Five Vacation Destinations . . . For the Dogs


Wanting to vacation somewhere cool, but wondering what to do with Fido or Fluffy? It can be a hassle, not to mention expensive, to pay boarding fees for your pet, and finding someone you trust to housesit may be difficult (especially if they’re all on vacation, too!). In the past, pets were personas non grata in hotels and other lodging facilities. But, times have changed, and more and more resorts and popular vacation destinations are accommodating pets.

Here’s a list of five popular pet-friendly vacation destinations perfect for the ideal get away for you and your dog.

  1. Outer Banks, NC
    Outer Banks
    This popular tourist destination, located along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, provides plenty of entertainment and relaxation, and is home to many national parks and historic sites. Among these are Cape Hatteras, the location of the Wright Brothers’ first powered airplane flight, the Wright Brothers Museum, and the NCC Aquarium. Between these spots, community theater productions, various aquatic activities, and sports, there’s something for everyone to do. The open beaches also provide wilderness for you and your pets to explore. Several hotels in the area accommodate pets, as do vacation rental homes and timeshares.
  2. Jupiter Beach Resort, Jupiter, FLJupiter Beach
    Palm Beach, Florida, is home to this pet-friendly resort. In addition to all the swanky amenities you’d expect from a resort and spa (various salon treatments and fitness areas, restaurants, comfy robes, et al), you also get the benefit of beautiful ocean-front views from your hotel room. And happily, so do your pets. Their It’s a Dog’s Life package includes pet-boarding facilities, grooming salons and spas, and a shop to buy pet sundries and gifts, it’s hard to say who gets the best end of the deal! Of course, there’s also room for your pets to roam outside if you do decide to leave the resort-many of the area restaurants are pet-friendly, too, and of course, tossing a frisbee on the beach is always a fun option for you and your furry friends.
  3. Branson, MOBranson, MO
    Although it may not be the first place one thinks of as a popular tourist destination, Branson, Missouri, offers plenty for both you and your pets to do. Some of the many attractions include caverns, amusement parks, concerts, museums and wineries. Visitors here have several options for lodging as well, including hotels, camping facilities, condos, resorts and spas. As an added bonus, several of these hotels have very low or even no pet fees! And as for your pet, he (or she) will not want for comfort or entertainment. Table Rock State Park offers nature trails, most of which are pet-friendly. Several restaurants also allow pets. But perhaps the biggest draw for your dogs is their annual Dogtoberfest, held over the first weekend of October. The festival includes many vendors selling pet-related products, a costumed pet parade and contest, and dog photos!
  4. San Francisco, CASan Francisco
    San Francisco has long enjoyed a reputation of being a dog-friendly city-and it’s no wonder. Most of the hotels we looked into had no pet fee or weight restrictions at all, requesting simply that you call ahead to notify them about your pet(s). Additionally, the city is home to popular dog parks, Golden Gate Park and Fort Funston, which also feature leash-free areas. San Francisco also hosts several charity events featuring dog walks, including their AIDS walk and pet adoption bake sales.
  5. Las Vegas, NVLas Vegas
    We all know the biggest draws of Las Vegas are located primarily in the Strip. However, nearby attractions such as Red Rock Canyon offer places for you and your dogs to walk (leashed, of course). Other parks include off-leash play areas, and some even divide the play areas by dog size. Like San Francisco, Vegas hosts some pet festivals and fundraisers for pet-rescue organizations. Currently, Las Vegas boasts 42 pet-friendly hotels, some of which have no pet fees at all, or for dogs under 50 lbs.

While the vacation destinations above may sound perfect for you and your pet, you’ll also want to know about pet terms and conditions that often exist. Some of the things to consider when planning a pet-friendly trip like this are:

  • There will almost invariably be an additional daily pet fee, and it will likely be per night AND per pet. Many places also have a non-refundable pet deposit on top of the daily fee.
  • There is typically a weight/size limit for your dogs, probably no larger than 25 lbs.
  • You will need to tell the people wherever you’re staying BEFOREHAND if you’re bringing your pet with you.
  • Your dogs will need to be on a leash whenever out in public.
  • You and your pets are subject to local laws about pet behavior, as well as where they’re allowed to go. Failure to obey the laws can result in fines, or worse.

For more information and international locations of pet-friendly accommodations, check out these sites:

Bring Fido
A comprehensive international listing of pet-friendly facilities, including ratings!

Dog Friendly
Another great site for pet-inclusive travel, and rated by Forbes as a Best of the Web site.

Pet Vacation Homes
Searches limited to pet-friendly rental houses, cabins, and condos.


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