Many people hesitate to get a dog because of their love of travel, and their uncertainty about what to do with their pets when they go on holiday. Dog kennels are often expensive and inconvenient, and dogs are family animals that want to spend all of their time with you. Instead of stressing you and your pet with hiring alternative care, why not plan your trip so Fido can come along?
When planning a vacation with your pet, the first thing to ensure is that your accommodation is suitable for dogs. There are many pet-friendly hotels and Airbnbs around the country that offer amazing services so you and your furry friend can be comfortable. Some cities even allow dog spas so both you and your pet can enjoy some pampering!
Ensure that you are respectful of the local laws and courteous of others so dogs are permitted for years to come. Be a responsible pet owner and always clean up after your pet, and train your dog properly so they do not harass other people or dogs. Do not allow them to chase wildlife or cause a disturbance.
Not sure where to start planning? Here are 7 of the best dog-friendly travel destinations in the USA for 2021:
1. The Oregon Coast
The Oregon coast boasts some of the most stunning beaches in the country, and their expansive sand beaches are perfect for dog walking. Most beaches are dog-friendly, even allowing dogs to be off-leash as long as they are under “direct control” of the owner, per Oregon state law. Keep your pet close by, and don’t allow them off-leash unless they are well-trained with a very reliable recall. Your dog will love the space to run, swim in the ocean, and the abundant beach smells to sniff.
Cannon Beach is particularly beautiful: its iconic Haystack Rock makes it an incredible photo hotspot. The waves are strong on Oregon beaches and the breeze coming off the ocean can be chilly in autumn and winter, so ensure you pack dog jackets to keep your pet warm if they tend to shiver.
Many restaurants along the Oregon coast also allow you to bring your dog to their outdoor dining areas, and retail businesses often allow well-behaved pets inside.
If COVID-19 restrictions persist into 2021, camping may be the holiday choice of many. The Oregon coast has gorgeous campsites by the ocean that are perfect for dogs with the mix of forest and beaches to keep your canine entertained for hours. Cape Lookout State Park has trails with incredible views right along the ocean that will take your breath away.
2. Acadia National Park, Maine
Maine’s beautiful Acadia National Park is known as the “Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast”. It boasts 158 miles of mostly dog-friendly hiking trails in beautiful territory that both you and your dog will love.
Acadia National Park is exceptionally dog-friendly, and pets are even allowed on the shuttle buses that take visitors to the most popular scenic lookouts in the park. They are also allowed on the city buses and local boat cruises, and many restaurants permit them in the outdoor seating areas.
3. Napa, California
Napa’s famous vineyards aren’t just fun for you- many welcome dogs, too! Your dog will enjoy sitting outdoors by your table while you overlook the beautiful landscapes and sip a glass of cabernet. Napa’s top pet-friendly wineries include Honig Vineyard & Winery, Tres Sabores, Pine Ridge Vineyards, HALL Wines, V. Sattui Winery, Odette Estate, French Winery at Raymond Vineyards, and Frog’s Leap Winery. There are many great dog-accessible hotels and Airbnbs that boast stunning views of the valley.
Make sure you pay a visit to Alston Park, a large dog-friendly green space with no-leash areas allowing your dog to socialize. It has many walking trails you will both enjoy, and great photo opportunities.
4. Winter Park, Colorado
Colorado’s expansive mountains and abundant outdoor activities make it a perfect active holiday to take with your dog. Winter Park has both summer and winter attractions, with incredible hiking, kayaking, rafting, skiing, paddle boarding, snowshoeing, and snowboarding.
Don’t miss exploring Vasquez Peak Wilderness Park and the Arapaho National Forest, which are not only beautiful but have great dog-friendly hiking trails. Many local breweries and restaurants allow your dog to join and offer rustic mountain views and fantastic food.
5. Key West, Florida
More of a beach-goer than a mountain climber? Key West is a great option for travelers who prefer to put their feet up and soak in the sun by the ocean. Vernon and Waddell’s beach allows dogs to be off-leash, and some local bars permit dogs, so Fido can join you for happy hour.
Rent kayaks or stand-up paddleboards and take your dog along- she will love the adventure! Many local outfitters allow your dog to join you on your rental kayaks or paddleboards. After a day on the water, enjoy some local art and live music in the bustling Mallory Square, which welcomes on-leash dogs.
6. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Gatlinburg has gorgeous views of the Smoky Mountains and is an affordable family vacation spot that everyone will love. It is easy to find vacation rentals, hotels, and campgrounds that accept pets. The Oconaluftee River Trail is a great scenic area for dog-walking, and Gatlinburg has a wide variety of great restaurants and pubs that welcome your dog.
Enjoy stunning panoramas of the Smoky Mountains from the dog-friendly Gatlinburg SkyLift. Once you’re on top of the mountain, you can hike the many surrounding trails. Watch out for bears: the area is known for them!
7. San Diego, California
Dog Beach is a famous southern California hotspot, telling you everything you need to know about San Diego’s stance on dogs! 4-legged friends are happily invited to this beautiful beach city.
You will love the surfing, laid-back vibes, and world-famous zoo, and your pooch will love the off-leash beaches and parks. San Diego has over 530 restaurants, pubs, and breweries that accept dogs. It has a great selection of craft beers to sample and great weather year-round. Every year the city hosts dog-centered events such as the Surf Dog Series that the whole family will love!
Traveling with dogs requires a little more preparation than going solo. To avoid an upset stomach, pack plenty of your pet’s usual food and treats, including extra in case you are delayed. Bring your dog’s favorite toys, dog bed, dog jackets, and travel gear so she feels comfortable and at home. Carry her vaccination records, relevant veterinary information, and any medications along.
If you are traveling by vehicle, properly outfit your car with a harness seatbelt. It’s the law in some states, and it’s just good practice! In the case of a car accident, your dog could hurt not just themselves, but also you, by being unrestrained. If you are traveling by airplane, carefully check airline regulations, get the proper airline-approved carrier, and choose a bed that fits comfortably in the crate so your dog can feel safe on the flight. Flying is stressful for pets, and you want to keep your dog as relaxed as possible to avoid undue trauma or illness.
Nowadays dogs are an important part of the family, and many wouldn’t dream of leaving their pooch behind. Incorporating your dog into your holiday plans is a great way to stay active, get outside, and explore parts of the country you’ve never seen before. Next time you plan a trip, consider taking your dog along and visiting one of these beautiful dog-friendly vacation spots.