Road Trips

9 Dog Friendly U.S Road trips

Dog Mountain Vermont
Written by Town & Tourist

Your dog is your companion, your friend and boy do they love a good road trip! There head out the window with the wind in their hair, most dogs love a great road trip across the U.S.A.

However, it can be difficult finding the most “Dog friendly hotels” & dog friendly parks in the U.S.A, many simply will say no to your pooch. Also, it’s good to know some tips to stop you from going barking mad along the way!

Can you take a dog on a road trip?

Lots of dogs suffer from car sickness, so a top tip is to feed your dog a few hours before you set of on your road trip! Then take your dog your a nice, long walk so he/she is tired & relaxed ready to hit the road.

Dog friendly Road Trip USA

Dog friendly Road Trip USA

On the road trip try and remain as consistent as you would at home with walk/mealtimes, it will keep your dog in a better pattern, ready to travel.

What can I give my dog on a road trip?

Before setting off, put your dog in the back seat or cargo area. Pet them, praise them and give them treats if they look nervous. Make it fun & not forced.

Should I sedate/Drug my dog before setting off?

Sedating/drugging your dog/pet is not necessary, some choose to do this if they are flying with there dog…but precautions should be taken either way. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), “sedating dogs or cat during air travel may increase the risk of heart and respiratory problems.

Except in unusual circumstances, veterinarians should not dispense sedatives for animals that are to be transported. Speak to your veterinarian before hand.

Dog Friendly Road Trip USa

Dog Friendly Road Trip USA

Which type of Road Trip should I take my dog on?

Shorter road trips, with lots of scenic nature around are the ideal road trips to take your dog on.

These are great as you can pull up anytime and take a wonderful walk through a national or state park! I would prefer to stay away from big cities to be honest, but it can be done!

Top 9 Road Trips with your dog:

9. Montana Road Trip:

Montana is heaven for Dogs! With plenty of nature & breath taking scenery its the ideal place to hop out of the car for some hiking with your dog!

A. Missoula 

Begin your road trip in Missoula, a college town with a heap of dog friendly accommodation & restaurant patios.

B. Dixon

Afterwards take the drive 50 miles north to the National Bison Range in Dixon, MT. Here your and your doggie friend can take the 2 hour loop through scenic meadows & hills.

Bison_roaming_the_National_Bison_Range_lg

Bison_roaming_the_National_Bison_Range_lg. Source: www.allmissoula.com

This is the ideal place to do some wildlife watching. You & your pooch can spot birds, bison and even the odd bear!

Dog Road Trip Tip:

While driving through the National Bison range there are plenty of place to park up and enjoy a walking trail where your dog can go to the toilet. (Dog must stay on its leash)

C. Big Fork,Montana 

Nearby to Dixon is the town of Big Fork MT, located on the northeastern edge of Flathead lake. Here you can enjoy some fine dining (dog patios), camping & canoeing around the lake. There is also some great hikes through Flathead National Forest.

D. Glacier National Park

Finish of your road trip with a drive north to Glacier national Park and take the epic Going to the Sun Road which runs for 50 miles.

pray-lake-Glacier National Park

pray-lake-Glacier National Park

Insider Tip:

Going to the Sun Road opens when the snow has melted, which sometimes doesn’t happen till late july so aim for road trip later in the summer.

Dog Road Trip:

Dogs aren’t allowed off-leash at Glacier National Park, but you’ll see the best scenery in the park from the comfort of your car.

8. Great Lakes Road Trip: Chicago, Michigan

There are some epic great lakes loop tours, but I would recommended starting in dog friendly Chicago before driving up the eastern shore in Lake Michigan and then looping through Indiana before reaching Michigan. This is a great midwest road trip where you will get to see most of the great lakes!

The Haunted Tunnel of trees Michigan, is a ghostly drive.

Round Barn Winery, Distiller & Brewery

As you drive over the state border between Indiana and Michigan, be sure to stop by  Round Barn Winery, Distiller, and Brewery for some drink tasting.

Dog Road Trip Tip:

Dogs are allowed to explore the area on a leash.

As you drive father north, check out  Sleeping Bear Dunes close to the town of Glen Arbor. At this state park, you & your dog can enjoy some nature walks, with view of lake Michigan.

7. Chicago to Iowa Road Trip: Wicked Mid West!

Another great Midwest road trip you can combine with the above is from Chicago to Iowa. This will take you to the following stops along the way.

  1. Chicago 
  2. Naperville
  3. Rockford
  4. Galena
  5. Dubuque
  6. Davenport
  7. Iowa City, Iowa 
  8. Bonus: Amana Colonies

Dog Friendly highlights: 

For Hiking on a series of historic & scenic trails at the Mines of Spain state Recreation area. 

dog road trip usa

dog road trip usa

Davenport (Dog Road Trip Heaven!) 

