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Dog-Friendly Summer Vacation Destinations

Dog-Friendly Summer Vacation Destinations

Dog-Friendly Summer Vacation Destinations

If you’re anything like me, the thought of leaving your four-legged furry friend behind when you go on vacation is simply unbearable. After all, they’re part of the family – how could you possibly enjoy yourself without them by your side? Fortunately, these days there are plenty of amazing dog-friendly vacation destinations across the United States (and even a few international spots) that cater to our canine companions.

About 10 years ago, my husband Rod and I adopted a stray German shepherd we named Buster. We were already pet parents to a small dog named Ty, and had a big trip to Canada planned just a month later. I frantically scoured the internet, trying to find dog-friendly hotels and parks along our route, but the information was slim pickings back then.

That eye-opening experience inspired me to launch, a comprehensive pet travel platform that has since become a go-to resource for adventurous pet parents like myself. These days, Rod and I work remotely for our CPA firm and have been living the RV life with our pup Myles for over a decade. We’ve learned a thing or two about bringing your furry friends along on vacation!

Whether you’re planning a road trip, a city getaway, or an international adventure, there are so many amazing dog-friendly destinations to choose from. Let’s dive in and explore some of the top spots that will have tails wagging all summer long.

East Coast Escapes

On the East Coast, one of my personal favorites is Dog Mountain in the quaint town of St. Johnsbury, Vermont. What was once a dairy farm has been transformed into an off-leash dog paradise, complete with hiking trails, a pond, and even a charming dog chapel. Further south, the historic town of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania is also a must-visit, thanks to the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway that offers breathtaking train rides through the Pocono Mountains (with your pup in tow, of course).

If you’re craving some coastal vibes, head to Bar Harbor, Maine on Mount Desert Island. This dog-friendly destination is the perfect home base for exploring Acadia National Park, where you and your canine companion can hike the many trails and lounge on the sandy beaches. And don’t forget to indulge in some Maine lobster – your pup can even get in on the action with their own special “pupcake” at one of the local pet-friendly eateries.

Midwest Marvels

Out in the Midwest, the city of Bend, Oregon has practically rolled out the red carpet for our four-legged friends. This outdoor-lovers’ paradise in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains is filled with dog-friendly hiking trails, breweries, and even food carts that welcome pups. Your canine companion will be in absolute heaven exploring this pup-centric city.

Meanwhile, over in the Great Lakes region, the charming town of Grand Haven, Michigan is a coastal haven for dogs and their humans. Spend your days frolicking on the beaches and parks, then refuel at one of the many pet-friendly restaurants and boutiques. And don’t miss a visit to the Must Love Dogs Boutique & Spa – your pup is sure to find the perfect souvenir (or five) to bring home.

Western Wonderlands

If you’re craving wide open spaces and stunning natural scenery, look no further than the American Southwest. In northern Arizona, the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park welcomes leashed pups to explore the trails and lookout points. Just be sure to pack plenty of water and sun protection for your canine companion – those desert temps can be brutal!

Further west, the coastal city of San Diego, California is a veritable dog-lover’s paradise. Your pup can run free at one of the many off-leash dog beaches, or join you for a scenic boat or yacht rental adventure. And when hunger strikes, you’ll find no shortage of dog-friendly patios and breweries to refuel at.

International Adventures

If you’re feeling extra adventurous and want to take your travels overseas, there are a few international destinations that are surprisingly pet-friendly. In the romantic city of Venice, Italy, dogs are welcome on many of the iconic water taxis and can even stroll the picturesque streets alongside you. Just be mindful of the crowds, especially during peak tourist season.

Meanwhile, in Japan – a country that celebrates its six native dog breeds as national monuments – pups are welcomed with open arms in hotels, stores, and even some restaurants in cities like Tokyo. You’ll find plenty of dog parks for your canine to stretch their legs, too.

Of course, before booking any international flights with your pup, be sure to consult your veterinarian about potential health risks and travel requirements. It may make more sense to start with a domestic road trip or train adventure first to ensure your furry friend is comfortable.

No matter where your travels take you this summer, the most important thing is that you get to experience it all with your beloved best friend by your side. With a little planning and the right dog-friendly destinations, you’re guaranteed to have a vacation that’s truly a dog’s life – in the best possible way!

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