Pet-Friendly Destination: Santa Barbara

Looking for a pet-friendly coastal getaway in California’s Riviera? Santa Barbara is a destination with something for everyone, including your furry ones. There are plenty of pet-friendly accommodations to choose from, restaurants, activities, and even a camp for your puppy if you need to go to an establishment that is not so tolerant. Here’s our weekend in Santa Barbara and a suggested itinerary for you.


When my husband Ian and I took Max (our mini-Schnauzer travel dog) to Santa Barbara, we stayed at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort. For those familiar with the area and this resort, this used to be the Fess Parker resort years ago. Yes, it’s the big gorgeous resort right across from the beach. 

This is a first-class resort where many weddings and events take place. If you can travel off-season or during the week (Sun-Thurs), deals can be found. Having Max with us, we booked the reservation online and made sure we asked for a pet-friendly room. The location of this property couldn’t be better. Across from the beach, there’s plenty of grass and walking areas to enjoy the view and mild climate Santa Barbara enjoys throughout the year. Currently, the Hilton charges a non-refundable pet fee of $75 per stay (not per night.)

Note: There are areas not pet-friendly like Stearns Wharf so having plenty of grassy and open areas is much appreciated. Another reason why we loved the Hilton so much. 

Also Consider:

Marina Beach Motel-I love the Marina side of Santa Barbara. This property is close to the pier, State Street, and everything Santa Barbara has to offer. This property has some great specials if you hit it at the right time, around $156/night. 

Budget option: 

Motel 6. We’ve stayed at this location and were happy to see renovated, clean rooms in a good location. This is a great way to have an inexpensive escape with your pup in a prime Santa Barbara location. It’s a bit loud on the weekends during high season but that’s to be expected. Depending on when you stay, rates are currently around $120/night and as always with Motel 6, pets stay free!

Feel Like Camping?

Not far from Santa Barbara in the gorgeous Santa Ynez Mountains, is the Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort. I’m not a big camper but whether you want to pitch a tent or want to go glamping, this is another option to enjoy Santa Barbara County with your pup. Read more about this fantastic pet-friendly option in this post


There are plenty of dining options throughout Santa Barbara, including pet-friendly outdoor seating. This is where the Bring Fido app and website come in handy. We’ve used this app to find up-to-date dining options when traveling with Max so there aren’t any surprises when you get to the restaurant. 

We had a great dining experience at the Santa Barbara Fishouse. Across from the water, Max was able to relax outside with us while we noshed on fresh local shrimp and fish. 

Camp Canine

If you need to go somewhere that isn’t pet-friendly but still have your travel pup with you, consider taking them to Camp Canine. Since 1984, Camp Canine has been offering a place to take your pet for doggie daycare or overnight stays. We wanted to visit a couple of places that weren’t necessarily pet-friendly so we visited Camp Canine. Max loves to play with other dogs so as soon as we saw that he was happy and in good hands, we wandered through downtown Santa Barbara for a few hours. 

Pet-Friendly Beach

Arroyo Burro Beach, also known as Hendry’s Beach is where you’ll find the Douglas Family Preserve. Michael Douglas (yes, that Michael Douglas) contributed to preserving the area, keeping the land purposely underdeveloped. Pet owners, hikers, and general nature lovers enjoy the coastal views and easy hiking area thanks to this preservation. 

Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara County remain a popular destination because it’s so easy to enjoy. Whether you enjoy bringing your furry friend with you or just decided at the last minute to bring them, you have plenty of options. We’ve taken Max to Santa Barbara a few times and have always come away happy that we could have some alone time as well as give him some playtime with other pups. Put Santa Barbara on your list of pup-friendly getaways!

Start planning your trip to Santa Barbara!