The 10 Best Dog-Friendly Vacation Destinations

One of the major downsides of traveling is having to leave the pupper behind. As you eagerly count the days till you pop into the airport and jet off to the Bahamas or Florence, Bruno’s wagging tail leaves a nagging sense of dread in the back of your head. The thought of leaving him behind for a week with no one to rub his tummy or cuddle with is enough to bring a tear to your eye. But not to worry, because there are several travel destinations that love dogs as much as you do! So, here are ten of the best dog-friendly vacation destinations for both you and the pup to enjoy! Pet-friendly accommodation is a guaranteed recommendation, as well as numerous parks, cafes and even doggie spas that will make a special experience for you and your doggo. These places are all within the U.S.A. because we know customs can be an extreme pain in the neck when you travel with your trusty companion.

Austin, Texas
The city that is mad about music is also barking mad about dogs! Dogs are allowed just about everywhere here, even in stores, outdoor concerts and restaurants. Red Bud Isle Park on the peninsula is an off-leash area that gives the dogs plenty of free space to race around. If your pup likes swimming, he/she can totally take a cooling dip in the waters. If you go in February, be sure to check out the Mardi Gras Dog Parade, or just chill at one of the outdoor live music events that are widespread in the city. For some drinks and social interaction, Doghouse Drinkery Dog Park is a fun place for both dogs and owners to meet other dogs and their owners.

San Diego, California
Chic, laid-back and obsessed with dogs is how we would describe San Diego. Sunny California is always a good idea, and it’s made even better by the fact that the city is so dog-crazy. One of the obvious things to do is to let the pup chase shadows down the lengths of the off-leash Dog Beach down at Ocean Beach. Have a lazy lunch at the Patio on Lamont for delicious Californian food where they even provide homemade biscuits for your furry companion! Cafe Pier is another canine-friendly terrace cafe. Lodging-wise, the historic U.S. Grant Hotel will be more than willing to accommodate your dog, with a complimentary dog bed, water dish and cookies on arrival!  

Key West, Florida
Did you know there are 48 dog-friendly restaurants in Key West? That’s a lot of dog-loving for a little town! Island Dogs Bar is a prime spot for you and Bruno to people-watch, cocktails included. For some fresh seafood, check out the island-chic Nine One Five Bistro where you can enjoy fantastic lobster ravioli, seared scallops, and grouper ceviche while your pooch lazes on the terrace. Once you’re all fed and ready for adventures, Key West holds some of the most exciting activities that you can do with your pet. For double animal interaction, treat yourself and the puppy to a Wild About Dolphins tour — an eco-friendly cruise to watch playful dolphins. The captain himself has his adorable Golden Retriever on-board so your dog can make a friend too! You can also take a Lazy Dog Kayak for some splashing good times. Stay at Sheraton Key Suites for some top-notch service and amenities for both you and the pup.

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
This pretty seaside town is made even more charming by its’ generosity and warmth towards furry friends. Luxe it up at Cypress Inn, owned by actress and professional dog-lover Doris Day; it is an elegant boutique hotel with a sunlit courtyard where all dogs are invited to its’ iconic high tea. There are 44 pet-friendly restaurants and coffee houses here, and Forge in the Forest is a special dining experience with ivy-covered outdoor patios, fireplaces and an exclusive dog menu with steaks! Make this trip extra luxurious for your pets and bring them to a dog spa. Bruno gets to be a king for the day as he is groomed and pampered at Signature Paw Spa. Pick up a mix of naughty and healthy treats for him at Izzy’s Palace and Raw Connection.  

