After our fun (and not so fun) stay in Pinnacles National Park, we headed to our next stop near San Juan Bautista, a little town off Rt. 101 on our way north to San Francisco. We wanted to get the last few (minor) items fixed on Rover before his one-year warranty was up and San Juan Bautista was close enough to Leale’s RV (where we were getting the work done) so we could get the diagnosis and wait a week or two for any parts to be ordered.
Carmel-by-the-Sea, also known as Carmel, is one of the most dog-friendly cities in the U.S. so we had to check it out with Opie. Max was very content to stay in Rover and chew on a stuffed Kong while we were out.
There’s plenty of free parking in Carmel but most of it is limited to 2-hours near the water. We found unlimited free parking at Vista Lobos (3rd ave and Torres St) which is located on the edge of Carmel. Since Carmel is relatively small, it’s easy to walk everywhere.
Our first stop was to Mission Trail Park, a well-kept secret where dogs are allowed to visit and roam the 35 acres of preserved nature with 5 miles of trails through rich vegetation. The park felt very peaceful and we only saw a few people walking with dogs in the area. Opie had a great time sniffing everything he could get to (and marking, but no grass eating). There is no parking available here, you’ll have to park elsewhere and walk into the preserve.
After walking through Mission Trail Park with a wet Opie (naturally he found a little stream to wallow in), we decided to walk Scenic Rd. along the water. It’s a one way street with great scenic views of the water and the expensive (and eclectic) homes. You can drive Scenic Rd. but if you walk or bike it, there is a lot more you can see without worrying about driving. The beaches here are very dog friendly and we saw tons of dogs on and off leash. Opie, being a Lab, can’t pass by any body of water without taking a dip so we took him down to the beach where he could get wet, meet other dogs, and ingratiate himself with all the people.
By this time, we were all getting hungry so we headed to Terry’s Lounge where Opie shared my BLT and fries while Mike had the burger. It’s dog friendly but the food was only so-so for us. I think Opie liked the food well enough though!
Carmel looks like a quaint european-type town with lots of small shops and home nestled in small streets. We enjoyed walking around the town window-shopping until we hit Cottage of Sweets where my window-shopping became actual shopping. Once I got my sugar fix, we headed back to the car with a happy, sandy, salty dog and called it a successful day out.