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!

Border Collie dog at the beach

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


Dog Friendly Vacations Need Planning

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 the difference between having fun on vacation, or wishing you were back at home!

Planning Dog Friendly Vacations

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 be prone to dog travel anxiety and/or motion sickness. 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


Dog Friendly 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.

Dog taking a 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 don't allow dogs as passengers. Amtrak allows dogs to travel on some routes, and at certain times of the year.

Some local public transportation systems (buses, light rail) allow dogs, but their regulations can vary a lot

Cruise liners don't allow dogs onboard. Most ferries do.

Depending on your mode of public transport, some will allow small dogs only, some insist on dogs being in specific types of dog carriers, others only require that dogs be leashed.

Service dogs are an exception to these rules for all travel options.

Dog Travel Resources Guide

Dog in car

There are so many things to think about when you're planning dog friendly vacations or trips.

Having access to up-to-date dog travel resources that will help you plan and organize efficiently can save so much time, hassle and worry.

Get all the info. you need about pet-friendly travel options, dog friendly hotels, RV and campgrounds, restaurants, national parks, beaches and so much more here.. Dog Travel Resources Guide



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.

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, which is why you need to plan ahead.

Dog friendly vacations airport terminal

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.

Something else to consider, is 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
  • Clarion
  • Comfort Inn/Suites
  • Days Inn
  • Embassy Suites
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites
  • Four Points by Sheraton
  • Hilton Hotels
  • Holiday Inn
  • Howard Johnson (some locations)
  • Hyatt Place
  • La Quinta Inn & Suites
  • Marriott Hotels
  • Motel 6
  • Quality Inn
  • Ramada
  • Red Roof Inn
  • Residence Inn
  • Rodeway Inn
  • Sleep Inn
  • Staybridge Suites
  • Springhill Suites
  • Super 8
  • Travelodge
  • Westin

Check out my Dog Travel Resources page to find all the best dog-friendly hotels in the US and around the world.


Dog Friendly Beaches

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

Beagle puppy in the sand

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....


CALIFORNIA

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


CONNECTICUT

  • Jennings Dog Beach - Fairfield
  • Penfield Beach - Fairfield


FLORIDA

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 De Soto Beach - Fort de Soto
  • Fort Myers Dog Beach - Fort Myers
  • Jupiter Beach - Jupiter
  • Key Biscayne Dog Park - Key Biscayne
  • Key West Dog Beach - Key West
  • Picnic Island - Tampa
  • 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
  • Gulfside Beach - Sanibel Island
  • Hollywood Dog Beach - Hollywood
  • Smyrna Dunes Park - New Smyrna Beach
  • Picnic Island Park - Tampa
  • Pier Park Beach - Panama City Beach
  • Sand Key Park - Clearwater


GEORGIA

  • Jekyll Island Beaches - Jekyll Island


MAINE

  • Kennebunk Beaches - Maine
  • Willard Beach - Near Portland


MARYLAND

  • Assateague Island Beach - Assateague Island


MASSACHUSETTS

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


MICHIGAN

  • Sundling Park - Manistee County


MISSISSIPPI

  • Pascagoula Beach - Pascagoula


NEW JERSEY

  • 8th Avenue Dog Beach - Asbury Park
  • Fisherman's Cove - Monmouth County Park
  • Longport Dog Beach - Longport


NEW YORK

  • Montauk Beaches -  Montauk
  • Port Jefferson Public Beach - Long Island, New York (no leash required)


NORTH & SOUTH CAROLINA

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
  • Bald Head Beach - Brunswick Island, NC
  • Caswell Beach - Oak Island, NC
  • Freeman Park - Carolina Beach, NC
  • Kiawah Beach - Kiawah Island, SC
  • Kitty Hawk Beach - Kitty Hawk, NC
  • Myrtle Beach - Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Nags Head Beach - Nags Head, NC
  • Oak Island Beaches - Oak Island, NC
  • Surfside Beach - Surfside Beach, SC
  • Wrightsville Beach - Wrightsville Beach, NC


OREGON

  • Cannon Beach - Cannon Beach 


TEXAS

  • Padre Island National Seashore - Padre Island
  • Galveston Beach - Galveston


VIRGINIA

  • First Landing State Park - Virginia Beach


WASHINGTON STATE

  • Double Bluff Beach - Whidbey Island


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


Dog Friendly Campsites

If camping is more your style than hotel hopping, taking Fido along can be even easier.

However, not ALL campsites are dog friendly, so definitely check in advance that the campground/s you plan to stay in will welcome Fido.

Dog friendly camping

Pet friendly campsites will each have rules and regulations for dogs staying on their grounds.

Making sure that Fido is leashed or crated/contained at all times and never left unattended is pretty standard.

Other restrictions might restrict what areas of the campsite dogs are allowed in (pool areas are often off limits. Beaches may or may not be dog-friendly etc.)

Of course scooping Fido's poop is absolutely essential.

Camping has it's own set of unique dangers for dogs including parasites such as ticks, poisonous foliage, potentially dangerous creatures such as snakes, stickers and thorns which get stuck in skin or paw pads, dehydration, heat exhaustion and so on.

As long as  you plan ahead camping with your dog can be a great bonding experience and a lot of fun.

To help you prepare check out this Dog Camping Checklist... it will make sure you have everything you could possibly need for a fun, and safe, camping trip with your four legged friend.

Click on the following link to get info and a map of US campgrounds where pets are welcome.... Pet Friendly Campgrounds in the USA

You can also 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.


Resources For Your Pet-Friendly Vacation

Whether you're traveling by car with your dog, or plan on flying or taking the train...

Whether you're going to stay in a hotel, tent, cabin or Airbnb...

Whether your destination is an hour away, across the country, or overseas...

A reliable, up to date list of pet travel resources is a must.

Check out this page to find everything you need: Dog Travel Resources Guide

Wishing you all happy and safe travels!


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