Not to brag, but when you pack your pup into a sprinter van and take off on an epic, multi-year adventure across the continent, you become something of an expert on the best places to drive with your dog.
While we know that an extreme, Atlas-style adventure isn’t for everyone, we believe that every pup deserves an exciting journey to an undiscovered place with his person - even if it’s just for the weekend. Here, a few more spots we’ve found that are worth exploring.
If your pup loves the outdoors, coffee shops, and all the fresh fish he can eat, then this corner of the country has it all. The PNW gets a lot of flack for its rainy days, but when the sun comes out in these evergreen forests, we think it’s the most beautiful place in the world. That said, we recommend visiting Washington and Oregon between May and October, when you have the best chance of blue skies for your pup adventures.
Day One: San Juan Island
Just a few hours north of and a (dog-friendly) ferry ride away from Seattle, stunning San Juan Island is a wonderland for pups and humans alike.
Start your day with a visit to Pelindaba Lavender Farm, where dogs are invited to stop and smell the flowers. The showiest blooms happen from July to August, but the grounds are open to explore throughout the spring and summer. Be sure to stop by the Gatehouse Farm Shop for a homemade lavender dog biscuit.
From there, head over to Lime Kiln Point State Park. Nicknamed “Whale Watch Park,” this rocky bluff spans 41 acres and is a prime vantage point to spot grey, humpback, and minke whales - just be sure to keep your pup on leash, lest he decide to reenact his own version of “Whale Wars.” 12 picnic tables dot this small park; grab some lunch fare at The Red Checkered Picnic and dine al fresco while taking in the view of the vintage 1919 lighthouse on the premises.
Day Two: Olympic Peninsula
While all of our National Parks are breathtaking, only a few offer pet-friendly trails and attractions to enjoy with your pup. Fortunately, a portion of the nearly one million acres of Olympic National Park - plus the trails of nearby Olympic National Forest - are open to explore with your furry best friend.
After a day of sniffing around the lakes, peaks, and forests, bed down at dog-friendly Kalaloch Lodge in Forks. For a pet fee of $25, you and your pup can stay in a cabin with a view of the Pacific Ocean, Kalaloch creek, or breathtaking evergreen forest. The included Pampered Pet package comes with a Kalaloch Lodge bandana, collapsible bowl (perfect for hiking), food, two homemade dog treats, and a poop bag holder. The best part? The lodge sits on Kalaloch Beach, a misty ocean paradise for pups.
Day Three: Cannon Beach
Continue down the coast into Oregon, where you’ll find one of the dog-friendliest towns in the state: Cannon Beach.
A quick stroll down the beach and you’ll find this town’s landmark, Haystack Rock, looming out of the Pacific Ocean. This monolith found fame in the 1985 film, “The Goonies,” and your pup can get goony on the beach in its shadow. Cannon Beach is a well-known playground for canines, and your dog will find plenty of friends to romp with in the misty tide.
Dry off under the heat lamps on the patio of the Public Coast Brewing Co, where dogs are welcome to catch scraps of the fresh local fish tacos while they warm up at your feet.
Miami and the Florida Keys
Everyone loves a salty dog, and there’s no better place for your pup to get his sea legs than with this jaunt off the coast of Florida.
Day One: Miami
Leash up your pup and start your day on a walking tour of the classic Art Deco architecture of Miami Beach. If you’re the DIY sort, there are some excellent self-guided options online. If you’d prefer a more formal stroll, Christine’s Art Deco Tours welcomes dogs to trot along among the storied buildings.
Next stop is to cool your paws at Hobie Beach Dog Park, one of the few off-leash dog beaches in South Florida. This sandy stretch is the perfect spot to splash around and bark at the windsurfers who launch from the site.
Grab a bite at Lokal in Coconut Grove. Restaurateur and pup lover Matthew Kuscher owns several delicious joints in the area, and has developed a dog menu to satisfy the hungriest of beasts. Spoil your pup with a Marmaduke’s Meatloaf and a non-alcoholic Bowser Beer while you enjoy the ocean breeze.
