Bring Your Best Friend: Dog Friendly Travel Destinations

“One’s destination is never a place, but always a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

With the New Year upon us, travel is likely on your radar. While all the gifts we open during the holidays are wonderful, there is nothing like traveling to soothe the soul. For some of us, though, planning goes beyond lodging, car rental, and daily plans. Dog owners have the complicated and stressful task of finding sitters who are responsible and won’t break the bank. That’s why finding pet-friendly destinations can be the better way to go, especially if your dog (or—let’s face it—you) experiences separation anxiety. If you think there aren’t a lot of options for you and Fido, you will be happy to know you are wrong. You can bring your best friend just about anywhere these days. In fact, the founder of beach accessory company Slippa, Eric Long, says he won’t even travel unless he can bring his dog. Read on for super fetch (yep, we said it) suggestions on dog-friendly travel destinations for you or for you and the family.

 Portland, Oregon

Everyone knows that Portland is a very Bohemian city, so the fact that it’s Fido-friendly isn’t likely all that surprising. But when you add in the scenic and chic nature of this Pacific Northwest destination, the fact that it’s dog-friendly makes it pretty darn perfect. Cited as the 12th most walkable big city, Portland allows for wonderful sightseeing with your dog right by your side. Whether you enjoy one of its 30 off-leash parks, the panoramic Powell Butte Trail, or the wonderful wineries nearby, you and your faithful friend will surely be back. If you happen to descend upon this delightful destination in August, you might even be able to partake in the unforgettable “Canines Uncorked” wine tours.

San Diego

America’s Finest City is known for its consistently sunny days and temperate climate but what some might not realize is its pet-friendly nature. This beachside city is quickly becoming a culinary hub in addition to being a top surf destination. Many new and old restaurants are dog-friendly. This means that pooches can hang on the patio and, while other cities might not have consistent use of their outdoor areas, San Diego is as close to a sure thing as you can get. You’ll catch the gist of just how dog-friendly this city is as you shop and eat, as many businesses hand out Frosty Paws, doggie-friendly baked goods, and other pet-friendly products and treats. To boot, the dog beaches in Ocean Beach and Del Mar are city renowned as places both dog owners and pups adore. If you don’t mind getting a bit of sand in your car or rental vehicle, this is an idyllic dog-friendly destination.

Chicago

Because of its freezing cold temperatures and more-than-occasional winter snowstorms, the Windy City might not strike you as a dog-friendly city. Spend any time here during the summer months, however, and you’ll see dogs being walked at every turn. It’ll have any of you dog-lovers saying, “Chicago is my kind of town.” Take your steadfast sidekick to one of the city’s 18 off-leash parks or let her frolic on Lake Michigan’s Montrose Dog Beach. The scenic and bustling Navy Pier is dog-friendly, too, so you and your pooch can take in the awesome city views as you shop and eat. And while the home stadium to the revered Chicago Cubs isn’t dog-friendly, you won’t get a square foot without encountering a dog named “Wrigley”.

San Francisco

Everyone leaves their hearts in San Francisco, and they don’t have to leave their hounds at home to do so.  This gorgeous and fun-filled Northern California city is brimming with dog-friendly parks, hiking trails, and restaurants. Does your canine like to cruise? He or she can ride on the Blue and Gold Fleet Bay Cruises. They can also ride on the city’s cable cars, so you can cover plenty of the city with Poodle. Those who like to sniff, swirl, and sip like a seasoned sommelier can head to Mutt Lynch Winery to enjoy cheeky and delicious wines like Merlot Over and Play Dead.

More and more cities are expanding their dog-friendly territory to please the ever-rising number of pet owners. With a bit of dogged research, you can surely find dog-friendly areas in just about any town. Pick a city off this list, however, and you and your prized pooch will jump through hoops to get there again. Grab your maps and the travel gear you’ll need for you and Pup and you’re on your way.

About Marina Kuperman Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of TravelExperta.com, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 10+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

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