Dog-Friendly Cities for Pet Lovers
Ruff it on your next trip.
The country's going to the dogs. No, we're not talking about politics or the economy. We mean our pets are traveling with us more than ever before, and hotels, restaurants and other venues are rolling out the welcome mat. Here are a few of our fave places to go with our pups.
Paul Barnett; La Valencia Hotel/San Diego
Talk about lucky dogs. Charleston, one of the dog-friendliest cities in the U.S., welcomes canines at over 65 hotels and 30 restaurants. Look for special pet packages at the John Rutlege House Inn and Kings Courtyard Inn, where canine guests are spoiled with Charleston-themed pet toys and bandannas. At Wentworth Mansion, they’re invited to cuddle with their keepers on king-sized beds and freshen up in walk-in showers. Salty dogs can even join their owners on pet-friendly cruises and catch the ocean breezes in their fur. Many restaurants offer yappy hours, or you can drop a $2 admission fee to hit Yappy Hour at the James Island County Park Dog Park, which features live music. See the website for dates and times.
BRENNAN WESLEY; Charleston Area CVB/ExploreCharleston.com
San Diego, CA
You can hang 10 and let your pup hang 20 in San Diego. The great weather and beautiful beaches offer lots of things to do together, include surfing, swimming and running. On July 30, 2016, the country’s “top dog” surfing competition, Unleashed by PETCO, will be held near Imperial Beach pier.
Balboa Park, the largest urban cultural park in the U.S., also welcomes dogs, and an online map makes it easy to find other dog-approved parks and sites, including Dog Beach and Fiesta Island.
When it comes to shopping for pets in San Diego, it’s a dog’s life. Some of the stores at Seaport Village and the Spanish Village Arts Center even let you bring your dog inside while you browse. Be sure to stop in at one of the pet boutiques; they'll appeal to your dog's inner animal with special outfits, treats and grooming.
There’s much more for pets and their humans to do in San Diego. Visit Hike Bike Kayak for a dog-and-kayak tour of La Jolla Cove (doggie life jackets included), or do a downward dog and other yoga poses and workout routines with your pup at Leash Your Fitness. The company also offers K9 Core and Conditioning and Strut Your Mutt classes. In Point Loma, Liberty Station, try standup paddleboarding with your dog - or let him dog-paddle beside you - at The Sup Connection. Ask for the SUP Pups Instruction.
You'll find a VIP (Very Important Pets) package offered at La Jolla’s La Valencia Hotel. It includes a VIP dog tag, fold-up water dish, chic leash, doggie treats and toy along with other goodies. Tip: bring a portable water bowl when you visit San Diego, so your four-legged friend can stay hydrated in the warm spring and summer weather. Many places also provide outside water bowls. Find more San Diego tips on travelling with pets here.
Don’t have a dog to take along on vacation? Borrow one from the Aspen Animal Shelter while you're in Boulder and take it on a walk, or keep it overnight.
The city has lots of pet-friendly accomodations, including the Best Western Plus Boulder Inn, which boasts that it's the only hotel in the area that doesn’t charge a non-refundable pet deposit. When you're ready to explore, let Fido stretch his legs on one of the many hiking trails around the Rocky Mountains; the Green Mountain Ridge Trail takes about a half a day and gets enough sunshine to hike even in winter, when other trails get muddy. Valmont Dog Park is also a great place to go, with 3.25 acres of fenced-in area for your pup and beautiful views for you.
After you hike, relax at one of the many pet-friendly breweries, cafes or restaurants with outdoor patios and welcoming water bowls. Upslope Brewing Co. even lets your pup roam around indoors.
San Francisco, CA
They’ve got a ticket to ride…on SFMTA, the San Francisco Municipal Transporation Agency. We mean pets can ride San Francisco's public transportation system, although only during off-peak hours. Dogs must also be leashed and muzzled, and remain on the owner’s lap or under the owner's seat. (Rules are different for service animals; check the website.) The ticket price is the same as the owner’s.
If you ride SFMTA, disem”bark” at Fisherman’s Wharf or Chinatown, or other pet-friendly places, including restaurants, beaches, hotels and some 28 off-leash dog parks. But be aware: there's an ongoing debate about allowing dogs in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, so check on restrictions before you visit.
Scott Chernis/San Francisco Travel Association
Thanks to dog-friendly King Country Metro Transit and the Washington State Ferries, you won’t get dog-tired as you travel around the Seattle area. Over 70 hotels also accept canine companions, including Alexis Hotel, which doesn’t restrict the size, weight or number of pets that accompany you—and they don’t charge extra.
At Norm’s Eatery and Ale House, in the Fremont neighborhood, you're invited to “sit…and stay.” It’s one of over 100 dog-welcoming restaurants in the area. Of the city’s 14 off-leash parks, the biggest is Magnuson Park, which has water access to Lake Washington. Don't miss hiking into the mountains around Seattle with Fido, or shopping for fresh foods –and homemade dog biscuits—at one of the dog-friendly farmers’ markets, like Fremont Sunday Market and Ballard’s Farmer’s Market.