Did you know that Spring has already sprung in 2019? Hard to believe after such a long, balmy winter, but March 20th was actually the official first day of Spring! All those months locked inside – imagine how doggo feels. He doesn’t even have the “privilege” of going to work every day! Don’t you or Fido get too excited, though–much of the country will still see more snow before we’re through, but it’s never too early to start planning for Summer. With that in mind, we’ve compiled our top summer doggy road trips to get your imagination going.
PORTLAND, MAINE TO RUTLAND, VERMONT
Let’s face it, New England is so idyllic you could probably start your journey just about anywhere, so Portland, Maine is as good a place to start as any. Head to the harbor and catch the ferry to explore nearby islands like Peaks Island, the Diamond Islands, Chebeague Island and Cliff Island. Fares are low for both hooman and doggy passengers and the ferry itself is very dog-friendly. Once you’re done island hopping, drive west into New Hampshire to hike some trails at White Mountain National Forest. Continuing into Vermont, there’s no way you can skip a place called Dog Mountain, right? Come for the hiking trails and stay for the Dog Chapel, an exhibit that artist Stephen Hunek calls “A place where people can go and celebrate the spiritual bond they have with their dogs.”
DENVER, COLORADO TO GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK
Heading West, the route from Denver, Colorado to the Grand Canyon consists almost entirely of National Forest land – perfect for your puppy pals. There are a lot of ways you could go, but we have two to recommend: either through the mountains or the southerly route. If you love mountains, head west from Denver and pass through popular resorts towns like Breckenridge and Vail and the historic ghost town of Silver Plume. White River National Forest in Colorado Flat Tops Wilderness offers off-leash hiking and plenty of mountainous lodging. Or take a more southern route and pass through lovely Rio Grande and San Juan National Forests.
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI TO NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
Continuing with our great outdoors theme, the short 4.5 hour trip from St. Louis to Nashville manages to pack in the nature. Stroll with your pup through the rock formations of Shawnee National Forest, but make sure to keep an eye out for Bigfoot. If camping is your thing, don’t miss the campgrounds at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, where you can visit the Elk and Bison Prairie viewing area or a working 1850s farm called Homeplace. Nashville has been noted as one of the most dog-friendly cities in the US –dogs are allowed in every park in the city and most hotels offer accommodations for pet owners.
California’s Highway 1 is a road trip essential whether you’ve got a doggo or not, but here are some tips to make the most of a not surprisingly canine-inclusive state. Starting in San Francisco will allow your pup to romp and play (and wear himself out) at Fort Funston National Park for a few hours before heading out on the road. Drive south to Carmel-by-the-sea for stunning beaches and dog-loving restaurants with outdoor patios. From here, “The One” will take you south to some of the most celebrated natural wonders the US has to offer, including Big Sur and its world-famous giant redwood trees.
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON TO THE SAN JUAN ISLANDS
Seattle is so accommodating to dogs and pet parents that you could easily spend a few days taking advantage of the 14 off-leash walking areas–did you know that dogs are allowed to ride the bus in Seattle? We’re bookending this article with ferry trips, so once you’ve had your fill of the Emerald City, drive the 80 miles to Anacortes, Washington and catch one of the many ferries to the San Juan islands. Dogs ride for free, so hop on board and head to Orcas Island to explore parks, beaches and dog-friendly patios. Your dog could even run for mayor of Eastsound–a rabbit won this year –but any dog’s got a pupper’s chance in next year’s race.