Taking your best friend on an adventure of a lifetime makes memories neither of you will ever forget. This year, throw the ball outside the boundaries of the local dog park and explore the top places to travel with your dog.
It might surprise you how many US cities are dog-friendly.
Austin, TX: Few cities are more dog-friendly than the lively Texas town of Austin. Live music and dog-friendly restaurants, outdoor concert venues and stores? WIN! With 18 off-leash parks, there’s plenty of opportunities for your dog to meet new friends. Visit the 13-acre Red Bud Isle off-leash park with its own dog-only swimming hole, or if you want to hang out with some new friends too, try the Doghouse Drinkery Dog Park. Enjoy lunch at the Bow-Wow Bone, a mobile food truck for dogs. You can even take a dog-friendly kayak tour… take a doggy yoga class at Austin Doga. Convinced that Austin loves dogs? I thought so!
Key West, FL: Key West is famous for Hemingways’ cats and its chickens, but Key West has gone to the dogs. Dine at 48 dog-friendly restaurants, 50 dog-friendly hotels, and unique adventures including taking an eco-charter to dolphin-watch and the sunset celebration at Mallory Square.
Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA: Not only is the town absolutely charming, but it has a dog-friendly hotel including The Cypress Inn, which even issues invitations to dogs for afternoon tea. In fact, 25 hotels and 44 restaurants welcome dogs! Treat your BFF to doggie massages, and of course, play in the sand and surf at Carmel Beach, which is a gorgeous off-leash beach (one of the few left in California).
San Diego, CA: San Diego is a dream urban holiday for dog people. Enjoy year-round balmy weather, 16 off-leash parks, and many alfresco pet-friendly restaurants. Hot out? Indulge in some ice cream for dogs at the Lighthouse Ice Cream shop. Need a treat? Enjoy freshly baked dog cookies at Original Paw Pleasers. Need retail therapy? The Otay Ranch Town Center welcomes four-pawed browsers! And when it’s time to splash in the water and run free on the beach, it’s hard to beat Dog Beach at Ocean Beach, an off-leash beach your pup will love.
Denver, CO: At the base of the Rocky Mountains, Denver is the gateway for high-altitude fun in Nature, with hundreds of miles of trails you and your pooch can explore. It’s safe to say that Denverites are dog-crazy. In downtown, you’ll find over 179 restaurants that welcome dogs at their outdoor tables. Greenway Park and Chatfield State Park have large off-leash areas (Chatfield even has two large ponds, for endless water fun!) and spectacular views of Long’s Peak, Mt Evans and Pikes Peak, just three of the States “fourteeners” (14,000-foot peaks), many of which are dog-friendly hikes. Hot out? Let your dog dip her paws in the Platte River at Confluence Park (dogs can go off-leash in the water).
Philadelphia, PA: While Philly has a lot of great dog parks and of course tons of history, you can’t beat Fairmount Park, which is one of America’s largest urban parks with over 9,200 acres and 215 miles of trail to roam… which will keep you and your pooch busy for a while! This alone – plus a variety of dog-friendly beer gardens – is worth the visit to the City of Brotherly Love.
Festivals and Events
Woof Fest in Denver and Woofstock in Toronto combine peace, love, music, and dogs.
For Halloween fun, try the Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade in New York City.
Slobberfest in Toronto… does a name get any better than that? You know you want to check it out!
The Wild Outdoors
Ask your dog what he wants to do, he’ll answer: eat, sleep, or play. There are lots of leashed and off-leash adventures to be had in nature. Here are the best!
Little Spar Lake Trail (Troy, Mont.): in the remote NW corner of Montana, there’s a stunning 8-mile hike to Little Spar Lake that’s only accessible in summer (otherwise, snowed-in). Towering cliffs, gorgeous meadows, giant cedars, and crystal clear lakes… what’s not to love? Your dog can swim in the lake, but it’s frigid year-round so not suitable for all dogs. Leash your dog, because the area is home to wildlife – and both the wildlife and your dog deserve some peace.
Ice Lake, the Wallowas, OR: The hike isn’t always easy but the payoff is soooo worth it with pristine alpine lakes and forever views. Dogs can be off-leash except in the presence of horse or mule trains; but for safety’s sake (because of wildlife), it’s best to keep your furry friend on a leash.
Cannon Beach, OR: off-leash heaven for voice-controlled dogs that’s 200 yards wide and more than 3 miles long. And nothing gets a dog “happy tired” faster than sand and water! (And when you get hungry, the town of Cannon Beach has 14 pet-friendly hotels and 11 eateries).
Acadia National Park, ME: most National Parks are not really dog-friendly (dogs aren’t allowed outside the campgrounds) but Acadia is. As long as your dog is leashed, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy including hiking and swimming. And the fall foliage is unbeatable! Bar Harbor (the nearest town) has several dog-loving restaurants and hotels.
Watkins Glen State Park, NY: at the southern tip of the Finger Lakes in western New York State, is a beautiful gorge that’s worth the hike – especially on hot days, because of the misty coolness provided by the 19 waterfalls. Leashed pets are welcome. Afterward, the entire Finger Lakes region offers tons of outdoor activities including hiking and boating.
Naturalist Basin, Uinta, UT: This 12-mile hike takes you through alpine meadows, lakes, and stunning vistas. You can do it as a day hike or a multi-day leisurely stroll (which is perfect for smaller dogs).
The Appalachian Trail: Not up for a 2,000-mile thru-hike from Maine to Georgia? That’s okay. Pick and choose sections that you and your pup will enjoy based on your goals and your fitness levels. This hiker-only trail (no horses or bikes) allows leashed dogs.
Where to Stay
Takeyourpet.com is a great online resource for finding dog-friendly lodging in the USA.
Life is just better with dogs, and that includes taking them with you when you travel. Are you inspired to hit the road and have an adventure? Grab your four-legged friend, hang your head out the car window, and set your sights on an unforgettable trip you’ll both love!
What are your Top Places to Travel With your Dog?