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May 27, 2015

The Best Dog-Friendly Vacation Cities

Vacations are adventures and there’s no better adventure companion than a pup. That’s why an increasing number of people decide to bring their pup along for the ride on the next family vacation. I’ve been lucky enough to visit some of the best pet-friendly cities across the country with Eko by
Vacations are adventures and there’s no better adventure companion than a pup. That’s why an increasing number of people decide to bring their pup along for the ride on the next family vacation.Rhodesian Ridgeback, adventure, dog-friendly, vacation, puppyI’ve been lucky enough to visit some of the best pet-friendly cities across the country with Eko by my side. The good news is that no matter where you live there’s likely an awesome pet-friendly vacation city not too far away.With summer vacation season getting into swing, I wanted to share a few of my favorite dog-friendly destinations. (You can find more photos/info from our trip to each city by clicking on that city’s header)Austin, Texas Rhodesian Ridgeback, adventure, dog-friendly, vacation, puppy

Our visit to Austin gave us plenty of reasons to smile

Rhodesian Ridgeback, adventure, dog-friendly, vacation, puppy

And there were delicious treats for all species at Decker Creek Bed and Breakfast (and Biscuit) 

Whatever your speed, Austin has a scene for you and your pup. Zilker Park features both off-leash areas and leashed walking paths. If you’re feeling bold, you can also rent a canoe with your pup at Zilker and explore the river. Or take a short ride out of the city to run on some beautiful off-leash trails.

After a day of fun, grab dinner at any one of Austin’s many pet-friendly patios on 6th Street.

San Diego, California Rhodesian Ridgeback, adventure, dog-friendly, vacation, puppy

Hang twenty!

Beach bums, look no further than San Diego for the best dog-friendly vacation. We found a very reasonably priced rental house a few blocks from the dog beach. Forget walks around the block, Eko got to hit the beach three times a day.

And no, surfing with your pup is not a requirement, but it is a whole lot of fun. Wherever you visit, I also recommend looking up local event listings, that’s how Eko got to try lure coursing while in San Diego., South Carolina Rhodesian Ridgeback, adventure, dog-friendly, vacation, puppy

Paddling for two 

Charleston is a gorgeous city to walk through. So much so that Eko and I went on walking tours both during the day and at night. In between we stayed at a beautiful pet-friendly B&B, went on a plantation tour and went for a little kayak trip up the coast.

San Francisco, California Rhodesian Ridgeback, adventure, dog-friendly, vacation, puppy

Dog-park with a view

It’s tough to beat the view from San Francisco’s dog park/beach nestled in between the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. When you’re done playing, hop aboard one of the famous (and dog-friendly) trolleys for a ride.

Packed with dog-friendly destinations both within the city and amazing hikes just outside it, San Francisco offers plenty of fun for a pup.

Portland, Maine Rhodesian Ridgeback, adventure, dog-friendly, vacation, puppy

The food at Inn by the Sea in Maine is so good for all species that I wasn’t sure which treat was mine

Rhodesian Ridgeback, adventure, dog-friendly, vacation, puppy

Traveling with your dog isn’t just for the summer. Eko and I visited Maine in December and it was one of our best stops of the year

St. Louis, Missouri Rhodesian Ridgeback, adventure, dog-friendly, vacation, puppy

Living like a King in St. Louis

When it comes to dog-friendly events, St. Louis can’t be beat. Both the Beggin’ Pet Parade and the St. Louis Cardinals “Pooches in the Park” are worth trips of their own. Toss in a trip to the Arch, a comfy stay at the Cheshire Inn and you have yourself a great vacation. Orleans, Louisiana Rhodesian Ridgeback, adventure, dog-friendly, vacation, puppy

My Mardi Gras companion

Eko and I spent Mardi Gras in New Orleans, so the city was rocking. But we also stuck around afterward and really got to enjoy the quieter sides of the city too. Strutting down Bourbon Street with your pup during the day is fun, but don’t forget to check out the Garden District for some great dog-friendly dining.

Denver, Colorado Rhodesian Ridgeback, adventure, dog-friendly, vacation, puppy

One day they’ll make dog-friendly tourist cut-outs for photo-ops 

Tie your shoes, adjust to the altitude and bring plenty of water. Denver is paradise for active people/dogs. Whether you prefer to stroll sprawling dog parks or want to take on a hike, Denver has it all.

Chicago, Illinois Rhodesian Ridgeback, adventure, dog-friendly, vacation, puppy

The Windy City will blow your hair back!

I promise I’m not playing hometown favorite on this one. Come to Chicago in the summer (definitely not the winter) to see why life is good for Second City pups. From Montrose Beach to SeaDog boat rides, Chicago has so many great destinations and activities for people and pups together.

