Max Visits a Dog Friendly Town

Folks have been living in the Cayucos area since about 11,000 BC which is approximately the last time the AJF admitted I was right during any argument.


A great stop-off point along the coast between Southern and Northern California.

The early inhabitants were Chumash Indians. They were there for the fish, abalone and other critters in the lush kelp beds just offshore.

The Spanish explorers visited Cayucos in the mid-1700s and it became part of a Spanish land grant in the following century.

But it was a New England sailing captain who put the town on modern maps when he sailed around the Horn and landed there in 1867.

Captain James Cass quickly noted that Cayucos (the name comes from the Chumash language meaning kayak or canoe) was well-suited for growing fruit, dairying, berries, farming, alfalfa and beans and the topology of the area made it a good shipping port for cheese, hides, beef and fresh water.

But that’s not why the Malt was interested in visiting Cayucos. Nope, there was a more important reason. You see, among its many other delightful attributes Cayucos also boasts of being the most dog friendly town on the California coast.


Downtown Cayucos. Guess what? I found a saloon!

It starts with a beach that is not only dog accessible but which is leash-free its entire length.

Then there are the many dog friendly motels, most of which have retained a throwback ambiance that resonates of the Old West or at least the 1960s.

Restaurants that allow dogs?

No…In Cayucos, the restaurants welcome dogs and compete for their trade with canine menus.

The businesses up and down the short main drag set out water bowls on the sidewalks and allow pups to come in and browse.

Maybe that’s why that great travel tome Budget Travel dubbed Cayucos, “the coolest small town in America.”


The Sea Shanty has pretty good fish and chowder and welcomes dogs on the outside decks and patios.

As you might expect, there are lots of dogs in Cayucos.

His Furriness visited Cayucos last month while we were driving the coast route north, ultimately to visit family in Sacramento. We planned the overnighter at Cayucos to break up the long drive and personally sample the dog friendly atmosphere.


The little seaside town of Cayucos and the location of the Cayucos Motel not to be confused with the Georges V. The pier, originally built in the late 1800s,  is the hub of town activities.

Our lodgings were at the Cayucos Motel, a seven room facility straight out of a Gidget movie. Quick poll: who was the better Gidget? Sandra Dee or Sally Fields?

Vote now.


The correct answer is, of course, Sandra Dee. I heard Sally felt so inadequate as Gidget that she ran away and joined a flying Nunnery.

The color scheme at the Cayucos Motel is turquoise and lots of it.

The owner adores dogs and her tiny office is festooned with dog posters, dog knick-knacks, and signs detailing the many reasons why dogs are better motel guests than humans.

(#3 They don’t smoke in bed.”)

When making reservations, which are mandatory as the place is always full, the desk asks your dog’s name and then uses that info to make a personalized water bowl chock full of toys and treats.


Max’s welcoming gift. He ignored the giraffe, we gave away the ball but he was very grateful for the treats and water dish. Note turquoise dresser.

No check-in at the Cayucos Motel is complete without a lot of fussing over the four-legger, which Max absolutely loved.

Max’s digs were about 25 steps away from a wide sandy beach that stretched a mile or two in either direction.

The beach had a fair amount of flotsam and/or jetsam washed ashore including body parts of various sea creatures which were irresistible to the Malt.

The kelp floats, dead crabs and mystery sea corpses were enticing too and demanded an energetic roll-over and wallow. We knew we were in trouble when we first spotted an odoriferous, unidentifiable carcass in the distance.

  • Command: “Max, stay away from that!”
  • Warning: “Max, you better not get near that!”
  • Entreaty: “Come on, Max, don’t you dare roll in that!”
  • Discovery: “Oh jeezumcrow that stinks. What the hell is that thing?”
  • Acceptance: “Now what do we do with him?”
  • Bargaining: “He’s your dog, AJF. No, he’s not.”
  • Resolution: “Fine, I’ll take care of him.”

Suffice to say the Malt was disgusting. Fortunately, the motel had an outside pet shower and bath. I could swear he had a huge Maltese smile on his repellent little face the whole time we were scrubbing and scrubbing.


Cayucos Beach where smelly dead sea creatures attract dogs and convince them to act disgusting.

After that long beach walk and the horror of the Malt’s beach roll, we sat on the motel’s lawn, sipped a couple of canned adult beverages and watched the sunset whilst the newly clean Fuzzbutt explored the landscaping and greeted other motel guests.

Then, it was off to dinner for all three of us.

California law restricts pets to outside eating areas but most of the restaurants in town have large patios, some with ocean views.

When we arrived, Max was given a bowl of water and a pad to sit on under the table. With an infrared propane heater nearby, the outside seating was very comfy. Fish dinner for three!

