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Best Dog Friendly Vacations

The Most Dog Friendly Vacations: Top 11 Cities In US

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by Helen
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If you are like me and like to take your furry friend on vacations, then finding dog-friendly destinations should be your priority.  Whether you're traveling by car or plane, taking your pet along can be a fun experience for the whole family.   As long as you make the necessary preparations and take precautions.  Leaving your dog behind with a sitter or boarder may not be an option for some.  Therefore, finding a dog-friendly destination with pet-friendly hotels or Airbnbs, home rentals, restaurants, and even beaches is essential.

However, only some vacations are suitable for your pet.  When planning a dog-friendly vacation, it's essential to consider certain factors to ensure your dog's comfort and enjoyment and that of the rest of the family.  One of the main things to consider is the weather and season.  Will the journey be prone to cancellations due to bad weather conditions?  Will the weather at your destination restrict your dog to indoor access? 

It's essential to include your pet in your travel plans to ensure they can participate in activities.  They may not be welcomed in hotels and traveling with you.  For example, some airlines may not allow specific breeds of dogs to fly.  Also, the number of pets on board could be limited.  Some hotels may have specific breed or size restrictions or charge exorbitant pet fees.  Fortunately, plenty of dog-friendly vacation spots across the United States offer a wide range of geography, travel styles, and activities for the whole family, including your furry friend.

Best Dog Friendly Vacations

road trip with your dog is a great way to explore new places and have an adventure together. The possibilities for fun are endless, with a car, some friends or family, and a map. You can plan your route to hit all the sights you've always wanted to see or take a more spontaneous approach and see where the road takes you. Road trips allow you to experience the journey and the destination, so you'll make memories that will last a lifetime. 

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Here are some of the most dog-friendly vacation spots in the country:

Best Dog Friendly Vacations

1. Dog Friendly Vacation: Black Hills, South Dakota

The Black Hills in South Dakota offer quintessential American destinations.  Like  Crazy Horse Memorial and the Custer State Park, ideal for family fun.  Rapid City is the urban hub and home to the historic and pet-friendly Hotel Alex Johnson.  Offers a pampered pooch package that includes a dog bed and biscuits.  You can check out numerous dog-friendly patios in town, including Sickies Garage Burgers & Brews and Tally's Silver Spoon.  

The local attraction, Reptile Gardens, allows dogs inside to marvel at snakes, frogs, and botanical gardens.  Dogs are permitted on many hiking trails in the Black Hills, including the trek up Black Elk Peak, the highest point in South Dakota, and those around Sylvan Lake, culminating with an overnight stay in a dog-friendly cabin at Sylvan Lake Lodge.  

Although dogs are not allowed inside the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, across the door, Blackberry Trail offers excellent views.  Plus, it has a descent into the fragrant pine-filled forest.  In contrast, Crazy Horse Memorial allows dogs outside on leashes.  

Black Hills is an excellent destination for a dog-friendly vacation.  With plenty of hiking trails, dog-friendly cabins, and pet-friendly hotels like Hotel Alex Johnson, your furry friend will have a great time exploring the beautiful landscapes and attractions in the area.

best dog friendly vacations

2. Snowmass, Colorado

Dogs are as welcome as humans in Colorado mountain towns, making it the perfect vacation spot dog-friendly.  If you're looking for a more peaceful and affordable option than popular places like Aspen or Vail, you should check out Snowmass.  This pastoral paradise offers upscale amenities, a cozy ambiance, and pet-friendly options.  

The Limelight Hotel is an excellent choice for those who want to stay close to Central Snowmass Village without being in the middle of the crowds.  Upon check-in, the hotel provides spacious, dog-friendly rooms and offers free water bowls, yummy treats, and pet mats.  You'll find that most trails in the area are dog-friendly.  Check out the Brush Creek Trail, a paved route that starts at the Snowmass Mall.  

Certain gondolas from the Snowmass Ski Area allow dogs if you want to go higher up the mountains.  This opens up more peaceful hikes and lakeside picnic opportunities.  You can find pet supplies and toys at GuapoDog Pet Supply in the Snowmass Mall. 

If you're looking for a place to eat, Venga Venga, a dog-friendly Mexican cantina, serves up everything from bacon guacamole to steak fajitas.  The best part is you can dine outside with your furry friend.

Dog Friendly Vacations

3. Tucson, Arizona

If you plan to vacation in Tucson with your dog, the best place to stay is Hotel McCoy since they are dog-friendly. It is a retrofitted motel that's artist-inspired and greets guests with a rainbow mural that says “Tucson is Magic.” It is a colorful, inclusive desert oasis with a lovely outdoor pet area towards the front of the property. It allows up to two dogs at no extra charge. The accommodations are located on the west side of town, close to the majestic Saguaro National Park. 

Dogs are welcome on roadways, paved trails, and picnic areas like the Desert Discovery Trail. You can also take your dogs to visit the Pima Air & Space Museum and Tucson Botanical Gardens. Additionally, you can visit several of the patios at Boca Tacos y Tequila, breweries, bars, and restaurants like Borderlands Brewing Co., which is a Top Chef-driven hot spot serving mole de pollo tacos and ancho butter-rubbed octo.