When you visit, look for a knucklehead and two Ridgebacks at the beach and come say hi!

For the sake of keeping this post shorter than a novel, I’ll close here. But if you and your pup are making trips to Seattle, Portland, Oregon, New York City, Washington DC, Nashville or just about any other major city, there’s so much to do and see.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, adventure, dog-friendly, vacation, puppy

 Some of the things your pup sees may confuse him

In all my travel with Eko I’ve learned two important things. One, bringing your pup along on vacation can make the trip so much more enjoyable and memorable. Two, your attitude always matters more than your destination. No matter where we went, we always found a way to have a great trip.

If you have questions about pup-friendly travel to any of the places we’ve visited, you can ask here or shoot me an email anytime at

Rhodesian Ridgeback, adventure, dog-friendly, vacation, puppy

The best adventure buddy

Last summer we didn’t get to travel much since Penny was still a bit young. This summer however I’m on the lookout for a fun road trip destination. Anyone have any suggestions for us?

Comments for The Best Dog-Friendly Vacation Cities

  1. Victoria says:

    Wonderful trip down memory lane – great adventures you went on with Eko (still love the pooches in the park vid) – can’t wait to see more with you, Emily, Eko and Penny

  2. Oh I remember this fabulous tour! and I wish I could visit all that great places (specially Maine, the food lol) We will go on howl-i-day this year too, hope we will find a dogfriendly location too (they sometimes are a little mean here, first they say dogs are ok and later they say only dogs up to 10 lbs…)

  3. just tweeted and shared on Facebook! No surprise that other than Chicago and St.Louis that no midwest cities made the list. I am excited about the prospect of visiting Austin this Fall (will be my first time there), and I have family in Denver, hope to get there one day too! Sadly, Dakota won’t be able to join me on either trip 🙁

  4. Kismet says:

    Our local “bark in the park” comes in a couple weeks. I can report if the roof isn’t closed and I can’t fly by.

  5. fredrieka says:

    Frankenmuth Michigan has a dog park and all Drury Inns are pet friendly

  6. Elyse says:

    Duncan, my husband and I are in Maine, now. Near Acadia. There are loads of dog friendly restaurants, hotels and cottages. And the scenery is spectacular!

  7. Lake Tahoe–the California side! Truckee is especially dog friendly. They really should have pup rental for out-of-towners who show up without theirs . Great trails and beaches all around the most beautiful blue lake in the states. Ok, maybe I’m a little biased. Neeka and Khoi love visiting their cousin Zuma there. Wish you could come out for a visit!

  8. audrey says:

    Have you been to Montana?

  9. Marcela says:

    Omg Will, I am so envious of you and Eko. You two got to see so many places together. I’ve traveled both in the US and abroad, but at that time I didn’t have a dog so it was a very different experience than the one you enjoyed with Eko. Between you and me, I am trying to talk Cynthia into renting an RV and driving all over the US with Alex, but my smart, stubborn wife has not warmed up to that idea. If she does, I will be posting a lot of pics:-)

  10. Thanks for the Mile High City shout-out, Will. Yes, Denver (our ‘hood) is very dog friendly with some restaurants and cafes allowing pups on the patio. And with miles and miles of trails and paths, everyone is sure to get a great workout! 😉

  11. Great list – we’re lucky to be close to San Diego and took our pups Tino & Sally there several times.

  12. OhMelvin says:

    OMG, this is AHHHHmazing! Not just the city guide but that you guys traveled this country together! LOVE!

  13. KarenS says:

    Great places!! We did enjoy the hiking near Denver when we lived there. And of course the beach. May be a little partial to the west but……
    Love that Eko got a chance to course. My older guy loved it, always came off the field with a smile on his face!! Hope you get another opportunity to try it again. Something tells me that Penny would be a natural :).

    Enjoy the summer. Where ever you go.

  14. coastingnz says:

    Eko is very much like our boys – well traveled and a great traveling companion!

  15. Ogee says:

    If you’re going to Tahoe…you have to swing through Sacramento! I know where Will and Penny can find plenty of pups to play with!

  16. Cupcake says:

    I love this post! It’s proof positive that fun just follows you around. Hang onto your ears, Penny. It’s going to be a great summer!

  17. Emmadog says:

    We were in St. Louis last night on the way to BlogPaws. Fun town. So many places we should visit, any ideas on how we can find the time and finances to just drive around having fun?

  18. Wow, you guys had some great stops. Thanks for sharing these places with us.

  19. H.S. Blau says:

    Another great place is Petoskey Michigan. Dogs are allowed in stores, restaurants, and bowls are found outside of must shops. The best dog beach is the actually the one people flock to for the sunset. Anywhere a dog is allowed is a great place in my book too!

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