Your plane just landed at the Los Angeles International Airport and you happily head to Pet Airways to pick up your canine chum and search for pet-friendly places. In the near future, this scenario will be a tail-wagging reality.
Now where? My advice: head north about an hour and you will arrive in Ventura County, a place that truly puts the welcome mat out for mutts and purebreds.
By Arden Moore for Pet Airways
My 60-pound dog, Chipper and I ventured into Ventura for a few days and were amazed by the dog-friendly amenities available at hotels, restaurants, parks and beaches.
For starters, Ventura sports pet-friendly lodging for the budget conscious as well as for those wishing to pamper their pets. Some hotels are located right on the beach with access for friendly dogs to romp off leash. You know life is going to the dogs when the entrance to the beach sports free doggy pick-up bags and the beach itself is strewn with fetching sticks in many sizes, more commonly known to people as driftwood. It became a must-do ritual each morning and evening for Chipper and me during our stay.
The city of Ventura, once known as San Buenaventura (Spanish for “city of good fortune”) is a beach town strategically located just north of the hip LA scene and just south of the oh-so-chic Santa Barbara. The weather is ideal year-round with the average temperature of 70 degrees proving very tempting to visit. In fact, the climate mimics the Mediterranean with mild fall and winters and cool, dry summers.
You and your dog can soak in views of surfers and the historic San Buenaventura City Pier originally built in 1872. Plan to stop in at the Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau Center (www.ventura-USA.com), located in the heart of downtown Ventura, and the pet-friendly staff will happily direct you to all the eateries, parks, beaches and other places that enjoy canine visitors.
Grab a copy of the four-paged guide produced by the California State Parks that identifies where dogs can romp, on leashes and off, in the Ventura area. Faria Beach Park, Marina Park and Harbor Cove are to name a few of the dog-friendly parks.
Another “mutt” stop for you and your leashed dog: Ventura Harbor Village, which showcases dozens of shops and restaurants.
Looking at the wide grin stretching on Chipper’s ocean-soaked face at the end of our visit, it was easy for me to see why Ventura definitely rates as a tail-wagging destination for traveling pets.
Arden Moore is a pet expert, best-selling author and radio show host who travels all over North America.
Visit her website: www.ardenmoore.com