Dog Friendly Vacation

4. Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, North Carolina, is a city filled with mountains, trails, and brewery patios, making it the perfect destination for outdoorsy dogs. Dogs are allowed pretty much everywhere in Asheville, from the grounds at Biltmore Estate to the riverside trails at Chimney Rock State Park. Restaurants like Twisted Laurel even offer a dedicated dog menu, while Woof Gang Bakery is a great place to find treats and trinkets for your furry friend. 

The city is also known for its breweries, and many of them allow dogs on their patios, such as Wedge Brewing Co., Wicked Weed Brewing, and the sprawling lawn at New Belgium Brewery. Indoor dog-friendly breweries include Urban Orchard and Burial Beer Co. If you're looking for dog-friendly lodging, the Aloft Hotel is a great option, as they feature an adoptable dog program. Rescued pups clad in “Adopt Me” vests even greet guests in the lobby!

Dog Friendly Vacation

5. Pensacola, Florida

Pensacola, Florida, is an underrated pup-friendly city in the Florida panhandle that's perfect for year-round dog-friendly activities.  Dogs are welcome on park roads, trails, and multi-use paths at Gulf Islands National Seashore, including Pensacola Scenic Bay Bluffs Preserve and Big Lagoon State Park.  Bayview Park is an excellent spot for dogs to play in the sand and splash in the water.  At the same time, Jolly Sailing & Dolphin Cruises offers a dog-friendly tour where you can introduce your pup to dolphins! 

Dog-friendly restaurants are plentiful in Pensacola, from the renowned Flora-Bama Yacht Club to Red Fish Blue Fish on Pensacola Beach.  Another place is the Oar House, a fun spot that offers fresh seafood and tiki cocktails at Bahia Mar Marina.  Dog-friendly lodging options range from the affordable Pensacola Beach RV Resort to the retro-chic Surf & Sand Hotel, where dogs are welcome in first-floor rooms.

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Vacation In Portland Oregon

6. Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon, is a city teeming with parks, patios, breweries, and hip hotels, making it a playground for both dogs and eccentric humans. Dogs are welcome at off-leash dog parks like Delta Park, Gabriel Park, and Brentwood Park, and vacation with dog-friendly trails all over the city. 

For example, Tryon Creek State Natural Area offers eight miles of shaded pathways nearby downtown. Also, the city's bars, breweries, and restaurants welcome pups. The vegetarian comfort nook Bye & Bye and the pretty picnic table-filled patio at Victoria Bar, the all-day Elevator Cafe, and White Owl Social Club. 

Lucky Labrador Brewing Company is so dog-friendly that they host Dogtoberfest every September. Dog-friendly hotels are also abundant in Portland, with choices like the Hip Ace Hotel, which doesn't impose any fees or breed restrictions, and the Dossier, which provides pet beds, bowls, and treats at check-in, plus pet-centric books that owners can borrow.

7. Dog Friendly Vacation Spot: Texas Hill Country

The Texas Hill Country is near and dear to me.   Austin and surrounding cities are dog-friendly, which is a great vacation destination.  It is a lush haven for dog-friendly vacationers located just outside of Austin.  Hill Country is home to the “Barking Springs” dog park by Barton Springs and many pup-friendly patios like Beerburg Brewing.  You can take leisurely hikes at Pedernales Falls State Park and rent dog-friendly canoes at South Llano River State Park. 

There are also tons of wineries, distilleries, and breweries where your dog will be welcome on massive patios, like Chisholm Trail Winery and Jester King Brewery Treaty Oak Distilling.  In Fredericksburg, a dog-friendly inn called Dogologie Haus prioritizes pups' comfort.  They provide dog beds, bowls, treats, indoor crates, and an outdoor kennel. 

Meanwhile, back in Austin, Lone Star Court is a hotel that draws inspiration from Hill Country and offers a “Pawsitively Pet Package.” The package includes welcome treats, snack credits, retro-inspired accommodations, and late checkout.

Santa Fe New Mexico

8. Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe is a historic and captivating city that artists and dogs love.  The city has a lot of dog-friendly places to explore while on vacation, including outdoorsy locales, restaurant patios, and comfy lodgings for both humans and dogs.  However, due to its high altitude of about 7,000 feet, you and your furry friend may need time to acclimate to the elevation, especially during hikes and trails.  The winters can also be cold, but the city enjoys endless sunshine. 

There are many areas to explore in Santa Fe, such as the downtown Plaza, which is located adjacent to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, which is the patron saint of animals.  Although the inside of the cathedral is not accessible to dogs, La Fonda on the Plaza Hotel, which is nearby, is pet-friendly and offers dog treats during check-in.  The area also has dog-friendly restaurants, including La Fiesta Lounge, La Plazuela, Shake Foundation, and Cafecito.  In this trail-adjacent eatery, your dog can enjoy bites of your empanada. 

