This article was updated for accuracy and relevance on December 24th, 2021.
As a dog owner, going on vacation often means having to leave your furry friend behind… but it doesn’t always have to be that way. Looking to learn how to travel with pets? Many cities are becoming increasingly pet-friendly, which means your dog is welcome to come along, too. Some vacation areas have certain dog-friendly restaurants and spaces for your pet, while other destinations let you know right away that it’s a city full of dog lovers.
Here are a few of the best places to travel with dogs, whether heading for a weekend getaway or for an extended, seasonal pet-friendly vacation. From desert to ocean and mountains to city life, there are ideal dog-friendly places for both you and your pet to enjoy. So grab your pet travel carrier and let’s get planning!
Turns out Tucson is the place for pets. It has over 250 dog-friendly restaurants, plenty of dog parks, and very few days where it rains. All of that adds up to a good place to take your dog with you for a pet-friendly vacation. You’ll get to spend most of your time outdoors so be sure to bring your favorite dog travel accessories to be well prepared for the adventures that await. As one of the best places to vacation with dogs, we suggest waiting to visit until after the summer months have passed before planning a trip.
Summer temperatures in Arizona reach well into the three digits and can make you and your pet miserable. Plus, it can be harmful to your dog if you have to leave them in the car or take them for a walk where they might burn their feet on the sidewalk. Otherwise, Tucson has plenty of outdoor hiking areas and walking trail options to explore, making it a must-visit spot to add to your vacation list.
The walkability of Portland, OR makes it a great place to visit nearly any time of the year. Though early or late summer months are probably best to avoid the heavy rainfall, it’s a beautiful city year-round, with nearby hiking trails and parks just outside the city limits.
There are plenty of restaurants and breweries to hang out at where your dog will be welcome. It’s a foodie and craft beer town, so you’re sure to find a taste of what you like on nearly every block. Then, when it’s time for your pet to explore, take them to Wallace or Gabriel Park -- one of the many parks that have off-leash areas where your pet can roam freely.
There’s a good mix of things to do in Portland, bouncing back and forth between urban activities and nature adventures. This variety, combined with the laid-back feel of the city, makes it the perfect spot for dog lovers to travel to with their pup.
Tampa is known for its warm, sunny weather and white sandy beaches. You can’t ask for more than that when it comes to a relaxing vacation. It only makes sense for Tampa to be a dog-friendly city, too, since there’s sunshine nearly every day.
It’s also easy to find a pet-friendly hotel, which gives you more options for where to stay. In fact, Hyatt Place Busch Gardens and The Westin Tampa Waterside are two hotels that welcome more than one dog. Both allow two pets per room with an added fee. In addition to pet-friendly accommodations, there are 16 dog-friendly parks and beaches spread throughout the city for you both to enjoy.
San Diego, CA
As one of the best travel destinations in the country, it would be a shame to have to leave your furry friend behind when headed to America’s Finest City. It is often listed as one of the best places to travel with dogs, and for good reason. Dog parks, dog beaches, and other dog-friendly places, even in the downtown neighborhood, have plenty of open areas for your pet to hang out and run around.
Since San Diego is surrounded by ocean, mountains, desert, and city, you can take your pick on where to adventure with your pet. The trails can get crowded in the summer months, but fall and winter are beautiful times to enjoy cooler but still sunny weather, as well. Headed there when it’s not as hot will also help keep you and your pup from overheating or getting dehydrated while enjoying time outside. There’s plenty to do in San Diego. The only challenge is deciding how much to include on your trip.
The nature-friendly vibe of Denver means animal lovers abound as well. It’s normal to see dogs hanging out on patios and sitting in bike baskets, enjoying life in Colorado as much as humans do. Denver Parks and Recreation estimates show the city’s dog population has reached about 158,000, which is more dogs than kids. (There are about 140,000 children according to the U.S. Census estimates.)
Regardless of how much those numbers may vary from year to year, the point is: Denver loves their dogs, which means you’ll find plenty of walking trail options, parks, and dog-friendly spaces that welcome your visiting pet as one of their own. Your pet will be more than happy to soak up the fresh mountain air and maybe even take a roll in the snow.
Where Can I Go on Vacation with My Dog Beyond the U.S.?
The U.S. isn’t the only place that loves its pets. Destinations worldwide are becoming increasingly pet-friendly. If your dog is plane-ready, consider these global cities for your next adventure.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
From the U.S., you can travel fairly easily with your dog to Toronto by plane, train, or automobile. Depending on how long you want to be cooped up inside will determine which route to take. Are you interested in learning how to road trip with a dog, or would you rather get there and get the vacation started right away?
Either way, wait until the weather warms up before visiting so you can take advantage of all the outdoor pet-friendly areas. With more than 60 off-leash dog parks spread across the city, you’ll have a pick of places to go when you want to enjoy outdoor time. Not to mention all the restaurants, bars, and beaches of the city as well.
