They say, “Virginia is for Lovers,” but when people plan a weekend getaway to this great state with their pups, they often say, “Virginia is for Dog Lovers!” With plenty of pet friendly things to do, from hiking and biking to shopping and pampering, pups and their peeps can take a quick weekend trip to Virginia and enjoy every fun-filled minute of it!
When deciding which cities in Virginia are the best for these dog-friendly-mini-vacations, we narrowed down the list based on a few main criteria: types of activities offered in a particular location, the pet friendly accommodations available there, and the overall “pet friendliness” of the area based on travelers’ experiences. The following are the cities that get our vote for the best weekend getaways.
Many people like to fill their getaway weekends with sightseeing, great shopping, wonderful food and really treating themselves, all with their pooches by their sides! Charlottesville is the perfect spot to do all of this, and much more. It is home to the University of Virginia, with its charming campus that is great for strolling, the college-town atmosphere, and classic architecture that dates back to its designer, Thomas Jefferson. Other great places to visit with your dog include Trump Winery, which has nearly 200 acres of vines amongst a beautiful countryside and scattered ponds. Then, end your day with a sweet treat from Chaps Ice Cream, which also offers homemade donuts and grill service, all in a throwback to the 1950s atmosphere.
Unique shopping opportunities are abundant in Charlottesville, including Barracks Road Shopping Center. This outdoor marketplace offers plenty of opportunities for window-shopping, great restaurants with a mix of foods for all appetites, and unique boutiques for that one-of-a-kind fashion purchase or gift. Best of all, with spacious outdoor walkways to guide you and your dog, he can accompany you on your shopping adventure.
The dog friendly accommodations in Charlottesville are wide-ranging, with plenty of upscale hotels and inns, as well as moderate lodging choices. One of the best places to stay for the utmost in pampering is the Boar’s Head Resort, which offers the best in service and hospitality for guests and their pups. The grounds have many nature trails for exploring, there are always events taking place, and the amenities are top-notch. You and your dog will love all the attention, and you may find it hard to leave!
For history buffs and their dogs, Williamsburg invites visitors to a getaway weekend adventure packed with full history lessons about colonial times. Stepping out into Colonial Williamsburg is like stepping back in time! This is an interactive area for learning about life back in the 1700s, with demonstrations and exhibits that you and your pup can browse through at your leisure, or with a tour guide. There are plenty of special events to experience any time of the year, and the holidays are truly magical with age-old traditions and decorations. And, if you and your furry sidekick ever need a break from the history and want to get back to modern-day culture and activities, Williamsburg has pet friendly art galleries, breweries, parks, restaurants and hiking trails to check-out during your weekend stay.
In keeping with the historical motif, many of the dog friendly accommodations in Williamsburg offer classic architecture, hospitality and charm. One such place is the Williamsburg Manor Bed & Breakfast, where all pets are welcome and stay for free! This stately Colonial brick home was built during the reconstruction of Williamsburg’s Historic area, and the staff takes pride in their hospitality within the beautiful surroundings. Other great lodging options include a variety of resorts, hotels, inns and suites, with extra perks and amenities to please any human or furry weekend visitor.
For those water dogs out there, Virginia Beach is the place to be when it’s time to head to the beach for a weekend getaway! Dogs are welcome on the beach year-round, with some restrictions. However, before Memorial Day and after Labor Day, pups can play on the beach anytime. Summer hours are a bit more restrictive, but they still allow for people and their pets to swim, splash, play fetch and paddle every day during certain hours. When it comes to dog friendly beaches, Virginia Beach does not disappoint!
Pups are also welcome on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, which is a 28-foot wide concrete walkway that is ideal for walkers, joggers, bikers and dogs! It stretches for three miles along the oceanfront and includes plenty of outdoor restaurants and vendors along the path. There’s nightly entertainment in the summer months, and places to rent bikes and surreys for a few hours or a few days. Also, the surrounding areas offer plenty of opportunities for off-beach activities, such as dog parks and hiking trails for more running, playing and exploring.
The dog friendly lodging options in Virginia Beach can accommodate the needs of any weekend traveler, with plenty of hotels, inns and even extended stays. The vacation rentals offered here, from companies like Siebert Realty, Sandbridge Realty and Sandbridge Blue Vacation Rentals, offer weekend and week-long accommodations for just couples and their dog, or full families and then-some for retreats and reunions. Some of the properties are even oceanfront, so people can step right out into the sand and easily take a swim or a leisurely stroll on the beach with their dogs.
Who doesn’t love a great outdoor adventure with a nature-loving pup? When the excursions include hiking, fishing, camping and even tubing, then there’s never a dull moment during a weekend trip to Luray with your furkid! Visiting Luray’s Shenandoah National Park is a great way to get out there and enjoy over 300 miles of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and over 500 miles of hiking trails! For a more unique place to visit, try Luray Caverns, the largest caverns located in the eastern U.S. Pet parents and their dogs can take guided tours through cavernous rooms featuring 10-story high ceilings and natural towering stone formations.
The dog friendly lodging options in Luray include hotels, vacation rentals, lodges and resorts. Allstar Lodging is a great choice for vacation rentals, specifically cabins. The land around the cabins is wide-open, with plenty of space for dogs to run. The cabins are located close to many of the area’s pet friendly attractions, so guests are not far from all that Luray has to offer.
With so many great weekend getaway options, it’s worth mentioning there are plenty of other Virginia cities with a flair for catering to people and their pups. One of these is Roanoke, with its great Blue Ridge Mountain views, downtown city market and the Mill Mountain Park and Greenway, which includes the famous Roanoke Star. Then there’s Fredericksburg, for history buffs, outdoor lovers and those just needing some relaxing downtime with their furry friend. Add in the many pet friendly accommodation options that these cities offer and you can easily see why they are mentioned in our top dog friendly getaway places, too!