Best Pet-Friendly Vacations In The USA In 2020

Most dog owners think of their four-legged friend as one of the members of their family. So, it’s only natural to want to take your beloved furry companion with you on vacation. However, traveling with your pooch in tow can be a challenge. Not all hotels are pet-friendly, so it can be tricky to find somewhere to stay that extends a warm welcome not only to your human family members but to your fluffy ones too!

With this in mind, here are some of the best pet-friendly vacations in the USA where every single member of your family will be sure to have a fantastic time—whether they have four legs or two!

Where Can I Stay With My Pet?

If you hate leaving your pet behind at home when you go away on vacation, you’re probably very familiar with the all-too-common problem of trying to reserve a getaway that caters to both pets and people alike. Even if you find a pet-friendly hotel, your problems don’t end there. Are there any restaurants nearby that will allow you to bring your pooch along to dinner? Are there any local attractions that welcome pets? And, most importantly, is there anywhere nearby that dogs can run about and exercise?

Every location you find on this list doesn’t just have excellent pet-friendly places to stay, but they also have lots of other amenities and attractions that appeal to pet owners. From doggy spas to off-leash beaches, you’re sure to find the ideal spot for your next vacation if you read on.

California – San Diego

South California is a vacation hotspot thanks to year-round good weather, and San Diego is one of the most popular destinations of all. Even better for pet owners, San Diego residents really love their dogs, so bringing your furry friend along with you to many attractions is unlikely to cause a problem. Head to Pacific Beach and have lunch with your pooch at The Patio on Lamont, dining on delicious Californian cuisine while your four-legged family member munches on tasty homemade dog biscuits. Or why not go to Balboa Park and let your companion off the leash so he can run around to their heart’s content at Nate’s Point Off-Leash Dog Park? You’ll both be free to explore Fiesta Island’s sand dunes, and you could even enjoy a pet photography shoot so you have a memento of the perfect vacation.

Maine – Bar Harbor

Maine is the ideal destination for outdoor-loving pet owners. Head to the charming resort of Bar Harbor and enjoy exciting activities such as a boat trip around Frenchman Bay or a trip to Acadia National Park. There are also plenty of dog-friendly restaurants here, including the Stewman’s Lobster Pound in picturesque downtown Bar Harbor, where your pet can enjoy his own special menu. After dinner, the area’s natural beauty is the perfect excuse to spend some time exploring the great outdoors with your pup.

Texas – Austin

If you’re heading off on vacation during the month of February, there’s no better place to go than Austin, Texas. Every year at this time the city plays host to the Mardi Gras Dog Parade—the perfect way to show off your beautiful pooch. There’s plenty to enjoy at other times of the year too, with the city hosting several dog parks to explore including the West Austin Dog Park and the park at Auditorium Shores. Dogs that love to swim will especially appreciate a visit to the Red Bud Isle Peninsula, where they can splash about and run around off the leash.

California – Huntington Beach

As we’ve already said, California is one of the most popular vacation spots for families, whether they have furry family members or not, but this one of the best places for pooch-loving vacationers to go in the state. Huntington Dog Beach is a true slice of dog heaven that is beautifully maintained and pleasant to visit. If you have an especially adventurous pup you may even be able to persuade him to take to the water on a surfboard—it could only happen in California! There’s also the fabulous Doggie Spa at Seacliff Village, which is perfect for pampering your fur baby after a long day on the water.

North Carolina – Asheville

North Carolina has a lot of popular tourist attractions, and canine tourists haven’t been forgotten. Head to the Biltmore Estate and wander through 220 acres of wooded grounds. When you’re ready to take a tour inside the historic house you can drop your pooch off at the onsite kennel—it couldn’t be more convenient! You should also make a beeline for the French Broad River Dog Park. Here you’ll find a whole acre of fenced-off land for your pet to run about in, and they can even splash around in the river. There’s no shortage of challenging trails for outdoor activity lovers around Asheville either, but if they’re too tough for your canine companion to tackle, you could always use one of the local doggie daycare facilities so they can have fun with other pups while you take a hike.

