Who says vacations are just for humans? In this era, our furry friends are as much a part of our family as anyone else, and leaving them behind while we embark on our adventures just doesn’t feel right.
This article is your ultimate guide to the 15 best dog-friendly vacations in the United States.
From the hipster vibes of Portland, Oregon, to the sunny beaches of Sanibel Island, Florida, and the bustling streets of New York City, these destinations welcome your four-legged companions with open arms.
Not only do they offer dog-friendly parks, beaches, and trails, but they also have a plethora of dog-friendly restaurants, hotels, and even breweries!
So, pack your bags, grab your dog’s leash, and get ready to explore these fantastic destinations that promise a paw-some vacation for both you and your furry friend.
Dog-Friendly Vacations in the United States
1. Portland, Oregon
If you’re looking for dog-friendly vacation ideas in the U.S., Portland should be high on your list. The entire city is dog-friendly, with more than 30 dog parks and plenty of dog-friendly businesses, including dog-friendly breweries, wineries, coffee shops, restaurants, and hotels.
Some of the best dog parks in Portland include Sellwood Riverfront Park, which has a 1.5-acre off-leash dog area complete with a swimming hole and dog beach; Hollywood Dog Park, which has a dog agility course; and Chimney Park, which has a fenced dog play area.
When it comes to dog-friendly restaurants, don’t miss Tin Shed Garden Cafe, a popular brunch spot with an outdoor dog-friendly patio, and The Eastburn, a restaurant with a dog-friendly patio serving up American comfort food.
For a truly dog-centric vacation, stay at the Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland, a dog-friendly boutique hotel in Portland’s trendy Pearl District.
The hotel offers dog beds, bowls, and treats for guests traveling with dogs. Other dog-friendly hotels in Portland include The Benson Hotel, McMenamins Crystal Hotel, and Hotel Deluxe (a luxury dog-friendly hotel).
2. Asheville, North Carolina
You can’t go wrong with Asheville when looking for dog-friendly vacations in the United States.
This vibrant, dog-loving city is located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers easy access to numerous outdoor activities that you and your dog can enjoy together.
Start your day with a little exercise at one of the dog parks, such as the Azalea Dog Park. For a longer hike, explore the dog-friendly trails at the Pisgah National Forest. If you’re up for an adventure, drive the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway with your dog by your side.
Asheville is also home to numerous dog-friendly breweries where you can sample some of the local brews while spending time with your pup.
Some of the most popular spots include New Belgium Brewing Company, Hi-Wire Brewing, and Wicked Weed Brewing.
And if you get hungry, there are plenty of dog-friendly restaurants to choose from, including The Mayfel’s, Biscuit Head, and Sunny Point Cafe.
After a long day of exploring, relax at one of the dog-friendly hotels or vacation rentals in Asheville.
And if you need a break from your four-legged friend, plenty of dog-sitting and dog-walking services are available.
3. Sanibel Island, Florida
For a dog-friendly beach vacation in the United States, head over to Sanibel Island off the southwest coast of Florida.
This small island is big on dog-friendly amenities and activities, starting with the dog-friendly beaches where your pup can frolic in the waves and build sandcastles to their heart’s content.
There are also dog-friendly restaurants, hotels, and shopping areas, as well as a paved dog park where your furry friend can make new friends.
While on the island, make sure to visit J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, a wildlife preserve that is also a popular spot for birdwatching, canoeing, biking, walking, and driving the four-mile Wildlife Drive.
Dogs are welcome as long as they’re on a 6ft leash.
For a unique dog-friendly activity, sign up for a dog-friendly kayak tour with one of the local companies, such as Sweetwater Adventures.
After all that fun in the sun, your dog will be sure to appreciate a visit to one of the dog-friendly hotels on the island, such as the Waterside Inn on the Beach and Tropical Winds Motel and Cottages.
4. Colorado Springs, Colorado
When you and your pup need some fresh air, look no further than Colorado Springs. This dog-friendly vacation destination has no less than 11 off-leash dog parks and trails, making it one of the best places in the U.S. to vacation with dogs.
