There’s nothing like the thrill of a road trip - just pack your car, grab your mutt, and get adventuring! After countless miles logged with our canine copilots, the Atlas Pet Company team has compiled these expert recommendations for three unforgettable vacations to take with your pup.
Ever wanted to try van life with your best friend?
Beach hop down the California Coast.
Day One: Bay Area
Kick off your California adventure in San Francisco at a dog park with iconic views. At Crissy Field in the Presidio, your pup can romp in the sand of an off-leash dog beach with the Golden Gate Bridge framing the scene. This popular park is the perfect mix of chilly ocean, diggable sand, and grassy expanses.
Bay residents are fans of social networking, and mutt meetups at the beach are well-attended. Do a quick search on Meetup.com to find your pups peeps - from doodles to bulldogs to corgis. Mutts more your speed? You’ll find them frolicking here - and at nearby Ocean Beach - all day, every day.
Tip: don’t lose your beast in the pack! Invest in a brightly-colored collar - like our teal Lifetime Collar - so you can quickly pick him out of the crowd. Always make sure his ID, license, and vaccination tags are up-to-date and attached before you begin your adventure.
Day Two: Carmel-by-the-Sea
Zip down the coast to Carmel-by-the-Sea - heaven on earth for canines. The beachside village has been called the “pet-friendliest town in America,” and dogs are welcome on beaches, scenic trails, and at many European-style sidewalk cafes. Get your paws wet on the mile-long stretch of dog-friendly sand that hugs the town, just beyond Pebble Beach golf course. When your pup is done chasing waves, cool down with a “Muttini” at the Cypress Inn, a sprawling Mediterranean-style resort owned by famed actress and animal advocate Doris Day.
Day Three: Central Coast
Our favorite spot on the Central Coast, Arroyo Burro Beach offers bluff trails, beautiful scenery, and an off-leash area for your pup to chase waves. Need more room to stretch your paws? Across the street, on the mesa overlooking the beach, you’ll find the Douglas Family Preserve. Named in honor of actor Michael Douglas, whose substantial donation established the park, the area is an off-leash wonderland for well-behaved mutts.
Cap off your day with a wine crawl through Funk Town. Most local tasting rooms and wineries allow dogs, so you can unwind with your best friend and a glass of pinot while you recount the day’s adventures.
Day Four: Orange County
If you time it right, you can roll into Huntington Beach just in time for the Surf City Surf Dog expo. Power up with a peanut butter bone at the Park Bench Café before heading to the event to watch some salty dogs ride waves goofy on longboards. The day provides excellent people and pup watching, and you can rent your own board to see if your dog can “hang twenty.”
Enjoy the final sunset of your road trip on the pup-friendly patio at Fred’s Mexican Café. Your mutt won’t mind if you drop some fish taco while you listen to the waves and celebrate an epic adventure with a signature margarita.
Your dog is the best addition to any road trip, big or small!
Explore The Southwest.
Day One: Colorado
Begin your adventure in Colorado Springs, a town that is as dog-friendly as it is scenic. Begin your day at Garden of the Gods, a nature center with jaw-dropping sandstone formations. Leashed pups are welcome here - just be aware of the abundant wildlife in the area. If your mutt would love to chase one of the many mule deer that mingle with visitors, keep a tight hold on that leash!
Normally, we would suggest a more exciting adventure than a dog park for your vacation, but Bear Creek is not your average off-leash run. With 25 acres of trails, creeks, and even an agility course, the park is a wonderland for dogs. Visit in the spring or fall for your pup to enjoy the vast meadows of wildflowers.
If you’re feeling fancy, bed down at The Broadmoor, a 100-year old resort at the base of the mountains that caters to furry friends. For $50 a night, your pup can join the Pitty Pat Club, named for the founder’s beloved poodle. Four-legged guests receive a luxury dog bed, bowls, ID tag, and locally made liver biscuits. Even if you don’t stay the night, it’s worth a stop at the resort to walk your mutt around the lake and enjoy a patio cocktail with incredible mountain views.