Florida – Key West

The Sunshine State boasts plenty of fantastic vacation destinations for all the family to enjoy, but when it comes to visiting Florida with your pet, Key West has to be right up there among the best choices of location. Visit Key West Dog Beach where your pooch can play and splash in the ocean’s waves, or try something completely different with a kayaking adventure where your dog can come along! There are also plenty of restaurants with dog-friendly outdoor terraces here, so you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to finding somewhere to dine—don’t miss Mojito Mondays at Island Dogs Bar, with a complimentary cool bowl of water for your dog on the side!

Georgia – Atlanta

Atlanta is a very dog-friendly city, so if you’re hoping to enjoy exploring the city with your pet in tow, you should have no difficulty in staying busy when you book a weekend here. The Piedmont Dog Park is the perfect place to let your dog run around off the leash, and if you have a petite pooch you can benefit from the separate area designed specifically for smaller pets. The Freedom Park also welcomes dogs on leashes, while the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Park is another dog-friendly attraction that you can enjoy together.

Washington D.C.

Head to the nation’s capital with your furry friend to discover a host of dog-friendly excursions. Head to Montrose Park to take a leafy stroll on the leash, or let your pet run free at the S Street, Shaw or The Yards Dog Parks. In this cosmopolitan city you’ll find many restaurants with outdoor dog-friendly terraces so you can dine with every member of your family—including the fluffy ones. There are some major attractions in D.C. that don’t allow dogs, though, so be sure to book one of the many dog-friendly rentals or hotels here that allow you to leave your pet unattended so you can take the time to visit some of the famous cultural institutions and monuments that Washington D.C. is renowned for all over the world.

California – South Lake Tahoe

Both human and furry fans of the outdoor lifestyle are sure to love a vacation at California’s South Lake Tahoe. Famous for its beaches, its skiing, and, of course, its spectacular alpine lake, South Lake Tahoe is the perfect place to visit with your four-legged companion. You’ll find no shortage of pet-friendly accommodation here, and there are a host of natural attractions that you can explore with your dog. Kiva Beach is one of the best in the area, while the Bijou Dog Park is the ideal place to enjoy a picnic while your pet runs free. If you’d like to take some time out to enjoy some of the human-only attractions nearby, the cage-free Tahoe Best Friends dog care facility will care for your pup while you’re out and about.

North Carolina – Wilmington

The pretty port city of Wilmington is very welcoming to friends on four legs. There are numerous restaurants and cafes here that open their doors to human and furry visitors alike. Be sure to try the George Restaurant, which serves up delicious Southern dishes on the Riverwalk where dogs are permitted on the outdoor terrace. Wilmington Dog Park inside Empie Park is fully fenced and has separate areas so small and large pups can have lots of fun as they run about.

Oregon – Portland

Portland has a lot to offer to all its visitors, whether human or not. However, the Tin Shed Garden Café definitely deserves a mention since your pet can enjoy one free item from their own menu on Tuesday nights if you buy a human dish! Both Mt. Tabor Park and Chimney Park have their own off-leash areas for dogs, and one of the most popular things to do with your pet in tow is to take the official Portland Food Cart Tour. You’re both sure to love the tasty treats!

New Mexico – Albuquerque

Albuquerque isn’t just a sun-soaked destination to enjoy a human vacation, it’s also the ideal spot to discover with your furry friend. There are over ten dog parks here for you to explore together, including the Rio Grande Triangle and the popular Montessa, Coronado and North Domingo Baca dog parks—the last of which deserves special mention for its separate areas for smaller and larger animals, shady spots and wood-chip ground. Once you and your pal are tired from a long day of enjoying the sights, stop by O’Neill’s Irish pub for dinner and brews—with complimentary treats for pups on the patio.

