Wicked Good Travel Tips / Featured  / Best Ways To Plan A Happy Doggie Vacation
pup at computer
18 Jun

Best Ways To Plan A Happy Doggie Vacation

Keeping everyone entertained and happy on vacation is always an important goal. If you are traveling with kids or a group of friends, you will want to include them in what you do, and find activities that pique their interest. There’s one group we sometimes forget about entertaining, though… our dogs!  With an ever growing list of hotels and resorts that welcome pets, why not take your favorite pup along?  Here are some great ideas for planning a great vacation with your pup and for keeping your doggie happy on vacation.

Coonhound - dogs on vacation

If your dog is like mine, it needs a lot of special attention. I have a two year old coonhound, which I keep as a house pet. Coonhounds normally live on large, open properties where they can run around at their will. It’s important that I find places not only where he and I can walk or run with a leash, but also where he can explore independently. Whether you are taking an RV trip, a simple road trip, or you are planning on staying in a hotel, there are plenty of ways to include your pup in your adventures.

Dedicate Some Time to the Dog Park

Dog parks are great because they allow your dog to run freely, and to interact with other dogs. It can also be a quick half hour stop that will wear your pooch down for the whole day.  If you are traveling by RV, making a stop at a dog park every few days may make everyone’s experience a little better. If you are staying in a hotel with your dog for an extended time, chances are you’re not far from a dog park. They are not only social places for dogs, but for the owners as well, so you will likely get to meet locals in the area.

Spending some time focusing on your pup can reduce destructiveness and restlessness in small hotel rooms, especially if you are planning on touring without your dog for most of the day.  There are several iPhone and Android Apps that can help you find dog parks wherever you travel. The Dog Park Finder Plus is the best app for iOS, and Android also has a paid app or a similar free version.

Finding Dog Friendly Beaches

Dog Playing At Beach

If you’re already planning on hitting the beach during your vacation, find a spot where you can take your pup along to enjoy the waves and sand. Not all beaches are pet-friendly, so it’s important to do your research before taking the leash off. Some do not allow dogs at all, and others require leashes at all times.

Beaches that are not friendly to pets or that have restrictions will almost always let you know with signs as you enter the beach area.  If you are traveling up the West Coast, Southern California has a variety of off-leash beaches in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and beyond. Cannon beach in Oregon also allows dogs to run free, as well as a portion of Marina Beach in Washington State.

Florida has several off-leash beaches as well including Picnic Island Park Dog Beach in Tampa, Paw Park in Venice, and Jupiter Beach. Even some of the lakefront in Michigan and Illinois will allow dogs to roam.  For a resource to find dog friendly beaches, visit

 Hiking With Your Pup

Hiking is a great way to see the natural beauty of new places you visit. Similarly to beach areas, some hiking trails allow dogs with restrictions, some allow them freely, and still others to not allow dogs at all. It is important to respect the rules of the park out of courtesy to other visitors, because you may receive fines or tickets for allowing your dog to run freely, or even because there may be dangers to the animal that you cannot foresee.

Dog on Hike

Again, Southern California is a great area to take your dog hiking. Runyon Canyon Park in Los Angeles has a 90-acre area where dogs are allowed off the leash, and Westridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park is also dog-friendly.  Utah is renown for its hiking and scenery, and there are several hiking areas that allow dogs on or off leash. The Indianapolis area in Indiana, specifically Monon Trail is another great spot that has a variety of trails that allow dogs.

If you are wondering if a nearby hiking trail is dog-friendly, Bring Fido has a guide to hiking areas that allow dogs, and it lists any restrictions they may have.

Take Your Dog Out For a Brew

Dog-friendly businesses are popping up all around the nation. If you have a well-behaved pup, you’ll find a variety of cafes and restaurants that allow dogs out on their patios. Some even offer dog treats, water bowls, or specially cooked treats like hamburgers for your dog.

Some bar patios are even becoming dog-friendly. In Boise, Idaho you’ll find people out at their favorite pub with their trusty friend at their feet.  Taking your dog out for a drink or a meal won’t burn a ton of puppy energy, but including your dog in normal activities will not only keep him happy, but will also be a great conversation starter.  In addition to BringFido and DogFriendly, you can find a directory of restaurants who allow pets at

pup at computer

Even if you already have your destinations planned, use your smartphone or computer to see what kind of dog-friendly attractions are available. Spending time with your dog and allowing it to run freely every once in a while will keep everyone happier and eliminate any restless dog syndrome on your long journey.

About The Author:  Andi Singer is a blogger and content writer for Although it has a reputation for being boring, Salt Lake City, Utah is one of her favorite and most-visited destinations.
Image Source:  WikiMedia Commons