Pet Friendly American Road Trip


 Pet Friendly American Road Trip

American Road Trip…there is no better way to see the special places our country has to offer! But what if you want to include your pet in the fun? The Ultimate Pet Friendly American road trip highlights stunning sights you’ll love to explore together.

Vacations on the road are as American as apple pie. However, planning to see the “best” that the United States has to offer can be confusing. Your trip could focus on cultural sites, national parks, state capitals, scenic landmarks, or sports venues. But for a truly special experience , why not try the best pet-friendly road trip ? Visit the best pet-friendly attraction in every state, and collect precious memories with your best friend along the way.

The perfect road trip for pets

The hardest part of planning an epic road trip is choosing the stations. Whether you hope to see the entire country in one trip, or check out one region at a time, you’ll want to see the best that each place has to offer!

After over eleven years traveling full time with our dogs, we’ve explored every state and are happy to share what we’ve learned. The destinations we picked will give you a good sense of what this state is all about, and will be fun for you and your pet.

We’ve also picked a variety of activities for travelers and their furry companions to enjoy. From beaches to mountaintops, bustling cities to quiet retreats, canoe trip and train ride – please enjoy this pet-friendly American road trip!

The Ultimate Pet Friendly American Road Trip

The journey we have laid out covers approximately 15,000 miles and will take at least two months to complete. If you can do it all at once, this is the trip of a lifetime!

If you’re looking for a series of short excursions, pick one or two areas and dive deeper into each area. Any combination will make a great vacation for pets.

North West

We begin with a pet-friendly road trip in the northwestern United States. From the green islands of Washington to the heights of the Bartooth Highway, this region has something to suit everyone!

Washington – San Juan Islands

In the extreme northwest corner of the contiguous United States, off the coast of Washington, are scraps of emerald gems in the Salish Sea. Known as the San Juan Islands, the landscape is a jumble of pine forests, rocky beaches, pastures, green fields, and sparkling lagoons. Each island has its own charm, and no matter where you visit, you won’t be disappointed.

Oregon – Portland Parks and Gardens

With eclectic neighborhoods, great restaurants, and one of the most comprehensive urban park systems in the country, Portland, Oregon is a pet-friendly playground! Featuring 10,000 acres of natural areas and parks scattered throughout the city, there’s treasure around every corner. And if your pup enjoys being social, don’t miss some of our 20+ Unleashed Zones!

Idaho–Lake Coeur d’Alene

Among the rugged peaks of northern Idaho, where pines outnumber residents, lies one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Unfolding 26 miles away and with more than 135 miles of shoreline, Lake Coeur d’Alene is a sparkling blue gem. From scenic boat tours to miles of pet-friendly trails, there are many ways to enjoy Lake Coeur d’Alene as much as your imagination allows.

Wyoming – Bighorn National Forest – Medicine Wheel

You’ll find some of Wyoming’s most diverse terrain in the Bighorn Mountains. It’d be easy to spend weeks hiking the 1,500 miles of pet-friendly trails and enjoying the scenic three-wheel drive. But for us, nothing speaks of the timelessness and beauty of a bighorn like a visit to Medicine Well.

Montana – Berthoth Highway

For 68 miles, between Cooke City and Red Lodge, Montana, the Beartooth Highway winds through some of the most intimidating terrain in the United States. This road, one of the highest in the lower 48 states, passes 20 peaks that rise more than 12,000 feet. You’ll experience pristine mountain landscapes, lush forests, and alpine tundra – all just a few miles away.


The southwest route begins with fun at Carmel’s stunning Dog Beach. Then go hiking in Red Rock Canyon and Grand Canyon. Take a trip to the Telluride gondola – you and your active pets will love this ride!

California – Carmel’s Dog Beach

Carmel culminates in its beautiful beach. This mile-long stretch of golden sand begins steps from downtown and stretches just below the ninth hole at Pebble Beach Golf Course – all pet-friendly! Dogs are welcome to roam off a leash or visit Carmel River State Beach where leashed pets will have plenty to explore.

