5 best places to spend your summer vacation with your dog
By Lexi De Forest
When you’re ready to hit the road this summer for some much-needed vacation time, don’t forget to bring your four-legged friends along for the ride. Many popular human escapes are actually places both people and dogs can enjoy together. So when you’re packing for your next summer road trip, don’t leave the dog’s bag behind.
1. Sonoma Valley, California
The trip starts on the scenic West Coast in Sonoma, California. Known for its expansive and beautiful vineyards, Sonoma is the ideal place for a relaxing vacation for you and your pooch. What you may not know is that Sonoma is also a very dog friendly city which means that the wineries aren’t strictly for humans. Over 50 wineries in Sonoma Valley delight in their dog friendly establishments. So when touring the serene wineries of Sonoma, feel free to bring your dog along as you sample the local harvests.
After a long day of tasting assorted wines, make your way to one of the restaurants in town where even the dogs have menus. Howards station Café and Glen Court Café both offer delectable doggy dining alongside their humans. But if feeding your pet tableside isn’t your concern, many other restaurants in the area offer dog friendly patio seating and good food too.
Eventually your dog is going to need some time outdoors so head over to one of the regional parks in the area for some doggy one-on-one time. Hike difficulties range from easy to advanced depending on the park so make sure to choose according to your dog and your experience level.
2. Fort Collins, Colorado
Next on your U.S. road trip, make sure to stop in Fort Collins, Colorado for an experience of a different sort. While it may not strike you as the most popular Colorado destination for dog lovers, it may surprise you how much you can do with your dog in this humble town.
The typical attraction of Fort Collins is the numerous breweries that the city offers and dogs aren’t excluded from the fun. At most breweries in town, your dog is welcome to accompany you on the patio as you try out the assortment of craft beers. If the patio isn’t enough, New Belgium Brewery and Funkwerks Brewery actually allow dogs inside their tasting rooms for a more intimate experience.
When you’re ready to spend some time lakeside with your pup, take the short drive up to Horsetooth Reservoir for a good splash and a good time. You can expect a short hike down to get a spot on the water but once you’ve made it down, feel free to play a game of fetch in the water. It’s fun for your dog and great exercise too. But don’t forget to take a dip yourself; the water is just as refreshing as it looks.
And when you’re ready to settle down for the night, head to The Best Western University Inn for dog friendly accommodations.
3. Austin, Texas
When you’re ready to leave the mountain life behind, it’s time to take your dog on an urban adventure. In Austin, you and your dog can travel most anywhere together. Most retail establishments have adopted a dog friendly attitude as long as the dogs are well-behaved and friendly. Most restaurants in Austin follow a similar mindset and allow for your furry friend to hang out on the patio as you take in the sights as well as the food of the thriving city.
When the cityscape begins to become overwhelming for either you or your dog, Austin also offers over 15 off leash dog parks to take your pooch to unwind and socialize. It is very important on a trip like this to observe your dog’s emotions and take care of their instinctual needs.
4. Chattanooga, Tennessee
If you’re looking for the next great adventure, hop on the highway off to Chattanooga for some outdoor fun. The best activity in this area is hiking the expansive gorges. North Chickamauga Creek Pocket Wilderness is a perfect all day hike for you and your dog if you are willing to take on the whole ten miles. And when the heat becomes overwhelming, don’t be afraid to go for a quick dip in the creek that runs throughout the gorge.
Then take a sunset walk on the Walnut Street Bridge for a relaxing walk across the Tennessee River. The peaceful walk offers gorgeous views of Coolidge Park and downtown. After walking the expanse of the bridge, make your way with your pup to one of the many restaurants offering dog friendly patios. You can have a good hearty meal and you both can take it easy.
After your day of excitement, head on over to the Best Western Heritage in to get some sleep for the next leg of your journey together.
5. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
The last stop on the road trip is Cape Cod. The beaches in the area are numerous and widespread but you must watch out for summer dog restrictions on some of the beaches. Because of a high influx of humans, admittance of four legged friends on certain beaches is prohibited but there are still some gems that will allow your dog year round. Truro, Wellfleet, Orleans, and Eastham Beaches are those that are always accepting our pups. On these beaches, dogs are allowed anywhere there isn’t a designated swim beach for humans so stake out a nice sunny spot for you and your dog and feel free to relax and enjoy your surroundings. Watch out for signage regarding nesting shore birds, however, as summer is their breeding season.
If you’re interested in a nice walk or run with your pooch, feel free to hop on the Cape Cod Rail Trail for a historic walk on what was once a 22 mile railroad through many of the dog friendly beach towns. Food and water are available on the trail so you and your dog can be fed and hydrated if you choose to travel to other beaches from there.
Just remember these dog friendly experiences will remain that way as long as we and our pups remain good citizens. So, remember the basics:
- Clean up after your dog
- Observe all local leash laws
- Only bring your dog along if they are friendly and well-behaved