The Most Pet-Friendly Hotels in Santa Cruz, California

Hotel Paradox, Autograph Collection
Hotel Paradox, Autograph Collection | Courtesy of Hotel Paradox, Autograph Collection / Expedia
Photo of Tim Rowland
27 January 2021

Santa Cruz is a great town to visit with your dog, with a raft of designated dog parks and dog-friendly outdoor spaces, beaches, attractions and restaurants. Many hotels welcome pets – with some even providing doggy menus – and there’s a great range of beaches and coves to explore, not to mention easy access to the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, with plenty of hiking and beauty spots on offer.

Casablanca On The Beach

Hotel, Apartment
Map View
Casablanca On The Beach
Courtesy of Casablanca On The Beach / Expedia
The location of this cat- and dog-friendly mansion-turned-inn is superb, right on Santa Cruz Beach overlooking the boardwalk and wharf. Some of the rooms are a bit rough and ready, and not every single one has ocean views, but many of those that do are attractive, with Mediterranean-style decor and, in the case of the penthouse on the top floor, a vaulted wooden ceiling and a private balcony with the best view in the house. Of the restaurants on the pier, Stagnaro Bros right at the tip is the locals’ choice – try Giovanni’s Famous Cioppino Special, an assortment of white fish and shellfish in house-made sauce.
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Ocean Pacific Lodge

Budget Hotel, Hotel
Map View
Ocean Pacific Lodge
Courtesy of Ocean Pacific Lodge / Expedia
This budget hotel welcomes up to two dogs in its rooms, all of which are pet-friendly. A 15-minute walk away is Cafe Limelight on Cedar Street, great for fresh soups, salads and paninis – and a doggy menu with options including milk bones, roasted pig ears and roast turkey. The hotel itself boasts an outdoor pool (heated May to September), and is well-located on Pacific Avenue, which takes you straight down onto the beach and the boardwalk.
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Hotel Paradox, Autograph Collection

Chain Hotel, Hotel
Map View
Hotel Paradox, Autograph Collection
Courtesy of Hotel Paradox / Expedia
Hotel Paradox claims to have the largest outdoor pool and deck in Santa Cruz, set back from busy Ocean Street and backing onto wooded San Lorenzo Park – a good place for walking your dog providing they’re on a leash. There’s also a jacuzzi on the pool deck and a fitness center on site, as well as a beauty shop and coffee available in the lobby. The paradox theme comes from the hotel’s “balance between nature and urban design,” exemplified by the giant neon Paradox logo out front of the lobby, inside which a giant upended tree trunk comprises the front desk – whatever will they think of next?
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Hilton Santa Cruz – Scotts Valley

Resort
Map View
Hilton Santa Cruz - Scotts Valley
Courtesy of Hilton Santa Cruz - Scotts Valley / Expedia
You really have the best of both worlds at Hilton Santa Cruz – Scotts Valley. Situated in a wooded location in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains; but nevertheless just 15 minutes away by car from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk if you jump on Highway 17. The outdoor pool is ringed by trees, cabanas and loungers and many of the rooms have forest views, some with patios and balconies. The hiking in nearby Henry Cowell Redwood State Park isn’t too strenuous for you and your dog and the mighty Cathedral Redwoods are some of the biggest you’ll see outside of Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, where the largest varieties in the world grow.
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Ocean Echo Inn and Beach Cottages

Bed and Breakfast, Inn, Hotel
Map View
Ocean Echo Inn and Beach Cottages
Courtesy of Ocean Echo Inn and Beach Cottages / Expedia
You can actually hear the echo of the ocean at this attractive clapboard inn because it near enough has its own little private beach – Sunny Cove – offering good swimming between the two bluffs either side. The rooms have cutesy seaside names – Sea Breeze Room and Sea Otter Room, for example – and shared ocean view terraces or patios, while the cottages are just steps from the beach. Water Tower Cottage looks exactly as it sounds – a two-story mini water tower, right down to the gabled roof. It also boasts a kitchen, fenced-in yard and gas barbecue.
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  • Seaway Inn

    Hotel
    Map View
    Seaway Inn
    Courtesy of Seaway Inn / Expedia
    Directly overlooking Cowell Beach and Santa Cruz Wharf, Seaway Inn is really well situated if you’re looking for direct access to one of the most popular beaches and the center of town. West Cliff Drive Walkway is ideal for a dog walk and will take you to Steamer Lane in 15 minutes, the best surf spot in Santa Cruz, and home to the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum in the former lighthouse. Continue along the path and you’ll come to Mitchell’s Cove Beach, an urban beach with designated off-leash hours for dogs.
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    Chaminade Resort & Spa

    Resort
    Map View
    Chaminade Resort & Spa
    Courtesy of Chaminade Resort & Spa / Expedia | Courtesy of Chaminade Resort & Spa / Expedia
    This Spanish mission-style hotel began life as Linwood Lodge, a judge’s summer home, and is now a hilltop resort with 156 rooms spread across 11 buildings amid natural landscaping and eucalyptus trees. Its 300 acres (121ha) offer views across Monterey Bay to the south and the Santa Cruz Mountains to the north. There are designated pet-friendly rooms and a Pooch Patio Menu for furry friends dining on the patio; and nearby Pacheco Dog Park is a fenced-off play area for dogs on a leash, which is open from sunrise to sunset.
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    Continental Inn

    Budget Hotel, Hotel
    Map View
    Continental Inn
    Courtesy of Continental Inn / Expedia
    This is a smart budget hotel split over two buildings, one on either side of Ocean Street, from where you can walk to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in about 20 minutes. All rooms have Keurig coffee makers and the Annex King rooms in The Annex second building are particularly comfortable. Up to two dogs are welcome per room. Cross the San Lorenzo River on foot and it’ll take you just 10 minutes to reach Firefly Coffee House, serving chai, bagels and craft coffee – plus a dog biscuit for well-behaved canines on a leash, who are welcome at the outside tables.
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    Aqua Breeze Inn

    Hotel
    Map View
    Aqua Breeze Inn
    Courtesy of Aqua Breeze Inn / Expedia
    This affordable pet-friendly hotel has to be the most colorful in Santa Cruz, with a bright-blue ocean color scheme splashed across its walls, including painted rays, fish and jellyfish. The theme continues in the rooms, many of which also have ocean-blue walls. It’s all very no frills but well located just two blocks from the boardwalk, from which there is a view from the hotel’s communal sundeck. You’ve the option of Family and Queen Suites with kitchens if you’d like to be self-sufficient.
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    These recommendations were updated on January 27, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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