Nevada – Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

It’s only 17 miles from the Las Vegas Strip, but Red Rock Canyon feels like a whole different world! Whether you choose to drive the 13-mile scenic Ring Road, explore over 30 miles of pet-friendly trails, or simply enjoy a picnic and views, you’ll have a great day here with your pet!

Arizona – Grand Canyon National Park

Traveling to any national park is a great experience, but seeing the Grand Canyon with your pet will make your vacation unforgettable! The pet-friendly South Rim Trail stretches for 14 miles, is paved for easy walking, and offers views that will take your breath away!

Colorado – Telluride Gondola to Mountain Village

High in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado, the pet-friendly Telluride Village is perfect for a Rocky Mountain adventure with your dog. With stunning scenery, miles of hiking trails, a pet-friendly gondola, and a nice selection of pet-friendly restaurants and accommodations, this could be the highlight of your trip!

Utah – Red Canyon in Dixie National Forest

Covering nearly 2 million acres, every inch of the Dixie National Forest is pet friendly! And with 1,600 miles of hiking, horseback riding, and bike trails, and hundreds of miles of side roads, back roads, and scenic driving, you and your pet can spend a lifetime exploring here.

middle south

The hustle and bustle of San Antonio is balanced by the serene natural wonders of this South Central road trip. If you’re thinking of skipping a pet-friendly paddle on the Buffalo National River…don’t do it! We did with Ty and Buster, and loved every minute of it. Although it was the boys’ first time in a canoe, they were great, one of our favorite memories with them.

New Mexico – White Sands National Park

The name White Sands may be a bit misleading, but that doesn’t make this pet-friendly national park any less impressive! The shimmering sand dunes here are actually made of gypsum – not sand. And thanks to an ancient sea and some very lucky geography, it is now the largest land field in the world!

Texas – San Antonio River Walk

One of the most unique parks in the country, the pet-friendly 13-mile San Antonio River Walk provides access to some of the city’s most valuable historical and cultural sites!

Oklahoma – Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

When you’re not impressed with the bison, elk, and white-tailed deer at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, there are 18 pet-friendly trails and lakes for boating and kayaking.

Arkansas-Canoe Buffalo River National

Kayaking in the Buffalo National River with your pets is easier than you think! Pet friendly boat rentals are easy to find, and the calm waters will keep every hiker at ease. When you’re back on solid ground, there are miles of pet-friendly trails to hike along the stream and into the Ozark National Forest.

KS – Monument rocks

Monument Rocks are the remains of the sea floor that formed millions of years ago when waters covered the continent from Montana and Dakota to Texas and Louisiana. The towers, arches, and chalk arches that still now stand 70 feet tall on the plains of Kansas, and your pets are most welcome to explore with you!

plains – north

The Northern Plains’ journey through the heart of the country reveals what America looked like before the arrival of Europeans. Enjoy the deep expanse of Lake Superior and the mighty Mississippi River. Then walk in the footsteps of the Native Americans who lived in Iowa and North Dakota.

Minnesota – Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park is located on the north shore of Lake Superior and offers stunning views of one of the most photographed lighthouses in the country. With 14.5 miles of pet-friendly trails for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing, it’s a great place to stretch your legs or enjoy a picnic on the beach.

Wisconsin – Trembillo National Wildlife Refuge

Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge is located in the Flying Trail of the Mississippi River, the path taken by about 40% of all waterfowl and shorebirds. The sanctuary serves as a “bed and breakfast” and as well as some great bird watching, there are miles of pet-friendly trails to explore.

Iowa – Dolls Hills National Monument

Standing atop the cliffs overlooking the Mississippi River, it’s easy to see why the Native Americans chose to make this amazing place their home. Covering 2,500 acres along the west bank of the Mississippi River, Effigy Mounds National Monument now covers 206 prehistoric earthen mounds built by the indigenous people, 31 of which are shaped like animals.

