Vacations should be for the whole family, four-legged members included! And while some destinations aren’t so apt for your puppies, there are cities that are paws-itively perfect for traveling with your BFF. Here are the top four U.S. destinations where you can leave your worries behind, and not your pet.
As a city that blends its urban landscape with nature, Austin is a great place to bring your dog year-round. With over 15 off-leash parks and Red Bud Isle, a dog-only swimming hole, your dog can stay happy exercising and socializing every day you’re there. Plus, if you’re looking to get a workout in too, there’s Austin Doga–a yoga studio for dogs and their owners (only in the city that keeps things weird, right?). Most retail stores and restaurants in Austin are also dog-friendly, as long as your pup is well-behaved and friendly. Austin Terrier in North Austin is a must-try. The name speaks for itself, but the owner really loves dogs. Many menu options come with names like “Buster” or “Hutch,” and the food leans toward classic American. Cane Rosso in South Austin is another go-to with its award-winning pizza, pet adoptions, and fundraising events that raise money for local, abandoned dogs. Check local travel sites if you run out of ideas because Austin is full of awesome family- and dog-friendly activities. Finding a place to stay will also be easy, as most chain hotels in the city allow pets. You’ll also find luck on Airbnb if you’re looking for something with local flair, like this East Austin Charmer.
Outer Banks, NC
The Outer Banks is a 130-mile long stretch of dog-paradise along the North Carolina coast. Full of quaint beach towns, each with their own unique character, almost all are dog-friendly all year long. Plus, the soft sand and wide beaches make the perfect playgrounds for you and your dog to run around. Just keep in mind that the leash laws vary by widely by town, so double-check before you go. Most restaurants in each town are very accommodating for dogs and offer outdoor seating areas. If you’re staying in Duck, take your pup to Duck’s Cottage Coffee and Books. Smack in the middle of downtown, this unique shop offers books, fancy coffees, and water for your dog. The porch is also perfect for reading while your dog relaxes with you. In Kitty Hawk, John’s Drive In is famous for its special ice cream “puppy cups.” The Surfin Spoon in Nags Head also offers a pup cup for your dog, so you can both cool down after a long day on the beach. Take your dog to Bonzer Shack in Kill Devil Hills, this little surf shack offers great food and live music. And when it comes to where you’ll stay, finding accommodations will also be easy as most vacation rentals and chain hotels are prepared to host pets.
San Diego, CA
With year-round perfect weather, plus great restaurants and more than 16 off-leash parks, you and your pup need to head to San Diego. Of course, running free on the beach with your dog is a must-do while you’re there. The top beach is aptly named Dog Beach and is the country’s first official leash-free beach. You should definitely try Dog Paddles while you’re there, a dog-friendly kayaking adventure. Besides the beach, get some exercise in with your pet at one of San Diego’s amazing hiking spots. The Cabrillo Tide Pools Trail is an easy, 0.5-mile hike that will take about an hour to complete and is the only trail in the Cabrillo National Monument where dogs are allowed. The Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve trail is another great option, with its amazing views of the San Diego preservation area. When you get hungry, head to the Lighthouse Ice Cream shop, which offers Frosty Paws–a soy-based, sugar-free ice cream that will surely spoil your pet. There’s also Original Paw Pleasers, a dog-dedicated bakery with freshly baked treats and goodies daily. Hotels in the area also love their four-legged guests. The U.S. Grant Hotel is the most famous for this, offering a pet welcome of cookies, a water dish, and dog-bed upon check in.
Pet-obsessed and beautiful, Denver is the perfect destination for your next vacation getaway with your pup. Only a 45-minute drive from the mountains, there are a plethora of amazing hiking trails to conquer. Elk Meadow in Evergreen is full of epic views and climbing spots, as well as a no leash-required rule! A little further near Boulder, CO is the Green Mountain Trail. You’ll have to really push yourself to get to the top, but the views are worth it. Boulder is also a super friendly dog-town, so be sure to grab lunch and relax while you’re there. If you’re looking to stay a little more local, the Meadowlark Trail Loop allows you stay near the city while still enjoying the beautiful views. The downtown area is home to over 150 dog-friendly restaurants that have outdoor patios and eating areas. The Denver Beer Co., Forest Room 5, and Racine’s are all great options. For accommodations, there are over 180 pet friendly hotels so finding a spot that works for you is easy.