Top 25 Dog-Friendly Vacations, From Beach Runs to Pup-Loving Bar Crawls
You can take your best pal with you on these getaways around the West.
Written bySunsetJuly 9, 2010
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1 of 21Michael Hanson
On Lake Washington, the 9-acre Warren Magnuson Dog Park, a fully fenced retreat is Seattle’s one off-leash park that also gives dogs access to the water. But that’s not its only appeal. There’s beautiful scenery to be enjoyed along the park’s shoreline trail, not to mention a designated small-dog area and a dog-washing station. It’s wheelchair-accessible too.
2 of 21Sara Schneider
Walla Walla, Washington
Washington is full of dog-friendly breweries and wineries.At funky Dunham Cellars, a favorite wine is named for a dog: The “Three Legged Red” ($19) is a meaty red blend. ($10 tasting fee). (Please note that the winery’s website does specifically prohibit pit bulls.) Crash comfortably at downtown’s Marcus Whitman Hotel.
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3 of 21Photo by John Clark; written by Loren Mooney
4 of 21Photo by Bob Friel; written by Loren Mooney and Bob Friel
Cannon Beach, Oregon
It’s easy for a hotel, shop, or outdoor cafe to accommodate pocket pooches and handbag hounds, but big, bear-like breeds? That’s a different story. For the ultimate dog-friendly vacation, consider Cannon Beach. The enchanting little cedar-shacked town, is up to the task, with abundant pet-friendly hotels and eateries where dogs are welcome at outdoor tables. For a fun frolic with your pooch, head for the secluded northernmost stretch of Cannon Beach, across the knee-deep mouth of Ecola Creek. Make sure your dog is leashed or under voice control. Stay at the Ocean Lodge, next door to the posh kid/dog-averse Stephanie Inn was designed by the same architect. The lodge welcomes pets with a basket stuffed with linens, treats, and chew toys and has an outdoor dog shower. At the Surfsand Resort dogs get a beach towel, bowl, and basket of treats. At dog-accessory store Puppy Love by the Sea, canines can pad right on inside.
5 of 21John Clark
Dogs are almost required on the patios of Lucky Labrador Brewing Co.’s four rustic brewpubs (N.W., S.E., S.W., and North Portland). In this Portland spot, Your dog can munch on dog treats while you sip canine-themed craft beers such as Winter Wonder Dog and Dog Day IPA. All pets stay for free, with no restrictions on size or number, at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland, a whimsical downtown hotel. The Monaco will provide a bed and bowls for your dog. Additional services include walking and sitting—and if your pooch is spiritually minded, psychic readings.
6 of 21Photo by John Clark; written by Loren Mooney
Lincoln City, Oregon
One of the best dog-friendly vacations for time by the sea is on the Oregon coast. The 7.5 miles of beach in Lincoln City—an iconic Western beach town—has a firm leash law, but bring your hound with you to hunt for a souvenir glass float from local glassblowing studios; volunteers hide the baubles above the tide line. The Looking Glass Inn has a dog run with its own fire hydrant.
7 of 21Photo by David Fenton; written by Loren Mooney
Mendocino is another great locale for dog-friendly vacations. At Stanford Inn By The Sea, next to a plate of cookies for the humans is a welcome kit for Miss Bea: a housemade sweet-potato treat tied in a white ribbon, water and food dishes, an ample stack of plastic bags, and two fresh sheets. While hotels increasingly allow dogs—hoping to cash in on the 39 percent of U.S. households that own one—the Stanford has been pet-friendly since Jeff Stanford and his wife, Joan, bought it in the 1980s, shortly after moving from the Midwest. Back then, if you traveled with a dog, “you had to stay at a Holiday Inn or nothing,” says Jeff. Like many people who move to California, they wanted to do things on their own terms. So, at their place, dogs go everywhere. “It’s just automatic.” Even in the sitting area in the lobby, just outside the hotel’s Ravens’ Restaurant, you can eat breakfast in the company of your dog. The food is 100% plant-based farm to table, which is how Jeff wants it. It is also delicious.
8 of 21Photo by David Fenton; written by Loren Mooney
More Mendocino, California
Many local parks, restaurants, and other businesses go way beyond merely allowing dogs in Mendocino. They welcome them, and their canine quirks, openly. This is why there are so many dog-friendly beach towns on the rocky, rugged coast—there’s so much for a dog to do, and relatively little trouble to get into. The beach is, simply, nature’s coolest playground, even if you never go in more than ankle-deep. Rent a canoe or kayak from Catch a Canoe & Bicycles, Too and explore the Big River estuary.
9 of 21Written by Elizabeth Jardina
If you have a shepherd, that shepherd wants to herd. Only problem is that you don’t own sheep, which is why Spot’s best vacation ever will be at Dairydell Canine. Seasoned sheepdog handler Frank Souza can coax even city shepherds into focused farm dogs—at least for a few minutes. Other doggy behavior classes are offered as well. Afterward, lunch at cafe-bakery Della Fattoria. Try the Della BLT with heirloom tomatoes; your dog will pass on lunch—she’ll be sleeping under the table, dreaming of sheep.