North Dakota – Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site

Wander the trails and explore the grounds in the Knife River Indian Villages, where Captain Lewis and Clark first met Sakagwe and her husband, Toussaint Charbonneau. Once a bustling community of nearly 400 people, it is now a quiet place to enjoy nature.

South Dakota – Custer State Park

Custer State Park protects 71,000 acres of South Dakota’s most stunning landscape. It also provides a home to an impressive array of wildlife. From scenic treks to multi-day hikes, wildlife watching to kayaking, elegant dining to campfires under the stars, Custer has something to satisfy the traveler.Lake Sylvan - Custer, SD

Nebraska – Fort Robinson State Park

Fort Robinson State Park is a rare combination of stunning scenery, fascinating history, attractive recreational opportunities, and pet-friendly accommodations. Spread over 22,000 acres, with a rugged backdrop as a backdrop, it’s a great place to relax and enjoy the vast wild meadows during the day and starry skies at night.

great lakes

Three of the five stops on this pet-friendly wilderness trip are in the Great Lakes! Absorb the energy of downtown Chicago in the Navy Pier. Contrast this with the laid-back atmosphere of Mackinac Island – no cars. You’ll enjoy both ends of the spectrum!

West Virginia – Monongahela National Forest

The Monongahela National Forest covers more than 900,000 acres, preserving a rugged and wild paradise like no other. With an extensive secluded forest trail system and 825 miles of pet-friendly trails, you and your pet will have plenty to explore!

Ohio – Holden Arboretum

Holden Arboretum is an amazing collaboration between humans and Mother Nature. Covering 3,600 acres, it is one of the largest tree and botanical gardens in the country and a great place to explore with your pet. Pick garden trails or hit miles of trails through native forests with your furry travel buddy!

Illinois – Chicago Lake Front Trail and Navy Pier

Chicago’s pet-friendly Lakefront Trail stretches 18 miles along the stunning Lake Michigan shore, connecting vibrant neighborhoods, expansive parks, famous beaches, and popular attractions like Navy Pier, Buckingham Fountain, and Soldier Field. It’s fun to choose a section and spend a day in it with your pet!

Indiana – Indiana Dunes National Park

The blue Caribbean waters and miles of pet-friendly beaches await at Indiana Dunes National Park. But the beach is just the beginning! This dynamic landscape also features sand dunes, ponds, swamps, streams, meadows, and forests for your exploration.

Michigan – Mackinac Island

Hop on board the pet-friendly ferry for a trip to Mackinac Island. Cars are not allowed, but you and your pet will have no problem getting around! Main Street is just steps from the ferry docks, horse-drawn carriages are available for people and pets, and bikes can be rented with pet trailers – so it’s easy to get to all of Mackinac’s most popular attractions.

plains – south

Road trippers will love this route through the Southern Plains. Romp in the stunning off-the-shelf dog park at Shelby Farms, then rough the 444-mile Natchez Trace! Finally, relax in the shadow of the Arch Gateway in St. Louis.

Louisiana – State Capitol Gardens in Baton Rouge

At 34 stories tall, the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge is the tallest building in the United States. It is surrounded by 27 acres of parks and pet-friendly gardens that offer stunning views from every angle. Wander the paved paths under huge live oaks and palms or plan a picnic with your pet!

Mississippi – Natchez Tres Parkway

The Natchez Trace Parkway runs 444 miles from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee. It’s a quiet, billboard-free haven from our fast-paced highways. And there’s something to smell around every turn with countless exhibits and 28 pet-friendly hiking trails along the way!

Tennessee – Shelby Park Farms District Off the Leash

Shelby Farms Park in Memphis is one of the largest urban parks in the country. With a huge off-leash dog area, 40 miles of pet-friendly trails meandering through 4,500 acres, disc golf, canoe rentals, kayaks, paddle boards, and a beautiful visitor center you can easily spend the whole day!

