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Top Dog-Friendly Destinations in the US

Summertime means longer days and warmer weather. With the extended sunlight hours comes extended time for recreation with your dog, which is fantastic. Summertime is also synonymous with vacations, which can often bring about trepidation for many dog owners.

The anxiety of trying to find an affordable dogsitter for an extended period of time is only rivaled by the anxiety of considering a cross-country trip with your confined canine.

Not to worry. We have compiled a list of dog-friendly destinations in every region of the country. So you can confidently plan to have your favorite canine companion accompany you on your travels.
Dog Mountain - Vermont
Dog Mountain, the brainchild and vision of married artists Stephen and Gwen Huneck, is located on 150 acres of a private mountaintop in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. The grounds are always open to people and their dogs. The Hunecks bought the property in 1995. In 1997, construction began on the Dog Chapel, which serves as a memorial for people whose pets have passed on. In addition to standard doors, the chapel has a dog door, pews with carved dogs on the ends, and stained glass windows celebrating the joy dogs bring to our lives. 

The chapel opened in 2000, and Stephen Huneck provided for much of the gorgeous design that was developed. Over the years, pet lovers have contributed with their tributes: pictures, letters, and colorful notes to departed pets, covering all of the walls several layers deep. The result is a masterpiece beyond description.
Freedom Trail - Massachusetts
The Freedom Trail Foundation's most popular tour highlights the revolutionary history that took place at 11 of the 16 official Freedom Trail historic sites. This 2.5-mile path is marked by either red bricks or a red painted line and winds through the city, starting at the Boston Common Visitor Center located on Tremont Street south of Park Street.

Leashed pets are welcome to enjoy the Freedom Trail with you; just remember to adhere to the following rules:
  • Pets must be leashed
  • Pet waste must be picked up and disposed of properly
  • Pets using the Boston Common Off-leash Area (from 6 am – 11 pm daily) must have current vaccinations, a current license, wear an ID tag at all times, and be leashed when entering and exiting the area. Owners must always carry a leash and are limited to three dogs in the off-leash area at a time.
Newport Cliff Walk - Rhode Island
Newport's majestic Cliff Walk is the perfect place for you and your dog to encounter a prolonged moment of peace. Observe the glory of the Gilded Age mansions, take in the breathtaking panoramic views of the ocean, breathe in the invigorating sea breeze, and explore the pristine beaches.

Your dog is welcome on the Cliff Walk, but he or she must be leashed and you must pick up after your dog. The 3.5-mile trail is littered with stretches of lawns, beaches, and parks for you and your dog to use as resting areas.
Mystic Seaport Museum - Connecticut
Mystic Seaport is the largest maritime museum in the country, but it doesn’t feel like a typical museum at all. The modern technology and nautical history are woven together so seamlessly that it has the feel of an interactive park of innovation and information. There are ample opportunities to explore impressive old boats and learn about the maritime lifestyle of New England in the 1800s.