Drive South on a scenic drive along the Mississippi River to reach Davenport City. Davenport was founded in 1836 and is known as a very green city with  pleathora of 50 local parks! These are great for walking your Dog!

Credit Island:

Credit Island is a island on the Mississippi to the south west of Davenport. This was an historic native american trading area and spans 420 acres!

These days it’s a vibrant community park which offers its own golf course including rugby, soccer and softball areas.

Credit Island-Davenport Iowa

Credit Island-Davenport Iowa

Vander Veer Botanical Park

Vander Veer Botanical Park is a lush 33-acre botanical garden. It was established in 1885 and features a range of displays.

Location: 215 W Central Park Ave, Davenport.

Terry Trueblood Recreation Area (Iowa City) 

A 5,870 square foot recreation area  great for dog walking and it even has a large lake great for Kayaking & paddle boarding.

Map of Chicago to Iowa Road Trip (Dog Friendly)

6. Dog Friendly New England Road Trip!

New England is perfect road trip area for your dog! Here you will find plenty of states with short driving distances in between and plenty of dog friendly attractions along the way!

  • Portland, Maine
  • Dog Mountain, Vermont.
  • Boston, MA
  • Newport, RI
  • Martha Vineyard, MA
  • New Haven, CT

A. Portland, Maine:

Begin your road trip in Portland Maine, where you and your dog and hop on a ferry to explore all the nearby islands.

Afterwards head northwest to New Hampshire before stopping at the White Mountain National Forest for some dog-friendly hiking (on leash) and camping.

White Mountain National Forest

White Mountain National Forest. Source USDA

B. Dog Mountain, Vermont 

Afterwards continue driving towards Vermont before stopping at the world renowned Dog Mountain  this is a farm and art galley in St Johnsbury with plenty of scenic trials, ponds, sculptures and even a Dog Chapel!

Dog Mountain Vermont

Dog Mountain Vermont. Source: the great livingwithagolden.com

Insider Tip:

Many choose to leave a note for a previous dog which has passed away & is in doggie heaven.  The entire area is DOG FRIENDLY all year round!

Dog Friendly Lodging?

For one of the most Dog friendly lodges you will ever see head to the Paw House Inn, a farm country inn which catering to dogs and their owners

Fun Fact: Paw House actually charges a $10 fee to anyone staying without a dog!

C. Boston

Afterwards, take the drive to Boston and head to its most famous food halls, Quincy Market,. Here you will find which houses nearly 40 gourmet food vendors. Just 10 mins walk from there is Faneuil Hall, in Bostons little Italy district.

Dog Friendly Road trip usa

Dog Friendly Road trip usa

D. Newport, Rhode Island

Take the drive down to Newport road island to the Dog friendly Brenton Point State Park. Here you and your pooch can sit back and watch the kite flyers. 

E. Marthas Vineyard

Take the drive to beautiful Marthas Vineyard here you can check out dog friendly activities in Edgartown:

  • Edgartown Lighthouse.
  • Norton Point Beach.
  • Manuel F. Correllus State Forest.
  • South Beach State Park.
  • Kalmus Beach. Barnstable, MA.
  • Craigville Beach. Centerville, MA.
  • Island Queen Ferry. Falmouth, MA.
  • Black Dog Tavern. Vineyard Haven, MA.
Edgartown Lighthouse. marthas vineyard

Edgartown Lighthouse. marthas vineyard. Source: www.nobnocket.com

F. New Haven

East Rock Park 

You & your pooch can check out the epic views of New Haven from East Rock Park. You can drive right up to the summit and take in the breath taking scenery. This is especially beautiful during the fall.

Map of Dog Friendly New England Road Trip:

5. Route 66: With your dog! 

We can’t have any road trip post without including Route 66!  There is a section of the route which still exists this will take you from Chicago southwest to Los Angeles. The southwest is the most memorable part!

Dog Road Trip Tip: 

It can really hot in the South so DON’T leave your Dog unattended in the Car and its even recommended you take your road trip during the cooler month.

Enroute be sure to check out the dog friendly Big Texan in Amarillo, Texas. A retro restaurant (great steaks!) with an adjacent motel. they welcome well behaved pets.

Route 66 is the number one most Iconic American road and Historic Legend.

Also enroute be sure to check out Petrified Forest State Park, where leashed dogs are welcome to explore the trails and backcountry with their owners. Remember to bring lots of water!

For more on Route 66, check out: 25 Most Epic Driving Roads in the U.S.A: Road Trip Ideas!

4. New York to Niagara falls Road trip

If you fancy exploring New York State with your Dog I would recommended a road trip to Niagara Falls.

I would avoid New York city though! They recently introduced a law where if you wish to take your dog on the subway it must fit inside a bag! Classic New Yorkers saw this as a challenge so started to cut holes in giant bags for very big dogs!

