Dog Travel: 6 Vacation Ideas For You and Your Pooch

Dogs love traveling. You think those joyful yips when you pick up the leash come from feelings of companionship or loyalty? Please. Dogs just want to get out and explore the world.

That unending enthusiasm can make a dog a perfect travel companion. When you are dog-tired (har har har), your pooch will still be full of that contagious energy that is so annoying on Sunday mornings.

But where to take your dog? Leash laws and excrement ingestion legislation in some states have limited the number of dog-friendly destinations, so we’re here to help. After all, dogs are the new kids, and you wouldn’t leave your children at home when you went somewhere to relax, would you? OK, bad example.

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1 – Dog Camp
Agility drills at Camp Gone to the Dogs in Vermont

Does your dog love s’mores? Ghost stories? Barks and crafts? (har har har) Dog Days of Wisconsin, the camp for dogs and their people offers all that and more. It’s not a boot-camp, or training, it’s summer camp and your dog is there too.

Camp activities can essentially be divided into two categories.

1. Stuff your dog was born knowing how to do: agility exercises, tennis ball hunting, frisbee, tracking, group barking.

2. Stuff that will confuse your pup: dog massage, a costume contest, flower essence lab, scootering, Working with Crystals for your Dog (really!), and something called “Throw your Dog a Turnip.”

Dog Days of Wisconsin by no means has a monopoly, though. There are dog camps all across the country, including the famous Camp Gone to the Dogs in Vermont.

Do you REALLY love your dog? Prove it at Dog Camp.

2 – Dog Surfing

Ever wonder how Dogtown, the Southern California surf and skate moniker for Venice Beach, California, got its name? It probably had something to do with this guy.

Many dogs love surfboards, after all, they’re delicious! You can take your dog surfing all over Southern California or anywhere in the world that dogs are allowed. Check out Coronado, CA, for dog surfing lessons and pick up your specialty dog surfboard here.

3 – Dog Sailing
Who doesn't love being dressed in a navy uniform?

I always thought pirates were using some sort of euphemism when they yelled, “Avast ye scurvy dogs!” But it seems dogs and sailboats aren’t quite as mutually restrictive as you might think. After all, there’s plenty of tug-o-war ropes laying around, ample opportunities for swimming, and all sorts of expensive things to chew on.

Boat owners report unexpected joys accompanied by unexpected challenges of bringing your dog to the sea, and report that there are a lot of places in the Pacific that quarantine dogs, so check with the local customs before taking your dog through customs.

4 – Eurail Dog

Should you take your dog to Europe? Probably not. But if you’re even asking the question as you plan your trip, you can probably figure something out. Many trains and upscale hotels provide pooches with treats and bottled water, and they can ride with you in first class for the ticket price of half of the second class fare (so long as they do not request a newspaper).

Hotels will also often have dog-sitting services for a small fee (compared to replacing the furniture your pup chews up), so you can take in the sights that do not welcome Fido.

Amsterdam has a wide selection of pet-friendly hotels,and top-dog attractions in Oosterpark and Vondelpark.

5 – Dog Canoeing
"You paddle, I'll navigate"

All dogs can paddle, right? So why not take them canoeing? Dog Paddling Adventures out of Canada runs the sort of trips for your dog that let you enjoy nature while your dog chases it.

Whether it’s skiing, hiking or paddling, you’ll be sure to give your dog’s sniffer a workout as they explore the great outdoors. It’s a good way to socialize your dog, who will be off-leash with the pack for a majority of the trip.

Some dog experts say that learning where your pup fits into a larger pack hierarchy for days on end will help with obedience at home. A guided wilderness adventure sure beats setting up your tent at the dog park.

6 – Top dog-friendly hotels
Sometimes vacations are best for just relaxing

Wherever you decide to take your dog, you’ll need a place to stay. Here are some of the top dog-friendly hotels in the USA.

Monaco Hotel, Portland, OR – Pets enjoy a complimentary dog bed, treats, bowl and mat and a special board in the hotel that announces pets and their names in the hotel, for socializing purposes.

The Wales Hotel, New York, NY – Offers the “For the Love of Dog Package” which includes gourmet dog food, a premiere pet pillow, and a discount at the Tomy Maugeri Dog Salon.

The Tower Luxury Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA, – Pulls out all of the stops with a special dog menu featuring Bow Wow Tenderloin, Chow Hound Chicken and Rin Tin Tin. Dog-sitting services are available at night and the Loews hotel chain has their own, specially manufactured flavor of gourmet dog treats.

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Want to try them all but don’t know how to get there? A Greyhound bus, of course! (Har Har Har)

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