Many say that coastal Mendocino County is not so much a place as a state of mind. And for DogTrekkers, full immersion wouldn’t be complete without a dog-friendly paddle excursion along the serene Big River estuary. Catch A Canoe & Bicycles Too, which shares ground with the extremely dog-friendly Stanford Inn by the Sea, has been putting paddlers on the 8.3-mile estuary since 1972. A decade or so ago, it introduced Canine Cruisers to its fleet of handmade redwood outrigger canoes. The dog-friendly craft feature a raised, padded deck centered in the middle of the canoe between paddler positions in bow and stern.
The stable platform allows dogs to sit, stand or lie down as the scenery slides by. On the people side, a foot-controlled rudder system assists with steering, while twin sails can be raised when traveling downwind.
The adjacent inn, perched on a bluff overlooking the sea, is one of California’s best known dog-friendly retreats. All guest rooms welcome canines, with four-legged guests provided treats, protective bed sheets, food and water bowls and other amenities. Breakfast is included in the rates, and at Ravens Restaurant (vegetarian and delicious), dogs can lounge with their hungry people at special tables in the lobby, just outside the main dining room.