A. Gilbertsville (Otsego County)

Enroute to Niagara be sure to drive through Gilbertsville (Otsego County) and head down to Wagner Farm State Forest offers with over 450 acres to stroll through.

However, be aware that  hunting & trapping allowed during appropriate seasons in designated areas, so keep your dog on a lease if your unsure or ask the visitors centre/warden.

Wagner Farm State Forest otsego county

Your dog will be in heaven at Wagner Farm State Forest otsego county. Source: simsburylandtrust.org

B. Milford (Otsego County)

Just nine miles south of Cooperstown and just a 20 minute drive from Oneonta, NY, you will find Milford. You and your pooch should head down to Middlefield Orchard, for some Raspberry, strawberry and apple picking!

C. Coopers town (Otsego County)

Cooperstown in Ostego County is a quaint village area which packs a big punch in New York state. Baseball fans will know the town as home of National Baseball Hall of Fame which celebrates the legendary players & managers from yesteryear.

The best place for dogs is Glimmerglass State Parka 593 acre park which offers year round activities including swimming and camping on the wood lined shores.

D. Fly Creek:

Fly Creeks lies just 4 miles (6 min) drive north west of Coopers town. The town was founded by Dutch traders who harnessed the power of the fast moving creeks by building 8 mills in the 19th century.

Be sure to check out Fly Creek Cider Mill,  which is 163 years old and still open to visitors today. There is also the Cooperstown Beverage Trail and variety of tasty restaurants.

E. Richfield Springs (Otsego County

As you drive out of Coopers town or cherry valley be sure to take the drive to Canadarago Lake which is just one mile south of the village,  this is known as the second cleanest lake in NYS, and is 7 miles long/2 miles wide.

Canadarago Lake Otsego county

Canadarago Lake Otsego county. Source: flickr.

Insider Tip:  Head to Deowongo Island in the center of the lake for a picnic & some exploring.

F. Worcester, NY

Small town Worcester offers a indoor flea market, quilt zoo and quaint 1 screen theatre (Wieting Theater). Decatur State Forest spanning 582 acres and is the perfect place for hunting, bike rides and picnics.

G. Go wild at Seneca County 

Drive west into New York’s Seneca County, and be sure to check out Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge an area which offers of 10,000 acres of swampland and has been a national landmark since 1973.

H. Finger Lakes

Take the short drive to the Finger Lakes Regions where I suggest you spend a few days.

Fun Fact: The name “Finger Lakes” comes from the finger shape of two lakes Seneca and Cayuga, which are some of the deepest in the US.

I. Niagara Falls

You & your dog have now made it to the wonderful Niagara Falls!

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls. Source: www.niagarafallstourism.com/

Fun Facts:

  • Niagara Falls is over 15,000 years old, formed just the last Ice age
  • The Largest Fall (Horse shoe falls) is on the Canadian side 176 feet / 53.6 meters high.
  • 600,000 U.S. gallons / 2,271,247 litres per second flow over Horse shoe falls.

Are Dogs allowed at Niagara Falls?

Yes, Dogs are allowed at Niagara Falls, however there are a couple of conditions. Dogs need to be leashed and rabies vaccinated. You can walk your dog along the footpaths & green spaces.

3. Western National Parks Road Trip

On the West Coast of the U.S.A, are some of the most epic National Parks which stretch from Sequoia National Park and Yosemite National Park in the south west, to Olympic National Park & Mt Rainer National Park in the north west.

Cost Saving  Tip:

If you plan on traveling to alot of National Parks then I suggest purchasing a “America the Beautiful Pass” which renews annual for $80. This pass will get you into every national parks and also into any federal lands which charge fees.

You could explore any of americas western National park for an eternity with your dog! Here are some ideas below!

A. Grand Canyon National Park – Arizona

With over 6.38 million visitors in 2018, Grand Canyon National Park is the MOST popular National Park in the U.S.A.

Aerial Photo over horseshoe river at the Grand Canyon. Awe-inspiring!

Aerial Photo over horseshoe river at the Grand Canyon. Awe-inspiring!

Are dogs allowed at the Grand canyon National Park?

According to the NPS: Pets must be leashed (up to 6 feet) at all times. On the South Rim, leashed pets are allowed on trails above the rim, Mather Campground, Desert View Campground, Trailer Village, and throughout developed areas. Yavapai Lodge is the only in-park lodge that has pet friendly rooms.

B. Yosemite National Park – California

Yosemite National Park is a real west coast highlight, located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, it is best known for it’s massive sequoia trees and the granite cliffs of El Captain & half dome! Head up to the famed cliffs and you will find an incredible glacier valley with majestic waterfalls.

Yosemite-National-Park-camping

Yosemite-National-Park-

Are dogs allowed in Yosemite National Park?