Start with a visit to Garden of the Gods, where you can hike or bike on 20 miles of trails with views of red sandstone rock formations.
Don’t forget to snap a photo of you and your dog in front of the iconic Balanced Rock.
Next, check out the Bear Creek Dog Park, which has a large dog area, and an agility course for some extra fun. If you’re up for some more hiking, check out Stratton Open Space or Pike National Forest.
There are also plenty of dog parks where your pup can make some new friends, including Cottonwood Creek Dog Park and Bancroft Park.
In town, stop by one of the many dog-friendly restaurants and breweries, such as Bristol Brewing Company, where your dog can lounge on the patio while you enjoy a pint.
There are also dog-friendly hotels in Colorado Springs, like the Cheyenne Mountain Resort Colorado Springs, The Broadmoor, and Colorado Springs Marriott. Here, dogs receive a special welcome package complete with dog beds, bowls, and treats.
5. San Diego, California
Thinking of vacationing in sunny San Diego? Don’t forget to bring your dog along! This Southern California city is well-known for its dog-friendly attitude and fabulous weather.
Start by checking out Ocean Beach dog beach, a designated area where dogs can romp in the sand and water to their hearts’ content without leashes.
Next, stop by one of the city’s more than two dozen dog parks for a game of fetch or simply to socialize. Balboa Park has not one but three dog parks: Morley Field Dog Park, Grape St. Park, and Nate’s Point Dog Park. All have drinking fountains for your dog and shaded areas to enjoy a break from the sun.
For breathtaking views, hike with your dog to the famous Cowles Mountain summit, the highest point in the city.
This is a moderately challenging hike, but it’s well worth the effort, especially when you get to the top and can see for miles. It will take you around two hours to complete.
No trip to San Diego is complete without a visit to Old Town, the city’s historic heart.
Stroll the cobblestone streets, do some shopping, and stop in one of the dog-friendly restaurants or cafes for a bite to eat. I recommend Miss B’s Coconut Club, a Caribbean restaurant with a dog-friendly patio.
There are several dozen dog-friendly vacation rentals for accommodation, including apartments, houses, condos, and cottages in popular areas like La Jolla, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, and Downtown San Diego.
All these make San Diego one of the best dog-friendly vacation spots in the United States.
6. Key West, Florida
This may come as a surprise, but one of the best dog-friendly vacations in the U.S. is in the Florida Keys.
While most of the Florida Keys are dog-friendly, Key West is by far the most pup-popular destination in the string of islands.
For starters, most of the beaches in Key West are open to dogs, and some even have special dog-friendly areas.
For instance, Fort Zachary Taylor State Park allows pets on the beach on leashes. Another dog-friendly beach is Higgs Beach, where your dog can run off-leash in the fenced dog park area.
If you and your dog are feeling active, try the dog-friendly Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden.
As its name suggests, this conservatory is teeming with all sorts of tropical plants, trees, flowers, butterflies, birds, and other wildlife.
Make sure to stop by one of the island’s many dog-friendly bars, such as Schooner Wharf Bar, where your dog can sit beside you at one of the outdoor picnic tables while you enjoy a refreshing drink.
And if you need a break from the beach or the bar, simply stroll down the dog-friendly Duval Street in the heart of Old Town.
7. San Francisco, California
There’s a reason why San Francisco is one of the most dog-friendly cities in the United States. And that’s because this city by the bay has a ton to offer both you and your pup.
Start your day at the dog-friendly Fort Funston National Park, where your pup can run, play, and socialize off-leash. Then, head to the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, well known for its hippie culture.
For lunch, stop by one of the dog-friendly restaurants in town, like the Park Chalet. In the afternoon, walk or bike across the Golden Gate Bridge and take in sweeping views of the city and bay.
Make your way to Crissy Field Beach, a popular spot for locals and visitors, where your dog can swim and play along the water’s edge. If you’re up for more adventure, hike one of the trails in Marin Headlands.
End your day with a scenic stroll through Chinatown or relax in one of San Francisco’s many dog-friendly parks before heading back to your hotel.
