A road trip around Southern California makes for a perfect vacation. Hot springs, vineyards, beaches, and more can be found in the beautiful Ventura County landscape, but the best part of visiting this part of the country on a trip is that it's super pet friendly, so you can bring your four-legged friends along on the adventure!
Start your trip with your dog at Gaviota State Park in Goleta, CA. This state park only requires that your pets be leashed while visiting. Named after the Spanish word for seagull, Gaviota State Park is perfect for swimming, picnicking, fishing, and hiking. Try the difficult but scenic hike to the top of Gaviota Peak, which will give you unparalleled views of the Channel Islands and coastline.
Solvang, CA, might be known for its wineries, wine bars, vineyards, and wine tastings, but there’s more to the area than copious amounts of vino. If you’re traveling with kids and pets, OstrichLand is a fun family- and pet-friendly place to visit. There are loads of big ostriches running around, and curious dogs will have a fantastic time watching them.
Added bonus: If you love jerky, swing by the gift shop for a package of ostrich jerky.
Fresco Valley Café in Solvang is a delightful, modern American restaurant that prides itself on serving fresh, local, and organic California cuisine, including burgers, antipasto, soups, sandwiches, salads, and pasta. Their sunny patio is pet friendly, so you can enjoy a delicious meal with your dog at your side.
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a beautiful place to explore while accompanied by your pet. Pets receive free entry, but just make sure your dog is on a leash. This garden loves four-legged friends so much that once a year on National Dog Day, it hosts a Tails ‘n’ Trails Day featuring photo contests, a pet parade, and dog-friendly vendors onsite. Plus, if you bring your dog on National Dog Day, your admission is free, too!
Matilija Canyon is a thoroughly rustic area that’s about 10 miles from downtown Ojai. The canyon’s greatest attractions are its three natural sulfur hot-spring pools. The water is between 100 and 102°F, making the pools perfect for a soak. If you get too hot, you always can head to the adjacent river to cool down. Your pup might want to stay out of the hot springs, but what dog doesn’t love a soak in the river?
There’s a great 2.5-mile walk from Promenade Park past Ventura Pier to Marina Park. Dogs are allowed on the beach, so it’s a great place to let them stretch their legs.
When you’re ready to settle in for the night, head to the Ventura Ranch KOA, a 76-acre campground surrounded by towering oak and sycamore trees and nestled in Heritage Valley at the foot of Topa Topa Mountain. Here you have the choice to stay in a studio or Deluxe Cabin, which can sleep four to six people and comes with pretty much everything you need for your stay (kitchen supplies, linens, towels, TV, BBQ, etc.). If you’re RVing, the campground has loads of cool and shady sites with full and partial hookups (some even have patio furniture!). If you’re “roughing it,” you can reserve one of the furnished, safari-style tents, or even a Native American-style teepee. Of course, your pet is more than welcome here. Plus, you’re just 15 miles from the beach! Probably the coolest thing this campground offers is a complimentary "In Search of Bigfoot Night Adventure Walk," which usually takes place on Saturdays. Call before you book to see if there’s one scheduled for the weekend of your stay.
The Acton/Los Angeles North KOA is another great place to rest your head. Nestled in a canyon, this campground is the perfect home base for hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail or for taking a safari at the nearby Shambala Preserve. It’s also close to Six Flags Magic Mountain, Disneyland, Universal Studios, and the L.A. Zoo, making it a choice location for kids—and for those who are kids at heart! After a long day of fun, you can relax with a dip in the seasonal outdoor pool or lounge as you watch the kids on the playground. It’s a fantastic place to end your Santa Barbara and Ventura County road trip. And, like all KOAs, this place is very dog friendly and even features a dedicated dog run!
There’s so much to do with your four-legged friends in Santa Barbara and Ventura County—from watching ostriches to taking long walks on the beach. The area in general is very pet friendly, and many restaurants offer patio seating for customers with dogs. There’s no need to leave your dog at home while you road-trip. All it takes is a little research, and you’ll be hitting the road for a fun and pet-friendly Southern California adventure.
Behind the Yellow Sign at KOA, we combine the great outdoors with great service. We offer modern sites, facilities and amenities designed to meet the needs of every kind of camper. And with 500+ campgrounds across North America, it’s easy to find an amazing place for camping fun!