21 May West Coast Road Trip With My Dog, Traveling the Coast from Vancouver to Los Angeles
Our month of exploring Hollywood North, aka Vancouver, Canada, went by fast. Although it included lots of fun and adventures, another road trip with my dog was just what we needed, especially since we'd be heading back home to Los Angeles.
Before I dig into the where and what, I want to be totally honest with you.
I ate whatever I wanted while I was there (the entire time in Canada and during both road trips).
I mean, I didn't go totally crazy (there was no cake for dinner..but obviously plenty for dessert as well as pancakes for breakfast—Canadian maple syrup, Mmmm!). For the first and possibly only time, I was living in another city in a different country and I wanted to see, well more like eat, what it had to offer. Despite all the walking and exercising Berlin and I were doing together, even without a scale, I could tell I was gaining a few pounds. Jeans never lie! That being said it was kind of nice not being bound to a number for a bit. Even before being back home I committed to disengaging from this more laid back mentality to in order to take off my Canadian weight in a healthy way.
Want to know just how much I gained in 6 weeks? Keep reading!!
So, let's get to it. For the ride back to Los Angeles, we took a different route and Berlin and I also swapped our car buddy: Matt, my husband, for my Dad.
What was I looking forward to the least ? Unpacking the car every night; Matt had A LOT of stuff he had brought to Canada.
Now, without further ado,
PART FOUR — Dog Friendly Road Trip: Vancouver to Los Angeles
via Astoria, Reedsport, Eureka, and San Francisco in 5 days / 4 nights
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Dog Friendly Road Trip Checklist
- Berlin, our adorable 10-year-old Shepard mix
- Me, her thirty-something-year-old mom
- [Insert creative car name here], a 14-year-old Ford Escape. This stalwart girl also drove from Illinois with me in her infancy — She is so deserving of a name but nothing seems worthy
- Matt, my husband and co-pilot, who is beyond ready to be home in Los Angeles after 3.5 months away
- Map of hotels, dog parks, and other fun things along the 1,400 mile journey back to Los Angeles downloaded to my phone.
-VIEW DOG FRIENDLY ROAD TRIP MAP-
Legend for list below:
✅ Places we stopped
✖️ Places we did NOT stop due to lack of time/necessity
🛏️ Dog-Friendly Hotels
🍴 Noteworthy Food
- See my -PACKING LIST- to see what I brought for a road trip with my dog (in winter) and a month away from home.
Dog Friendly Road Trip: Day One, Vancouver B.C. to Astoria, OR
Getting a cold two days before leaving on a long road trip=Not ideal. Thank goodness for some strong over-the-counter meds!
It starting to snow as you're packing up the car=Heartbreaking. It didn't snow in Vancouver the entire time we were there. Darn!!
Worry about crossing the border with a p-p-packed car=Unnecessary (since we didn't have anything prohibited with us and aren't suspicious crossing with new blinds since your dog broke those in your rental unit)
✅ Howarth Park
1127 Olympic Blvd, Everett, WA 98203
Oh my goodness, go to this park! It's not far from the highway AND right on the water. Berlin had a great time walking along the water's edge and we continued to stretch our legs with a nice picnic.
No, seriously go to Howarth Park!
✖️ Cavalero Hill Dog Park
2032 79th Ave SE, Lake Stevens, WA 98258
We weren't able to stop here. Astoria awaits!
🛏️ Comfort Suites Columbia River
3420 Leif Erikson Drive, Astoria, OR 97103
The reviews are right—You can hear the sea lions from your room and it's amazing.
The room was very spacious and comfortable.
🍴 Fort George Brewery and Public House
1483 Duane Street, Astoria, OR 97103
I can't speak for everything but they have delicious salads and fish and chips
✖️ Buoy Beer Company
1 8th St, Astoria, OR 97103
Dog Friendly Road Trip: Day Two, Astoria, OR to Reedsport, OR
We were going to enjoy the sights on our way down and a little government shutdown couldn't stop us. It would mean we might need to find our own bathrooms though!
✅ Fort Clatsop Visitor Center
92345 Fort Clatsop Rd, Astoria, OR 97103
This is a beautiful and serene area that for the most part has boardwalks and flat dirt paths. We practically had the entire place to ourselves (due to the shutdown?).
✅ Lewis and Clark National Historical Park
92343 Fort Clatsop Rd, Astoria, OR 97103
Connected to Fort Clatsop so we got to walk around for a bit before hitting the road.
