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Dog Friendly Vacations Guide

Taking dog friendly vacations makes sure that your pup or dog can share in the relaxation and fun times that the human family members look forward to all year!

Labrador Retrievers having fun on a dog-friendly vacation

But, setting out on dog friendly holidays isn't as easy as jumping in the car and pointing it towards the ocean....

... or the lake, mountain, tourist attraction, park or wherever you're planning on spending your two weeks of R & R.

If you want everyone to have a good time, and your trip to be more fun than fuss, then a little bit of preparation can go a long way.

Some modes of transport are more dog-friendly than others. The same goes for hotel chains, beaches and parks. 

It's definitely worth checking ahead to make sure that the accommodation you choose will welcome four-legged family members, and to make a note of which attractions and venues are dog-friendly too.

With a little planning and a common-sense approach, just about any vacation can become a dog-friendly venue. 

This page will get you started off on the right foot, and paw.

Use these quick links to jump straight to specific sections of this page, or simply scroll down to read it all:

'Have Dog, Will Travel'

If there's one thing I can't recommend enough, it's that you do some PLANNING before you set off on that trip.

It can make all the difference between having fun on vacation, or wishing you were back at home.


We humans can drive for as long as we want (or as long as our stomachs and bladders can manage), stop wherever we want to, eat whatever we feel like, sleep at any hotel that has a room.... and so on. Dogs can't.

They need to pee, often. They may get carsick on long road trips. They can't eat a candy bar or drink coke from a vending machine. They aren't allowed to sleep in any hotel, guest-house or rental that they like.

If you want Fido to share your vacation, you need a PLAN. Check out this page to find out what you need to prepare for, and how to do it.... A Guide To Traveling With Your Dog

How To Travel?

If your puppy or dog is going on holiday with you, then you'll need to consider exactly how you're getting to your destination first.

Yorkshire Terrier on road trip

Car travel with a dog is the easiest, and most flexible, option and it's also likely to be the least expensive.

If you take your dog on a road trip you can control where, when and how often you stop and that way he can drink or pee/poop when he needs to.

If he looks like he's in danger of getting sick you can pull over quickly, and you'll all be able to travel together.

You can find out all about taking a road trip with your dog, including how to prepare, what to do about doggie motion sickness, how to keep him safe en-route and a whole lot more on my Traveling With Your Dog page.

Pet air travel isn't quite as straightforward, and is definitely more expensive, but if you're planning on taking your dog friendly vacations far from home then it might be necessary to take a plane.

Many airlines will allow small dogs to travel in the passenger compartment if they are in a suitable crate which fits under the seats.

Big dogs need to travel in suitable crates too, but they have to go with the cargo. Some breeds (such as pitbulls) are not allowed to travel by air after a certain age but this age limit may vary from airline to airline.

Other breeds such as Bulldogs shouldn't travel this way as it can be too stressful for them. There are also other limits to air travel for dogs such as weather restrictions (minimum and maximum temps for dogs who are traveling as cargo) and so on.

Greyhound buses or Amtrak trains don't allow dogs as passengers. Some local public transportation systems (buses, light rail) allow dogs, but their regulations can vary a lot.

Some only allow small dogs, some insist on them being in specific types of dog carriers, some only require that dogs be leashed. Service dogs are an exception to these rules.

Your Destination

Whether you live in the US, or in another part of the world, traveling internationally with a dog can be tricky.. and requires a lot of research and preparation.

Couple taking their dog for a walk on vacation

Most countries have specific requirements relating to the health of your dog and you'll need to have proof of up-to-date vaccinations and possibly a general health certificate too.

Some countries require an 'import permit', some don't allow dogs to enter at all, others limit the countries from which they will allow it. Some have lengthy quarantine requirements.

Many of the requirements need to be undertaken several months before you actually leave, hence the need to plan ahead.

Generally taking a pet overseas isn't likely to be on your list of dog friendly vacations options, and it's easier and less stressful for everyone to stay closer to home.

Another aspect of the 'where you take dog friendly vacations' that you need to consider, is the climate. Just like people, dogs can find it difficult to go from cool weather to hot weather suddenly.

Some breeds have more difficulty with it than others, and if you have a X-Large dog, a short-muzzled breed like a Pug or Bulldog, or a thick-coated breed like a Malamute or Chow Chow, then don't take your R & R in Florida during the summer (or in many of the southern states for that matter).

Your Accommodation

Although it's better than it used to be, it's still not easy to pull off the highway and check-in to a hotel with your dog in tow.

Dog friendly hotels now include most of the major hotel chains, but not every hotel offering dog friendly vacations accepts ALL dogs.There is usually a weight-limit and possibly other restrictions.

From my research I've compiled a list of dog friendly hotels and these would be a good place to start when you're booking your accommodation:

  • Best Western
  • Comfort Inn/Suites
  • Days Inn
  • Embassy Suites
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites
  • Four Points by Sheraton
  • Hilton Hotels
  • Holiday Inn
  • La Quinta Inn & Suites
  • Marriott Hotels
  • Motel 6
  • Quality Inn
  • Ramada
  • Residence Inn
  • Staybridge Suites
  • Springhill Suites
  • Super 8
  • Travelodge
  • Westin

You can check out the rates, availability and amenities for just about any hotel, almost anywhere, by using this link....

For a bit of extra help planning those long-distance, international vacations, check out this comprehensive list of pet-friendly hotels around the world.

Another great option for taking dog friendly vacations, is to find holiday rental accommodation that allows pets. Again, you'll find many rentals aren't pet friendly, but there are a whole host that are.

You can read reviews and discover great deals on international vacation rentals right here.

RV camps and campgrounds are also often a good choice for a dog friendly holiday, and there are loads of these scattered across the country.

