets and families.

Important insider tips when planning a Carmel getaway:

*If you must depart the Monterey Peninsula on a Sunday, leave either very early, before noon, or late, during summer, after 7:00PM.  Leaving during the mid-day rush home to SF will make your trip a traffic nightmare.

Photo over Carmel Valley by Shay Davidson/Madison Parker

*Always check the Monterey Peninsula Event Calendar to ensure that your visit will not conflict with a major event like the US open this coming week, through June 20th.  Also, you may find interesting events to attend on the calendar, but if you aren't escaping in order to attend an event, avoid the busy weeks.

*The best restaurants on the Monterey Peninsula are NOT found in the tourist-trap locations.  As in SF, the best are hidden gems.

*Carmel-by-the-Sea can be foggy as the weather can change quickly as in SF.  If you would prefer a warmer-to-hot climate, Carmel Valley might be for you.  In summer the weather can vary by ten or more degrees from the coast to inland in the valley.  Carmel Valley Ranch or Bernardus Lodge are good choices when looking for valley accommodations. 

*Hot deals and free reservations

In our next column, we'll explore Carmel's best eateries, best outdoor dining, most unique atmosphere and more!

Watch for new articles for escapes to Monterey and outdoor adventures on the Monterey Peninsula.

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