8. Austin, Texas
Don’t leave your dog at home when you go on vacation to Austin! You might be surprised to find out that this Lone Star State capital has a lot to offer dog owners.
Therefore, it ranks high on the list of best dog-friendly vacations in the United States due to its many dog-friendly attractions.
When in town, take your dog to one of the many dog-friendly parks, such as Zilker Metropolitan Park, where you can play and explore together. Dogs are allowed to be off-leash, but they must respond to voice commands.
For a change of pace, take your dog on a hike at one of Austin’s many scenic trails, such as Lady Bird Lake.
This 10-mile trail is perfect for a leisurely walk or jogging with your dog. You can also rent a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard and explore the lake together.
After enjoying some time outdoors, why not enjoy a yoga class with your dog? That’s right, dog-friendly yoga is a thing in Austin.
Head to Austin Doga, where you and your dog can learn some yoga poses together.
When it comes to food, Austin has no shortage of dog-friendly restaurants, cafes, and food trucks. Some of my favorites include Austin Terrier, Moonshine Grill, and Kerbey Lane Cafe.
And for accommodation, there are plenty of dog-friendly vacation rentals, hotels, and camping spots to choose from.
9. Seattle, Washington
Dogs are treated as family members in Seattle, so it’s no surprise that the city has dog-friendly activities galore.
And with so many dog-friendly places to stay, from camping and R.V. parks to hotels and vacation rentals, you will be spoiled for choice.
To get a feel for the Emerald City, start your dog-friendly vacation with a leisurely stroll or bike ride through Kerry Park.
On a clear day, you and your four-legged friend can view Elliott Bay, the Space Needle, and Mt. Rainier.
Next, explore one of Seattle’s dog parks, including West Seattle’s beautiful Schmitz Preserve Park. With over 53 acres of forest and meadow to sniff around, your dog will wag his tail with glee.
For a more urban dog-friendly experience, visit the dog-friendly section of Gas Works Park. This 19-acre park offers gorgeous views of the city and Lake Union.
Don’t miss a chance to explore some of Seattle’s dog-friendly neighborhoods, including Ballard, First Hill, and the International District.
In Ballard, check out the dog-friendly breweries, cafes, shops, and dog parks. The International District is home to a variety of dog-friendly businesses, including bakeries, restaurants, and pet stores.
10. Los Angeles, California
Ranked as the most pet-friendly city in the United States, Los Angeles is a great vacation destination for dog owners. The city has numerous dog parks and pet-friendly restaurants, and cafes.
Runyon Canyon Park is one of the most popular dog-friendly destinations in L.A.
The 160-acre park offers panoramic views of the city and has numerous hiking trails for you and your dog to explore. Remember, your dog must always be on a leash while in the park.
After a day of hiking, stop by one of the city’s many dog-friendly restaurants and cafes, such as Gasolina Cafe, Lady Byrd Cafe, and The Morrison.
These restaurants have dog-friendly patios where you can enjoy a meal with your pup.
For a fun-filled day with your dog, visit Rosie’s Dog Beach, where dogs can run off-leash and play in the water. Nearby showers are available to rinse off your dog after a day of playing in the sand.
Other dog-friendly attractions in Los Angeles include Echo Park Lake, Leo Carrillo State Park, Mt Hollywood Trail, Sepulveda Basin off-leash Dog Park and much more. In short, Los Angeles has everything you need for a fun, relaxing, dog-friendly vacation.
11. Tampa, Florida
One thing you’ll never have to worry about in Tampa is a lack of dog-friendly activities. I know this first-hand because I’ve traveled here with my dog many times. And every time we go, we find something new to do.
The first stop on any trip to Tampa with your dog should be Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.
This popular park is located right in downtown Tampa’s heart along the Hillsborough River.
The park has a large dog run where your four-legged friend can play off-leash, and there’s also a dog fountain for them to drink from.
If you’re looking for a place to take your dog for fun, head over to Al Lopez Park.
This fenced-in dog park has two large play areas for dogs, one for small dogs and one for large dogs. There’s also a dog shower so you can rinse off your pup after a day in the sand.
