3 Best pet-friendly vacation spots
If you have a pet, there's a good chance they are more like another member of your family than anything else. You feed them off the table, cuddle with them and talk to them like they're human. So, why leave them behind with a stranger, in a crate or a boarding house when you go on vacation? When planning your next vacation, check out these amazing pet-friendly spots so Fido can come with you!
Gatlinburg, Tennessee, San Diego, California and Key West, Florida, are perfect vacation spots for you, your family and your pet! Each of these towns has a great selection of pet-friendly hotels, parks and restaurants as well as fun activities, parades and festivals that include your furry friend!
This beautiful town is nestled alongside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The fact that this is the most visited national park (more than 9 million visitors a year) in the United States makes this a great vacation and tourist destination for families from all over.
Where to stay
Don't think camping is your only option if Fido is coming along with you. Gatlinburg has a great selection of affordable and nice pet-friendly hotels near the park and the shopping areas. One of the top-rated pet hotels in the city is the Hawk's View Cabin, which is minutes from the park. Hawk's View is a three-level cabin with two decks, hot tub, gas grill, gas fireplace, cathedral ceilings, full kitchen, game room and laundry room! Rates are as low as $100 a night (including the $50 pet cleaning fee). Another affordable option is the Red Roof Inn near the Gatlinburg Aquarium. This hotel is just a few miles away from the national park. One pet under 25 pounds is welcome to stay. Rates are as low as $53 dollars a night (including a pet fee).
Check out other places to stay in Gatlinburg >>
Where to play
One place you have to check out is the national park (obviously!). The park is completely pet friendly (as long as your pet is on a leash at all times). Most of the trails, unfortunately, are not open to dogs. However, the Gatlinburg trail, which is a 1.9 mile hike from the visitors' center to the outskirts of Gatlinburg, allows pets. Another great pet-friendly attraction is the Gatlinburg Sky Lift, which allows dogs and their owners to take a ride to the top of the mountain! If you're looking to hike the more strenuous trails and don't want to leave your pet in the hotel, check out Barks and Recreation, a day care facility for pets! Dogs are able to play outside and receive plenty of attention from caregivers. The cost is about $10 for half a day per dog. If you're more into shopping, the Village Shops, featuring 27 specialty stores (including a pet fashion store) allow you and your pet to window shop to your heart's content.
San Diego, California
There's no better vacation spot than sunny San Diego, where the temperature stays at a warm, breezy 75 degrees almost all year-round. With the abundance of pet-friendly beaches and dog parks, this is the perfect place to relax with your pet.
Where to stay
There are quite a few hotels downtown and near the beach that accommodate your pets. One of the most popular pet-friendly hotels is the Solamar, which is on 6th Avenue. The great thing about the Solamar hotel is that they allow any kind, weight or breed of dog without any restrictions. There is no additional pet fee for staying either! They do ask that you call ahead though if you plan on bringing a pet. The hotel has great pet amenities as well, including treats, bowls, pet tags and even pet packages that have fancy dog food and walking gear! Rates start at $176 a night. Another popular hotel is the Kona Kai Resort, which is located right on the water on Shelter Drive. Up to two dogs (under 25 pounds) can stay for an additional cost of $75 per night. The hotel offers an oversized pool and views of the San Diego Bay from almost every room. Rates begin at $89 a night plus pet fee.
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Where to play
There are so many great options for adventure and activity with your furry companion in San Diego! One of the most popular is the Dog Beach at Ocean Beach. The dog friendly portion of the beach is located at the northern end of Ocean Beach and gives the dogs a chance to roam around without a leash. There's also a doggy washing station where you can rinse the sand and seawater off your pet before you head back to the beach. Another place that allows you to take your pet off the leash is the Fiesta Island Off Leash Dog Park, located on Fiesta Island Road. The park has sand dunes and calm bay swimming waters to keep your pup occupied. If you'd prefer some outdoorsy exercise, hit up the Cabrillo Tide Pools Trail, which is a one-half mile trail in the Cabrillo National Monument. The short hike takes about an hour to complete. If you like to hike, also check out Cowles Mountain, where you and your pet can climb the hills and see the spectacular views from the summit.
Key West, Florida
This beautiful beach town is the perfect spot if you love great food, great music, nightlife and relaxing by the water. Key West is also a great place for pets because they have a huge dog beach, a dog park and even dog kayaking and pet-friendly eco charters! Plus, there are many great places to stay and eat that are very pet-friendly.
Where to stay
One of the most popular pet-friendly hotels is the Sheraton Suites on South Roosevelt Blvd. This hotel is located right across the street from Smather's beach so you can take a stroll with your pup. In addition, the hotel has a lagoon-style pool and a restaurant and bar. There is no pet fee and two dogs under 80 pounds are welcome. Rates start at $139 a night. Another popular place to stay is the Banana Bay Resort and Marina. This adults-only hotel also does not charge a fee for pets and they are very negotiable on the number and size of pets that can stay. The hotel has a private swimming beach, hot tubs and free breakfast. Rates start at $149 a night.
Where to play
Like San Diego, Key West has a great dog beach on Vernon St. and Waddell Ave. This beach allows the dogs to be off their leashes, however, the beach is a bit rocky so be sure to keep your eyes on your pet. When they're done splashing and you both need a drink, head over to Louie's Backyard, which is a pet-friendly restaurant. If you'd prefer to do something on the water, check out Lazy Dog Kayak! You can rent a kayak (for $35), place your pup on the front of the boat, and paddle across the channel and down to the canal. There's also another option which is to rent a doggy paddleboard (rent for $30) where you can paddle with your pup. If you want to see some of Key West's wildlife, check out the Wild about Dolphis eco-tour! You can go for either four or seven hours and even rent out the boat for a private tour. The tour is very pet-friendly (in fact, the captain's golden retriever goes for many rides) so your pet can join you! Half-day tours go for $85 a person, private tours start at $450 and full day tours go for $775.
Give the pet sitter the week off and spend your vacation with your whole family, furry friend included!