Virginia – Charlottesville

Is there any destination more stunning than Charlottesville, a city that boasts stunning views of the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains? Although your canine family member may not appreciate the vistas quite as much as you will, they’re sure to love the Chris Greene Lake Park with its roped-off dog swimming area and the Azalea Dog Park where your pet can run around off-leash to his heart’s content.

New York – Finger Lakes Region

The Finger Lakes region of the Empire State is well-known for its narrow, long bodies of water and its rich vineyards. The best thing about visiting here with your pet is that you can sample local tipples with your furry friend at your side, since most of the wineries permit dogs onsite. There is also no shortage of pet-friendly rentals and hotels in this area, so you’ll be sure that every member of the family feels at home.

Arizona – Flagstaff

One of the things that you’re sure to notice when you arrive in Flagstaff is how many people go just about everywhere with their pet. Many of the hotels, restaurants, and bars have their own fluffy resident who will welcome you and your four-legged friend to their establishment. Thorpe Park Bark Park is sure to be one of the highlights of your pet’s trip, with agility equipment here for your dog to enjoy as well as lots of space for running about and exercising.

California – Santa Barbara

With its stunning, wide beaches and its sophisticated downtown core, Santa Barbara attracts visitors of both the human and animal variety throughout the year. One of the best attractions for dog owners to discover here is the Douglas Family Preserve. Here, you’ll find plenty of pet-friendly walking trails as well as an off-leash beach. Alternatively, head to Arroyo Burro or Hendry’s Beach where you and your pet can explore freely. There are also pet-friendly restaurants here, including the welcoming Brewhouse, offering craft beers to satisfy human guests and a dog-friendly menu for its canine diners.

Washington – Seattle

If you enjoy eating out with your pooch in tow, you should definitely try out Norm’s Eatery and Ale House in Seattle. This dog-themed establishment has canine portraits around the walls, and there are sure to be lots of other dogs enjoying a treat or two alongside you. If you’re looking for pet-friendly attractions, the Washington Park Arboretum makes a wonderful day out for both of you, while dogs that love swimming will appreciate a visit to the Warren G. Magnuson Park with its off-leash area and water access. If you’re visiting during the Oktoberfest season, don’t miss the Dogtoberfest celebration, when you can bring your pet along on a leash to enjoy all the fun with you.

South Dakota – The Black Hills

The outdoor attractions of The Black Hills are often dog-friendly, including the world-famous Mount Rushmore National Memorial and the Badlands National Park. Hill City is a great place to stay with your pet in this part of South Dakota, since there are lots of pet-friendly establishments there. Head to the charming Alpine Inn’s veranda for a spot of lunch or sample some of the unheralded but excellent local wines at the unpretentious Naked Winery Tasting Room, both of which will welcome your furry friend.

Missouri – Lake Of The Ozarks

The area surrounding the sprawling and beautiful reservoir is well-known for its wineries, watersports and golf courses. However, for dog-owners in the know, there are lots of pet-friendly hubs too, including the Dog Days Bar and Grill that you’ll find at Osage Beach. Every year, this establishment hosts a Canine Cannonball jumping contest, which is always a lot of fun. If you head south to Branson, you’ll discover the Elmo & Rosalea Marrs Dog Park. Here, you’ll find not only lots of room to run about, but agility equipment too—and picnic tables in case either you or your pet need a quick break. When it’s time to check-out some human-only attractions, the Branson Pet Resort is on hand to care for your pooch while you discover the sights.

Delaware – Rehoboth Beach

Rehoboth Beach is a friendly resort that extends a warm welcome to humans and dogs alike. The boardwalk offers lively pet-friendly fun while the Delaware Seashore State Park is perfect for allowing your furry friend to run on the sand and play in the water on a leash. For sandwiches and other tasty treats, try the quirky Lori’s Oy-Vey Café—but note that this and many of the other local restaurants are closed outside of tourist season, so make sure you plan your trip to Rehoboth Beach at the right time of year.

