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April 16, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

The Top 3 Dog-Friendly Vacation Destinations in the US

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Paws & Awws Blog Series

Traveling is fun for the family, but leaving our pets behind is stressful for everyone involved. I know I always feel guilty leaving my dogs behind even if they are in the best care of someone I trust. I worry about them. I don't just worry a day or two; I worry, think, and wonder what they are doing during my whole vacation!

Luckily, dogs are joining in the family-vacation experience more and more. More places are becoming dog-friendly and welcoming our four-legged friends with open arms and extra amenities to accommodate them and us!

To ensure everyone enjoys the trip though, you'll want to take into consideration the rules and policies of hotels, attractions, events, and other areas you are planning on going to. Keeping Fido locked in the hotel room, is not an ideal situation. Need some destination ideas? Cities all over the United States are throwing down the welcome mat for our dogs. Take a look at my top three choices to include Fido in on the family fun!

#1 - San Francisco, California

"It might surprise most people to learn that San Francisco is actually a very dog friendly place – especially in the summers when temperatures are dog-friendly even on the sunniest days." - Dog Friendly Days of Summer – San Francisco Vacation Ideas

San Francisco's long list of dog-friendly hotels is outstanding!  Some hotels go above and beyond to welcome their four-legged guests, providing them with their own leash, bed, special treats, and dinnerware to use during their visit. Packages can be purchased at certain hotels to give Fido the best experience ever!

A few attractions that allow dogs to visit are Fisherman's Wharf Shopping, Coit Tower, and Barbary Coast Trail. However, check each attraction for their rules in regards to Fido. Although many allow dogs on the grounds, they will not allow the dogs to enter buildings.

San Francisco has an abundance of dog parks (beaches and off-leash), outdoor restaurants, and shopping. The list is huge, making San Francisco a top contender of dog-friendly vacation destinations!

#2 - Portland Oregon

"Each neighborhood has a distinct character, but the overriding vibe of the city is funky and energetic. And that’s a good thing, because you’re going to need every bit of pep you can muster to take in all the pet friendly attractions – from the parks, to the shops, to the trails, to the dog parks – there’s a lot to see." -  Portland, Oregon Wins 2014 Best City for Pet Travelers!

With over 50 hotels to choose from that are dog-friendly, it will be easy for a family to find dog-friendly accommodations in Portland! Make sure to check the hotels policy on dogs staying. It is important that you are aware of any size or breed restrictions upon booking. Many hotels offer packages for Fido as well as extras to make sure your dog feels right at home.

The Grotto, Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, and The Pearl District are just a few attractions that allow Fido to join in on the fun. Remember to check for their rules with a dog visiting, buildings typically do not allow dogs to enter.

Shopping centers, outdoor restaurants, dog parks, wineries/vineyards, and the list goes on for dog-friendly places to visit in Portland. Portland offers a fun, wide range of dog-friendly hangouts which gets them on list of dog-friendly vacation destinations!

#3 - Boston, Massachusetts

"The Boston HarborWalk runs along the Boston waterfront from the Charlestown Navy Yard, the North End, downtown Boston, Seaport and South Boston. For the most part, the HarborWalk is a great place to take your dog for a walk, or if you are ambitious, a long hike. Along the way you will find a couple of spots a well behaved dog could go swimming or a roll in the grass. There are  also a few restaurants with outdoor patios where you could get a bite to eat." - Walking Dogs On The Boston HarborWalk

Who knew, but Boston is all-about the hounds! Many hotels in the Boston area allow Fido to come and stay. Make sure to understand breed restrictions and hotel rules to prevent any hiccups in your traveling arrangements. The hotels in Boston pull out the welcome mat for their doggy clients, offering extra amenities and dog-friendly staff to assist with Fido's needs.

Attractions to consider visiting with Fido in the Boston area are Bay State Cruise Company, Freedom Trail, the Secret Tour of Boston's North End, and many more! Just a dog-friendly reminder: check out their policy when bringing Fido along.

Other places to consider visiting with Fido are outdoor restaurants, off-leash dog parks, stores, and Carson Beach! Boston is known for their continued effort in being a city that welcomes Fido to join in the attractions and entertainment, making them hit the list of dog-friendly vacation destination!

Important Considerations

The idea of bringing your dog on vacation may excite the family, however a few things should be taken into consideration.

  • Does your dog travel well?  If your dog suffers from severe anxiety when traveling, it may be best to reconsider taking them along. Hire a dog-sitter to stay home with Fido instead.
  • Is your dog friendly towards everyone and other dogs? A dog that has behavioral issues around people and other dogs will not do well visiting attractions, shopping, or dining with you in public areas.
  • When left alone, is your dog content? A dog may feel insecure if left alone unattended in a hotel room. Make sure your dog is confident and will be quiet when left alone. Is your dog vocal? Many outdoor attractions do not appreciate a dog that is constantly barking or yipping.
  • Be responsible and PICK UP after your dog - we want these dog-friendly destinations to remain.

With any vacation destination that you wish to include Fido, it is important to do your homework first. Locate dog-friendly areas, understand and obey the rules, and find out if there are any extra amenities provided to help ensure Fido's visit is welcomed and enjoyed by all!


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