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4 Reasons Sonoma County is Perfect for Dog Lovers [Plus 18 Places You Can Bring Them]

From amazing weather to the great outdoors, fun activities to family-friendly amenities—there are tons of reasons people choose to move to Sonoma County. 

And it’s time to add another pro to the list: a dog-friendly environment! 

Sonoma County is the ideal environment for dog owners. Between outdoor spaces and local businesses, the region generally welcomes our furry friends so you can make the most of what the region has to offer. 

Here are the top reasons why Sonoma County and dog owners are the ideal match, plus 18 specific places you can bring your pup in the area. 

Why You and Your Dog Will Love Sonoma County

You can find dog lovers just about anywhere, but not all regions or cities are built alike. Some, like Sonoma County, are welcoming environments for dogs, while others make it more challenging. 

There are four key reasons why Sonoma County is ideal for dog owners: 

  • Spacious homes with backyards: Detached single-family homes made up 90% of housing stock in Sonoma County in 2023, higher than nearby regions like the Bay Area or large municipalities state- and country-wide. This means residents have more indoor and outdoor living space, which is ideal for dog owners.  
  • Dog-friendly businesses: While not every business allows dogs, there are many pet-friendly options around the region. This enables owners to get out and enjoy the area without leaving your dog behind.
  • Outdoor experiences: Blessed with everything from beaches, rivers, forests, and more, Sonoma County is an outdoor-lovers paradise—including for dogs! There are many places to bring your pooch to get some exercise and enjoy the natural environment.
  • Community appreciation: The fact that so many Sonoma County businesses and areas are dog-friendly speaks to a general support for dog ownership in the region. There are even specific events like the Spring Lake Water Bark designed specifically for dogs and their owners to enjoy.

18 Dog-Friendly Places in Sonoma County

Spring Lake Regional Park

There are many dog-friendly spaces and businesses in Sonoma County. Here are 18 options for you and your pooch to check out.

Regional Parks

With 62 options, Sonoma County has an extensive network of regional parks, trails, and beaches. On-leash dogs are welcome at all regional parks (except for Shilo Ranch and North Sonoma Mountain Regional Parks), and some locations also have off-leash areas. Note that dogs are not permitted at California state parks. 

Some highlights include: 

  • Spring Lake Regional Park, Santa Rosa: Has trails, picnic areas, and camping options. Dogs are permitted on leash throughout the park, except for the swimming area. The park also hosts an annual off-leash event, the Water Bark, for your furry friends to enjoy! 
  • Helen Putnam Regional Park, Petaluma: Features nine trails throughout a 216-acre area, offering many options for an on-leash hike with your pup.
  • Taylor Mountain Regional Park, Santa Rosa: Offers over 1,000 acres of grassy hillsides and oak woodlands. There are seven miles of trails, too, which is ideal for dog owners to explore.

Learn more about the extensive regional park system in our insider’s guide to Sonoma County Regional Parks

Dog Parks

Rincon Valley Community Dog Park - Top Dog Parks

Image credit: Top Dog Parks

Along with dog-friendly regional parks, Sonoma County is home to several dog parks. These are typically smaller areas where dogs are allowed to roam off-leash. They often feature doggie drinking fountains, play areas, swimming ponds, and other dog-related amenities. 

Here are a few options to check out: 

  • Rincon Valley Community Dog Park, Santa Rosa. This park offers a fenced-in area, swimming pond, doggie drinking fountain, and separate areas for large and small dogs. 
  • Ernie Smith Dog Park, Sonoma. Located inside the Ernie Smith Regional Park, this dog park has a pet drinking fountain and a fenced dog area.
  • Elizabeth Anne Perrone Dog Park, Glen Ellen. Located within the Sonoma Valley Regional Park, this spot offers a fenced, off-leash area, doggie drinking fountain, and a shade gazebo.

Beaches

Beaches that are part of the regional parks system are also dog-friendly, as are some other options throughout Sonoma County. 

Here are some popular options: 

  • Doran Regional Park, Bodega Bay: Boasts a wide, 2-mile stretch of beach on Bodega Bay. Waves are calmer here than other beaches and it has amenities for picnicking, walking, and more. Dogs permitted on-leash.
  • Forestville River Access, Forestville: Offers a sandy beach, accessible by a short trail just off River Road. Dogs permitted on-leash.
  • Riverfront Regional Park, Healdsburg: Located along the Russian River, this beachfront area is ideal for trail access and picnicking. Dogs permitted on-leash.

Wineries

Mutt Lynch Winery | WineMaps

Image credit: WineMaps

You don’t have to leave your dog at home to enjoy one of Sonoma County’s most popular pastimes. Many wineries in the region are dog-friendly and have outdoor spaces where you can comfortably bring your pet. 

Here are a few places to visit: 

  • Mutt Lynch Winery, Windsor: Not only are they dog-friendly, but our furry friends are celebrated here! Featuring canine-inspired labels and events benefiting animal rescue organizations, they deserve the title of the most pet-friendly winery in Sonoma County. 
  • Larson Family Winery, Sonoma: This family-run winery not only offers delicious wines, but has a large outdoor area where on-leash dogs are welcome. Their tasting experiences vary, with some offering fun lawn games like bocce.
  • Wilson Winery, Healdsburg: Known for their single-vineyard Zinfandel, this family-run winery is an excellent dog-friendly choice. Picnicking is encouraged, so come enjoy the space. 

Restaurants and Cafes

Thanks to year-round great weather and plenty of patio dining, many restaurants in Sonoma County are dog-friendly. Here are a few options to add to your must-try list: 

  • Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar, Healdsburg: Enjoy trying something new with their extensive list of small and shared plates in a modern environment. Dogs are permitted for patio dining. 
  • Handline, Sebastopol: Bring your dog to hang out on this spot’s large and spacious patio. You’ll enjoy craft beer on tap and delicious eats like tacos, soft-serve ice cream, and ceviche.
  • Sunflower Caffe, Sonoma: With plenty of sidewalk tables out front, this popular cafe is a great spot to grab some brunch with friends (pets included!).

Hotels

If you’re looking for a staycation or weekend getaway in Sonoma County, fear not—there are plenty of dog-friendly hotels and accommodations to check out. Here are a few picks: 

  • Inn at Occidental, Occidental: With 16 guest rooms and a two-bedroom cottage, this boutique hotel is a great spot for a getaway. Dogs are welcome in a few designated rooms, so inquire ahead of time for availability. 
  • Flamingo Resort, Santa Rosa: The Flamingo Resort is one of the region’s most iconic stays in Sonoma County. Dogs are permitted at the resort for a fee of $50.00/day. 
  • DoubleTree by Hilton, Rohnert Park: Known for all the top-notch amenities and services of the Hilton brand, this well-located hotel is an excellent option for dog owners. Some rooms are designated as pet-friendly, so inquire ahead. 
  • With so many dog-friendly spaces in Sonoma County, you’re sure to find something both you and your dog love. Get out and explore this amazing place together!

Learn More About SOMO Village

If you’re interested in living in a sustainable community that fuses the best of city living with the country lifestyle and all the amazing things that Sonoma County has to offer, we invite you to visit SOMO Village. To learn more, download our residential project brief or get in touch with us today.