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Clear Lake

Why leave Fido at home?

This nearby vacation destination is not only fairly close, a 9 hour drive from L.A., and a two hour scenic ride from San Francisco and Sacramento, it makes one wonder why we have to board a plane when we can, throw the kids and the dogs in the car and take one of those " old fashioned " vacations.

Clearlake and the Russian River are so dog friendly, we actually clipped on high chairs for our 7 lb. Chihuahuas at an outdoor , " white table cloth " restaurant. The waitress brought us a chicken breast on a plate with a bowl of water for them. Now that's tolerance!

People hear of Tahoe and Shasta, but rarely get to experience this beautiful, calm , warm lake. Clearlake happens to be the largest natural lake in California and boasts the best " Bass fishing " in the west! Surrounding this lake are vineyards, orchards, farm stands, and quaint towns. Accommodations include a full service resort, charming hotels and vacation rentals. You'll find a nice array of homes on VRBO. Just enter Clearlake. Make sure you get a home on the lake and close to lakeport if you're going to rent jet ski's or a motor boat. In town you can find some pretty nice ski and patio boats.

The lake is fairly large and the scenery from the water is beautiful. Wake boarding and water skiing is terrific as the lake is usually uncrowded and the water is warm and calm even in the afternoon.

The Russian River

From Clearlake you can head west an hour and a half and find yourself at The Russian River. Guerneville is the heart of the river where the resort area lies. It's home to the greatest number of lodging , dining, shopping and entertainment in the area. In addition it's close proximity to many fine wineries. Guerneville is also home to the Armstrong redwoods. This magnificent stand is over 805 acres with Sequoias that reach well into the sky. We took our dogs there every morning for a walk before we headed out on other adventures.

The best way to experience this gorgeous area is to rent a home from the many listed on  Make sure you get riverfront! If you're bringing Fido, they'll show you which ones are dog friendly. Make sure if it's summer to rent a few months prior as these go very quickly. Our view was superb and we had a dock we fished off of and tied the kayaks to. Next, call Russian River Adventures and set yourself up with a canoe or some kayaks. There's an 8 mile stretch that's prime where the water is high and easy to navigate. The wild life is pretty amazing and you can bring the dogs along. The kids will have to stay at home of course to allow space. LOL

If you golf, within a 5 minute ride is Monte Rio. You'll find a really beautiful 9 hole course amongst the Redwoods.The Clubhouse in fun and friendly. You can bring Fido as well on the outside patio.

Take a 15 minute drive west from Guerneville to the mouth of the river and you'll run into the town of Jenner, a charmong cluster that sits at the intersection of the coast and the river's eco-system. During seal puppying season, you can rent a kayak and they'll swim up next to you. There's a large colony on the beach. The area has a different flavor , a couple good restaurants and shouldn't be missed!