Off the Beaten Path: Sniffing Out Hidden Dog Friendly Travel Gems

Dog parks and pet friendly places abound across the United States. However, just off the beaten path, tucked away from plain sight, there are some really fantastic spots that don’t just welcome dogs, but make them part of the travel experience in a unique way. We’ve sniffed out 10 of these hidden gems for you. Plan your next trip around them, or make them a destination all their own!  

Sedona, Arizona Pet Friendly Sedona
A Day in the West
This Sedona family-owned business offers Jeep and horseback tours across Sedona’s ruggedly beautiful mountain and desert landscape, complete with colorful local tour guides and a range of different tour options. Dogs are welcome on all of the Jeep tours, so you can get the amazing photo ops and the Old West experience, while he can sniff the air and take in the scenery to his heart’s content. Lap dogs ride free, while large dogs are charged a child’s fare.

Charleston, South Carolina
Old Charleston Walking Tour
If you’re looking to experience Charleston, learn some great history, and be scared silly, the Old Charleston Ghost Walk is a unique and truly fun option for you and your furry friend. This 90 minute walking tour begins at 7:30 and 9:30 each night from Tuesday through Sunday, and visits the cities most haunted graveyards and alleyways. Your dog will love all the new sights and smells of a nighttime tour, and you’ll have him there for comfort and protection . . . you know, just in case!

Asheville, North CarolinaPet Friendly Asheville, North Carolina
Barkwells Vacation Rentals
Nestled off the beaten trail in the lush and lovely mountains of western North Carolina in the town of Asheville, you’ll find Barkwells, a vacation retreat that’s as fun and luxurious for your pooch as it is for you. Known as the dog lover’s retreat, the property is set on eight acres of land that traverses meadows, woodlands and a pond. The entire area is securely fenced in, so dogs and humans alike can safely explore and play to their hearts’ content. They can also relax on the porch, sit by the fire, or play fetch in their private fenced yard.

Napa Valley, California
Marston Family Winery
Hidden away on the southernmost slopes of Spring Mountain, the historic Marston Family Winery in Napa Valley offers a relaxing tour, tranquil and beautiful mountain scenery, and a pet friendly atmosphere. The family’s Lab, Tucker, will happily entertain your pup while you enjoy a tasting.

Chicago, Illinois 
Chicago Seadog Cruises
If your dog is the seaworthy sort, she’ll love feeling the wind on her face on a Chicago Seadog cruise or speedboat tour. This Chicago company offers several different tour options, including an architectural tour, a fireworks tour and an extreme thrill ride. Leashed, friendly dogs are welcome on all tours at no charge, so you can both enjoy a thrilling or enlightening ride across Lake Michigan.

Ingleside, IllinoisPet Friendly Ingleside, Illinois
Camp Dogwood
This unique sleepaway camp in Illinois, is for you and your dog, and offers a one-of-a-kind way to bond with your best canine bud. Camp Dogwood is held in the spring and fall each year on a 180-acre facility that spans wetlands, woodlands and fields. Much like the summer camps you remember as a kid, outdoor activities abound, including everything from water sports, to agility training, to dock diving. Of course, there will be also be some campfires, s’mores, nature hikes, beach parties, and arts and crafts – and perhaps a wine tasting for the human folk.

California Coast
Good Kharma Surf: Dog Surfing Lessons
If you love the beach in California, and your dog loves the water, Good Kharma dog surfing lessons can be great fun for you both. Held on beaches in Orange and Los Angeles counties, the lessons are affordable, fun, and safe, and open to dogs of all skill levels. You’ll be amazed at what your dog can accomplish, and she’ll learn a new skill and get some great exercise splashing in the surf!

Pet Friendly St. Johnsbury, VermontSt. Johnsbury, Vermont
Dog Mountain
If you’re both a dog lover and a supporter of the arts, there’s a quiet getaway waiting for you in the mountains of Vermont. The brain-child of visionary sculptor and dog lover Stephen Huneck, Dog Mountain is set on 150 acres of private land, and acts as a place of recreation and rest for people and their dogs. There are no leash laws on Dog Mountain; dogs are free to roam and play with one another on the grounds at all times, 24/7. A gallery of Huneck’s work is on display, and the chapel he built as a spiritual respite for both people and dogs stands tall and welcoming to those who visit. There are hiking trails and ponds where dogs can swim, and the gallery hosts multiple “dog parties” each year, where canines and their human friend can enjoy a barbecue together.

Kennebunkport, Maine
Seashore Trolley Museum
Founded in 1939 with just one trolley car, the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport features 250 historic transit vehicles, including trolleys from around the world. Previously, dogs were only allowed on the grounds of the museum. However, thanks to the huge success of the Museum’s first-ever Seashore Trolley Dog Day back in June, dogs are now allowed in the buildings and on designated vehicles.

Merlin, Oregon
Rogue Wilderness Adventure: Paddles and Paws Rafting 
Rogue Wilderness Adventures, located in Oregon, offers Rogue River rafting trips for guests of all abilities and experience levels. While they do rent to people with dogs at any time, each year the company offers a special 3-day rafting and camping trip on the River that’s designed for the canine kind. Rafting gear, food and transportation are all provided, so all you and Fido have to do is show up, and be ready to ride the rapids and sleep under the stars.

There are great hidden dog friendly spots everywhere – it just takes a little digging to find them. We’re always up for any adventure with our four-legged friends, so if you have a favorite little-known place to take your pet, we’d love to hear about it!  Until then, happy and safe travels to you and your pet.