Billions of dollars are spent every year on pets. While that figure includes food and medical care, the money we happily spend on our pets also includes treats, furniture, and even holidays. A pet vacation was once limited to a more luxurious kennel or other establishment that provided care and feeding while we enjoyed a true getaway. Now, however, the need for dog-friendly vacations and destinations means that people want to bring their dogs or pets along for the fun.
And the good news is that there are many areas with pet-focused amenities and many accommodations that serve as the ultimate spot for dog-friendly vacations. Naturally, the trick is to find those areas where pets are most welcome both in accommodations and in the area in general.
As a prime example, the city of Denver, Colorado is noted as one of the most dog-friendly in general, as well as being an optimal spot for dog-friendly trips and getaways. Watering stations outside most restaurants and shops, lots of dog parks, and businesses that have no problem with patrons bringing a well-behaved pup inside are all part of the appeal.
Are there other spots where dog-friendly vacations are that easy? In a word: Yes!
One of the first things to remember is that your entire vacation is based on the right accommodation. There are many areas with lots of amenities and services for dogs and pets, but they are not always necessarily the right spots for dog-friendly vacations.
Start with Dog-Friendly Accommodations
That is one reason to turn to something like a private villa or rental that includes pet-friendly policies. Having a home-like accommodation, rather than a traditional hotel room, is one of the best ways to begin planning unforgettable, dog-friendly vacations. These are properties that include yards and outdoor areas for dogs to enjoy, and will be designed just like a private home with a living area, full kitchen, private bedrooms and baths, and plenty of room for a dog or two to relax while the family is out having an adventure.
Destinations for Pet Friendly Vacations
Then, it is time to find the things for the family to see and do together (with or without the pets in tow). There are areas that are often tagged as being the best for vacations with dogs, and for 2020, they include:
Areas like Ft. Myers and Orlando are ideal and rank as some of the best for dog-friendly vacations. Ft. Myers, is described by TripAdvisor.com as one of the most “pet friendly” spots for a vacation with your dog or for trips you can take with your dog. They say that dog lovers will enjoy “Bonita Beach Dog Park, or go for a scenic walk through trails, lakes, and gardens at Lakes Regional Park.”
They also point out that the city is ideal for pet friendly vacations because visitors can dine “with a view at casual, dog-friendly Bonita Bill’s Waterfront Cafe, or indulge at LaMotta’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria.”
They also point towards Key West as home to a great dog beach and attractions open to pets, including the local Aquarium and the Island Dogs Bar where food for pets is even on the menu. Sanibel Island is also noted as a pet friendly spot, and close to Ft. Myers. It has a weekly farmer’s market open to dogs and there is a waterfront park with pet-friendly policies. The Island Cow restaurant is dog-friendly, and this might be a great day trip from Ft. Myers, too.
With its diversity of settings and natural spaces, California is a fantastic choice for vacations you can take with your dog. Start with San Diego and its many dog-friendly parks and attractions. Then, head north to spots like South Lake Tahoe where Kiva Beach is open for dogs to enjoy, as is the Rubicon Trail. The Huntington Beach area close to Los Angeles is also pet-friendly with several beaches open to dogs, a central park area with lots of dog activities, and several restaurants and bars that promote “bring your dog” events.
The Napa area is also popular with travelers and their pets. There are several vineyards open to those with dogs in tow, including the Bouchaine Vineyards. The Alston Park area is pet-friendly with dog-specific play areas and trails, and some of the local restaurants are happy to seat diners with pets.
As already noted, Denver is a wildly dog-friendly destination, and nearby Winter Park is a match. Though noted as a skiing destination, it is also touted as “one of the pet-friendliest destinations in Colorado.” It is home to the Vasquez Peak Wilderness Park with amazing views and almost 20 miles of dog-friendly hiking trails. There are many breweries and restaurants open to pet owners with outdoor dining that welcomes dogs at all times.
Lastly, the natural beauty of North Carolina is an ideal fit for the more active travelers and their dogs. The Asheville area places visitors right in the heart of the Blue Ridge Parkway region, and visitors can enjoy the stunning drives while making stops at super pet-friendly locations that include the North Carolina Arboretum with its many gardens and trails open to pets. There is also the local Asheville Pizza and Brewing establishment that welcomes dogs into the dining areas.
Historic Wilmington is also full of dog-friendly options, including Halyburton Park with trails and play areas, Freeman Park with a dog beach, and even a dog themed coffee house with café dining open to dogs.
Other places with pro-dog accommodations and amenities include Albuquerque, NM; Austin, TX; Block Island, RI; and Portland, OR.
While you may want to escape it all and head to spots like Barbados or St Barts for an island retreat (without your furry best friend in tow), there are also a lot of amazing spots in the U.S. where you and your dogs can travel together. Take some time to find a few spots for your upcoming holidays and travel with the entire family this year.