Kentucky – Abraham Lincoln National Historic Park

The life of President Abraham Lincoln is inspiring, and a visit to his simple hometown fosters a deeper appreciation of his accomplishments. Pets are welcome to join you on Earth, and together you can explore the trails here and at Lincoln Boyhood Home in Knob Creek, just ten miles away.

Missouri – Gateway Arch National Park

Leashed pets are welcome to explore the expansive grounds of the St. Louis Gateway Arch National Park. Enjoy the Riverfront Trail, take a scenic one hour riverboat cruise, and be sure to ask now what your pet can become BARK Ranger during your visit.

New Britain

You can see a lot without traveling far in New England! Enjoy Central Park in the heart of Manhattan, then explore the trails in Acadia National Park. Finally, take a splash in the pond at Dog Mountain. From start to finish, this ride is a pet’s dream come true.

New York – Central Park

There is no place like New York! Central Park is the third most visited attraction in the world – it’s even better with your pet. Whether you choose to lie down on a bench, enjoy the conservatory, or explore the wooded paths of the Rumble, it will be an unforgettable day.

Connecticut – Mystic Harbor

Spread over 19 stunning acres on the banks of the Mystic River, you and your pet will enjoy Mystic Harbor, the largest marine museum in the United States. See the wonderful old boats and see what life was like for the seaport dwellers in this part of New England in the 19th century.

Rhode Island – Newport Cliff Walk

Newport is known as the City by the Sea, and a stroll along the pet-friendly Cliff Walk proves that it lives up to its title! Winding 3.5 miles with rocky coastline on one side and lush gardens of historic mansions on the other, the trail will provide you and your pet with unforgettable views.


Massachusetts – Freedom Trail

The Boston Freedom Trail connects 16 of our country’s most important historical monuments – sites that played a pivotal role in the beginning of Rebellious America. The 2.5-mile pet-friendly trail begins in Boston Common, where pups will find two unrestricted sniffing and socializing areas in America’s oldest public park.


Maine – Acadia National Park

As one of the most pet-friendly national parks in the countries, you and your pet will find plenty to love in Acadia. There are over 100 miles of trails to explore, transportation routes to explore, and pets are welcome on the free shuttle buses that run throughout the park and around the island!


New Hampshire – Mount Washington and White Mountain National Forest

Visiting Mount Washington can be a bit tricky. Winds at the summit exceed hurricane strength more than 100 days a year, the peak is covered with clouds 60% of the time, and it can snow all year round. But if you’re lucky enough to catch it right, you and your pet will never forget the pet-friendly trails and scenic views.


Vermont – Dog Mountain

At Dog Mountain, pets aren’t just welcome – they are dear! This former dairy farm of 150 acres is always open to the public and dogs are welcome to get off their leashes while running, playing and swimming in the pond. There are also hiking trails, quiet retreats, a pet-friendly chapel, and an art gallery.



The theme of this trip is early American history with lots of fun! Learn about the first Europeans to reach the New World in Colonial Williamsburg. Walk around Washington, DC, where history is made every day. Then enjoy a day at Jersey Beach before heading to the Pocono Mountains for a scenic train ride.


Virginia – Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg welcomes you and your pet to step back in time. See historic homes, watch demos in shops, enjoy drumming bands and eat in bars and restaurants. Be sure to keep an eye out for Liberty, Colonel Williamsburg’s dog mascot!


Washington DC – National Mall

There are few places in America more inspiring than the National Mall & Memorial Gardens. And because this national park is in the middle of a lively city, it’s more pet friendly than you might expect! You and your pet can see the US Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, and the dozens of attractions in between.


Maryland – Chesapeake Bay cruise

Explore the Chesapeake Bay with a travel companion on a pet friendly cruise! Tours depart from Annapolis, Baltimore, and St. Michaels, and there are countless privately operated charter boats available in the ports up and down the bay that are happy to welcome your pets.


