Traveling with your canine companion is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Experiencing new places is enriching for both you and your dog. As the weather cools down this autumn, you may consider traveling with your pooch. If so, be sure to check out some of these great doggie destinations. They’ll be exciting for you and your best friend.
Preparing for a Road Trip
When you’re considering traveling with your dog, there are a few important things to take into consideration.
Check out the list below before buckling up with your pooch:
Be sure to get your dog checked out by their vet before hitting the road, especially for a long trip. They need to be in good health to be able to travel. Just like travel is stressful on a person’s body, it can be stressful for a pup, too.
Additionally, vaccinations need to be up to date, and proof of vaccination may be needed. All of this information can be provided by your dog’s healthcare provider with ease.
There are a number of pieces of safety gear that should be brought on every road trip. First, your pup needs to have a crate or a carrier to keep them safe in the car. Wandering throughout the car can be dangerous for them.
As with any trip, a leash and a harness should be brought along. The harness should have your information on it, as you’ll need to be contacted should something happen. It also helps with keeping things under control in stressful situations.
The Essentials and Comfort Items
When you travel with your pup, you should always bring along the essentials, like food and water. Of course, treats should be brought along, as well. A favorite toy can help keep your four-legged friend entertained in the car, too. It’s important that the toy be soft and large enough to prevent any choking. A chew toy works wonders.
If Your Dog Doesn’t Enjoy Car Rides
Don’t worry too much if your dog doesn’t like car rides. Sometimes, being in the car can be an uncomfortable situation. Helping them understand that the car leads to good things (like treats) can help them reduce their overall stress.
Building up their tolerance to long rides leading up to a road trip is essential. Be sure to have some practice runs before going too far from home.
10 Destinations For You and Your Dog
If you’re looking to add some adventure to you and your pup’s lives, check out these destinations! Taking a road trip to these places can be great fun for you and your canine companion.
1. Colorado Springs, CO
Dogs love being outdoors, and one of the best places to be outdoors is Colorado. In particular, Colorado Springs is an exceptional destination. The town is consistently voted as being incredibly pet-friendly. No matter what you choose to do in town, you’ll be able to bring your dog. Dining is dog-friendly for the most part, and the restaurant Pub Dog even allows dogs inside.
If you want to spend your time in the great outdoors with your pooch, there are plenty of parks available for a walk. The Garden of the Gods, one of the most famous natural areas in the country, has an off-leash area. You can also visit Pikes Peak or check out some history at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. No matter your area of interest, your dog can enjoy it with you.
2. Savannah, GA
If you’re a huge history buff, then heading to Savannah, Georgia, is a safe bet for you. The city is full of history, and they encourage you to bring your dog along with you to experience it. Oliver Bentley’s Historic Dog Walk Tour is a walk that takes you to all of the historic sites in the city, all while your dog gets to smell them.
As with many dog-friendly destinations, much of the dining options are welcoming to canines. Many coffee shops allow you to bring your best friend along, as well. Of course, it’s important to get out and smell the fresh air. Located close to Savannah are a few parks with trails that allow dogs. One of them is Skidaway Island State Park, a beautiful destination that your dog will be sure to love.
3. Hot Springs, AR
You may not know Arkansas very well. It’s a state that stays under the radar, for the most part. It’s home to one of the only National Parks that welcomes dogs, though.
Hot Springs National Park allows dogs to traverse every one of the trails with their owners. This can’t be said of any other National Park in the nation. There are 26 miles of trails, so you’ll be able to have long days with your pooch, hiking and exploring.
After you’ve thoroughly enjoyed the hot springs, the town of Hot Springs is very receptive to dogs, as well. Dogs can accompany indoors at the Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Fat Bottomed Girl’s Puppy Bakery. Grab a brew and dessert with your best friend after you’ve soaked up all the nature that you can.
4. The Florida Keys, FL
Nothing says “road trip” like heading to South Florida. If you want to bring your pup along, be sure to head as far South as possible, all the way to the Keys. A long road extends out over the saltwater, allowing you to travel from the mainland to the Keys with your dog. Once there, you’ll find a laid-back, dog-loving town that you’ll be sure to enjoy.
Key West is all about living life slowly and enjoying it. This applies to dogs, too. A popular pet destination is the Miami Lokal. This restaurant has an entire menu made for canine companions.
Also, be sure to check out the Perry Hotel. This hotel loves dogs so much that they’ve got two dedicated dog parks! Find a home away from home in the Florida Keys.
