You've heard that "Virginia is for lovers" but you may not realize that Virginia is also a great place for pet lovers! In Virginia exciting adventures are right around the corner for pet parents and their pups. There is a wide variety of pet friendly activities you can choose from, including pet friendly wineries, cruises, historical landmarks, and shopping malls. Whatever interests you and your furry best friend have, Virginia’s diverse attractions, rich history, beautiful landscapes, and varied culture contain attractions for everyone. These fun pet friendly day trips allow traveling pet parents and their pups to experience the area and for locals to participate in their communities.
1. Alexandria's Footsteps of the Past Walking Tours, Alexandria
See Alexandria by foot with your pup by taking a walking tour with Alexandria’s Footsteps of the Past. You and your leashed pooch will listen to great storytellers and learn about more than two hundred years of town history and its many historical figures, including George Washington and Robert E. Lee. After your tour, satisfy your hunger by having dinner at Chadwicks, one of Alexandria’s pet friendly restaurants.
2. Daisey's Island Cruises, Chincoteague Island
Daisey's Island Cruises offer a great alternative way to view Chincoteague and Assateague Islands with your four-legged furry friend. Dogs are more than welcome on this charter cruise, where you will see the famous Chincoteague ponies, dolphins, and copious bird population, and picturesque sunsets from comfortable pontoon boats. After a day of exploring the beauty of Chincoteague and Assateague Islands enjoy Vietnamese cuisine at Saigon Village, a Chincoteague pet friendly dining option.
3. Front Royal Canoe Company, Front Royal
Experience the great Shenandoah River with your pup and go canoeing and kayaking with Front Royal Canoe Company in Front Royal. Located on the South Fork of the beautiful Shenandoah River, the river trips flow north between the Shenandoah National Park and the George Washington National Forest and will allow you and your four-legged family member to enjoy novice to intermediate class waters. If you are hungry after your river adventure visit Spelunker's, one of Front Royal’s pet friendly restaurants, to enjoy frozen custard, burgers and fries.
4. Barrel Oak Winery, Delaplane
Barrel Oak Winery welcomes you to enjoy country views, spend time in the great outdoors, and sip Virginia wine with your furry best friend in Delaplane. The owners of Barrel Oak Winery love their dogs so much they name their wines after their dogs. You can also schedule a personal tour of the winery with your pup. After your visit, dine at pet friendly Red Horse Tavern in Middleburg, a mere 20 minute drive away.
5. Sandy Bottom Nature Park, Hampton
Spend time in the great outdoors with your pup at Sandy Bottom Nature Park in Hampton. This lovely nature park accommodates your leashed furry friends and includes a fenced off-leash area. Other activities you can partake with your pooch include fishing, boating, camping and hiking the parks extensive nature trail system. The park has picnic areas for you and your pup if you want to enjoy a meal in nature. Pet friendly dining options in the area include Joe’s Crab Shack, where you can eat seafood in the patio seating area.
6. Stony Point Fashion Park, Richmond
Spend the day shopping with your pooch at the pet friendly Stony Point Fashion Park in Richmond. Besides offering many of your favorite stores, the mall has places your pup will love, such as Three Dog Bakery, which serves treats and baked goods for your dog. Many of the stores will let your pooch shop with you--just look for the dog sticker in the window. There are even "rest" areas for your pet that offer water and clean up bags. If you have a big appetite after your shopping excursion, grab a burger at pet friendly Roy’s Big Burger.
7. Shenandoah National Park, Luray
Shenandoah National Park is not only one of the lushest forests in the United States with a wide range of wildlife; it is perhaps the most dog friendly of the National Parks and a great place to visit with your pup. You can enter the park through one of four entrance stations, including one in Luray, to explore the vast park that covers over three hundred miles of the Blue Ridge Mountains and has more than 500 miles of trails including a segment of the Appalachian Trail. Dogs of all sizes are welcome to explore with their pet parents on a 6-foot leash. Although Shenandoah is a great place to picnic with your pup, if you want to have a sit-down meal, try Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint, a pet friendly restaurant located in nearby Harrisonburg.
8. Petersburg National Battlefield, Petersburg
Learn about the historic nine and one-half month Civil War siege of Petersburg with your pup by visiting pet friendly Petersburg National Battlefield. The park has 33-mile route that has 13 different sites you can explore with your leashed pet. Throughout the year there are several live history demonstrations, so check the calendar if you would like to catch one with your pooch. After a day of learning about Petersburg’s rich history, grab a bite to eat at one of the pet friendly restaurants in Richmond, such as Acacia.
9. Potomac Riverboat Co. Canine Cruises, Alexandria
Cruise the Potomac River with your furry best friend with a Potomac Riverboat Co. Canine Cruise in Alexandria. Every second Thursday during the summer months dogs are welcome on a special pet friendly 40 minute cruise. After your adventure on the river, enjoy Italian and American cuisine Faccia Luna Trattoria, a nearby pet friendly restaurant.
10. Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington
Explore the solemn and revered grounds of one of Virginia’s main attractions with your four-legged friend with a visit to Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington. Leashed pets and their parents can stroll the beautiful paths and honor fallen soldiers. You are welcome to bring your pooch with you to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. After your trip to the cemetery, enjoy a signature brew and great food in Downtown Arlington at pet friendly Capital City Brewery.
Author: Caroline Waller
Caroline is a full time student studying English and journalism at UNC-Chapel Hill. An avid pet lover, she is excited to be able to work with TripsWithPets.com as a marketing intern. In her spare time Caroline enjoys curling up with a good book and her beloved cats, Buttercup and Butternut, and spending time with her family.