In addition to these places, there are many dog-friendly hiking trails in and around the city.  Like the Atalaya Mountain in the Santa Fe National Forest, the Santa Fe Rail Trail that leads to the serene desert, and the paved River Trail that stretches along the small Santa Fe River for miles.  You will find parks, benches, and picnic tables all along the way.   Many outdoor galleries, such as Canyon Road Contemporary Art, allow dogs in the famed Canyon Road gallery district.

Vacation in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma With Your Dog

9. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City is a vacation destination often overlooked, but it offers more than just Twister screenings.  It is a low-key cultural hub with great places to stay, like the 21c Museum Hotel, a hybrid hotel, and an art museum.  The hotel has beautiful rooms that are dog-friendly.  The National is another new downtown hotel allowing guests to bring two dogs along.

Many restaurants in the city are pet-friendly and welcome dogs.  Picasso Cafe is a favorite among dog owners as it has an artsy and vegan-friendly ambiance, and it offers a “Bone Appétit” menu for dogs that include chicken risotto and ground beef stew.  The Pump Bar is another restaurant with a huge pet-friendly patio.  Angry Scotsman Brewing allows dogs both indoors and on its massive skyline-viewing patio.  On the other hand, Aurora is a stylish brunch spot in the Plaza District that welcomes dogs on its cute back patio.  You can enjoy delicious salted caramel cinnamon rolls and pulled pork hash here.

In addition to pet-friendly restaurants, there are plenty of places to explore in Oklahoma City.  Downtown Scissortail Park is an excellent place to visit.  Especially since it just doubled in size with the opening of a lower half.  Lake Hefner is another massive park with a nine-mile paved trail around the perimeter that is perfect for a leisurely walk or bike ride.

Vacation in Okonto Wisconsin With Your Dog

10. Oconto County, Wisconsin

Located a few hours north of Milwaukee, Oconto County is a peaceful oasis filled with dense forests, rolling hills, cozy log cabins, and serene ponds teeming with swans. The towns of Mountain and Lakewood are at the heart of the region, offering visitors a quintessential Midwestern escape.  

With nearly 1,000 miles of trails for hikers, horses, ATVs, and dogs, this region is a year-round destination for nature lovers. The Nicolet National Forest boasts numerous trails, such as the shaded Nicolet State Trail between Mountain and Lakewood and the 4-mile loop surrounding Black Lake. Mountain is a charming town, and visitors can stay dog-friendly at Suring Hotels Cozy Family Cottage (the entire home).  

This is a perfect outdoor recreational retreat suitable for families. The cottage is located within walking distance from a private boat landing and dock, including a canoe with paddles, on Chute Pond Lake. There are hiking trails, as well as snowmobile and 4-wheeler trails, that can be accessed from the driveway. 

Additionally, the local bar and grill is conveniently located only 5 minutes away, within walking distance. You can enjoy the outdoor fireplace with a picnic table and 2 benches or cozy up to a warm fireplace in the living room. Wood is provided for fires. The cottage is pet friendly and handicap accessible. It's roomy enough for everyone in the family to enjoy.

 

Vacation In Acadia National Park In Main

11. Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, Maine

National parks can be great vacation destinations to visit with your furry friends. Compared to big cities, they are typically less crowded and expensive, which ensures a more stress-free experience for dogs in unfamiliar environments. Moreover, national parks provide plenty of room for pets to play and have fun. However, many national parks have certain restrictions on pets. Dogs are only allowed on a few specific trails or in certain areas during quieter times of the year.  

Vacation at Acadia National Park is one of the most dog-friendly parks in the United States. It has over 100 miles of hiking trails available to dogs as long as they are always leashed. Some of the most popular trails for dogs include the flat Jordan Pond Path, a 3-mile loop around a beautiful lake, and the out-and-back Ocean Path Trail. Dogs are allowed at Sand Beach during the off-season (mid-September to June).

The park provides a Bark Ranger program to educate pet owners about the Rules of B.A.R.K. Which is to Bag your pet's waste, Always leash your pet, Respect wildlife, and Know where to go. This program also rewards dogs with special Bark Ranger collar tags. If you're looking for dog-friendly eateries in the gateway town of Bar Harbor, Beal's Lobster Pier, Peekytoe Provisions, and Side Street Cafe offer everything from lobster rolls to haddock Reuben sandwiches.  

Regarding pet-friendly lodging, you can choose from the casual Belle Isle Motel, which has six acres of field space for your pup to explore, to the luxurious vacation home, where dogs are welcome.

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Final Thoughts: Dog Friendly Vacations In The United States

In conclusion, taking your furry friend on a vacation can be an excellent experience for the whole family.  With careful planning, you can find some of the most dog-friendly vacation spots in the United States.  From the Black Hills in South Dakota to Snowmass in Colorado and Tucson, Arizona, there are plenty of options to choose from.  They offer a variety of activities and amenities for both humans and dogs.  Remember to check the weather and pet policies of airlines and hotels.  Plan activities your pet can participate in to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable vacation for everyone.  Happy travels with your furry friend!

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