5. Las Vegas, NV
Many movies depict best friends jumping in a car and heading west to Vegas. Did you know you can bring your dog along, too? While you won’t be heading to the slots, there are still plenty of dog-friendly options in the city. Many of the larger casinos allow dogs to stay with their owners, like Caesars Palace and the MGM Grand.
Then, just under 20 miles from the strip, you can head over to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. This outdoors area has a long, scenic road that you and your pup can enjoy together. It also has over 30 miles of pet-friendly trails and plenty of picnic areas. Get outside and enjoy the city and the country when you head to Vegas with your canine companion.
6. The Grand Canyon, AZ
The Grand Canyon may be one of the most iconic road trip destinations in modern media. It’s the destination of so many families in movies and television shows. If you’re taking a road trip with your dog, the Grand Canyon should be on your list. Like Hot Springs National Park, Grand Canyon National Park is dog-friendly. This means that you can enjoy one of the natural wonders with your best friend.
When heading to the Grand Canyon, make sure that you head to the South Rim Trail with your pooch. This is an easy walking trail that provides beautiful sights and is pet-friendly. Bring plenty of water, and hit the trail for 14 miles with your four-legged friend.
7. San Antonio, TX
If your heart is set on the Southwest, then San Antonio should be on the top of our list. This city is very dog-friendly, with plenty of dining options and dedicated dog parks. There are dozens of restaurants and breweries that you can bring your dog to, but one of the best is Hops & Hounds.
This bar has an entirely outside area dedicated to grabbing a beer with your furry friend. Let your dog off-leash and play with some other pups while you sit back and socialize with other dog lovers.
Looking to take your dog on a long walk? The San Antonio River Walk is a wonderful dog-friendly park in the city. It’s 13 miles long and encourages you to bring your pup. Hit the pavement and meet other dog owners while enjoying the water running through the city.
8. Route 66
Route 66 spans 2,400 miles through 8 states. It is the single most iconic road trip in the country, and if your pup can handle long drives, they should come along! There are major cities along the route and some stops that are especially dog-friendly.
When traveling the route, major cities that will have dog-friendly accommodations are:
- Chicago, IL
- Albuquerque, NM
- Los Angeles, CA
- Amarillo, TX
- Tulsa, OK
- St. Louis, MO
- Flagstaff, AZ
Along the route, make sure to allot time to stop at the Big Texan in Amarillo. Also, plan on spending some time in Arizona. The Petrified Forest State Park has plenty of trails for pups on a leash, and the backcountry is beautiful. As always, be sure to bring plenty of water.
If you plan on taking a road trip along Route 66, block off about three weeks of your time. This road is meant for slow driving, sightseeing, and enjoyment. The small towns along the way are welcoming of travelers and their canine companions. It’s a beautiful drive that may not be around for much longer.
9. St. Johnsbury, VT
Head up to the Northeast with your dog and discover Vermont. St. Johnsbury, Vermont, is one of the most dog-friendly cities in the Northeast, with plenty of activities for you and your pup. Vermont has plenty of beautiful outdoor scenery, but the shining star in St. Johnsbury is Dog Mountain.
Dog Mountain is a pet-friendly property throughout the year, as the name implies. The property itself is a farm and art gallery. Dogs are welcome throughout the area, and they are encouraged to be brought along. Dog Mountain has trails, ponds, and sculptures that are able to be enjoyed by all dog lovers and their companions.
Perhaps the most famous part of Dog Mountain is Dog Chapel, though. This is a place for dog owners to leave notes for their dearly departed best friends. It is a beautiful tribute to man’s best friend and offers a way to remember pups for years to come.
10. The Great Lakes
A general destination for any dog lover and their four-legged friend should be the Great Lakes. These inland beaches are gorgeous, offering a sandy area to relax and water to take a dip in. If you’re looking to tour the Great Lakes, starting in Chicago is a safe bet, as it’s dog-friendly and sits on the coast of Lake Michigan. Enjoy the lapping waves of the largest lakes in the country with your pup, and breath in the crystal clear air.
Hit the Road with Your Pooch
The United States has some of the most diverse geography available in the world. It’s also home to some of the most incredible dog-friendly destinations. If you and your pooch are itching for adventure, any of the 10 destinations from our list are a great idea.
Be sure to pack accordingly, and take your time. Road trips are less about the destination and more about the journey. There are plenty of beautiful things to see if we just slow down. Take a relaxing trip with your best friend today!
The Complete Guide to Traveling With Your Dog | American Kennel Club
Canine Travel Tips | American Kennel Club
Dog Anxiety in Car Rides: How to Relieve Dog Stress | American Kennel Club
At Vermont's Dog Mountain, Comfort And Community For Pet Lovers | NPR