5 Best Dog Friendly Vacations


Ready for a vacation but don’t want to leave your dog behind? Dog friendly vacations take a little more planning, but many destinations boast lodging that allows dogs, outdoor dining options, and activities that you and your dog can enjoy together. I know my dogs love seeing me pack up their food and their favorite toys!

So, if you’re looking for the best dog friendly vacations or some spots for dog friendly weekend getaways, here are some great spots!

Acadia National Park

If you are looking for a good hike to take with your dog, head for the summit of Gorham Mountain. Credit: Kate Basedow

This incredible park in Maine is not only one of the best dog friendly vacations, but can be done on a budget! Camping is the way to go to enjoy this stunning chunk of Maine’s coastline.

Hotels fill up fast for the peak summer season and can get quite pricey. Camping, on the other hand, will only set you back about $30 a night ($60 if you will have several tents grouping together in a large campsite).

My personal favorite is Seawall Campground because you are within walking distance of the ocean—there’s nothing like being lulled to sleep by the waves! Our two dogs enjoyed lounging by the campfire and then taking a moonlit stroll out to the beach to stargaze.

During the day, drive to your chosen hiking and exploring spots. Here are some of the sights and activities my dogs enjoyed:

  • Gorham Mountain—a fun hike even if you aren’t a serious hiker with amazing ocean views. The trail is mostly on large rocks and would be too much for a puppy. Don’t forget water for your dogs!
  • Schoodic Point—a bit of a drive from the main part of the park, but well worth it for the big flat rocks, open ocean, and a chance to spot some whales or dolphins.
  • Ship Harbor—easy flat walking paths and a great spot to wade and play in the water.
  • Otter Cove—another great place to play in the water. It also has some of the best cell service on the island—perfect for uploading photos of your dog on vacation.

If you’re going to be on the coast, you have to eat at a fish or lobster shack. Nothing beats fresh seafood! Most of these spots have picnic tables where your dog can join you.

Bruce Peninsula National Park

This gem is another great option for a dog camping trip. Bruce Peninsula National Park is up in Canada, so any human travelers from the U.S. will need a passport and canine travelers will need a rabies certificate (check before you travel for any additional requirements). Camping in the park offers the usual options plus yurts that can be reserved year-round.

Georgian Bay on the eastern side of the peninsula has crystal clear water. The body of Lake Huron on the western side tends to be warmer for swimming.

Spots in the park and rest of the peninsula to check out with your dog include:

  • Singing Sands—an incredible sandy beach with extensive shallows perfect for wading and playing! There is also a boardwalk trail with educational signs about the animals and plants that call this area home.
  • Georgian Bay Trail—an easy walk from the campground through the woods and past small lakes that leads to Indian Head Cove and the Grotto. Both of these are beautiful photo spots. Watch out for the biting flies though!
  • Little Cove Provincial Park—a beautiful cove with a rock and pebble beach perfect for paddle boarding and swimming. Reserve parking ahead of time and keep your dog on leash at all times to protect wildlife. Little Cove is also one of the spots on the Bruce Trail, which runs from Tobermory all the way to Niagara.

Tobermory Brewing Company and Grill welcomes dogs on their outdoor patio. Looking for a tasty sandwich to bring on a hike? We stopped at the Foodland on Route 6 every day of our visit.

The Finger Lakes and Ithaca, New York

I’m a little biased because I lived in this area for four years, but it is a wonderful place to visit with dogs!

Here are some great spots to check out with your dog:

  • Taughannock Falls State Park—a nice walking trail and an amazing waterfall! You can also enjoy a typical park with picnic tables, playgrounds, and lots of open grass across the road—not to mention Cayuga Lake.
  • Buttermilk Falls State Park—these trails are a bit more effort, but well worth it to view the stunning waterfalls.
  • Ithaca Falls Natural Area—easy access to a beautiful waterfall. In college, my dog and I loved to sit and read by the waterfall during the summer.
  • Long Point State Park—another great spot to play in the water plus plenty of picnic tables to enjoy a leisurely afternoon. The docks are also a popular fishing spot.
  • South Hill Cider—a beautiful cidery near Buttermilk Falls that offers cider tastings, cheese boards, smoked meat sandwiches (plus falafel for vegetarians), and music nights throughout the summer. Dogs are welcome in the outdoor areas.