Delaware – Historic New Castle Walking Tour

If you love to stroll with your pet along tree-lined streets, admire beautiful examples of Dutch colonial and federal architecture, and learn a little bit about the early history of our country, then a walking tour of Newcastle will be right up your alley. Check your local calendar of pet-friendly events when planning your trip.


New Jersey – Jersey Shore at Wildwood Beach

Wildwood Beach is beautiful, spacious, family friendly and free to use. But the best part is that your pet can come with you! Dogs are welcome on leashes all day, every day – just look for a giant fire hydrant and enjoy a day full of sand and surfing together.


Pennsylvania – Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railroad

The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway welcomes pets aboard its vintage buses. Powered by diesel engines and departing from the old railroad station in historic downtown Jim Thorpe, the roamed journeys take about 70 minutes and follow a 16-mile route along the Lehigh River as it passes through the strait.



Beautiful gardens await your arrival on this pet-friendly wilderness journey through the Southeast. Wander the trails through Rock City, where you can see seven states on a clear day! Then admire the last large-scale Romanesque garden at Magnolia Plantation. Finally, spend a day exploring the formal gardens and wooded paths of this 8,000-acre Biltmore estate.


Alabama – Little River Canyon National Park

On a flat mountain in northeastern Alabama, Little River Canyon National Preserve protects more than 15,000 rugged acres along the Little River—and is incredibly pet-friendly. Not only can your travel companion join you on all the trails, they’re welcome inside the visitor center – and the staff offer dog treats!


Georgia – Rock City Gardens

Visitors come from all over the world to enjoy the botanical and geological features of Rock City, and your pet is welcome to join you on the trails and enjoy the view from Lover’s Leap. You can even have lunch together on the patio at Café 7, a seasonal restaurant with amazing views!


Florida – Fort de Soto Dog Beach

Fort De Soto’s beaches are known for their white sand and clear blue water, but the best part of this quarter mile stretch is that they are for dogs! Puppies can hang out without restrictions here and at the adjacent enclosed dog park. Then rent a kayak and paddle the 2.25-mile waterway, tour the 7-mile bike path, or go on the hiking trails to see more of the island.

Best Pet-Friendly Attractions in Florida: Fort De Soto Park and Dog Beach |  GoPetFri Friendly.com

South Carolina – Magnolia Plantation & Gardens

Enjoy the paths, grounds, gardens, and Audubon swamp at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. Founded in 1676 by the Drayton family, Magnolia is the last Romantic-style garden in America. Plan a picnic lunch in the conservatory, or find a shady spot under the magnolia to enjoy the blooming flowers.

South Carolina's Best Pet Attraction: Magnolia Farms & Gardens |  GoPetFri Friendly.com

North Carolina – Biltmore Estate Gardens and Lands

At Biltmore Estate, you and your pet can stroll the lush garden trails, or go on 23 miles of hiking trails that crisscross the 8,000 acres. When the appetite gets busy, head to Antler Hill Village and pick a table in one of the pet-friendly patios!


How long will it take and what will it cost?

In total, the journey is 15,000 miles and will take at least two months. This is assuming you have great luck with the weather and don’t mind driving 8 hours a day.

The cost of the trip depends on how you travel. Most of the attractions we recommended are fairly inexpensive (free – $20), with a few exceptions, so set around $800 for all entrance fees.

Gas will cost another $1,000 to $1,500.

Then there is food that can vary a lot. You can save money by shopping and preparing your own meals instead of eating out. If you can eat for $10 a day, that adds up to another $600 per person.


Finally, you’ll need places to stay, and that’s the biggest variable. Car or tent camping will cost less, while staying in pet-friendly hotels will cost more. Fortunately, pets aren’t picky about where you sleep — as long as you two are together.

So, here it is – the ultimate pet-friendly American road trip! Now all that’s left to do is pack the car, level up the tunes, and hit the road. Wajen Trails!


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