Contributed by Guest Author Kim Salerno of TripsWithPets.com
If your dog is like most dogs, you are the center of his universe. This means he’s content to go pretty much anywhere as long as you are there, even if he doesn’t find window shopping or waiting in line at the bank all that riveting. And let’s face it, the places your pooch loves to go aren’t necessarily your cup of tea – watching Rover sniff other dogs at the local dog park is not the most thrilling use of your Saturday.
Traveling with pets generally involves some compromise and some quid pro quo. But sometimes you hit the jackpot and find pet friendly travel destinations that are equally exciting for you and your furry kid. To save you some time and energy, we’ve compiled our top five picks for cities that both canines and their humans love to visit.
Tucked in the rugged blue mountains of North Carolina, Asheville is a destination worth seeing – pet or no pet. The city is picturesque and historic and boasts a thriving art, music, and food scene. See amazing bluegrass and jazz bands in concert. Watch folk artists work their magic. Or, indulge in some artisanal cheese, chocolate, bread, or beer. And if that isn’t enough to convince you, there’s always the world-famous Blue Ridge Parkway, which is just a short drive away.
There are plenty of activities in Asheville to delight you and your pooch. Hike the dog friendly trails of Chimney Rock Park, or explore Graveyard Fields Loop and let your pup splash in creeks and under waterfalls. Dine al fresco together at the Posana Restaurant, which offers upscale, seasonal farm-to-table cuisine. Or learn about the city on the Urban Trail, a fully interactive, dog friendly self-guided tour that features fascinating sculptures and live fiddle music.
Boston is many things at once – gritty and urban, upscale and cosmopolitan, and richly and deeply historic. Human visitors flock to this city from around the world to experience its charms, and their traveling canine counterparts have just as much fun they do.
Love history? Walk the Freedom Trail together, making sure to stop at all 16 of its historic sites. Want a little adventure? Take the Boston Harbor Islands Dog Cruise. This 3-hour tour of the Harbor was created with dogs (and their families) in mind. Looking to relax seaside? Stroll down one of Boston’s beaches — many of them welcome dogs in the off season. Looking for a place to chow down? Try South End Buttery. There’s a delicious homestyle menu for you, and dog biscuits freshly crafted by the nearby Polkadog Bakery for your pooch.
This southernmost city is certainly one-of-a-kind. In this subtropical paradise, the breezes are always warm, the vibe is always lively yet laidback, and the sunsets and sunrises are magical. Key West is also one of the last places a traveler can experience the charms of Old Florida.
Your pooch will find himself warmly welcomed in this very dog friendly city, and there are many things you both can do together. Tour the Key West Aquarium, and see shark feedings (Rover is welcome to watch along with you!). Do not miss a trip to the Lazy Dog. You and your pup can paddle out to a dog park – on a private island – where you can relax and play to your heart’s content. If you’re looking to hit the beach, you can both enjoy surf and sand on Key West Dog Beach. And you can finish up your day at B.O.’s Fish Wagon, which offers simple, authentic seafood in true Key West style.
In recent years, Austin has earned a reputation as one of America’s most buzzed-about art, music and cultural centers. It’s also a great place for those who love the great outdoors — abundant sunshine makes outdoor living easy. If you’re into great music, great food, and a laidback atmosphere (and really, who isn’t), you’ll love Austin – and so will your favorite four-legged friend.
The whole city loves pets – where you want to go, Rover can pretty much roam along with you. There are more than a dozen off-leash parks in Austin, the best of which is an incredible 13-acre beach park set on a peninsula. If you’re into hiking, you can explore the trails of Lady Bird Lake together. If you’re into touring the city, you can take a carriage ride together downtown, or visit the Barton Creek Farmers Market to browse artisanal cheeses and local produce. If you’re a foodie, a visit to the funky, dog friendly Spider House Cafe is a must – you’ll be treated to live music and really great food.
Travelers to San Diego can enjoy everything from beautiful desert landscapes to sandy, sunny beaches to Old World Spanish architecture. Whether you want to hike, kayak, or tour historic sites, there’s something for every adventure seeker and their pet.
Explore the seaside Cabrillo Tide Pools Trail, hike along the rugged Cowles Mountain, or visit the awe-inspiring Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve. Enjoy surf and sand at Ocean Beach Dog Beach, where your pooch is always welcome, off-leash, at any time of day. Window shop or people watch at the Westfield UTC open air shopping center, which features 120 boutiques. And if you get hungry, head to The Patio on Lamont Street, where you will experience inspired California cuisine and your dog will be indulged with gourmet handmade biscuits.
There are many other dog friendly travel destinations, and you can find them as long as you’re willing to do some digging. We know that no matter where you end up with your pooch, it’s a better trip just because you’re together!
Kim Salerno is the President and Founder of TripsWithPets.com, a pet travel guide that provides online reservations at more than 30,000 pet friendly accommodations across the U.S and Canada. Kim spends her free time traveling with her four-legged kids, Tucker, Charlie, Brownie, and Diamond.