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Our call went out … and you’ve responded! Each year, The Bark asks our readers to share their travel expertise—naming their favorite destinations, canine-friendly accommodations and tips for sharing the road, trail or skies with their dogs. And who better to guide us in our summer adventures than Bark readers? Our trusted readers are road-tested and trail-proven, and once again have offered up a trove of off-beaten-paths, can’t miss favorites and invaluable tips to make your next trip one to remember.
We kick things off with a few suggestions from The Bark staff …
As tempting as it is to order that gourmet dog meal from room service—New Zealand venison, garden vegetables over quinoa—may prove a tad exotic for your dog’s stomach. Stick to your regular feeding plan … the last thing you want at a four-paw hotel is an upset stomach.
Be sure to check with the hotel, campsite, even a city on the restrictions imposed on dog size or breed. Many hotels refuse dogs over a certain weight, limiting their “dog-friendly” policy to very small dogs. Other accommodations, including some campgrounds, ban selected breeds—Rottweilers, Dobermans, and Pit Bulls (and their mixes) are the most common targets. Do your homework!
We check local dog activities on meetup.com and other social media groups to find play groups or hikes when we arrive at a new destination. If we’re staying in an area for a few days, it gives us an opportunity to meet local dog lovers and see sights we’d probably miss otherwise.
Summer is our big hiking and camping time, unfortunately it’s tick season too. There’s a good selection of repellents available, but if you find a tick on your dog (or yourself), know that a tick has to be embedded for 24 to 48 hours to spread infection—still, the sooner removed, the better!
And now from The Bark readers …
Our favorite hang out is the sand dunes on Oregon’s Adventure Coast: Coos Bay! The dunes also stretch for many miles, from North Bend to Florence, about 45 miles, so choose your 'off-beaten' path and head out. We LOVE it here!
Bigfork, Montana has it all—rivers, lakes, miles of hiking trails, plus a great Western village setting. Spectacular views too. Plus in Idaho, the gorgeous Lake Pend Oreille near Coeur d’Alene, lots of good day hikes nearby too.
Getting out of the heat of the Arizona Desert by camping all summer long in our vintage Airstream trailer. But, especially on the coast of Baja, Mexico, where the waves lap softly and the water is cool but not frigid.
The Adirondacks’ Saranac Lake, New York. We made a 4½ hour drive just so our dog could swim in the lake. It was a very safe place for all of us to swim together. When we wanted to swim as a family, we went there.
Hunt Country Vineyards on Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes (New York) does a day in June where you can bring your dog and hike around their vineyards. Afterwards there is a wine tasting.
We found the panhandle of Florida, Cape San Blas, Port Saint Joe, to be extremely dog friendly and great beaches to walk, and run on. Local restaurants were also very accommodating too.
Bandit, travels with me everywhere, but one of the most interesting places I've taken him is Fantastic Caverns, Missouri. It was actually discovered by a farmer’s dog who had crawled through its hidden entrance and now its caves have jeep-drawn tram tours. It’s very pet friendly—with a special fondness for dogs because of the significance a dog played in the discovery.
On the edge of Alaska’s The Gates of the Arctic National Park … The huge blue sky watched over us while the surrounding mountains wrapped us in their loose embrace and Cedar got to roll joyfully in fox urine, carry around a mummified squirrel and sniff wolf scat! We were all ecstatic!
The French Trail loop at Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. Gorgeous, peaceful, a great off-leash hike and a wonderful, little-known side of Oakland, CA. One of our favorites!
Buena Vista Colorado: the countless hikes in the Colligate Peaks, lovely small mountain town, perfect summer weather. All make for beautiful vacations with my dogs .
Every year my family, including our two dogs, enjoys going to Brevard, North Carolina and hiking in Pisgah National Forest with hundreds of miles of trails and waterfalls too. A stay in a private cabin at DogWoods Retreat is a must, close to dog-friendly Asheville.