Florida – Sanibel Island

Another popular vacation spot in the Sunshine State is Sanibel Island, a cheerful resort that both owners and pets will love. Algiers Beach, sometimes called Gulfside Beach, is a top doggy attraction with its shallow and calm waters. Dogs on a leash are welcome to run along the sand here and splash in the water before heading to the Island Paws pet show, where they can pick out a cool toy and a nutritious treat.

Massachusetts – Nantucket

Nantucket Island has a long and fascinating heritage that human visitors love to discover, but canine visitors are sure to prefer the sandy stretches of beach where they can roam on the leash. Surfside Beach and Francis Street Beach both welcome dogs, and you can even take a private boat charter and take to the waters with your pooch. The Cisco Brewers are dog-friendly too, so you can relax and sip a drink at the end of the day with your doggy family member at your feet.

New Jersey – Asbury Park, Jersey Shore

The iconic New York Times once referred to Asbury Park as Brooklyn on the beach and, indeed, this destination is rapidly rising in popularity with both human and animal tourists. If you’re a music fan, you should head to the renowned Wonder Bar music venue and club where you and your dog can enjoy the doggie Yappy Hour. Both of you are sure to love the experience where your pet can socialize outdoors in the large fenced-off area or splash in one of the two pools while you enjoy a cold drink at the bar. Twice weekly, there’s also an organized dog run, but if you and your four-legged friend want to make some new acquaintances, the 8th Avenue Dog Beach is the place to go where lots of canines come to enjoy the dunes and shallows.

Vermont – Stowe

Stowe is a stunning mountain resort with two peaks to conquer and a beautiful New England village nestled at its base which is waiting to be discovered. Head with your dog to Smugglers Notch State Park for an on-the-leash hike, or go to the dog-friendly watering hole Alchemist Brewery. If you head to Jericho nearby, you can explore the Mills Riverside Park where your dog is sure to love running through the pretty meadows, some of which are designated as off-leash areas.

Florida – Fort Myers

Yet another popular spot in the Sunshine State for families with fluffy friends in tow is Fort Myers. Known for its fishing, beaches and shopping opportunities, it’s also home to Barkingham Dog Park and the Woof-a-Hatchee Dog Park. Both of these are off-leash fenced parks that have watering stations and separate areas for small and large dogs. There are also lots of non-pet-friendly sights to explore here, including Henry Ford and Thomas Edison’s winter homes, so choose one of the pet-friendly rentals or hotels that allow your dog to remain unattended so that you can get out and about to visit these historic attractions.

Virginia – Alexandria

Alexandria doesn’t just have a couple of dog parks. Instead, it’s a town that’s dedicated to making your canine companions feel right at home. A walk down King Street will convince you of this. Treats and water bowls line the streets so you can window shop to your heart’s content while your pooch enjoys a refreshing drink. There are also lots of dining spots around town where you can eat out with your furry friend—don’t miss a visit to one of the many convenient locations of The Lost Dog Café—but if you’d like to stay more active you could join the All The President’s Pups walking tour of Mount Vernon. Or if you and your pet prefer life on the open waves, hop onto the Canine Cruise for some sightseeing around the Seaport with the Potomac Riverboat Company. Or why not just run wild at one of almost twenty dog parks in the area: with so many pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals to choose from around here, you’re sure to have a truly comfortable and entertaining vacation in Alexandria.

Traveling The USA With Your Furry Companion

As you can see, there are plenty of places around the USA that welcome tourists who are traveling with their beloved pets. Whether you’re looking for a beach vacation with lots of fun and relaxation in the sun, or an activity-filled trip to some of the country’s most beautiful natural attractions, you’re sure to find a destination in this list to suit you. All of the locations that we’ve suggested here have enough pet-friendly accommodation, dining options and things to see and do to ensure that your entire family, even its fluffy members, are completely satisfied with their experience.