The rain has (finally!) stopped, the sun is out, and even our furriest of friends are looking forward to the arrival of warm summer days. All over the Bay Area, there are dozens of fab places to take your four-footed BFF. Here’s a whittled down list some sure-fire faves — both indoors and out — that are guaranteed to deliver tail-wagging fun.
If you want an easy solution to the “where should we go with Fido?” question, why not consider a camping staycation? Nestled alongside Lake Chabot and located within a regional park, Anthony Chabot Family Campground is a short 30-minute drive from Uptown Oakland. The campground features 53 drive-to campsites, 10 walk-to campsites, and 12 RV/trailer sites. The park itself offers more than 3,300 acres of walking, riding, and bicycling trails that meander through forested land and to trailhead vistas.
As the nation’s largest body of saltwater within city limits, Lake Merritt is also one of the first designated wildlife refuges. At 155-acres (and approximately 3 miles around), you can easily stroll, jog or run around the lake, then make plans to head to the Lake Chalet with your well-behaved bowser in tow. Grab an outdoor seat on the dock overlooking the lake, visit the Tequila Pier Bar, and grab a ceviche taco. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Ever dreamed of running off to join the circus? What about your pup? If the idea of jumping through hoops, balancing balls on your nose, and performing in front of an audience holds special appeal, you can satisfy your desires by heading to a fun-filled backyard in North Oakland at Canine Circus School: The Art School for Dogs. Started in 2011 by Francis Metcalf (an award-winning trainer who’s worked with stunt dogs, police dogs, and guide dogs) and his wife, Norma, the Canine Circus School offers courses for dogs and their owners in a hidden dreamland filled with vintage carousel horses, disco balls, rocking chairs, and strings of white twinkle lights.
You and your pooch are “cordially invited” to join the brewers at Cleophus Quealy Beer in San Leandro for Yappy Hour. Every Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., the brewery offers $5 pints for humans and appropriate treats for accompanying four-legged friends. You can also pose for a selfie with your furry pal to be featured on the #DogsofCQ wall and have a chance to win “Dog of the Month” designation. Producing an eclectic mix of beers (from barrel-aged Belgians to fruit-fermented sours), each small batch (seven barrels at a time) is served on tap in the tasting room.
Proud of its status as a Certified Green Business, Metro Dog in Richmond is the drop-off spot if Spot needs a bit of time with some of his kind. Using a filtered water system, sustainable products like biodegradable bowls, poop bags, and cleansers, and construction materials that are non-polluting and (whenever possible) purchased from a re-use company, you can rest assured you’re supporting a facility that keeps the overall health of its guests — and the environment — in mind. Featuring five indoor and two outdoor play yards, Metro Dog also offers playgroups of 15 to 20 pups. But the best part might be that it’s open 6 a.m.-9 p.m. 365 days a year.
A stroll along the Grand Marina waterfront in Alameda led a wannabe businesswoman to wonder where someone might grab a cuppa Joe with their furry companions in tow. After some self-professed “schlepping” through piles of paperwork and city permits, Mosley’s Café finally opened, and it’s been serving residents and local workers with crepes, sandwiches, and soups ever since. Overlooking Coast Guard Island, Mosley’s also features an enclosed outdoor patio where you can sit with your four-legged friend, sipping a cup of Bicycle Coffee that was locally roasted in Oakland.
On any given day, the 226-acre Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland is filled not only with the dearly departed, but also scores of joggers, history buffs, sunbathers, picnickers, and dog-walkers. Populated with historic gravesites that include those of chocolate-maker Domingo Ghirardelli, railroad founder Charles Crocker, and architect Julia Morgan, it’s also filled with flowering trees, birdsong, and impressive views of the Oakland and the bay. Depending on your route, your dog walk can lead you past bubbling fountains, sunken gardens, and a burial ground for Civil War veterans.
With more than 1,800-acres of forest and designated trails to choose from, redwood-filled Redwood Regional Park is one of the East Bay’s most-favored places to hike with a hound. All in a day, you can go from sunny trails to shadow-dappled groves to streamside strolls. Near parking lots, grassy fields, barbecue pits, and picnic tables, your pub must be leashed, but once you’re out of those areas, your pooch is free to run off-leash throughout most of the park as long as your dog is under voice control.
Annie Appleby has been teaching Doga — yoga with your dog — for seven years in Burlingame at Doga by YogaForce. Classes are taught outdoors and led by Appleby and her faithful canine, Madison. Students bring a towel, leash, doggie treats, a toy, and yoga mat. In addition, each human is asked to take at least five regular yoga classes so he or she will already be comfortable with the different yoga positions. Smaller dogs tend to do best (understandably, it’s tough to get a Great Pyrenees and its owner on the same yoga mat), but larger dogs can attend.
Tucked in among the tree-blanketed streets of Los Gatos is a scenic winery, Testarossa, where dogs are welcome. At Testarossa, human visitors (aged 21 and over) can sample a variety of vintages (predominately chardonnays and pinot noirs), while well-behaved pets can accompany them on-leash. On the weekends, you’ll find a buzzier vibe as groups of students, Silicon Valley investors, and weekend warriors mix and mingle, but it is open Wednesday through Sunday, with live music on hand Thursday through Saturday.
Has your pet been hankering for a fun-filled weekend stay along the bay? Then take her on vacation to the pet-friendly Argonaut Hotel on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. A stone’s throw from Ghirardelli Square and right across the street from the water, this historic hotel bow-wows with its beamed ceilings and cozy, nautical décor. The hotel charges a flat fee of $75 per pet, per stay, with no size restrictions — so for those who hang with an Irish Wolfhound, you’ll also be welcomed with open arms.
Dog heaven. Nirvana. The granddaddy of them all. No matter which moniker you choose, Fort Funston lives up to the name. With acres of sand dunes, forested hills, sheer cliffs, access to a sandy beach, and literally hundreds of dogs at any one time, it’s the place to be any day of the week when the sun’s out. As part of the Golden Gate Recreation Area, it’s also pretty unique in that dogs can be off-leash so long as they’re under voice control.
Canine Fun Spots
Anthony Chabot Regional Park 9999 Redwood Rd., Castro Valley, EBParks.org
Argonaut Hotel, 495 Jefferson St., San Francisco, 415-563-0800, ArgonautHotel.com
Canine Circus School: The Art School for Dogs, 415-779-6550, North Oakland, BayAreaDogTrainer.wordpress.com
Cleophus Quealy Beer Company, 448 Hester St., San Leandro, 510-463-4534, Cleoph.us
Doga by YogaForce, 323-309-8808, Burlingame, YogaForce.com/doga
Fort Funston, Fort Funston Road, San Francisco, ParksConservancy.org/parks/fort-funston
Lake Chalet, 1520 Lakeside Dr., Oakland, 510-208-5253, TheLakeChalet.com
Metro Dog, 3117 Pierce St., Richmond, 510-524-3647, MetroDog.com
Mosley’s Café, 2099 Grand St., Alameda, 510-263-8363, MosleysCafe.com
Mountain View Cemetery, 5000 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, 510-658-2588, MountainViewCemetery.org
Redwood Regional Park, 7867 Redwood Rd., Oakland, EBParks.org
Testarossa Winery, 300-A College Ave., Los Gatos, 408-354-6150, Testarossa.com