✖️ Buddha Kat Tasting Room
37 N Edgewood St, Seaside, OR 97138
✖️ Cannon Beach Hardware Store Restaurant
1235 S Hemlock St, Cannon Beach, OR 97110
We loved driving through this cute town and really wish we would have stopped here.
✅ Neah-Kah-Nie Mountain Trail
Nehalem, OR 97131
We took a different approach and stopped fairly early on to enjoy a hike, aka poop Berlin out so she'd nap in the car. Getting to the top and back in a relaxed fashion took about two hours but was well worth it. Caution: It is very narrow at the lookout point!
This trail definitely helped exhaust Berlin for the car ride!
✖️ The Winery at Manzanita
253 Laneda Ave, Manzanita, OR 97130
I love Pacific Northwest wines, specifically Pinots so I wish we could have been able to stop at some of the wineries.
✖️ Nehalem Bay Winery
34965 OR-53, Nehalem, OR 97131
✖️ Tillamook Creamery
4165 N Hwy 101, Tillamook, OR 97141
We've been here on a previous trip and it is NOT dog friendly, but if you want to take turns running in for some cheese and ice cream with your travel buddies I highly recommend it!
✖️ Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Coordinates to Access Point: 43.749250,-124.177944
It was dark by the time we were in the area. The access point to get here is BEFORE Reedsport and we didn't want to backtrack the next day.
🛏️ Best Western Salbasgeon Inn and Suites of Reedsport
1400 US-101, Reedsport, OR 97467
Amusingly we were so worried about where we were as we approached this town. Even half a mile away, all we saw was pitch black. Not one light or signs of civilization. The roads were winding and it wasn't easy to tell from our map app that we were driving through a heavily wooded state park. We were so relieved when this very small town popped up.
The room itself was ok, nice enough to rest our weary heads after walking Berlin and eating dinner.
🍴 Harbor Light Restaurant
930 US-101, Reedsport, OR 97467
Ok, this is a very small town with very few restaurant options. However, despite looking like an unassuming diner, the food was utterly fantastic and the wine perfection. Naturally we couldn't then pass on dessert, which was also remarkable. This restaurant could stand up in a big city!
Dog Friendly Road Trip: Day Three, Reedsport, OR to Eureka, CA
✅ Champion Dog Park
Reedsport, OR 97467
This tiny town has it's priorities right with this fantastic dog park, complete with agility equipment.
✅ Wild Oaks Grill
825 Oregon St, Port Orford, OR 97465
The drive along the coast is beautiful but towns and restaurant options are reduced. We try to avoid fast food and were sooo happy to come across this restaurant with fantastic barbecue. They even gave Berlin a special treat!
✅ Sisters Rock State Park
Port Orford, OR 97465
Why eat in a restaurant when you could pick any one of the several lookouts along the highway? Our Wild Oaks Grill food tasted even better as we watched the waves crash along the shore..from our car. Saying it was windy is an understatement. Our post-lunch attempt to hike to the rock was very short lived.
✖️ McVay Rock State Recreation Site
Oceanview Dr, Brookings, OR 97415
✅ Moonstone Crossing Winery
529 Trinity St, Trinidad, CA 95570
The tasting room is dog friendly! With some time to spare before sunset, we stopped here to pick up some tasty local wines before heading to Ma-le'l Dunes.
✅ Hammond Trail
Kelly Ave & Murray Road, McKinleyville, CA 95519
We actually stopped here the morning of Day Four because we backtracked to McKinleyville to visit a friend. It's a nice trail but it's not directly on the water.
✅ Ma-le'l Dunes
South Parking Lot Vera Linda Ln, Arcata, CA 95521
Matt, Berlin and I agree that this was the highlight of our entire road trip. She dashed around the beach and even let the gentle waves hit her feet (not something that happens with the rough waves of SoCal).
IMPORTANT REMINDER: Be aware of Sneaker Waves in this entire area. They come out of nowhere and pull anything, including people and dogs, out to sea.
✖️ Samoa Dunes Recreation Area
1400 Bay St, Samoa, CA 95564
🍴 Slice Of Humboldt Pie
828 I St, Arcata, CA 95521
We ate here after checking into our hotel so we could see some other friends who live in the area, but it meant we had to backtrack. If you can, stop by on your way into Eureka. The desserts, beer, and empanadas are all wonderful.
🛏️ Best Western New Oregon
1655 Franklin Boulevard, Eugene, OR 97403
Jacuzzi tub in your room. Yes please!!
