Cristal's Blog


January 8, 2024

Back to Articles

Nestled in the lap of luxury in Montecito, residents relish the close proximity to an array of coastal getaways, each offering its unique charm. A road trip near Santa Barbara unveils the beauty of California's Central Coast, a region teeming with picturesque landscapes and dog-friendly havens. Our journey begins in the quaint seaside village of Morro Bay but extends to the delightful locales of Paso Robles and Cambria, creating a comprehensive guide for those who want to explore with their furry companions.

Two Australian Shepherd dogs smiling in a car window
Image courtesy of Susan Hartzler

Heading to the Central Coast With Your Dog 

Only a two-hour drive north along the captivating coastal Highway 1 lies a beautiful stretch of the California Central Coast. As you traverse the coastal highway, the landscape transforms, unveiling rolling hills, sprawling vineyards, and charming coastal towns, each with its own distinctive character. The area beckons with a unique blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and dog-friendly destinations, creating an idyllic escape for Santa Barbara residents and their cherished furry companions.

As you embark on this journey, consider these expert tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip for both you and your furry companion:

  1. Get Your Dog Used to the Car: Gradually acclimate your dog to car rides through short drives, increasing duration over time. Consult with your vet for advice, especially if motion sickness is a concern.
  2. Invest in a Crate: Prioritize safety by securing your dog in a well-ventilated crate or using a pet harness attached to seat belts. For safety, never let your dog stick its head out of the window.
  3. Don't Leave a Dog Unattended: Avoid leaving your dog alone in a hot car and explore local pet-sitting options for short breaks without your pet.
  4. Pack the Essentials: Bring necessities such as food, water, bowls, a leash, bedding, a favorite toy, and medications. Ensure vet records and ID tags are up to date.
  5. Check for Ticks: In areas prone to ticks, regularly inspect your dog's fur, focusing on hidden areas like ears, collar, paws, tail, and eyelids.

Now, let's delve into my favorite towns along this enchanting route. From captivating Morro Bay, where the iconic Morro Rock stands as a sentinel of coastal beauty, to the vineyard-laden hills of Paso Robles, and finally to the artistic haven of Cambria with its tranquil coastal allure—each town is a chapter in the story of a remarkable road trip. These destinations not only showcase the diverse offerings of the Central Coast but also provide pet-friendly havens for those seeking a harmonious blend of travel, adventure, and the companionship of their four-legged friends.

Three very wet longhaired dogs playing on the beach
Image courtesy of Susan Hartzler

Morro Bay: A Canine Paradise

This seaside gem, recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community, welcomes Santa Barbara residents with open arms. Its bustling waterfront, flanked by the iconic Morro Rock, offers a plethora of activities for dogs and their owners. With kayaking, sailing, and hiking, Morro Bay is a year-round haven for outdoor enthusiasts on both two legs and four.

Morro Strand Beach beckons four-legged travel companions. Stretching from Morro Rock northwards, this expansive canine-friendly haven provides a seemingly private leash-free beach experience. It's an ideal spot for dogs to frolic, dig in the sand, and enjoy the coastal breeze.

Two Australian Shepherd dogs looking up at a Monarch butterfly hovering close over their heads
Image courtesy of Susan Hartzler

Cambria: Coastal Serenity for You and Your Dog

Cambria is a quick drive up the coast from Morro Bay. This charming town is renowned for its artistic charm and dog-friendly atmosphere. Cambria offers pet-friendly lodging options, ensuring a comfortable stay for you and your furry companion. Additionally, Moonstone Beach, with its scenic boardwalk, invites dogs for leisurely strolls along the coastline.

When considering accommodations, check for pet-friendly policies and amenities. Some establishments may provide dog beds, bowls, and even special treats for their four-legged guests. As you explore Cambria, relish the coastal serenity with your dog by your side.

A handsome Australian Shepherd dog sitting on a wine barrel in a garden
Image courtesy of Susan Hartzler

Paso Robles: Wine Tasting with Your Canine Companion

Less than a half hour away is Paso Robles, a well-loved wine country with a welcoming atmosphere for dogs. Known for its vineyards and wineries, Paso, as the locals call it, is a dog-friendly destination. Many wineries allow dogs in their outdoor areas, while some even welcome dog inside, creating a perfect setting for wine enthusiasts to savor a glass while their furry friends bask in the vineyard ambiance.

As you plan your Paso Robles visit, ensure your dog is comfortable in social settings, and be mindful of winery policies regarding canine guests. Some establishments even provide water bowls and dog-friendly treats, enhancing the overall experience for both you and your pet.

Choosing the Right Boarding Option

For situations where bringing your pet on vacation isn't feasible, boarding facilities or in-home pet boarding become essential considerations. Here's a detailed guide for making the right choice:

Boarding Facilities:

  • Seek recommendations from friends, groomers, and veterinarians.
  • Verify certifications and tour the facility in advance.
  • Check online reviews and ask for references.
  • Inquire about required immunizations, flea and tick screenings, and emergency protocols.
  • Assess the facility's cleanliness, security, and caretaker interactions.

In-Home Pet Boarding:

  • Ideal for minimizing stress as your dog stays in a familiar environment.
  • Perform thorough background checks and seek recommendations.
  • Services such as simplify the process by providing background-checked sitters approved by their team of specialists.

As you plan your dog-friendly road trip to the Golden State’s beautiful Central Coast, anticipate a journey filled with scenic wonders, pet-friendly adventures, and the warm embrace of coastal communities. So, leash up, embark on this coastal odyssey, and create cherished memories with your furry friend against the backdrop of this special part of California.

If you’re considering a move to California’s Central Coast, feel free to peruse the beautiful homes available in the Santa Barbara area – from the Santa Ynez Valley to Summerland, Carpinteria, and Ojai – check out my comprehensive website. For personalized assistance, contact me at (805) 886-9378 or email I’m here to help you and your furry family member(s) find the perfect home sweet home!

Of Related Interest:

Back to Articles

Client Reviews

“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch