Super-Dog-Friendly Pacific Northwest

Washington & Oregon adventures
By Val Mallinson, November 2009, Updated February 2015

Every dog has his day, and in the Pacific Northwest, he also has nights and weekends. For endless and economical summer (and all season) fun, here are four favorites.

Beach-Town Fun. Manzanita (northern Oregon coast)—all beach resort and no pretense, this seaside escape is so dog-friendly we call it “Muttzanita.” Dig for treasure on a seven-mile strip of windy sand, hike Neah-Kah-Nie Mountain and stop in for treats at Four Paws on the Beach boutique. Hang out at a half-dozen outdoor eateries for chowder, pizza, Southwest-Mex and coffee. Another not-to-be-missed beach town—Bandon-by-the-Sea in southern Oregon, on Oregon’s sunny “Gold Coast.”

An Island Getaway. Orcas Island (San Juans, Wash.)—the hilliest of the San Juans, Orcas offers unsurpassed mountain action. You can get happily lost for days in 5,000-acre Moran State Park, climbing to the 2,049-foot peak of Mount Constitution for some of the state’s best views. Stunning Turtleback Mountain Preserve has the newest trails, dedicated in July 2007. There’s an off-leash park in the village of Eastsound, also the best place to grab outdoor eats. Camp at Moran to keep it cheap, or splurge and stay at Pebble Cove Farm or Blue Heron B&B.

For a Warm Welcome. Old Fairhaven (Bellingham, Wash.)—the four square blocks of the Fairhaven Historic District take the cake (or the dog biscuit) for their welcoming ways. Go from Village Books through Paper Dreams to clothing boutiques LuLu2 and Four Starrs, and on to Pacific Chef, all with dog in tow. The boardwalk at Taylor Avenue and 10th takes in the scenic stroll along Bellingham Bay. From the custom doggie water fountain in the Village Green, you can access 80-plus miles of hiking in the Chuckanut Mountains nearby. Exercise is free, and leash-free, at Lake Padden Dog Park and Post Point Lagoon. Port Townsend (Olympic Peninsula, Wash.), a Victorian seaport town, also fills this bill.

Vintage Pleasures. Canine and Wine (Lake Chelan, Wash.)—there are no less than seven pet-friendly wineries dotting the hillsides of this summer playground. The patios at Balsamroot, Lake Chelan Winery, Tildio and Tunnel Hill welcome dogs. Tasting fees are minimal, and many have picnic food. The lawn at Vin du Lac and the tasting room at Nefarious Cellars are “must-sit” spots.” For a stroll, take to the Riverwalk, a one-mile path along the Chelan River through sleepy downtown. For serious miles, stay at Uncle Tim’s Cabins and walk out your door onto the 30-mile Echo Ridge Trail System.

Val Mallinson author of two "Dog Lover's Companion" books (Avalon Travel Publishing) lives in Seattle and travels frequently with her two Miniature Dachshunds.