Dog Friendly Road Trip: Day Four, Eureka, CA to San Francisco, CA
As luck would have it, a dear friend of mine lives slightly north of Eureka and she was returning from a trip to Europe on this very day. In hopes her flight would arrive on time, we backtracked slightly and enjoyed Hammond Trail while waiting for her to get home from the airport. To our delight, everything worked out! Berlin got a nice morning walk and I got to catch up with my friend. Hazahh!
That being said, if you are interested in Hammond Trail, I suggest enjoying it BEFORE you get to Eureka.
✅ Hammond Trail
Kelly Ave & Murray Road, McKinleyville, CA 95519
Well maintained trail with views of Mad River
✖️ Centerville Beach County Park
Centerville Rd, Ferndale, CA 95536
✅ Avenue of the Giants North Entrance
Jordan Rd, Scotia, CA 95565
This is a 30 mile stretch of jaw dropping views. Just off the main highway, we brought a picnic lunch and sat under the canopy of these awe inspiring giants. To be honest, I think they made Berlin kind of nervous. This 'short' detour, no pun intended, ended up being 2+ hours (of mostly driving...very, very slowly so we could take it all in), and was worth every minute.
✖️ Noyo Beach Off Leash Dog Area
Fort Bragg, CA 95437
✖️ Low Gap Dog Park
1167 Low Gap Rd, Ukiah, CA 95482
✖️ Cow Mountain
🛏️ Travelodge by Wyndham Presidio San Francisco
2755 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA 94123
You can't beat the location of this hotel, especially if you luck out and get one of their parking spots. We were able to walk to Crissy Field, Palace of Fine Arts, and through the Presidio. A little bit of drizzle wasn't going to stop us!
🍴 Pizzeria Avellino
2769 Lombard St, San Francisco, CA 94123
After a long day in the car and a walk to Crissy Field, a large piece of pizza pie and some leftover Humboldt pie was just what the doctor ordered.
Dog Friendly Road Trip: Day Five, San Francisco, CA to Los Angeles, CA
One more friend to visit and a few potty breaks are the only thing between Matt and Los Angeles. Oh, and packing up the car!
✅ Crissy Field
San Francisco, CA 94129
We headed back out to Crissy Field because why not!
After getting on the road late we wanted to get home so we took Interstate 5. There are NOT many stops (dog parks, state parks, etc) other than rest stops along this route.
So, if you have time to spare you should take Highway 1 or 101 and do one or more of these fun looking locations:
✖️ Fort Point National Historic Site
Long Ave & Marine Dr, San Francisco, CA 94129
It would have been great to walk this far but we just didn't have the time.
✖️ Mission Dolores Park
Dolores St &, 19th St, San Francisco, CA 94114
✖️ Bonny Doon Vineyard Tasting Room
450 CA-1, Davenport, CA 95017
✖️ Sones Cellars
334-B Ingalls St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
✖️ Bargetto Winery
3535 N Main St, Soquel, CA 95073
✖️ Annieglass Inc
5103, 310 Harvest Dr, Watsonville, CA 95076
✖️ Sherwood Dog Park
362-370 Scott St, Paso Robles, CA 93446
✖️ Heilmann Dog Park
9445 El Bordo Ave, Atascadero, CA 93422
✖️ Elm Street Dog Park
Fair Oaks Avenue, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
✖️ Waller Park
3107 Orcutt Rd, Orcutt, CA 93455
✖️ Dog Park at Orcutt Community Park
5800 S Bradley Rd, Orcutt, CA 93455
✖️ Douglas Family Preserve
Santa Barbara, CA 93109
🛏️ Los Angeles, CA
After five days in the car, hundreds of photos, and memories to last a lifetime, we're home. Berlin immediately rolled around on the carpet and then we headed out for a walk around the neighborhood.
What did the scale say? I gained 6 pounds over as many weeks. It might seem like a small number but that's the danger of taking your off the ball. Did I give myself a hard time as I got back into my routine to take the weight back off? Some days, yes. But guilt never helped anyone. I applauded my small victories and tried to not let set backs get me down. It took a few months but the weight is off and I'm actually at my goal weight. The problem with that though is now I moved my target to a lower weight! I may never get there, but it gives me something to work towards!
This was a once in a lifetime trip with my dog. I will treasure this time together forever.
Video of this segment and the other parts of our journey coming soon!
Driving to Vancouver using a more inland route—
Part One: Dog Friendly Road Trip, Los Angeles to Vancouver BC
Read about our time living in Vancouver—
Part Two: A Month in Dog Friendly Vancouver B.C.
When snow doesn't come to you, you go to it! COMING SOON
Part Three: A Day Trip to Whistler with My Dog
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