Denver, Colorado
It was voted the U.S.A’s most dog-friendly city, so that should be reason alone to make this your choice! Greenway Park and Chatfield State Park are two wonderful off-leash areas that you can let Bruno run free. There is an abundance of dog-friendly restaurants and bars, as expected. Kaos Pizzeria is located in a cute cottage with an outdoor patio, serving up gourmet pizzas and craft beers. Randolph’s Restaurant and Bar is a chic, contemporary American establishment that hosts “Pawtio Happy Hour” throughout summer. While it doesn’t let our furry friends in for most of the year, this is when dogs can enter the elegant patio between 4 to 7 pm.  Europa Coffeehouse and Denver Beer &  Co. make for great drink options. Stay at the hip Hotel Monaco with lush Italian linens and designer toiletries where p to two pups can stay free of charge. If you want something special to do, bring your pet to Paw Prints and Cocktails at the city’s arts district for them to try their paw at painting!

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago loves baseball and dogs too. For fans of the pitch, you can catch a game at Bark in the Park with your pooch who also gets special doggie treats. If you need a little pre-game, Jack & Ginger’s is a great, underrated sports bar that will kindly host both you and your dog! For nibbles, Big Star has some of the best tacos in town, but do come early because the patio tends to fill up with other likeminded, Mexican-loving dog owners. For a little boating adventure, Murphy’s Canine Cruise sets off every Sunday of the summer months and will take you around a dog-oriented tour of the city,  

Bar Harbor, Maine
If you’re in need of some fresh content for your dog’s Instagram page (we bet he is more Insta-famous than you), the picturesque Bar Harbor will provide a spectacular background for Bruno to wag his tongue at. In the mountains and sea of Acadia National Park is a genuine love for four-legged friends, where owner and dog can kayak, paddle, hike, and fish together. The off-leash Little Long Pond is a popular spot with long wooded trails and little ponds for the pup to explore. Stewman’s Lobster Pound is a real treat downtown, both view, and food-wise. If you fancy a cottage, you can easily rent a pretty white house in the woods for some cozy, quality time with your pet. Don’t forget to put a dog-friendly GPS tracker like GoFindMe on your dog to keep tracking with him. 

Asheville, North Carolina
This fun, outdoorsy destination for adventurous owners and active pups is located in the Appalachian Foothills. Biltmore Estate has 220 acres of trail ground for exploration, and an on-site kennel if you can bear to leave Bruno for a bit to have a look at the historic house. French Broad River Dog Park has a river if your dog likes to have a splashing time.  If you’d like a bit of culture, the Urban Trail is great for checking out Asheville’s more artsy and historic sites. Don’t forget to stop by Woof Gang Bakery for some treats!

Nashville, Tennessee
Country music isn’t the only thing they got right here. This place was basically made for dogs! Centennial, Shelby and Warner Dog Parks are nice places for Bruno to meet some friends as they run around in the sunset. If your dog is also a music lover, Live on the Green is a free six-week public concert with local, regional and national artists alike headlining shows. For grub, Fido, a former dog store, is now a hip cafe with cute drink names like milk bone, Irish settler, and dalmatian. Batter’d & Fried, Pizzereal and Mitchell Deli are some other bistros and restaurants you can bring your pooch to. Stay at the Loews Vanderbilt, where your dog is lavished upon welcome with treats, a pet tag, and bowls of water. Special services like a pet menu room service, area groomers, and veterinarians make this a truly outstanding stay.

Washington, D.C.
If there is one thing Democrats and Republicans can agree on, it’s that dogs are awesome. The Nationals hosts dog-friendly ball games, and even have on-site sitters in case you want to run to the concession line. Art and Soul’s Pooch Patio has a special dog-friendly menu and a non-alcoholic dog beer provided Bruno is legal, of course. The National Mall is great to spend the day seeing monuments, but do keep pets on leashes! Stay at the Fairmont Georgetown, where the special “It’s A Dog’s World” package includes handcrafted doggie treats by an in-house pastry chef!

Whether you want adventure, luxury or chill time, it’s totally possible to do it with your dog! Moreover, you can always make your little bonding session with your furry pal that bit more exciting by packing in some dog floaties that your dog can totally enjoy and have some splashin’ fun with! Have a howlingly good time!