My favorite place to stay when visiting Ithaca is the Best Western University Inn. Be sure to grab breakfast at Collegetown Bagels right next door in East Hill Plaza! They offer the same menu as the original CTB down next to Cornell University’s campus but with the convenience of an actual parking lot.

On the topic of Cornell, the campus is dog friendly and a beautiful place to walk. The iconic Arts Quad is a must-see spot, and then you can make your way over to the Cornell Botanic Gardens to enjoy mature trees, flower gardens, sculptures, and a lily pond.

If you’re a wine lover, the Seneca Lake Wine Trail and Cayuga Lake Wine Trail don’t disappoint. Many of the wineries welcome dogs with a special shoutout to Boundary Breaks which even has a fenced area for dogs to run!

On the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail, Americana Vineyards and Swedish Hill Winery both have a special place in my heart. Be sure to say hello to the resident farm animals at Swedish Hill, though it may be best to keep your dog out of reach.

Agate Beach, Oregon

You and your dogs can play on by the water at the Agate Beach State Recreation Area. Credit: Kate Basedow

This spot would make a perfect dog friendly weekend getaway or you could make it one stop on a longer tour of the northwest.

Start your trip by booking one of the dog friendly suites at the Agate Beach Motel in Newport. This lovely little motel is right on the ocean and offers cozy accommodations and a sun deck with each suite.

Then take your dog to the Agate Beach State Recreation Area and you are all set for a relaxing weekend. This huge sandy beach offers plenty of space for dogs to play on and off leash. It is easy to spend hours strolling on the sand, investigating tide pools, and listening to the birds and waves.

Another neat spot is the Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area. This unique landmark was probably created when the top of a system of underwater caves collapsed resulting in a large “bowl” that fills and empties with the tides.

Restaurants with dog friendly patios in nearby Newport include The Taphouse at Nye Creek, Rogue Bayfront Public House, Nana’s Irish Pub, and South Beach Fish Market.

Flagstaff, Arizona

While I haven’t been there myself (yet), Flagstaff has a fantastic reputation as being a dog-friendly destination.

Places to stay:

  • La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Flagstaff—located right off I-40, this hotel is modern and offers free breakfast (for human guests, though you could bring some eggs back to the room for your dog).
  • High Country Motor Lodge—this hotel has designated dog friendly rooms and allows dogs to stay in the room unattended as long as they are in crates and well behaved (no barking or howling!). There is also a dog park nearby.
  • And many more! If you have some reward member points for a particular hotel chain, see if they have a Flagstaff location and if it honors the dog friendly attitude of the city.

Things to do:

  • Bright Side Bookshop—an independent community bookstore where well-behaved, leashed dogs are welcome.
  • Riordan Mansion State Historic Park—dogs can’t go inside the mansion but can stroll the grounds.
  • The Arboretum at Flagstaff—a stunning 200-acre conservation area with walking trails to enjoy the nature and plant life of northern Arizona. The current dog admission fee is $2 which I think is kind of adorable and well worth it to encourage the venue to continue to allow dogs.
  • Arizona Nordic Village—a great place to hike in the summer and ski or snowshoe in the winter.
  • Historic downtown Flagstaff—stroll down Leroux St. where many of the shops and restaurants have dog-friendly patios or allow well-behaved canine shoppers.

Places to eat:

  • Mother Road Brewing Company—sliders and other tasty tidbits from a food truck, plus of course the beer!
  • Satchmo’s—barbecue and Cajun food.
  • Josephine’s Modern American Bistro—a diverse menu and brunch on the weekends.

Shoutout to Love’s Truck Stops

If you’re on a cross-country road trip with your dog, keep an eye out for Love’s truck stops. Many of these have dog parks so your pup can have a chance to run and take care of business off leash. In my experience, these fenced areas have been clean and secure, perfect if you are traveling with young dogs who need to let off some steam.

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Kate Basedow, LVT is a long-time dog enthusiast. She grew up training and showing dogs, and is active in a variety of dog sports. She earned her Bachelors Degree in English from Cornell University in 2013, and became a licensed veterinary technician in New York in 2017. She has been writing professionally about dogs for most of her life, and has earned multiple awards from the Dog Writers' Association of America. Kate currently has three dogs at home, as well as a cat, two zebra finches, and six ducks.