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Dog-Friendly Vacations to Take in North American Cities

man holding dog
Written by Chris Osburn

This blog post was updated on June 29, 2022.

When dog lovers say they want to have a family vacation, they mean with the whole family — four-legged furry members included! Why leave your dog behind if you know you could bring your pet with you on your trip? Odds are you would probably have more fun with them at your holiday destination.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, nearly 57% of households in the U.S. are pet owners, with 38% identifying as dog owners. With so many people owning dogs, it’s no wonder hotels, restaurants, attractions, parks, and city services are being rethought to accommodate travelers with dogs.

Of course, some destinations do a far better job than others when rolling out the red carpet and leaving a water bowl for our canine companions. So, before you embark upon your next city break, have a look at our list of some of the best North American cities for dog-friendly vacations!

Austin, Texas

Dog at Lady Bird Park in Texas

You and your dog will receive a big Texas welcome when arriving in Austin! The city is home to more than its fair share of dog-grooming shops and pet photographers and other related services. It’s also home to plenty of parks; the beautiful Ladybird Lake and Lake Austin; and loads of bars, cafés, and restaurants with outdoor seating. Famous for its food trucks, Austin even has one that caters to dogs; Bow-Wow Bones is a local dog food truck that sells all-natural peanut butter dog treats to folks out walking their dogs. Love yoga? You and your furry friend can both do the downward dog together at Austin Doga, a pup-friendly yoga class.

Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon tops a lot of lists for dog-friendly U.S. cites. This is mostly because the town has a wealth of parks and green spaces for dogs to run around and play, such as North Portland’s large and grassy Chimney Park. Boasting more than 500 veterinarians for a city of around 650,000, Portland definitely cares for its resident and visitor dogs alike. If you and your dog want to to mingle with locals, you’ll find suitable choices abound; one hot spot for humans and canines is the Lucky Labrador Beer Hall where you can have a taste of locally brewed craft beer while engaging in some inter-species socializing.

San Diego, California

Dogs on Beach in San Diego

The San Diego lifestyle exemplifies outdoor living at its best. For unleashed fun, you can let your dogs run in parts of beautiful Balboa Park. Plus, many of San Diego’s favorite beaches have designated areas for having a splash with your dog, including Ocean Beach, Mission Bay, Coronado North, and Del Mar. Beachgoers that love sharing as much time as possible playing in the spray with their pets might want to consider a “Sup Dogs” paddleboard lesson for you and your dog. And for the ultimate So Cal time with your doggie dudes, keep the annual charity Surf Dog Surf-a-Thon in mind.

Seattle, Washington

With nearly 100 dog parks — as well as dozens of restaurants, bars, and cafés that wholeheartedly encourage people to bring their dogs — Seattle is definitely an excellent destination for folks who love traveling with their furry friends. Especially for social pets and owners, Seattle has House of Ruff, an indoor canine social club. A few canine-inclined establishments include Bark! Espresso and the popular Norm’s Eatery & Alehouse. When you’re done schmoozing with the locals, you and your dog can take a break at Washington Park Arboretum, one of the city’s most beautiful parks that boasts 230 acres of gardens, walking trails, and spots to relax.

Tucson, Arizona

Tucson sees 350 days of sunshine each year. For dogs that enjoy the sun and don’t mind the heat, this Arizona city is an ideal place to play. You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to parks, with many situated to take in Tucson’s desert scenery. But one that’s arguably most worthy of your consideration is Smiling Dog Ranch at George Mehl Family Foothills Park. Expansive with double entry gates, doggie fountains, pooper scooper dispensers, and abundant shady areas for comfortable seating, it’s perfect for off-leash running around.

RELATED: Hop on Board, Rover! What You Need to Know About Flying with a Dog

Vancouver, British Columbia

woman with dog in Vancouver

Outdoor lovers and their dogs will go wild for Vancouver. The biggest city on Canada’s western coast features an array of walking trails, dog-friendly parks for on- and off-leash fun, and beaches galore that welcome dogs. Spanish Banks Beach is a popular spot on the shore where dogs can run around while owners enjoy one of the best views of the Vancouver skyline. Another top beach for you and your dog is Haden Park and Dog Beach. Just a few minutes walk from downtown, this beach is designated specifically for dogs to run around. Vancouver also hosts one of Canada’s biggest outdoor pet festivals, called Petapalooza. It’s free to attend and offers a variety of activities for pets and their owners as well as opportunities to sample treats (for humans and dogs), shop for pet toys and accessories, scout out new products, enjoy freebies, and more much more.

So are you ready for a dog-friendly vacation now, or what? Yeah, we thought so.

Where’s your favorite place to take your dogs when you need to get away? Any fetching destinations that we should have included in our list?


About the author

Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, and curator and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world and has called London home since 2001.

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