Day Two: Big Pine Key and Ramrod Key
Wander around National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key and marvel at the diverse array of wildlife that lives in the park. Pups are welcome at the refuge; just be sure yours stays leashed and doesn’t chase after the “big dogs” - the endangered Key Deer. Keep in mind that you’re in alligator country, so this is not a park to let your pup wander off in - choose our 5 foot long Lifetime Leash for this adventure.
Head to Boondocks Grille and Draft House on Ramrod Key for pub food on the lively, covered patio. Ask for the Pet Menu, where you can find such canine classics as the Hot Diggity Dog with French Poodle Fries. Human guests can rotate out for rounds of mini golf on the premises while your best pup chows down.
Day Three: Key West
Gear up at Lazy Dog Adventures, where every kayak and paddle board has space for your furry copilot. Founder Sue Cooper is a woman after our own hearts: she left her corporate job at a major shoe company to live the life she loved most: out on the water with her dog. Stop by the store to say hello to Sue and the shop pups and choose your own paddle adventure.
As the day comes to a close, dress your pup in his finest harness and join the colorful locals at the Mallory Square Sunset Celebration. Every evening, food vendors, entertainers, revelers, and their canines gather at this hub to watch the sky glow pink and orange over the sea.
Endless sand dunes, rugged coastlines, lush forests - this gorgeous region is the perfect place for your pup to enjoy that lake life. Our favorite long weekend itinerary will take you to three of the biggest lakes in our land.
Day One: Green Bay to Munising
Kick off your adventure in enchanted Fonfarek’s Glen, a 74-acre nature preserve that features a 30-foot waterfall and limestone outcroppings. Splash around the creek, explore the secret caves, and nose around the natural prairie.
When you’ve worked up an appetite, hit the Bark & Brew in nearby Suamico. This unique, off-leash dog café offers a smorgasbord of homemade treats for pups, as well as a menu of adult beverages for the humans.
Continue due north to Munising, MI, where Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore offers a 40-mile stretch of adventure along Lake Superior. Many hikes along the sandstone cliffs and windswept dunes are dog-friendly, and the beach on Sand Point is a haven for pups.
Day Two: Mackinac Island
Board a ferry on the banks of Lake Huron for a short float to Mackinac Island. Strolling the cobblestone streets is easy on this National Historical Landmark - cars aren’t allowed on the island, so the roads belong to pedestrians and their pups. Amble down Main Street and pop into the many dog-friendly shops, or poke around old Fort Mackinac.
Mackinac Island State Park has over 70 miles of scenic paths to hike, or you can opt to take the Shoreline Trail that circumnavigates the island. This route is paved, and you can rent a bike if you’re looking to catch some breeze while your pup trots at your side. Little dog in tow? No problem - pet trailers are also available for hire.
After a long day of exploring, treat your pup in grand style to a night at Mission Point Resort. Stretch out on the grassy lawns overlooking the ocean before retiring to the historic lodge to warm your paws in front of the fireplace.
Day Three: Old Mission and Sleeping Bear Dunes
Head southwest to Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan to Old Mission Peninsula. This 18 mile peninsula has a network of trails to explore - we particularly enjoy the ones surrounding Mission Point Lighthouse. A hike around this area offers plenty of opportunities to splash around in the water and spot wildlife.
Cool off with a glass of rosé at Bowers Harbor Vineyards, where you can laze on the patio or take a tour with your pup. Several of their varietals have their favorite pups printed on the label, and you might even meet one of the famous canines working the tasting room.
Last stop is the ruggedly epic Sleeping Bear Dunes, where mountains of sand drop steeply into the waters of Lake Michigan. Hike one of the 13 trails in the park before chasing waves on the beach - we find the surf around Good Harbor Bay to be the least wild.
Take road pics - and share them.
At Atlas Pet Co, nothing makes us happier than seeing what adventures your pup gets into in his Lifetime gear. Tag @atlaspetcompany in your road trip pics and tell us where your favorite journeys have taken you - you might even inspire us to make a few new stops along a future route.