As dog lovers, the thought of having to leave our four-legged best friends at home for an extended period of time while we’re away can be incredibly difficult. Between the constant anxiety over whether the pet sitter is giving Spot enough kisses, and thinking about how much more fun your trip would be if your dog were there, vacations can become a bit more stressful than you’d like.
Loving pet parents everywhere are always on the look out for ways to bring their pup along for all of life’s greatest adventures. Luckily, there are plenty of awesome U.S. locations to visit on your next vacation, and your dog is welcome! Here are the ten most pet-friendly destinations you and your pup should see.
Goodbye, dog kennel. Hello, sunny beaches and awesome hiking!
1. Austin, Texas
Austin is a puppy paradise. There are over ten off-leash dog parks in Austin with a variety of different feels for every puppy preference. Dogs are welcomed to visit the Zilker Botanical Gardens, as well as kayak or canoe with you at the Zilker Park Boat Rentals. If you and your pup are shoppers, Austin has adopted a super pet-welcoming attitude at most shops. Try stopping by the Groovy Dog Bakery to check out the delicious puppy treats or one of the many pet boutiques for all the dream pet accessories. You won’t have a problem finding a place to eat in the music-loving city, either. Most Austin restaurants welcome your four-legged friend, and you can enjoy the sights and sounds of the city while eating dinner on the patio. If you are up for something really new and exciting, you can visit Austin Doga, for a yoga class with your dog!
2. Bar Harbor, Maine
Bar Harbor is the perfect vacation spot for your outdoor-loving pup. Bo, the presidential dog, even vacationed here! There are 140-miles of paths in Acadia National Park, and your leashed pup is welcome on almost all of it. If you have a water-loving pup on your hands, you can take a cruise aboard the dog-friendly ship, the Margaret Todd. Bar Harbor has several dog-friendly beaches as well, like Hadley Point Beach, so you’ll have no trouble finding plenty to keep you and your pup entertained.
3. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Another awesome beach town for that water-loving dog of yours, Cape Cod is a great destination. Truro, Wellfleet, Orleans, and Eastham Beaches accept dogs year round. Other beaches accept dogs during off-season, though. The Cape Cod Rail Trail is 22-miles of old railroad that is perfect for you and your furry best friend. Plus, this historic walk brings you right through many of the dog-accepting beaches.
4. Carmel, California
Carmel is famous for being super dog-friendly. Carmel has an awesome off-leash beach that is likely the place of your dog’s dreams. It also has a ton of dog-friendly hotels, restaurants that welcome four-legged guests and tons of pet-friendly shops to walk through. If your pup is a fan of “the fabulous,” take a ride down the picturesque 17-mile drive and view immaculate homes there. For an awesome hotel, check out the Cypress Inn. This hotel pioneered the pet-friendly policies many hotels use today!
Vicki and Chuck Rogers/Flickr
5. Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga is known for beautiful hikes and outdoor activities. North Chickamauga Creek has a 10-mile hike perfect for the outdoorsy canine. And if you get hot on the hike, you can take a dip in the creek that runs through this area. After a day of hiking, you and your pup can take to the town. Many of the restaurants have dog-friendly patios! Check out the 212 Market Restaurant. It has a patio and water bowls ready for you and your pup to sit and relax.
6. Chicago, Illinois
Like many big cities, Chicago has a ton of pet-friendly bars, hotels and shops. Check out the Bad Dog Tavern. This bar welcomes pups on the patio, and you can submit your dog’s photo to the wall of fame. You’ll find no shortage of fun things to do with your pet while walking around the Windy City. Lake Michigan has 18-miles of paved trails you can walk with your pup, and Montrose Beach is the perfect spot for your pup to swim and enjoy off-leash. Each spring the White Sox have a Dog Day baseball game, so prepare that baseball loving pup for a day at the ballpark.
7. Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs is another perfect vacation destination for the outdoorsy pup. You and your dog can hike, visit the Bear Creek Nature Center, the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, and the Garden of the Gods Park. Dogs are even allowed off-leash in certain hiking areas. There are tons other fun destinations that welcome furry friends. Even certain museums and transportation in Colorado Springs welcome doggy visitors.
8. Key West, Florida
Key West isn’t just for spring-breakers! Your pup is going to love this Florida getaway as much as you will. The beach on Vernon St. in Key West is dog friendly. Louie’s Backyard, right off this beach, welcomes pups of all shapes and sizes to its patio. You can rent kayaks with your pup is you can’t get enough of the beautiful water. Many of the restaurants in Key West allow dogs as well, along with most of the shops. It isn’t uncommon to see water bowls and treat dishes in these shops, for some pooch pampering.
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Key West, many of the other nearby keys have dog friendly beaches, shops, restaurants and bars. Check out Anne’s Beach on Islamorada Key for an awesome pup-friendly beach. There’s no reason to leave your pup at home for this vacation!
9. Portland, Oregon
Portland is a very progressive city, and this includes their views on having dogs go everywhere with you. The Lucky Labrador Brewing Company is a great place to enjoy a beer while hanging out with your best friend. There are a ton more coffee shops and restaurants in Portland that also welcome dogs. The Saturday market is a great way to shop ’till you drop with your canine companion, and there are tons of off-leash dog parks to choose from for your pup to exercise.
A short drive away, Cannon Beach also offers the perfect pup vacation location. They have tons of pet-friendly hotels, restaurants and shops with a smaller town feel. Plus, there are miles of off-leash beaches for you and your dog to enjoy.
10. Sonoma Valley and Napa, California
Rounding off the list is Sonoma Valley and Napa, a wine-drinkers dream. Not only are there plenty of dog-friendly hotels in this part of California, but many of the wineries welcome your furry friend with open arms. Some wineries even allow dogs in the tasting room. Check out this map to find all the wineries you and your pup can enjoy in the area. Make sure to check out the Mutt Lynch Winery. Not only is this a fun place to visit and taste some wine outside with your pup, but they support and donate money to several dog rescue groups. Their motto is even “Bark less, wag more!”
Lead image source: Jen/Flickr