Paris has long been known as a dog-friendly city with pups hanging out at the foot of tables, lazing around as their human friends enjoy cocktails with others. Though there aren’t as many open dog-specific spaces as other cities, part of the beauty of Paris is enjoying the architectural landmarks, the riverbanks of the Seine, and the open courtyards near the Notre Dame cathedral. You can take in all the sites with your pet in tow. They’ll enjoy the chance to sightsee as long as they’re by your side. Plus, small dogs are welcome on the city’s public transportation, making it more manageable to maneuver from one neighborhood to the next.
In general, Amsterdam seems so relaxed on the rules, which are often more restrictive in other places. It’s the same laid-back attitude when it comes to pets. If you love bike riding with your dog, then this is the place for you. The area is known for its Bakfiets, which is essentially a larger bike with a basket in front to place your dog. The two of you can tool around town with ease.
Many of the accommodations are exceedingly pet-friendly, as well, with some going above and beyond for your dog. One example is the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht that has the Very Important Dog program, which gives all dog guests a designer dog bed and dog bowls, a treat-filled jar, and their own bottle of mineral water. Sometimes a dog’s life seems so nice.
The Swiss rescue dog is one of the most famous and revered dogs around the world, so of course, Geneva would be a pet-friendly spot to visit. So friendly, in fact, the whole city is off-leash. Your dogs can walk confidently next to you sans restraint, something they’re most likely not used to in your own city.
For travelers, the scenery of Switzerland is breathtaking with plenty of lakes, parks, and beaches to explore in Geneva. There’s a little bit of something for everyone… especially your dog! Let them in on the adventure in a place that’s ready-made for them.
Finding the Most Dog-Friendly Places to Travel
These are some of the cities that are well-known for their dog-friendly hospitality. However, when planning your next trip, here are a few tips to find the most dog-friendly places if you’re not sure where you want to go.
Check weather conditions - Extreme temperatures aren’t too fun to travel in, especially with pets. Keep your pet in healthy condition and away from harsh elements or too strenuous of adventurous, such as extreme mountain climbing or extended time spent in the desert heat. Pick off-season travel times to avoid the crowds and possibly enjoy a better weather schedule.
Visit the city’s tourism website - Most cities have a central location where it’ll give you an overview of the city. If they’re pet-friendly, it will be proudly listed on their website and will provide an overview of hotels, restaurants, and other dog-friendly places to take your pet. Also, check local social media for insight into local spots you should explore.
Get familiar with dog-friendly hotel chains. Once you know your favorite hotel’s pet policies, search for their locations in the next places you want to travel. For example, Hilton hotels and their branches are known for being dog-friendly and can be found in nearly every country around the world. This makes it easier to make accommodations when taking your dog along on a trip.
Another hotel chain with multiple locations is Kimpton hotels. It is a chain that welcomes both dogs and cats. When hotel accommodations say they are pet-friendly, many times it includes cats, but always make sure to check. If that’s the case, pack a pet weekender bag as part of your travels.
Should I Take My Dog on Vacation with Me?
Knowing there are wonderful places where pets feel welcome, the million-dollar question is: should I take my dog on vacation with me? The answer is yes! With so many cities and establishments opening their doors to dogs (and cats), why not take them along with you whenever you can.
Take a road trip to one of these pet-friendly cities or hop a plane and explore parts of the country you haven’t discovered before. Just make sure you have your BÉIS luggage with you in tow to keep you on the move in style and comfort.
Looking for more places to take your dog in the United States? Check out this list of other popular dog friendly vacation ideas:
- Michigan: Grand Haven or Mackinac Island
- New York: Lake Placid, Central Park or Long Island
- Rhode Island: Block Island
- Oregon: Cannon Beach
- California: South Lake Tahoe, Big Bear Lake, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Huntington Beach or Del Mar
- Florida: Sanibel Island or Key West
- South Carolina:
- Smart Asset. Most Dog-Friendly Cities in America - 2021 Edition. https://smartasset.com/data-studies/most-dog-friendly-cities-in-america-2021
- Travel Portland. Pet-Friendly Portland. https://www.travelportland.com/plan/pet-friendly/
- Visit Tampa Bay. Dog-Friendly Tampa Bay. https://www.visittampabay.com/blog/archive/post/dog-friendly-tampa-bay/
- Hotels.com. Pet-Friendly Hotels in Tampa. https://www.hotels.com/de1401402-am64/pet-friendly-hotels-tampa-florida/
- Denverite. Denver has more dogs than children, and everything else we learned about Denver’s dog parks. https://denverite.com/2019/12/16/denver-has-more-dogs-than-children-and-everything-else-we-learned-about-denvers-dog-parks/
- Off the Leash. These Are the Best Dog Cities in the World. https://www.offtheleash.com.au/lifestyle/dog-travel/dog-friendly-cities/
- Booking.com. The World’s 7 Most Dog-Friendly Cities. https://www.booking.com/articles/the-worlds-7-most-dog-friendly-cities.html