As the tide rises for dogs becoming one of the family, so has the trend toward offering pet-friendly vacations. We’ve gone way beyond making sure we’re feeding our dogs wholesome, healthy dog food and giving them creature comforts at home. Just as we look forward to a summer vacation with our kids, it now includes taking Fido along.
We’re not just talking about a flight or drive to a destination and your dog camping out in the hotel while you’re out sightseeing. Oh, no. These adventures include Fido every step of the way! And, lucky for you, the research has already been done for you.
BringFido.com – a terrific resource
It started in the mid-2000s when avid traveler, Melissa Halliburton, was committed to taking her dog everywhere she went, and we mean everywhere. After enduring the frustration of hours and hours of research or surprises when she arrived, Melissa and her friends and family got together and researched thousands of hotels, parks, restaurants and other destinations to gather accurate information.
Since they launched BringFido.com in 2006, they’ve grown to be one of the largest pet travel agencies and now have listings for destinations, airlines, restaurants and animal attractions in more than 10,000 cities around the world!
Something for every canine
Just as we humans thrive on having a variety of choices and finding just the right destination to suit our personality, you can find something for every kind of canine. Athletic, fearless adventurer … or more peaceful, serene zen seeker, imagine your pooch in one of these experiences.
- Coronado Surfing Academy, Coronado, CA – Across the bay from San Diego, your dog can take dog surfing lessons on the Pacific Ocean. Or go for the top prize at their Loews Surf Dog Competition held each June. Then hang around at Original Dog Beach for more off-the-leash fun. Wind down the day with a bath at the Dog Beach Dog Wash, followed by a stop at the Wooftop Bar at Hotel Indigo.
- Cape May Whale Watching, Cape May, NJ – Climb aboard the 110-foot whale watcher for a New Jersey shore experience. Offering three tours daily from May through October. Take the morning or evening 2-hour tours for picturesque island views of Victorian homes and lighthouses. The 3-hour afternoon “Crustacean Spectacular” tour is all about whales! The captain guarantees views of whales, dolphins or porpoises. Then you can all shake off your wobbly legs with a walk through the 150-acre Cape May Winery and sample wines in the dog-friendly tasting room.
- Skijor-n-More, Silverthorne, CO – Skijoring is when a cross-country skier is pulled by one or more dogs and is a great way to bond with your dog along snow-covered trails. Most dogs over 30 lbs are capable of pulling an average-sized skier as long as they have an innate desire to run down a trail and pull you. Skijor-n-More offers private lessons at a nearby ranch, starting with an indoor class on basic commands, techniques and dog care before heading out to the trails. Workshops include your trail pass, cross-country ski equipment and all skijoring equipment.
- Fountain of Woof, Carmel, CA – Looking for more of a pampered pooch outing? The town of Carmel, nicknamed the dog-friendly capital of the world, is ready to exceed your expectations. Starting in Carmel Plaza, visit the many boutiques, studios and outdoor dining options just waiting to cater to your every need. After lunch, visit the Fountain of Woof nestled at the heart of the plaza … be sure your dog takes a sip from the fountain for good luck! After a stop at the pet-friendly Carmel Beach for off-leash romping in the white sand, take in a snack and wine at the pup-friendly patio of Forge in the Forest.
- Lake Powell Resort & Marina, Page, AZ – Not quite a high-maintenance pooch? Maybe you’re looking for a more laid back houseboating trip along the Arizona-Utah border. Enjoy a pet-friendly houseboat rental from Lake Powell Resort & Marina. After a brief overview of houseboating, set off on a trip to Rainbow Bridge National Monument or meander along the lake’s 1,800 miles of shoreline. Soak up the sun and spectacular scenery from your deck, float through the slot canyons, or drop a line overboard for some fishing with your faithful friend. Ahhhh.
- Whiteface Mountain, Wilmington, NY – Okay you overachievers, get ready to become a member of the exclusive Adirondack Forty-Sixers by climbing the 46 Adirondack High Peaks with Fido! Cross over the first mountain at Whiteface Mountain and continue along the 5.2 mile, one-way hike with an elevation gain of nearly 3,700 feet. Stop along the way, soak in the scenery, get rehydrated and share some healthy snacks and a power bar. The last part of the trek is up 300 stairs to reach the top of the peak. Time for some high fives!
- Biltmore Estates, Asheville, NC – Stroll through the hundreds of manicured acres of the Biltmore Estates at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This 8,000-acre estate offers 22 miles of hiking trails and 2.5 miles of paths through the gardens. Enjoy a glass of wine at the Biltmore Winery’s Bistro or a bite to eat at Cedric’s Tavern (named after George Vanderbilt’s Saint Bernard). Dogs are not allowed in the buildings, but they can join you for a book browsing trip at Battery Park Book Exchange where you can relax with some coffee, champagne or wine.
- Dog Mountain, Lyndonville, VT – Fitting as a final example, dog lovers from around the world visit Dog Mountain’s chapel to celebrate their beloved canine friends who have crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. Post your own photo among the hundreds of heart-felt messages for the dog you remember, or give your current companion a head-to-head hug to celebrate your time together. Afterward, enjoy a leash-free romp or swim anywhere in the 150-acre doggie paradise. Dog Mountain was created by the late Stephen Huneck, a gifted artist whose love for dogs is present at every turn of this on-site gallery.
Time to start planning
Hopefully these examples will get the creative juices flowing for planning a bonding vacation for your family and your faithful companion. Check out the vast number of resources at BringFido.com, or call the on-site Doggie Concierge for assistance. Bon voyage!!
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