Best Dog-Friendly Road Trips

It’s no secret that taking your dog on a plane is an obstacle, sometimes impossible. Since most of us must plan our lives around our pooches, perhaps you can consider a road trip for your next vacation. Road trips provide an authentic view into the nuances of each city and most dogs love them! If they aren’t enthusiastic about road trips, they love being around their human companion. This is a fantastic opportunity for some quality time with your dog!

Hug the Pacific Coast

Remember that road trips are for meandering along less traveled highways. You’ll want to skim the coastal highways and roads instead of taking the huge and congested interstate freeways. One bonus of driving along the Pacific Coast is that you will hit many dog-friendly cities. You have a very good chance of finding hotels or motels that allow dogs (with an extra fee). Additionally, there are many state parks and preserves with campgrounds and trails that allow dogs on leashes.

Another advantage is that the coastal climate on this side of the U.S. is temperate, although you don’t want to be caught in Oregon or Washington in the coldest months of the year. However, you’ve got 9 or 10 months out of the year where the coastal weather will be rather bearable at its worst. With unbeatable cliffs and forests against the backdrop of the ocean, there is virtually no downside to taking your dog on a road trip along this glorious strip of the U.S.

Southwest Charm

Another region of the U.S. known for being particularly dog-friendly is the Southwest which includes Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah. With a wealth of untouched beauty, every day will be something new for you and your dog. One advantage of this road trip is that you can plan a nice circular route – the length of which depends on how much free time you’ve got. This is a great road trip for people who are planning a vacation of less than two weeks.

The most opportune time for the Southwest is during the late fall and winter season. Summertime may be too hot for your dog to walk around and you will probably be uncomfortable too. While many people take long trips by car around the Southwest in the summer, the extreme heat is much harder on your vehicle than in the milder autumn and winter. Additionally, you’ll encounter less crowds later in the year.

Northeastern Seaboard

In a region where people love the outdoors and virtually live on their boats in the summer, expect that man’s best friend is warmly welcome here. Road trips in New York and New England will not only give you a gorgeous glimpse of the natural beauty but you’ll get something that you won’t get on the West Coast or Southwest – a great history lesson of Colonial America. Lighthouses, picture-perfect towns, and old mansions of prominent American families are some of the eye-candy you’ll be treated to.

While the Northeastern Seaboard is one of the most dog-friendly regions in the U.S., the winters can be quite inhospitable. Unless you are a seasoned road-tripper, you are best suited to plan your vacation in late spring to early autumn. Keep in mind – even if you aren’t traveling in the coldest months of the year, the Northeast can have heavy rainfall, scattered throughout the year.

Extra Tips

With the world at your fingertips via the internet you can easily scout out your road trip well before you depart. Look at your route and approximate where you will stop for the night. Have a few dog-friendly motel/hotel options for each stop. During the high season, you’ll have to set your plans in stone, and reserve your rooms well in advance. Don’t space out the distances between stops too far – you’ll stress yourself out during your trip when you’re in a time-crunch.

Use one of our favorite roadside attraction apps, Fotospot, to plan stops along the way. Fotospot is an attraction discovery app that surfaces 1,000s of curated, “photo-worthy” tourist attractions in your area. Discover amazing waterfalls, giant donuts (and one bagel), unique museums, film locations from your favorite movies and TV shows, scenic and historic locations, plus loads of other attractions featuring the wild, the wonderful, and the just plain weird.

This trip is for relaxing, so give yourself enough leeway to drive at a moderate pace. You can stop to take photos of the amazing scenery without feeling like you’re behind schedule.

By Gabrielle Allemeier


Huffington Post: The Most Dog-Friendly Cities in America
U.S. News: America’s Most Pet-Friendly Cities
TheBark,com: Dog-Friendly Travel Tips – Northeast

About the Author
Gabrielle Allemeier volunteers her free time as an animal rescuer and foster pet parent. As an animal lover, she enjoys sharing the knowledge she has gained from her experience with a variety of animals. Along with being an animal lover, Gabrielle is a globetrotter. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her terrier, Thisbe.