10 of 21David Fenton
San Francisco, California
Humans soak up iconic views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline while dogs romp on a sandy beach and splash in the bay at Crissy Field. There’s an adjacent grassy area with picnic tables (leash required), and the Warming Hut has lattes and snacks. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is proposing new on- and off-leash restrictions, but for now the doggie coast is clear. At Faruk Zubovic’s Le Marcel Specialty Bakery for Dogs in the Marina District, the offerings are all-natural (like the Peanut Beastro Biscotti). And there’s a lovely patio where humans who bring their own food can picnic with their canines.
11 of 21
St. Helena, California
For dog-friendly vacations in wine country, go to Napa Valley. The Napa’s stalwart V. Sattui Winery produces some excellent wines—Sunset honored its 2009 “Paradiso” in our 2013 competition. But it’s also highly canine-friendly. Leashed dogs are allowed inside the tasting room; outside, dogs are welcome to join their people for a picnic on the lawns, which are open to the public seven days a week and surrounded by hedges and a fence to keep pups safe.
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Near Big Sur, you’ll be welcomed to Monterey Bay’s pooch paradise. Centrally located Carmel City Beach has delightfully soft sand and refreshingly few land mines—poop bags are provided. Spoil your pooch at pet store Diggidy Dog. The shopping center Carmel Plaza has a dogs-only watering spot, the Fountain of Woof. For dog-friendly dining, we like Casanova and the Forge in the Forest. Probably the most famous dog-friendly hotel in the country, the Cypress Inn is co-owned by actress, animal activist, and nonagenarian Doris Day. And even without its pet pedigree, it’s an appealing Mediterranean-style inn dating to 1929. Dog highlights include the weekday afternoon Yappy Hour at Terry’s Lounge, where dogs join their guardians for meals and drinks. You can also take your dog for an off-leash romp at nearby Carmel Beach.
13 of 21Photo by Chris Leschinsky; written by Loren Mooney
Hike with your dog at Fiscalini Ranch Preserve (bluff trail on-leash; others off-leash). Stay at Cambria Shores Inn, where happy hour in the motor lodge–style courtyard is like Best in Show come to life, with dog-owner characters snacking on comp hors d’oeuvres—pooches in arm or by their side—as they chat and watch the ocean from Adirondack chairs on the lawn. Linn’s Easy-as-Pie Café is a local institution. No shocker here, try the pie.
14 of 21Photo courtesy of Jean Orantes Klima; written by Loren Mooney
A private rock-rimmed wading pool. Doggie day-care. It’s all at the Hearst Castle of kennels, Camp Canine. While you’re out enjoying Santa Barbara’s pleasures, rest assured your dog is having a good time too. Maybe a better time. Added bonus: Camp Canine is walking distance from the world’s best taco joint, La Super-Rica Taqueria.
16 of 21Dave Lauridsen
Los Angeles, California
Believe it or not, you can have excellent dog-friendly vacations in L.A. Spot celebrities—Charlize Theron and Jake Gyllenhaal are among those who’ve been seen here with their mutts—at Runyon Canyon, a 168-acre park in the Hollywood Hills. There are three main trails and an off-leash area, and on clear days, views stretch from downtown to Palos Verdes to the Pacific. Those major pluses make up for the minuses, which include tough parking and weekend crowds. If you want to hit the ultimate A-list dog run, head to Laurel Canyon Park—3 tree-lined acres in the Santa Monica Mountains where pedigreed boxers and poodles mingle off-leash with equally well-groomed owners: Orlando Bloom, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Reese Witherspoon have been spotted here. Stay at the elegant Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood remains the place for your pooch to see and be seen in Tinseltown. Your dog gets a mini bed, bowl, and treats, and can run around off-leash at the park next door.
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Beverly Hills, California
Two swank blocks from Rodeo Drive, Pussy & Pooch, 12,000-square-foot doggy “lifestyle center,” serves the modern metropolitan dog with custom beds and a private shopping room that offers one-of-a-kind dresses and blingy collars. There’s also on-site training and wellness centers, a meat counter, and a pet cafe.
18 of 21Dominique Labrecque
Imperial Beach Surf Dog Competition
Dogs vie in hanging 10 and performing other oceanic stunts at the annual Imperial Beach Surf Dog Competition held in Orange County’s surf capital. “Any breed can succeed at dog surfing,” says contest organizer Lisa Scolman. “But there are some just built for it, like the English bulldog, with its low center of gravity and great balance.”
19 of 21Written by Maryann Hammers
Coronado Island, California
How about a puppy contest and swank hotel for dog-friendly vacations? Coronado Dog Beach is a treat for your pet. What’s more, your dog can ride the waves every June at the Loew’s Surf Dog Competition at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort, 20 minutes south of San Diego. When booking you stay at any time of year, look for pet-friendly packages that cover the pet fee and provide doggy room service as well. Wag’n Tails’ self-wash area benefits from the store owner’s freely admitted fastidiousness: The place is spotless and cleaned between each dog, ideal for a post-surf clean.
20 of 21The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada
Take your pooch on your Sin City vacation. Canine guests–up to two, of any size–will get a dog bowl, treats, and two pet pee pads (all for an extra $50 per night). They—and you—can also take advantage of the Cosmopolitan’s walking and sitting services.
21 of 21Photo by Helen Holt; written by Tim Vanderpool
Near Tucson, Arizona
Give your dog a break from the heat on Arizona dog-friendly vacations. Head to the oak-shaded trails of Madera Canyon, 40 miles south of Tucson. In the morning, dog in tow, stroll the 1.8-mile round-trip Bog Springs Trail; it’s wildflower-flush during late summer’s monsoon season.