I don’t travel without Wynston. Actually, I did once, and that was when I took my mom on a cruise as a surprise. But given the true choice, I will not travel without my boy. In fact, one of the reasons I like traveling so much is because Wynston is my travel buddy. Taking him on new adventures and creating memories together is what makes traveling fun for me. If you’re looking to visit a new place with your dog, you’ll obviously want to pick a location that welcomes dogs. Here are some tips on how to choose a dog-friendly vacation destination.
How to Choose a Dog-Friendly Vacation Destination
How will you get there?
The first decision you need to make when choosing a place to visit with your pup is how you’re going to get there. Car? Plane? Train? You’ll want to ultimately do what’s best for you and your dog. If your dog doesn’t like flying, I wouldn’t suggest choosing a place that requires a six hour flight to get there. A trip can be as dog-friendly as you make it, so keep your dog’s anxieties and preferences in mind.
Where are you going to stay at your location, or where would you prefer to stay? With family and friends? Camping? A hotel? Perhaps you’ve always wanted to visit Maine because you’ve never been there. Start with a simple Google search – “dog-friendly hotels in Maine.” I would personally start by looking for an IHG hotel because a majority of the time they are not only dog-friendly, but they actually welcome dogs. Most hotel chains seem to have some sort of pet policy in place, but for small towns in remote areas, I wouldn’t count on it. Especially if you’re visiting somewhere like the Grand Canyon, where very few hotels allow dogs. So in the end, if you have a city in mind, first make sure that your dog can actually stay there.
Look Up Restaurants
Dog-friendly restaurants are becoming more popular and common. It seems that more often than not if a restaurant has a patio, they allow dogs. If you want to visit somewhere while the weather is nice, look to see what food options are in your area. Dog-friendly restaurants and places with delivery are important for a vacation with your pup.
Research Outdoor Activities
If you’re traveling with your puppy pal, I’m sure you’ll want to take them to have some fun! Google search parks, landmarks, beaches and other outdoor areas in your potential travel city of choice. Keep in mind that some locations may be more lenient than others. For example, recently I took Wynston to Fort Concho, which is a historic landmark and museum. On the website it said that only service dogs were allowed. Well, I chanced it and took Wynston anyways. Turns out, we were like the only ones there. We even went into the museum and the staff was super friendly. If you want to be sure on something, I’d advise calling ahead and checking online policies.
Make Sure a Veterinarian is Nearby
I’m funny about making sure there is an emergency vet nearby my area of travel with Wynston. Wynston has broken his foot while we were on vacation, so now I’m extra cautious. I’d never want to be hours away from an emergency vet. This is extremely important to consider. Even if you’re camping, make sure there is a veterinarian within a reasonable drive.
Check Pet Parent Websites
Look into websites like BringFido.com to see what states and cities have to offer in terms of dog-friendliness. You can find all sorts of information on hotels, restaurants, events and activities to do with your pup! Remember that the website doesn’t have everything, but it’s a great start.
Search on Instagram
This might sound weird, but I’ve found several dog-friendly places on Instagram. Just search #dogfriendly and you may find a place that you absolutely must visit. This is how I found Carmel-by-the-Sea in California, which is now on Wynston’s bucket list.
Top Dog-Friendly Cities in the US
Here are the top ten dog-friendly cities. The rankings are based on dog parks per 100k residents, dog-friendly restaurants, dog-friendly shopping centers, and annual average precipitation days.
- San Francisco, CA
- Las Vegas, NV
- Denver, CO
- San Diego, CA
- Albuquerque, NM
- Sacramento, CA
- Chicago, IL
- Minneapolis, MN
- Scottsdale, AZ
- New York, NY
Other Notable Dog-Friendly Cities
- Gilbert and Tucson, AZ (top five for pet-friendly restaurants)
- Dallas and Austin, TX
- Portland, OR
- Seattle, WA
- Los Angeles, CA
Overall, Arizona, Texas, California and Florida seem to be the most dog-friendly states. Those choices all offer great options for year round travel, activities and beautiful landscape!
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What are your favorite cities to visit for a dog-friendly vacation?