When it comes to traveling with your pet, it’s important to find a destination that your pet will enjoy as much as much as you do. Otherwise, you may find that you and your furry friend end up feeling unwelcome.
The good news? There’s plenty you can do to plan the perfect trip. “The most important thing is to do a little research beforehand to make sure your destination is a pet-friendly area,” says Nikita Singhani, DVM, veterinarian at West Chelsea Veterinary in New York City.
Start by finding a location that has plenty of pet-friendly activities, like dog parks or beaches, hiking trails, and restaurants with outdoor, Fido-friendly seating. “If your destination has dog-friendly hotels, that’s a good sign that people often travel with their dogs to the area,” adds Dr. Singhani.
If you’re drawing a blank on where to go, consider one of these pet-friendly cities in the United States.
San Diego describes itself as a "Pet-Friendly Paradise." The city has dozens of off-leash dog parks and beaches, including:
Dog Beach in Ocean Beach
Fiesta Island in Mission Bay
Marley Field Dog Park in Balboa Park
Cadman Community Park in Clairemont
San Diego also has plenty of restaurants and breweries that let dogs hang out in outdoor areas. If you want to spend a day without your pet, San Diego has numerous play centers and boutiques where you can leave your dog for several hours.
Bar Harbor makes the list because it has a restaurant, Stewmans Lobster Pound, with an outdoor seating area and a doggie menu. Margaret Todd Windjammer Cruises also allows dogs and other animals, so you don’t have to leave your pet in the hotel room while you explore Frenchman Bay.
Let your pet get some exercise and sniff new places by visiting Acadia National Park, which has several trails that allow dogs as well as other pets.
Austin has always liked making its own rules. In this dog-friendly town, you’ll find a Mardi Gras Dog Parade in February, countless bakeries that make healthy treats for your pet, and plenty of dog parks.
Some dog parks to visit in Austin include:
The number of restaurants and breweries in Asheville make this city an excellent destination for families with pets. The people of Asheville don’t care how cold it gets — they’ll sit outside sipping beer in the middle of winter.
Asheville also has plenty of dog-friendly trails like:
Bridal Veil Falls
Some trails are more strenuous than others, so consult a trail guide to choose an option that fits you and your pet.
Portland is one of a few cities where restaurants ask if you’d like to see a menu for your dog. While Fido can’t go inside a restaurant, outdoor patios make comfy spots where your pup can relax while waiting for their meal.
Some of the city’s best off-leash dog parks include:
If you’re looking to book a trip beyond these cities, have no fear — you can still be find a location that suits you (and your pet’s) needs. “These days, most major cities have dog parks, dog runs, and things like that,” adds Singhani. “Just make sure your destination also has access to things like veterinary clinics in case you may need them.”