After a long day of exploring, you and your dog can relax at one of the many dog-friendly patio restaurants in Tampa. Some of my favorites include Ulele and Fly Bar & Restaurant.
There’s a lot to love about Tampa, and these are just a few reasons why it’s one of the best dog-friendly vacation spots in the United States.
12. New York City, New York
Do not be deterred by the hustle and bustle of New York City; your dog will have a blast too! In fact, this may just be one of the best places to go for a vacation with dogs in the United States.
Start your day by taking a leisurely stroll in Central Park, one of the most dog-friendly parks in NYC.
This park has 23 dog-friendly areas, including Mineral Springs, Harlem Meer, Cedar Hill, and East Meadow.
And when you’re hungry, choose one of the dog-friendly outdoor dining options in NYC.
Restaurants like Barking Dog, Shake Shack, and The Boat Basin Cafe welcome dog diners with open arms.
For some dog-centric fun, visit the Coney Island beach, where your pup can romp in the sand and enjoy the spectacular views.
The dog-friendly beach is open year-round but is particularly popular in the summer.
Don’t forget to explore some of NYC’s dog-friendly attractions, like the William Secord Gallery, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and Brooklyn Brewery.
13. Napa Valley, California
Most people think of Napa Valley as a wine lover’s paradise. Although this is certainly true, the region is also one of the best vacation spots in the U.S. for dog lovers.
And with more than 400 wineries, there are bound to be several that welcomes your four-legged friend.
Enjoy a leisurely stroll or taste through dog-friendly vineyards, such as Beringer Vineyards, Honig Vineyard & Winery, and Pine Ridge Vineyards.
After enjoying some of the best wines in the country, take your dog to one of the many dog-friendly parks, such as Alston Park.
If you’re looking for a more adventurous vacation, take your dog on a hike through one of Napa Valley’s many trails.
Some popular dog-friendly trails include the Timberhill Park Trail and Barton Hill Trail at Lake Berryessa.
After a long day of exploring, it’s time to refuel. Thankfully, there are plenty of dog-friendly restaurants in Napa Valley, such as Gott’s Roadside and Downtown Joe’s.
And when it comes to accommodation, dog-friendly options are many, from camping and R.V. parks to bed and breakfasts and hotels.
14. Charleston, South Carolina
You might not think that Charleston is one of the dog-friendly vacation spots in the United States, but this beautiful city will surprise you with its history, charm, and Southern hospitality.
So while you’re here, learn all about the city’s colonial past on a dog-friendly walking tour of Charleston with Bulldog Tours, which offers several different routes.
Or, explore the White Point Gardens, where you can take in stunning views of Charleston Harbor.
Downtown Charleston is home to many dog-friendly restaurants and cafes, including the dog-friendly patio at Husk, one of Charleston’s most popular eateries.
There are also plenty of green spaces to explore with your pup. Check out Hampton Park, which has a dog park and walking trails.
Or, take a leisurely stroll through the beautiful Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.
There’s no shortage of dog-friendly activities in Charleston, which is why it’s one of the best vacation destinations in the United States for dog lovers.
15. San Jose, California
Maybe you’re looking for a more urban environment with plenty of things to see and do. If that’s the case, plan a vacation to dog-friendly San Jose, California.
Start your day off with some dog-watching at one of the many dog parks in this Silicon Valley city.
The Butcher Dog Park has separate large and small dog areas, a water fountain, benches, and plenty of space to run.
Or, if you’re in the mood for some dog-friendly shopping, check out one of the many stores in the Willow Glen neighborhood that welcome dogs.
Downtown San Jose is also dog-friendly, with a number of pet stores and dog-walking services. If you get hungry, stop at The Table, a restaurant with an outdoor patio where your dog is welcome to dine with you.
Other dog-friendly downtown restaurants include Ludwigs German Table, Mo’s The Breakfast and Burger Place, and L.B. Steak Santana Row.
After lunch, you can enjoy a hike with your dog at Almaden Quicksilver County Park. With over 37 miles of hiking trails, including the popular Mines Hill Trail Loop, your dog will have plenty of room to run.