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5 Great Places for a Doggy Vacay



— June 29, 2018

5 Great Places for a Doggy Vacay

By Lisa James
  • These destinations will welcome you and your pup.
5 Great Places for a Doggy Vacay

If your dog is like a lot of other canines, he loves riding shotgun on car trips (and you love taking him). That’s why more hotels are offering amenities “like room service with dog options, walking services, and onsite dog parks,” says Erin Ballinger of the dog travel site Her advice for a trip that’s memorable for the right reasons? “Dogs should be housebroken, walk on a leash well and not be aggressive with people and other dogs.”

Located about an hour south of Los Angeles, chill, laid-back Surf City has won Dog Fancy’s “Dogtown USA” award. One reason why: The Huntington Dog Beach, where you and your pal are welcome to play by the sea. WHERE TO STAY: Hilton’s Waterfront Beach Resort offers your pet a bed, a bowl, and treats (waterfront At the Kimpton Shorebreak, a downtown boutique hotel, the concierge can hook you up with a pet sitter ( WHERE TO EAT: Grab a coffee at the Sit Stay Cafe, not far from the Dog Beach; dogs are welcome at the outside tables ( If you’re a BBQ fan, the Old Crow Smokehouse has plenty of seating for you and your pup ( THINGS TO DO: Dogs riding boards? It’s game on at the Surf City Surf Dog competition. You can watch for free on Saturday, September 29, the centerpiece of a three-day celebration of everything canine (


If you and your pup love the outdoors, the Blue Ridge Mountains offer trails and creeks for exploring. There is also an abundance of microbreweries in the area (brews for you, not the dog).

WHERE TO STAY: The Hotel Indigo Asheville Downtown features a Canine Concierge ( For a dog-friendly private cottage, consider the Cedar Crest Inn ( WHERE TO EAT: Many restaurants welcome dogs to their outdoor seating areas. One of them, Posana—known for its locally sourced ingredients—offers its canine guests their own menu ( The breweries also allow dogs on their patios, including local favorites Wicked Weed Brewing ( and Wedge Brewing Company (

THINGS TO DO: If your dog is a river-tripping veteran, he’ll be welcome on some of the water tours offered by French Broad Outfitters (; call ahead to tell them you have a dog). The Biltmore Estate, a popular tourist stop, welcomes dogs to roam the grounds and offers free kenneling (first come, first serve) for guests who want to tour the house (


There’s a lot for you and your dog to explore on the Paradise Coast in Florida’s southwest corner. The area includes not only Naples but also Marco Island and Everglade City, all tied together with white-sand beaches.

WHERE TO STAY: The Boat House on Marco Island offers a variety of options, including a Gazebo House right over the water ( If you and the pup are true outdoor types, you’ll enjoy the screened porches with views of Lake Placid at the River Wilderness Waterfront Villas in Everglades City (

WHERE TO EAT: During the summer, The Dock at Crayton Cove hosts “yappy hour” so you can socialize with other dog lovers ( Mango’s Dockside Bistro on Marco Island features light fare with menu options for both you and your pet (

THINGS TO DO: Leashed dogs are welcome on the beach at Keewaydin Island, accessible by boat ( Leashes are also required when strolling the Naples Pier; for off-leash fun, visit the City of Naples Dog Park (known as Central Bark; for free registration, visit

Hitting the Road with Your Pal
The best way to enjoy a dog-centered vacation (or any vacation, for that matter) is to do a little planning first. For one thing, “if your dog is a barker, I suggest staying in a vacation rental or a cabin versus a standard hotel,” says Erin Ballinger. If that’s not possible, she recommends finding a pet sitter or doggy day camp through rover. com to keep your pup occupied while you’re out doing stuff. If traveling by car, schedule adequate bathroom breaks; you can look for rest stops with dog parks or at least some green space. Don’t leave your dog—who should be restrained with a seat belt or in a carrier—in the car for long periods during hot weather. Be sure to pack the following: • food and treats • water and bowl • extra leash • poop bags • chew toy • wipes If traveling by air, find out if your destination has specific requirements regarding vaccinations, vet checks, etc., especially for international travel. Also, “when you’re booking a ticket, call the airline directly—you need to call,” Ballinger says. “Dogs that are going to be in the cabin need to be less than 20 pounds; otherwise, they need to go into cargo.


The capital of Texas doubles as the Live Music Capital of the World. Its motto, “keep Austin weird,” tells you everything you need to know about the city’s unique vibe.

WHERE TO STAY: If you and the pup are into creature comforts, Lake Austin Spa Resort’s Pampered Pets Program includes a special dog menu and nightly turndown treats ( If shopping’s your thing, check out the Staybridge Suites Austin Arboretum Hotel, which is close to two malls (

WHERE TO EAT: According to, there are 469 dog-friendly restaurants in Austin. For example, Yard Bar features classic pub grub and an off-leash dog park ( Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden welcomes dogs while boasting “the largest tap wall in Austin” (

THINGS TO DO: Red Bud Isle is a great place for dogs to swim and frolic (, while Barton Creek Greenbelt Preserve lets them hike near the water ( At Austin Doga, you can both practice your Downward Dog ( On Sundays, wander the HOPE Farmers Market (


If you and your dog prefer the mountains, Colorado Springs is a mile high and contains more than 110 miles of trails within the city itself—to say nothing of the natural beauty, including Pike’s Peak, that surrounds it.

WHERE TO STAY: La Quinta Inn & Suites Colorado Springs South welcomes up to two pets without an additional fee ( Hotel Elegante Colorado Springs is in the southern part of town, near Cheyenne Mountain State Park (

WHERE TO EAT: Pub Dog will let you and your pal dine inside together; the canine menu includes dog bones, bacon, chicken breast soup and carrots ( Dogs are welcome at tables outside the Phantom Canyon Brewing Company, which features an extensive tap selection (

THINGS TO DO: Leashed dogs are allowed in Pike National Forest, which covers more than 1.1 million acres ( There are a number of dog parks in the area, including Bear Creek (, and Rampart and the five-acre Fox Run (both

Canine Travel Gear
Keep your pup safely tethered to his seat with the Impact Dog Car Harness from Kurgo. Made from a single piece of high-tensile tubular webbing with reinforced bar tacking, it features a broad, padded chest plate for extra protection and comfort while integrating directly with your car’s seat belt system. • As much as dogs love looking out the window, the constant wind and sun exposure isn’t good for their eyes. Enter Rex Specs: Used by dog handlers in working K9 applications, these goggles feature a spherical lens design that allows for a full range of view as well as a snug-fitting soft foam edge. • Once you get to your destination, let your dog carry his own stuff with the Outward Hound Crest Stone Explore Pack. It features a mesh top for ventilation and two large pockets, and its bright colors are easy to spot out on the trail.

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