The Top 6 Places to Travel with Your Dog in 2021

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While most individuals feel optimistic heading into 2021, many still question their annual vacation and travel plans. The Covid-19 pandemic has turned the travel industry upside down. Most international travel is off the table due to restrictions leaving and returning to the states. Many individuals and families are opting for road trips since that mode of transport significantly reduces exposure to the virus. Fortunately, this mode of travel has encouraged families and individuals to bring one other family member along for the journey – their pets.

Many pets enjoy vacationing just as much as their human companions. The top 2021 travel destinations for pet owners are locations that are easy to road trip too and within.

Our featured destinations explore seaside retreats, secluded forest, and city adventures (while wearing a mask, of course). From the travel experts, here is where to travel with pets in 2021 within the US.

1. Colorado

Colorado has the highest elevation of any state and features more than 1,000 Rocky Mountain peaks towering over 10,000 feet high. Its diverse landscape of river canyons, arid desert, and snow-capped mountains create the ultimate backdrop for adventures.

Dustin Christensen of Territory Supply, recommends a visit to the pet-friendly Manitou Cliff Dwellings Museum where you can see reproductions of Ancient Puebloan architecture. “This is the perfect day trip for families with dogs.As long as you dog is leashed up, they can go where you go outside and inside the museum.”, Christensen said.

Manitou Cliff Dwellings Museum
Photo: @manitoucliffdwellings

After a day of exploring grab a bite at the ultra dog-friendly Pub Dog, where you can eat indoors with your pup. We recommend the Chow Chow Chili paired with any of the local IPA drafts in rotation.

Also, in Colorado we recommend a stay near Rocky Mountain National Park, where you can opt for a dog-friendly cabin in Estes Park. With incredible mountain views and amenities like hot tubs, wood-burning fireplaces, and spacious decks, you’ll have a first class stay while being only minutes away from the Park’s entrance. Keep in mind that like most national parks, they don’t allow dogs off paved paths and walkways. But, don’t worry there are some amazing hikes that do allow dogs so your pet can enjoy the scenic beauty of the Rockies

2. Arizona

Arizona has many natural sites that are fun and interesting to visit. The Copper State is also a remarkable playground for pets and their owners.

Arizona offers dog-owners a plethora of activities and adventures year-round. In the summer Northern Arizona, including Sedona, make for an amazing retreat with cooler temps and cold creeks – like our favorite, Oak Creek. Flagstaff offers amazing outdoor activities year round, including hiking, trail rides and skiing at Snowbowl.

Pet Friendly Sedona West Fork Trail
Photo: @bensongrahamcavs

Phoenix and Tucson are stunning in the winter with an average high of 72 in February. Although Covid-19 has affected some activities in Arizona, social distancing can easily be practiced with tons of outdoor activities, including kayaking and canoeing Salt River near Phoenix, Hiking Thumb Butte in Prescott, or sight-seeing at the Grand Canyon or Antelope Point in Northern AZ. There are many pet-friendly Airbnbs in Arizona, no matter where in the State you plan to visit.

Other top recommended activities in Arizona are to leash up fido and wander the five-and-a-half acres of the Tucson Botanical Gardens or explore the historic mining town of Tombstone in San Pedro Valley.

Flagstaff is one of the most popular travel destinations in Arizona. Surrounded by mountains, the city has countless pet-friendly attractions, such as the Flagstaff Public Art Tour, Riordan Mansion State Historic Park, and Buffalo Park., which used to be a private wildlife park but is now public land.

In 2021, staying in a pet-friendly cabin in Flagstaff is a wise choice to keep you and your family safe, secluded, and comfortable.

3. California

Known for its theme parks, scenic coast-line, and the Hollywood Hills, California welcomes more than 50 million visitors each year. You may be noticing many west coast states on this list – west coast is the best coast! It’s no surprise the western U.S. state is the perfect place to travel to with your pet due to the expansive number of outdoor activities and breathtaking weather.