Later we strolled around the little town, stopped by the cookie store, and then retired expecting to hear barking since all seven motel rooms had at least one dog but we were surprised that the night was silent. Perhaps all the Furballs were exhausted from their beach romps.

The next morning we were up early and departed Cayucos wishing we could have had more time there and promising a return.

Max agreed wholeheartedly. Especially the part about rolling around in the sand and fish guts.


Let’s do it again.

37 replies

  1. He looks super clean in that pic but I know it’s a front for how disgusting he truly is. 😉 But canine menus? Pads to sit upon? No leashes? My mind is blown. Soon they’ll have a bar for dogs. Fireballs for Furballs.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The saloon had a patio out back where dogs were welcome so I guess you say there is a bar for dogs. Except Max doesn’t like beer. Must be some genetic disorder. If I put some beer in my palm and try to give it to him he curls his lip and fights to get away. So I drink it. (That last part was a lie.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a cool place this sounds like! All we have is dog parks. There is fighting over a second dog beach…who wants it; who does not. Oh, brother. I might need you to bring Max over here to explain how they do things in California.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Max likes the beach in part because it is big enough so that he doesn’t have to interact with other dogs. As he ages, Max has become more anti-social with his own species and more friendly than ever with humans. We assume that’s because he gets the food treats from the two-leggers. But if called upon I am sure he’d be willing to lobby on your behalf for a dog beach, as long as it doesn’t involve contact with the cats!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Had you been able to smell that Maltese after his beach adventure you might not be so enthusiastic about letting loose the poodle et al. Neither of us wanted to even touch the mutt. Lots of bargaining, threats and imprecations were involved in ultimately deciding who had to wash his fuzzbutt. I, of course, lost the argument as I always seem to do. I wanted to wear nitrile gloves but the AJF called me a wuss.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I think that was Bodega Bay in Northern Cali where Hitchcock filmed “The Birds”, right? Creepy movie so no wonder there are no bird friendly towns. Birds need better PR! But wait…doesn’t Jimmy Buffet promote Parrotheads in Margaritaville? Huh? Huh?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a “wagnificent” way to break up the long drive. Sadly Sam would avoid the beach and accompanying flotsam at all costs as he completely loathes any kind of H2O outside of a water bowl. I’m sure he’s probably just trying to save me $$ on hotels along the beach front. That dog may actually be onto something! 😉 No clue about the new little miss, but am looking forward to finding out soon.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ai yai yai…as I wrote on your blog, good ole WordPress somehow dropped several of my favorite authors whom I follow so I’ve missed a lot of good stories. (Just found out Helen had been dropped, too – a frightening thought as she is not merciful about such things.) Anyway, I’m now going through my logs to restore all my favorites.

      Sam may hate the water but I wonder if the beach aroma would be irresistible to so long a snout? With Elsa you now have a chance and excuse to take a road trip and find out!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not sure what causes WP to fritz out like that. It’s happened a couple times to me and know of others who have also had the same experience. Yes, we do have a trip to come out to the coast soon (depends on how my mom’s health is) but don’t be surprised if I call from the local 7-11!!! 😉

        Liked by 2 people

    • I cannot imagine the amount of work necessary to restore a big and hairy guy like Bob to polite society standards after a romp and roll on the beach. It was tough enough with a small Malt. One good, wet shake from Bob and the entire room would be a disaster!


    • Welcome to the gang, Poochie! We know Fremont well and will be following you guys too! So far there isn’t much Max in California stuff (yet) but if you like Hawaii stories there are about 150 on these pages.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Max,
    Let’s break out the dog biscuits and celebrate your “air du corpse”. I keep trying to convince Mum its the best fragrance around and way better than her perfume but as usual, she doesn’t listen to me. Sorry about the scrub. I have perfected the fine art of rubbing dead animal smells deep into the follicles of my coat and no shampoo is a match for me. Stench rules!!
    BTW, I’m off to the beach now so hopefully I’m find something stinky to roll in while I’m down there.
    Now that I’ve got rid of the fleas perhaps you and I could hook up online again. I’ve been missing you, Sweet!
    xx Lady!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Tom, the AJF and Max,
    Just wanted to wish you all a Happy Post Christmas and a wonderful New Year.
    We’ve been watching Hawaii Five O a lot lately and have thought of you. After reading all your posts, I’m much more aware of the scenery etc.
    I haven’t been writing as much about the dogs lately but there was one post I think you missed outlining Lady’s latest misdemeanor which landed her right at the top of Santa’s Naughty List:
    Best woofs,
    Ro, Bilbo and Lady.

    Liked by 1 person

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