Leashed pets are permitted throughout the 19-acre grounds of Mystic Seaport Museum, but they are prohibited from entering restaurants, exhibit buildings, or display vessels. Your dog, however, is allowed on boat rentals and on waterfront cruise boats, as long as there’s room on the tour for your dog to fit comfortably.
City of Charleston - South Carolina
Charleston, also known as The Holy City and Silicon Harbor, has been voted one of America’s friendliest cities in the US multiple times over. That cordiality is extended to your canine companions. From admiring the amazing architecture on King Street to strolling on the edges of Charleston Harbor to taking in the Civil War history at the Battery, there are dozens of dog-friendly venues to appreciate in the scenic southern city.
Nestled in between lush hiking trails and a historic downtown, the Hot Springs National Park is a great place to walk, run, or camp out with your pet. There is a peaceful river that can serve as a a cooling off point where your dog can dip its paws. And with 26 miles of hiking trails bicycle-spoked throughout the park as you pass by Bathhouse Row, you’ll have plenty of room to give yourself and your pup a substantial workout.
Eastport is a serene sailing neighborhood in historic Annapolis and has plenty of dog-friendly venues and activities. Take your dog on the All About Annapolis Walking Tour. Then, stroll through the many waterfront parks that are littered with Revolutionary War history and artifacts. Finally, patronize one of the many dog-friendly restaurants like The Wet Dog Cafe or Davis’s Pub.
The birthplace of the nation’s 16th President is surrounded by woods, hills, well-kept walking trails, and a river – all of which are available for you and your dog to wander and explore. Although pets are not allowed in the monument building or the visitor center, there are plenty of wide-open spaces like the Big Field at Knob Creek that your dog can take advantage of for recreation.
Black Hills and Badlands - South Dakota
Whether you want to camp out at dog-friendly sites like Lake Park Campground and the Rapid City KOA or want to visit the iconic Mount Rushmore, you can bring along your four-legged friend with confidence to experience these scenic venues in the Dakotas. With scores of trails, miniature mountains, and creeks to explore, you and your pet will not lack for outdoor adventure.
Itasca State Park - Minnesota
From the Headwaters Center to Lake Itasca and river headwaters is an 800-foot trail where you and your furry traveler can observe diverse wildlife up close. From ducks to chipmunks to turtles and deer, Itasca State Park is crawling with creatures to spot and snap pictures of. 

After exploring headwaters, you and your dog should traverse the Wilderness Drive, a paved, 10-mile, one-way loop that circles through the park. Travel by vehicle, by bike, or by foot if you’re looking for a challenge.
This vestige of frontier living and Native American culture is a quiet venue, rich with history, that is a suitable expedition for you and your dog. As with most of these locations, pets on a leash are welcome to walk the trails and explore the grounds at the Knife River Indian Villages’ site with you, as long as you pick up after them. They’re prohibited from entering the visitor center and the reconstructed earthen lodge. The Village Trail can is accessible from the visitor center, and the North Forest Trail and Two Rivers Trail are accessible from parking areas on Highway 18.
Painted perfectly on a canvas of burnt red rock and verdant foliage, the desert city of Sedona is a picturesque destination for any dog lover. There are a variety of parks and hiking areas throughout Sedona and the surrounding towns, including Red Rock State Park, Coconino National Forest, and Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness. Leashes must be worn by your dog on the trails, but wherever you choose to begin and end your Sedona expedition, you’re bound to have a blast.
You and your dog will be transported back in time when visiting the Palm Springs Air Museum. You will be able to explore antique aircraft from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. As long as your dog is friendly and is on a leash, you’re welcome to attend any of the walking tours or explore many of the vintage exhibits.
Monument Valley has a unique place in cinematic history, having served as the backdrop for many Western films and having been featured in iconic blockbusters like Forrest Gump and Back to the Future Part III. Monument Valley’s multi-faceted, multi-colored desert landscape is located on the Arizona-Utah border and offers plenty of hiking trails to enjoy with your pup. One such trail is Wildcat Trail, a nearly-four-mile hiking trail that dives into the valley and wraps around West Mitten Butte.
Santa Monica - California
From the famed Santa Monica Pier to Airport Park Dog Park to Huntington Dog Beach, Santa Monica, California is saturated with dog-friendly venues, both indoors and in the open air. Santa Monica is a bona fide dog lovers’ community. The extra care and attention that the residents have invested in creating a canine-compassionate culture make this city an attractive and comfortable destination for visiting tourists and their pets.

So as you deliberate on where to travel during the dog days of summer, you should give great consideration to these dog-friendly destinations.


Schimri Yoyo is a writer for and a financial advisor with active health and life insurance licenses. Born in Haiti. Reared in Brockton, MA. Matured in Philadelphia. Schimri is a proud graduate of Arcadia University, having earned both a Masters in Special Education and an MFA in Creative Writing from the castle-riddled campus in Glenside, PA. By personality and by profession, Schimri is an educator and a storyteller who is eager to assist individuals and families to craft and complete their own financial success stories.


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