Purchase this DogFriendly Campground and Park Guide to get your plans started, it has tons of really useful information to help you pick the right location for your next trip.

Dog Friendly Beaches

Dog friendly vacations don't just consist of travel and accommodation!

Puppy enjoys the beach on dog friendly vacation

In order to have really dog friendly holidays you need to know that there are restaurants, parks, attractions.... even dog friendly beaches, at your destination.

There are dog friendly resorts and amenities from Massachusetts to California, and many many places in between.

If you're looking for a beach vacation, there are several states that have a whole range of beaches and coastal parks that welcome Fido.

Some of them are only open to dogs at certain times of the week/year. Some require your pet to be leashed, others allow him to run free and romp. A few have other variable restrictions....


Here are some popular dog-friendly Florida beaches that allow you and your dog free rein to have fun....

  • Bayview Beach & Dog Park - Pensacola
  • Davis Islands Dog Park - Tampa
  • Fort Myers Dog Beach - Fort Myers
  • Key Biscayne Dog Park - Key Biscayne
  • Key West Dog Beach - Key West
  • South Brohard Beach and Paw Park - Venice
  • Walton Rocks Beach - Fort Pierce

And here's are a few excellent beaches that allow dogs who are leashed at all times....

  • Algiers Beach & Gulfside Park - Sanibel Island
  • Anne's Beach - Islamodora
  • Canine Beach - Fort Lauderdale
  • DeSoto National Memorial Beach - Bradenton
  • Doggie Beach - Panama City
  • Hollywood Dog Beach - Hollywood
  • Picnic Island Park - Tampa
  • Sand Key Park - Clearwater


California is just jam-packed full of dog-friendly beaches and parks.

Here are some beaches that allow Fido to run free....

  • Arroyo Burro Beach - Santa Barbara
  • Carmel Beach - Carmel By The Sea
  • Centerville Beach County Park - Ferndale
  • Coronado Dog Beach - Coronado
  • Fiesta Island Leash Free Recreation Area - San Diego
  • Noyo Beach - Fort Bragg
  • Rosie's Dog Beach - Long Beach
  • Summerland Beach - Summerland
  • The Beaches At Big Bear Lake - Big Bear
  • The Original Dog Beach - San Diego

These beaches require your dog to be leashed, many of them have a lead-length restriction of 6 feet....

  • Asilomar Beach - Pacific Grove
  • Baker Beach - San Francisco
  • Carmel River State Park - Carmel
  • Del Mar Dog Beach - Del Mar (leashed or un-leashed depending upon season/date)
  • Del Monte Beach - Monterey
  • Its Beach - Santa Cruz
  • Land's End Beach - San Francisco
  • Mad River Beach - Arcata
  • McAbee Beach - Monterey
  • Ocean Beach - San Francisco
  • Rincon Point Beach - Santa Barbara
  • Rodeo Beach - Sausalito


There are a couple of beaches in MA that allow leash-free play, there may be seasonal restrictions with many of them not allowing dogs during peak season....

  • Dog Beach Mahant - Mahant
  • Eastville Point Beach - Oak Bluffs
  • Herring Cove - Provincetown

Massachusetts beaches that welcome Fido or Fifi if they're leashed include....

  • Brant Point Beach - Nantucket
  • Carson Beach - Boston
  • Cisco Beach - Nantucket
  • Fort Phoenix Beach - Fairhaven
  • Kalmus Beach - Barnstable
  • Lighthouse Beach - Chatham
  • Nauset Light Beach - Eastham
  • Sandy Neck Beach - West Barnstable
  • Surfside Beach - Nantucket


Here are a few of the dog-friendly beaches in the Carolinas.

They can vary in terms of their regulations ie. off-leash or on (sometimes either/or at certain times of the year), limited seasonal access for dogs, or restricted areas....

  • Alder Lane Beach - Hilton Head Island, SC
  • Caswell Beach - Oak Island, NC
  • Freeman Park - Carolina Beach, NC
  • Kiawah Beach - Kiawah Island, SC
  • Kitty Hawk Beach - Kitty Hawk, NC
  • Nags Head Beach - Nags Head, NC
  • Surfside Beach - Surfside Beach, SC
  • Wrightsville Beach - Wrightsville Beach, NC

Many of these destinations also have dog-friendly restaurants, parks and other attractions which make it easy for the whole family to enjoy themselves.

Resources To Help Plan Your Pet-Friendly Vacation

If you live in, or are visiting the USA, DogFriendly.com is one of the best travel resources available for dog owners wanting to take their best friend on vacation with them.

You might also want to check out Pet Friendly Hotels - through Doginmysuitcase.com, who specialize in hotels that allow pets to stay. They are the one-stop-shop for all your pet travel needs, from a one night stay to a complete vacation package including car, airfare and hotel. All 100% pet friendly!

If you live outside of the United States, here are a couple of pet travel resources that will help you get your dog friendly vacation up and running...

If you're going to be visiting, or live in, Canada check out The PET FRIENDLY Canada accommodations directory which features pet-friendly cottages, cabins, B&Bs, and other lodging from across Canada that welcome pets.

It's Canada's ultimate online directory for pet friendly vacations, and you're bound to find just what you're looking for!

For those of you living in, or visiting, the United Kingdom, Dogpeople.co.uk is an amazing resource that makes it easy to gather information for successful holidays and days out with your canine best friend. you'll find information on pet friendly accommodation, dog friendly hotels, self catering, cottages, b&b, pubs, places to eat, attractions and holiday parks all located within the UK.

So, if you're thinking about your next family trip, why not take your four-legged family member with you too? He probably needs a break as much as you do. Enjoy :)

› Dog Friendly Vacations

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