In the LA area, you can hike the scenic trails of Westridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park and enjoy breathtaking views of the ocean and downtown Los Angeles. Or spend an afternoon at The Grove, a pet-friendly, outdoor destination for entertainment including shopping, a historic farmer’s market, and an adjacent Pan Pacific Park.

Of course, there’s no shortage of incredible pet friendly activities in Northern California, specifically Monterey County. Rated the #1 Dog Friendly Town in America, Carmel-by-the-Sea is a pet owners dream come true. Carmel beach and offers a packed dirt path alongside for joggers, on-leash dog walkers and sightseers. Spanning from Carmel Beach to Carmel River Beach, the Scenic Road path offers some of the area’s most incredible views of Carmel Point, Point Lobos State Reserve, Pebble Beach Golf Links, and Carmel’s famous Cypress trees and white-sand beach. Dogs are allowed off-leash on Carmel beach, however they must be under the voice control of their owners. Canine visitors at Carmel beach can romp along the surf and frolic with one another on the sand.

Carmel By the Sea Dog Friendly Activities
Photo: @diggidydogcarmel

Stay in a clean and secluded vacation rental and eliminate your concerns regarding social distancing and hotel sanitization. Check out these pet-friendly Airbnbs and cabins in Big Sur are particularly beautiful and offer amenities like ocean views, fenced yards, and fast access to local attractions.

4. Florida

With sunny skies nearly year-round, Florida is prime vacation territory. To stay safe during your travels, avoid crowded theme parks and other popular entertainment. Instead, enjoy some of Florida’s outdoor attractions, such as the 8,000 miles of shoreline that attracts swimmers, boaters, surfers, and sunbathers alike.

Consider a stay right on the sandy shores where you rent a pet-friendly beach rental in New Smyrna. From lodging that offers spacious fenced yards to beaches with off-leash play, there are many vacation spots throughout Florida that cater to travelers and their pets.

dog friendly new smyrna beach
Photo: @dogsofnewsmyrnabeach

If a Florida beach vacation is on your radar be sure to check out these 5 dog-friendly beaches in the Sunshine State, including our favorite Bonita Beach Dog Park near Fort Myers.

The ocean is not the only water adventure in Florida. The state features some of the most beautiful natural springs, including Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park and Silver Glen Springs Recreation Area. 

5. Washington

Home of the famous Space Needle and Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Washington offers many opportunities for fun and excitement. The state is also known for being highly pet-friendly. Explore the Olympic National Forest with your dog or enjoy a day at Washington Park Arboretum with its extensive trails and pet-friendly beaches.

If you’re heading northwest, the San Juan Islands also welcome travelers and pets to its lively seaside towns.

Dog Friendly San Juan Islands
Photo: @elsie_sweetpea

The archipelago offers world-class whale watching, hiking, biking, and cozy lodgings. Pet-friendly Airbnbs in San Juan Islands offer more seclusion than hotels and resorts, allowing your family to stay safer during the pandemic.

6. Pennsylvania

With 140 miles of waterfront along the Delaware River and Lake Erie, Pennsylvania is a fun place to explore and enjoy the natural attractions. There is much to do for visitors and their four-legged companions in cities and towns throughout the state. Shop with your pup in the Promenade Shops of Center Valley, hike Bushkill Falls in Bushkill, or take a scenic day trip to Jim Thorpe and ride the historic Lehigh Gorge Railway.

To stay safe during the pandemic, stick to outdoor attractions and maintain a six-foot distance from other visitors. Presque Isle State Park and Valley Forge are must-see sights that have an interesting history.

presqueisle state park dog friendly
Photo: @panikandcrawford

There are excellent places to stay near these popular attractions. Many pet-friendly cabins in Pennsylvania are tucked away in the mountains or wooded areas, giving guests privacy and plenty of room for pets to run and play.

No matter where you plan to roam in 2021, traveling is always more fun with your beloved pet in tow.

Liz is a Arizona native and mom two young children and one not so young Boston Terrier, Leroy. Leroy has been the center of her families beautiful life, which includes tons of travel and road trips. She is also a loving doggy aunt to Winston, Bullseye and Maple, a Boston Terrier, English Bully and Wheaten Terrier.

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