America’s 10 top dog-friendly vacation destinations

The one thing that virtually all Americans love to do with their dogs is bring them on their vacation. So here are 10 great dog-friendly destinations for both you and your four-legged family members.

San Diego

This chic sun-dappled seaside city is a dream holiday for dog lovers. There’s year round balmy weather and great restaurants. There’s also 16 off-leash parks, and al fresco restaurants that are pet-friendly. The Lighthouse Ice Cream shop even offers Frosty Paws — a soy-based, sugar-free ice cream to spoil your Great Dane or Greyhound. There’s also the Original Paw Pleasers, a dog-dedicated bakery, featuring fresh baked doggie treats. And to work off any extra poundage from your pooch, bring him to San Diego’s dedicated Dog Beach, where he can run or swim all day. Afterwards, head two blocks away to the Dog Beach Dog Wash for a soothing bath and shampoo. For shopping, the Otay Ranch Town Center welcomes both two-legged shoppers and four-pawed browsers.

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The Windy City is on everyone’s list of must-see American metropolises, and the good news is that your pooch will be welcome as well. There are more than 18 off-leash parks, plus three dog-friendly beaches on massive Lake Michigan; the best one being Montrose Dog Beach. You can also check out the shops and restaurants on Chicago’s famous Navy Pier together with your pet. There’s even a fun 90-minute Mercury Canine Cruise on the Chicago River which will keep Fido cool even on the hottest summer day. There’s plenty of water bowls on board, plus rest rooms for both you and Rover.

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Two-legged travelers love this lively Texas town, but your four-legged family members will have fun here too, because there’s much to do. There are 18 off-leash parks and several excellent walking tours, where leashed dogs are invited. Or, for a more refined workout, bring your Boxer or Beagle to Visit Austin Doga. Yes, you read it right, yoga for dogs— and for you. And if your Afghan or Airedale still wants more exercise, take them to Red Bud Isle, a popular dog-only swimming hole. Then when it’s time for lunch, Austin offers lots of Fido-friendly restaurants. There’s even Bow-Wow Bone – a funky mobile food truck for dogs, complete with a menu that caters to both Maltese and Mastiffs’ appetites.

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Charlottesville, Virginia, one of the most charming small cities on the East Coast, welcomes both two-legged pilgrims and their pets. The city’s key attraction, Thomas Jefferson's beguiling hilltop estate Monticello, permits well-behaved dogs on its grounds, as does the nearby Carter Mountain Orchard, where families can pick-your-own apples, strawberries, cherries or pumpkins, depending on the season. There’s also a number of excellent wineries nearby which allow Rover to tour their grounds – including Bluestone, Arcady, Blenheim and First Colony Wineries.

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As America’s 12th most walkable big city, it’s little wonder that Portland is both a great holiday destination for people, and their pets. There are more than 30 off-leash parks – the most dog-permitting parks per capita anywhere in the country. And for serious walkers, scenic Powell Butte Trail offers hours of great aromas in the forest. Many local restaurants welcome behaved pets, and if you’re in town in August, Oregon wineries invite vacationers and their pooches to their annual ‘Canines Uncorked’ wine tours. Sip fines wines while your adoring dog admires your grape knowledge.

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Seattle may well be the single most popular big city destination for dog lovers with plenty of parks and green areas. Leashed dogs are welcomed too, aboard the Seattle Ferry Services Sunday Ice Cream cruise, which features plenty of fresh air and great scenic views of Seattle. And if Rocky or Buddy needs a workout while you’re away from home, Seattle’s K9 Fun Zone is an indoor doggie playground that can be booked for an appointment where there are lots of fun exercises for him and for you.

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San Francisco

The city is one of America’s top vacation destinations, but it’s also a wonderfully dog-friendly city, with plenty of parks that allow dogs (more than 50) and hiking trails. You can also take your pet on the Blue and Gold Fleet Bay Cruises, as well as on the city’s celebrated cable cars. There’s stacks of Fido-friendly patio restaurants, too. And if you are a wine lover, head to nearby Sonoma County, where the Mutt Lynch Winery offers unique wines such as Merlot Over and Play Dead.

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The Finger Lakes

Finger Lakes consist of 11 gorgeous freshwater lakes in upstate New York are famous as a popular year-round resort, with excellent restaurants, boating, and local wineries. What’s less known is that the lakeside towns love their canines. There’s more than 100 wineries, including Red Tail Ridge, Fox Run and Kings Garden (and several micro-breweries to boot) which enjoy having well-behaved pets visit. Most local marinas love dogs, too, and the stunning Watkins Glen State Park, with its 19 waterfalls, permits pets on a leash.

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It may well be the nation’s best destination for vacationers who love the outdoors and want to share nature with their dogs. Milwaukee, for example, features five off-leash dog parks. And on the shores of Lake Michigan, visitors at the Juneau Park Paddle Boats can bring their K-9s on their paddle boats for a spin. Beyond Milwaukee, the state offers 99 state parks and recreational areas that welcome dogs. At the Kettle Moraine State Forest, there’s even a designated area to train dogs in water skills. Then, afterwards, grab a fresh cuppa at the Community Bark Dog Wash & Coffee Bar.

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The state is on everyone’s ‘Bucket List’ of must-see destinations, and this amazing state boasts large numbers of dog owners. So from the enchanting red rocks of Sedona, to the awesome Grand Canyon National Park itself, your dog is most welcomed. In all the state’s key tourist destinations - including Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff and Mesa, there’s plenty of off-leash parks. And, yes, if you’re heading to Lake Havasu City, you can walk your hound across the famous London Bridge!

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