Posted by Cheri March
It doesn't get much better than a fun-filled day with your best friend. But when your pal is of the four-legged variety, it can be a challenge to find pet-friendly activities you can do together. Fortunately, Ferndale has you and your favorite furry buddy covered! From dog friendly hikes to delectable locally baked pet treats, here are our favorite ways to spend an afternoon exploring Ferndale, California with Fido.
1. Book a pet-friendly room
Whether you and your pup are escaping the inland heat for a night or on an extended trip through the redwoods, you’ll need a dog friendly hotel room to call home. The Shaw House Inn, a charming Carpenter Gothic Victorian style home and the oldest structure in historic Ferndale, offers three pet-friendly rooms—the Brookside, Isabella and Fountain Family Suite. Each comes with private outdoor entrance, full run of the grounds, and a towel and treat for each four-legged guest. There's a fee of $25 per dog, maximum two dogs (or three, if they’re especially teeny-tiny). The Ferndale Bluff House, situated on a scenic hillside overlooking the Victorian Village and surrounding farmland, features three separate vacation rental suites, including the dog-friendly Garden Suite, which has a patio and big yard perfect for high-energy pooches. A well-maintained pathway takes you from the Bluff House into town, and just across the road is Russ Park. Sleeps 2-4, dogs are $25. If you're traveling by RV, the Humboldt County Fairgrounds RV Park is a dog-friendly home away from home with hookups, grassy areas to wander, and an idyllic pastoral setting within easy walking distance of Main Street Ferndale. Spots are available for tent campers with access to restrooms and showers.
2. Order the doggie platter at Lost Coast Café & Bakery
People love Lost Coast Café & Bakery, as evidenced by the long list of 5-star Yelp reviews praising the vegetarian restaurant for its hearty salads, soups and sandwiches and great coffee. But dogs enjoy the popular eatery, too: Well-behaved pets are always welcome to dine al fresco in the café’s cozy patio, a Zen-like garden of potted plants and gurgling fountains. On the menu for pup patrons? Lost Coast Café’s exclusive doggie platter, featuring a blend of shredded cheese, diced apple and crumbles of fresh baked bread. And if they’re lucky, it’ll be served up with pets and scratches from owner and dog lover Mario.
3. Frolic freely at Centerville Beach
Centerville Beach County Park is like the best off-leash dog park your pup could ask for. Just five miles from town, it features a long stretch of sandy beach perfect for Frisbee, fetch and running full tilt along the shore—and for picnicking when your pal is all tuckered out. Hillsides, dunes and driftwood provide plenty of places for investigative sniffing, while the shoreline and ocean offer opportunities for viewing wildlife, from shorebirds and pelicans to seals and migrating Gray Whales. A few safety tips to keep in mind at this remote beach: Watch that your dog doesn’t step on broken glass near bonfire sites near the parking lot, and keep a safe distance from the steep, eroding bluffs to the south. Getting there: From Main Street, turn right onto Ocean Ave, which soon becomes Centerville Road. Continue five miles until you arrive at the beach parking lot.
4. Treat your pup at Main Street Barkery & Bath
Up front, Main Street Barkery & Bath is a boutique brimming with toys, accessories and handcrafted artisan treats for your favorite tail-wagger. In back, it’s a “bath barn” with stations for self-serve bathing and professional grooming. Swing in to stock up on gear, sample the goodies, pamper your pooch, and say hi to fluffy store mascot Mocha the Bunny. In addition to loads of dog-friendly items, Main Street Barkery is also packed with great gifts for the pet lovers in your life, from books to décor. On pleasant days, you and your dog can dine next door on the back patio of the Barkery owners’ rustic farm-to-table restaurant, Farmhouse on Main.
5. Tour the Eel River Estuary Preserve
Discover the diverse natural environments that make up the southern estuary of the Eel River, from tidal wetlands and marshes to grasslands and sand dunes, at the Eel River Estuary Preserve just outside of Ferndale. Well-behaved leashed dogs are welcome on guided tours of the spectacular 1,100-acre property, part of California’s largest nonprofit nature preserve system owned and operated by The Wildlands Conservancy. Wildlife can include otters, harbor seals, tundra swans, bald eagles, egrets, herons, salmon, and steelhead trout, and the grasslands serve as a winter refuge for thousands of once-endangered Aleutian Geese. Tours are free and available by reservation only; call (707) 672-4725.
6. Parade your pet down historic Main Street
Grab a costume for your favorite canine and join in one of Ferndale’s most beloved annual events, the Ferndale Pet Parade. The first Saturday in June, critters and their handlers march from Main Street to Firemen’s Park in costumes ranging from cute to quirky. It’s fun, it’s free, and everyone gets a prize. Register your pet at 10am the day of the event (see our events page for current dates and details). Need a last-minute outfit for your pup? Try #4 on our list, Main Street Barkery and Bath.
7. Hike the Lost Coast Headlands
Just up the hill from Centerville Beach are the Lost Coast Headlands, part of the California Coastal National Monument and one of the best opportunities for coastal hiking with your dog on the North Coast. Dogs are allowed off-leash on the Headlands’ two hiking paths as long as they are under strict voice control. The Fleener Creek Trail is a steep half-mile descent down a windswept bluff to an isolated beach below, while Guthrie Creek Trail is a more moderate one-mile trek over a grassy hill overlooking the False Cape and ending at a remote, driftwood-covered beach where Guthrie Creek trickles toward the ocean. Find the Fleener Creek Trailhead on Centerville Road about 2.5 miles after passing Centerville Beach, and the Guthrie Creek Trailhead approximately 2 miles farther up the road.
8. Show off your sporty pup’s skills with agility
Does your canine buddy have energy to burn? Ferndale offers ample opportunity for local pooches to participate in the fast-growing sport of dog agility. Dogs and handlers new to agility trials can learn the ropes from Ferndale-based Intelligent Agility, a professional agility training school that emphasizes safety, positive reinforcement and strengthening the bond between dogs and owners. Intelligent Agility’s beginner through advanced classes are offered in four-week sessions at the Humboldt County Fairgrounds in Ferndale. Already have an agility star on your hands? Register to compete in the annual Lost Coast Kennel Club Agility Trials from July 21-24, 2017. (Note that while human spectators are welcome, it’s best to leave your non-participant pup at home). The AKC-licensed Lost Coast Kennel Club also hosts its annual all-breed dog show, obedience trial, and rally trial at the fairgrounds in early July, and offers other events—from barn trials to nosework seminars—throughout the year.
9. Explore a coastal coniferous forest in Russ Park
One of Ferndale’s best kept secrets, Russ Park is a bird sanctuary and nature preserve draped over a forested hillside just a few blocks from historic Main Street. Dogs are welcome on the park’s several miles of moderately-challenging hiking trails, which cross through 105 acres of closed-canopy forest—a multi-layered tangle of ferns, lichens, berries and old-growth Sitka spruce and Douglas fir—that makes up the southernmost extent of the Pacific Northwest’s temperate rainforests. Notable views include secluded Zipporah’s Pond, named for the Russ family matriarch who donated the park to the city of Ferndale in 1920, and Bunker Hill Viewpoint, the park’s high point overlooking the Eel River Valley.
Know of additional dog-friendly accommodations or activities in Ferndale? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll update our list!
Photo credits: first photo (in blog banner) by Leon Villagomez; second photo courtesy of Main Street Barkery & Bath; third photo courtesy of the Victorian Inn.