Dogs are allowed in Yosemite National Park. However, there are some restrictions & regulations, dogs are allowed on fully paved trails and roads, on a leash 6 feet or shorter, and cannot be left unattended.

C. Crater Lake National Park  – Oregon

Crater Lake National Park, is Oregons only National Park and they are so proud of it! Highlights include the deepest lake in the United States (Crater Lake) (1,949 feet) which is also the ninth deepest lake in the world!

Phantom Ship Island in Crater Lake, Oregon

“Phantom Ship” rises above the surface of Crater Lake. | By Glenn Scofield Williams, via Wikimedia Commons.

Are dogs allowed at Crater lake National Park?

According to the NPS dogs are welcome at Crater Lake National Park, but only in certain areas. Pets are not allowed on other park trails or off-trail. They are also not allowed inside park buildings, including Crater Lake Lodge and The Cabins at Mazama Village.

D. Olympic National Park/National Forest – Washington 

As we drive further up the north west we enter the Olympic National Park. One of the most diverse in the United States. Here you can find everything from glacier clad mountains such as Mt Olympus to vast expanses of wilderness, rainforests and even secluded beaches!

Are Dogs Allowed at Olympic National Park?

Though much of the peninsula is pet friendly, the trails in the Hoh Rain Forest do not allow dogs! However, you should head to the Dog Friendly Olympic National Forest, where dogs on a leash are welcome!

E. Mt Rainier National Park – Washington 

We’ve left the biggest till last at 14,410 feet above Sea level Mount Rainier is one the tallest peaks in the United States...it is also an ACTIVE volcano.  Mount Rainier National Park offers the most glaciated peak in Contiguous U.S.A. In addition to wildflower meadows, five meandering rivers, ancient forests and an abundance of wildlife.

Mount-Rainier-National-Park

Mount-Rainier-National-Park. Source: the great ww.beyondthetent.com

Are dogs allowed at Mount rainier National Park?

Dogs are not allowed on trails, or in any buildings. However dogs on a leash are allowed on the Pacific Crest Trail near the park’s eastern boundary.

2. California State Park Road Trips

State Parks are generally more relaxed when it comes to dogs compared with National parks. However, alot of them tend to state “Dogs on leash” and “Paved Road Only” just so your aware. However, often there is dog friendly areas very close by to these great parks. Here are some of the most Dog Friendly state parks.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Julian Pfeiffer Burns is probably the biggest bang for buck State park in California. After just a short 1/2 mile round trip along Waterfall Overlook trail, you will find a fantastic oceanfront views and jaw dropping views of the cascading McWay Falls. The water falls over 80 feet from the granite peak to the bottom.

julia-pfeiffer-burns-state-park

julia-pfeiffer-burns-state-park-California

Are Dogs allowed at Julian Pfeiffer Burns state park?

At Pfeiffer Big Sur SP (four miles south on Highway 1), dogs are allowed on leash in the developed campground and day use areas. Dogs are also allowed on United States Forest Service (USFS) property, including Pfeiffer Beach. Source

Salt Point State Park

A great fusion between the land and sea, Salt Point State Park offers 6000 acres of wave carved cliffs & headlands stretching along the Sonoma Coast, 95 miles north of San Francisco.

Are dogs allowed at Salt Point state park?

Dogs of all sizes are allowed at the campgrounds and in any of the developed areas. Dogs are not allowed on the trails or on the beaches, and they must be inside at night. There is no additional pet fee.

1. Road trip to Woofstock! 

This has to be the most Dog Friendly Festival in North America! Its designed to celebrate all things great about your pooch, so a road trip here, is the ideal place to go.

Dubbed as one of the best festivals in Canada and winner of numerous awards, Woofstock is a barking mad, fun packed event which draws thousands from all over North America.

Over 200,000 people from all over the U.S and Canada ascend upon Woodbine Park in Toronto for this annual two day event with their furry friends!

Peace and Love at Woof stock Dog Festival!

Peace and Love at Woof stock Dog Festival!

According to Melissa Granite, from Woofstock: 

“Woof stock is to celebrate dogs as companions in our lives and, as well, bring together a community of people who are passionate about dog ownership and looking for the best dog products”

Activities/Events at Woofstock:

There are so many crazy events at Woofstock, from dog fashion shows to dog concert and even a Mr. and Mrs. Canine Canada Pageant!! Other events include:

  • Running of the Pugs!
  • Best Costume Contest
  • Dog Racing Arena
  • On-Stage Competitions
  • Super Dogs
  • Celebrity Dog Show
  • and many more!
Woofstock-Vendors

Woofstock

For more info check out our ultimate guide to Woofstock: Largest Dog Festival in North America!


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About the author

Town & Tourist

A travel resource guide that has been carefully crafted and curated by travel bloggers to help you find the best places to travel to in the USA.