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Pupcation 2024! Our Guide to the Top Pet Friendly Vacations

Written by: Michelle Toma Olson



Time to read 6 min

As much as we love a spring or summer vacay, having to leave our fur babies behind definitely diminishes their appeal. One look into those puppy dog eyes, and we might just feel so guilty that we skip the trip! So why not turn that family vacation into a family pupcation by bringing our doggos along? After all, there are plenty of fantastic vacation destinations that are super fun and memorable for the two-legged and four-legged members of the family alike! Below we reveal our 2024 recommendations for pet-friendly vacation destinations across the US, as well as a look at the benefits of bringing our pups with us on trips and helpful tips to make traveling with dogs easier.

Benefits of a Pupcation

Woman with her rescue dog with a beach and ocean in the background on vacation in cute hats.

Believe it or not, there are several benefits of traveling with our pups, especially emotional benefits. Of course, bringing our dogs on vacation keeps us from missing them while we are gone, and vice versa. And being with our dogs, home or away, gives us all the feels and positive health benefits of dog parenthood, like reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and keeping us active. We also are spared of the extra worry of how our dogs are doing while we’re gone, replacing that anxiousness with oxytocin boosts that leave us feeling happy and at ease just from being with them.

With proper planning, there can also be some financial benefits. For example, no need to incur the expense of boarding your dog if he goes with you on vacation. Even if you leave her at home, you won’t have to hire a sitter or dog walker either. And while most airlines charge a fee for pets to fly in the cabin, bringing your pup on a road trip doesn’t add a dime to travel costs. Similarly, while some hotels charge pet fees to bring your fur baby along, some chains are fee-free for dogs, including Motel 6, Virgin and Kimpton, and they also don’t have breed or size restrictions. Many vacation rentals are fee-free and pet-friendly as well. Policies can change, so be sure to check closely before making your final travel and accommodation selections, but making the right choices when bring your dog on vacation can actually save you money versus leaving him behind!

Preparing for a Pupcation

As mentioned above, do your homework before booking any flights or accommodations to be sure you’re crystal clear on restrictions, fees and any other pet-related policies. After your travel plans are finalized, there are a few ways to make the trip easier on you and your dog from departure through return, including:

A Pre-Pupcation Checkup

It might be advisable to have your dog checked by a vet before taking off on a pupcation, especially if you have a puppy or a senior dog, or one who is anxious or has been stressed by travel in the past. Once cleared by a veterinarian for travel, you will feel better knowing that your dog is physically equipped to handle a trip. The vet might also discuss ways to calm a dog during travel, such as by taking him for a long brisk walk beforehand or putting her in a calming coat.

Traveling with Healthy Dog Chews and Toys

Speaking of anxiety, having toys and chews on hand is a great way to keep it at bay, as well as avert boredom and give a dog exercise – yes, chewing is exercise! – during a flight or car ride or in an unfamiliar place. Farm To Pet’s organic antler dog chews are a perfect choice. Not only are they long-lasting and uber nutritious, they also are odor-free and mess-free, making them ideal for your pup to enjoy on the go.

Toting Plenty of Healthy Pet Treats

Being sure your dog doesn’t get hungry during a trip is critical to both his physical and mental wellbeing. In addition to planning travel time around her meal schedule as much as possible, be sure you have healthy pet treats – like a large, resealable, stay-fresh bag of Farm To Pet no-mess chicken chips or turkey chips – on hand throughout your journey to help deal with unforeseen delays and to reward positive behaviors along the way.

In addition, if your dog likes to sleep on a blanket or bed and space permits, consider bringing that along as well. Pieces of home and reminders of your dog’s daily routine can help him feel more secure. Of course, your company will be the most calming influence of all! And be sure you have plenty of water and a bowl to keep her well-hydrated at all times.

Our Picks for the Best US Pupcation Destinations for 2024

When researching popular destinations for travel with pets, we looked for options throughout the US to try to accommodate as many members of our Farm To Pet community as possible! The ones that stood out to us in five regions of the country are listed below:

Northwestern Pupcation – Bend, OR

Bend is the perfect destination for the outdoorsy dog-human clan. You all can enjoy dog-friendly kayak and canoe rentals along the Deschutes River, walk the river trail, or hit the Riverbend Beach Dog Park for waterside fun. You can even wet your whistles along the Bend Ale Trail (local craft beers for you and water bowls for pup!) earning stamps along the way and even a special prize if you complete the circuit!

White dog doodle posing for a picture in front of mountains on vacation.

Southwestern Pupcation – Sedona, AZ

The red rocks, mystical vortexes and incredible arts and crafts of Sedona attract humans from around the globe. Fortunately, many of its attractions are just as appealing – and welcoming – to dogs! Dog-friendly walking and hiking trails abound, and you can even bring pups on jeep and trolley rides depending on vehicle provider and the dog’s size. There are also dozens of dog-friendly dining options in and around the city.

Midwestern Pupcation – Chicago, IL

Being based in Chicago might make us a little partial, but there is no doubt that the Windy City is a fabulous destination for dogs and their parents! Not only do multiple companies offer dog-friendly walking tours and boat excursions on the lake or river, but Chicago is also home to two famous dog destinations, Montrose Dog Beach and Jackson Bark. You can even get your dog a massage before heading to one of the many delicious and dog-friendly restaurants throughout the city.

Northeastern Pupcation – Philadelphia, PA

Not only is this a fun-filled and vibrant city for humans, filled with history and home to the Liberty Bell and the Rocky Steps, it also has plenty of options for four-legged fun. For example, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens has blocks of mosaics and sculptures along its city sidewalks that make a perfect pup and parent playground. A 90-minute drive will get you to Jim Thorpe, PA, another top pupcation spot with a dog-friendly railway with gorgeous scenic views. The AKC has even more suggestions on things to do with your dog in Philly.

Black Malinois dog with tongue out in Pennsylvania on vacation.

Southern Pupcation – Asheville, NC

Asheville is a beautiful town that combines natural and urban sites that appeal to dogs and their humans in equal measure. Cases in point: the Urban Trail, the city’s outdoor history museum, the Biltmore Estate gardens, and the Grovewood Village sculpture gardens are all spots that you and your pup can walk and enjoy together. You can even peruse Bone-A-Fide, a boutique just for pets, before hitting one of the many dog-friendly food and beverage options.

For more information on these destinations and others, BringFido offers an incredible trove of information and resources for travelers with pets in tow, including pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, activities and more across the US and worldwide.

Bone Voyage!

We hope this has inspired you to turn that family vacation into a pupcation! Done right, a combined trip can be affordable, fun and rewarding for human and dog travelers alike, not to mention making for countless photographable moments. Just start with your vet’s blessing, do your due diligence, and bring plenty of water, healthy pet treats, an all-natural antler chew, and some of your dog’s favorite items along for the ride – or flight. And if you choose one of our top destinations for 2024, chances are even higher it will be a pupcation to remember! 

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