Day Two: Monument Valley
Due west on the border of Arizona and Utah, you’ll find this iconic landscape of buttes and rock spires. While the National Parks in the area - like Zion - don’t allow dogs on most trails, Monument Valley lies in Navajo tribal land, where the pet rules are more accommodating. Our favorite dog-friendly hike is on Wildcat Trail, a 4-mile loop that winds past the Mitten and Merrick Buttes.
Tip: be prepared to get DIRTY! The fine red dirt in the Southwest is notoriously hard to scrub out of clothes, so don’t wear anything you won’t mind getting grimy. Plan to give your pup a bath after this adventure.
There are several pet-friendly inns in the area, but we prefer to book one of the unique Airbnb accommodations nearby. If you’ve ever wanted to stay in a teepee or yurt with your pack - and who hasn’t? - this is your opportunity.
Day Three: Grand Canyon
No trip through the Southwest would be complete without a visit to the grandaddy of American vistas - the Grand Canyon. The South Rim trail offers 13 miles that leashed dogs can explore - just take care to watch your footing! We recommend visiting anytime but winter, when fog can creep into the canyon and obstruct those glorious views.
Pets are welcome at several campgrounds onsite, as well as at Yavapai Lodge. These spots get booked up well in advance, so plan ahead. Dog-friendly restaurants are tough to find in the area, so we advise packing a picnic. That way, you and your pack can share sandwiches and enjoy the view together to celebrate an unforgettable vacation.
Tour Classic New England.
Day One: Vermont
Start your adventure in Stowe at Camp Gone to the Dogs. Instead of knot-tying and stick-whittling, you and your pup can spend a week earning your badges in agility, frisbee, and hiking. Book your adventure early, though - the camps only run three times a year and fill up fast.
On your way down east, pit-stop at a must-visit: Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury, VT. Renowned folk artist Stephen Huneck built this homage to the canine muses whose likenesses he carved and painted. A true shrine to pups, the 150-acre site is leash-optional: according to the website, “dogs are not just welcome here, they are cherished! Dogs are free to run, play, swim, and, best of all, meet other dogs.” Although he recently passed, Huneck’s touching monument to his loyal companions remains, maintained through his legacy foundation. Pups and humans alike are encouraged to enjoy the statues and “chapel” devoted to their enduring friendship.
Day Two: Maine
Drop down to the coast and stop in picturesque Cape Elizabeth, Maine, just outside of Portland. At the Inn by the Sea, a gorgeous dog-friendly resort, you can warm your cockles fireside in the lobby, where hot toddies are available for humans and mutts can choose from a menu of local treats. October through March, pups can explore the property’s Crescent Beach and chase crabs scuttling amongst the rocks.
Tip: pack tick prevention for your Northeast excursion, no matter the time of year. The little vampires abound in this rugged wilderness, and tick-borne diseases are common and can lead to debilitating illness.
Day Three: Cape Cod
Last stop: Provincetown, MA. Take Route 6 from Boston until it ends at the tip of Cape Cod, and you’ll find yourself in a pup paradise. If your salty dog wants to test his sea legs, book a boat trip with Dog Gone Sailing Charters. Captain Rory always packs enough life vests to cover her furry crew. Don’t worry about the wind and salt - our Lifetime Leash, Collar, and Harness are specifically engineered to stand up to the elements.
Recover from your Perfect Storm experience by relaxing on the Cape Cod National Seashore, where pups enjoy on- and off-leash hours that vary by season, but are always gorgeously scenic. Don’t forget to grab one of the best lobster rolls on the Cape at Canteen, where you can carry out for a stroll down Commercial Street or rest your paws on the dog-friendly patio.
Share the adventure.
Have photos of your own epic adventure with your road dog? Share them on Instagram by tagging us @atlaspetcompany and #apcdog. We can’t wait to see the places you’ll go.