Spring is officially here, and summer is just around the corner. As the weather warms up, it’s time to start thinking about your next vacation. Of course, as a dog owner, you may want to find a pup-friendly vacation destination so you can bring your dog along, too.
Planning a dog-friendly vacation isn’t as challenging as you may think — many hotels across the country, as well as campgrounds and RV parks welcome pets. And there are even dog-friendly parks, beaches, restaurants and other destinations across the country.
Tips for Traveling with Your Dog
- Be sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations, heartworm prevention and flea and tick meds. You never know what you might encounter as you travel, so you want to be sure your pup will be safe no matter where you go.
- If your dog isn’t used to taking long road trips, start taking him on car rides now, so he can get used to being in the car.
- If your pup has a tendency to get car sick, use a plastic crate with solid walls so he won’t be able to look out the windows of the car. Avoid food before your road trip, and consider asking your vet for meds to help with motion sickness or anxiety.
- Plan to take a break at least every three hours. If you have a young puppy or an older dog, you may need even more frequent potty breaks for your pet.
Top Dog-Friendly Vacation Destinations
- San Diego, California. Surf’s up! If your dog loves the water as much as you, San Diego is a perfect spot for a vacation with your pup. The city’s Dog Beach, on the north end of Ocean Beach, was the first leash-free beach to open in the U.S. Even if your pup isn’t so fond of the water, you can head to Balboa Park, which has several dog parks. Cowles Mountain offers a 360-degree city and ocean views. Even Petco Park, the city’s MLB baseball stadium features a dog-friendly spot called the Backyard.
- Santa Barbara, California. Not only are there a multitude of dog-friendly activities you can enjoy in the area, but Santa Barbara County Parks has also installed Evolution Dog Wash Machines in various locations so you can keep your dog clean after a day spent hiking or playing on the beach. Dog washes can be found at Arroyo Burro Beach, Lookout Park in Summerland and Tucker’s Grove Park and Waller Park in Santa Maria.
- Aspen or Vail, Colorado. If you and your pup love the cooler weather, head up to the mountains. Two of Colorado’s most popular spots for skiing are also very dog-friendly. If you’re not skiing in the spring, take your dog on a hike or simply enjoy the scene around town. Many restaurants in the area have dog-friendly patios, so you won’t have to leave your pup at the hotel when you head out for a bite to eat.
- Sanibel Island or Key West, Florida. Most of the shores in this Gulf Coast beach area welcome dogs, so you and your pup can enjoy a day on the beach together. Cap it off by staying to watch the stunning sunset from the shore. Gulfside City Park Beach (also known as Algiers Beach) is a popular dog-friendly spot featuring a nature trail and boardwalk. You can also take your leashed pet to explore the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Looking for a more laid back vibe? Head to Key West. Your pup can accompany you to the Key West Aquarium or the Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden.
- Bend, Oregon. If you and your pup love the great outdoors, then Bend, Oregon on the Deschutes River will feel like a slice of heaven. Surrounded by National Forests, alpine lakes and extinct volcanoes, there’s plenty to explore in the area. It’s even said that Bend has the highest per capita dog population in the world, so you’ll feel right at home!
No doubt planning a vacation with your dog will make your trip exponentially more enjoyable. Traveling with your four-legged family member is a bonding experience you and your pup will never forget!