If your rental has its own "private" beach, your dog can run leash-free on that beach, as well as swim. Just be careful to keep your dog within the grounds of the property you rented---there are often no fences. There's also a leash-free section of the Monte Rio Beach.
There are a number of coastal beaches where dogs are permitted. Although they may technically require leashes, you in fact are likely to see dogs leash-free. The one exception is Goat Rock. The harbor seals have their seasonal nursery here and dogs are strictly prohibited within a designated area close to the nursery and must be on leash outside that area to protect the seals. Sonoma County ocean beaches that allow dogs:
- Marshall Gulch*
- Carmet Beach*
- Schoolhouse Beach (part of Sonoma Coast State Beach)*
- Portuguese Beach (part of Sonoma Coast State Beach)*
- Duncan's Cove (part of Sonoma Coast State Beach)*
- Wright's Beach (part of Sonoma Coast State Beach)*
- Furlong Gulch*
- Shell Beach (part of Sonoma Coast State Beach)*
- Blind Beach*
- Russian Gulch*
- Doran Beach
*These beaches are all located between Jenner and Bodega on Highway 1.
Dogs are not allowed at Salmon Creek North, Salmon Creek South, Miwok Beach, Coleman Beach
Armstrong Redwoods SR
The reserve is not to be missed and your dogs are welcome on leash on the roads, in the picnic areas, and in the campgrounds, but not on the trails. The reserve is in Guerneville, north on Armstrong Woods Road. After a few miles, the road will end in the park. Parking and admission are free; nominal charge, plus dog fee, to drive into the park. The serene, majestic beauty of this Grove is a living reminder of the magnificent primeval redwood forest that covered much of this area before logging operations began during the 19th century. Armstrong Redwoods preserves stately and magnificent Sequoia sempervirens, commonly known as the coast redwood. These trees are a testament to the wonders of the natural world. The Grove offers solace from the hustle and bustle of daily life, offering the onlooker great inspiration and a place for quiet reflection.
The ancient coast redwood is the tallest living thing on our planet! These remarkable trees live to be 500-1,000 years old, grow to a diameter of 12-16 feet, and stand from 200-250 feet tall. Some trees survive over 2000 years and tower above 350 feet. Coast redwoods are classified as temperate rainforests and they need wet and mild climates to survive. The rainfall in Armstrong Redwoods averages 55 inches per year and the trees are often shrouded in a mystical fog that helps to maintain the moist conditions needed for the redwoods to survive.
Off-Leash Dog Parks
There is a huge river-front dog park in Monte Rio. Turn right into the driveway to the Monte Rio Beach parking area just before crossing the Monte Rio Bridge heading south. At the bottom of the drive, turn right. The beach area downstream of the bridge is doggy heaven. There are also several in Santa Rosa, 15 - 20 miles away:
- Elizabeth Anne Perrone Dog Park -13630 Sonoma Highway Glen Ellen
- Dog Park-Deturk Park -819 Donahue Street Santa Rosa
- Dolye Community Park Dog Park -700 Doyle Park Drive Santa Rosa
- Galvin Community Park Dog Park -3330 Yulupa Avenue Santa Rosa
- Northwest Community Dog Park -2620 W. Steele Lane Santa Rosa
- Ragle Park -500 Ragle Road Sebastopol
- Rincon Valley Community Park Dog Park -5108 Badger Road Santa Rosa
One of the best adventure trips you can take with your dog is canoeing from Healdsburg to Wohler Bridge with Russian River Adventures. Dogs are welcome on this ride as you travel down the most secluded section of the river; there are no clanking metal canoes, just silent inflatable canoes that are extremely comfortable and safe. There are numerous spots to stop along the way to swim, hang out, or eat lunch. This is a terrific experience for both you and Fido!
Russian River Outfitters, located in Duncans Mills, provides very stable sit-on-top kayaks for rental. Your dog is welcome to sit on top with you. Just 4.5 miles from the coast, this part of the river is wide with little development. You may well see harbor seals and ocean birds as well as a great variety of birds that regularly inhabit this area. You can kayak to Jenner-by-The-Sea where the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean and the Outfitters will shuttle you back to Duncans Mills.