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8 Dog-Friendly Travel Destinations in the Southeast

Find the perfect weekend getaway for you and your pup.

by Daniela Lopez
March 3, 2021
A dog walking on a Florida beach.
Mauro Grigollo / Stocksy

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There are so many phenomenal dog-friendly vacation spots, hotels, and eateries just waiting to be explored with your pup across the United States, and the South is no exception. From the hidden trails of Virginia to the shallow waters of Florida, here’s a round-up of the eight best dog-friendly destinations in the Southeast.

1. Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

There are endless trails and places to bring your dog to in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Trek on the Appalachian Trail loops, visit the Shenandoah River and stay in one of the many dog-friendly cabin vacation rentals like the luxury Shenandoah Yurt. Surrounded by the Shenandoah National Park, the stunning Yurt delivers an exclusive upscale experience with easy access to hiking, biking, and water activities on the river.

2. Asheville, North Carolina

In dog-friendly Asheville, NC, you’ll find Barkwells dog camp. Located in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountain, each cabin in Barkwells has its own fenced yard. The whole facility is fenced in for added security to keep your pup safe. North Carolina is also home to many scenic trails along the mountains and rivers; check out the Blue Ridge Parkway for a lovely spring hike.

3. Augusta, Georgia

The Riverwalk is a beautiful shaded three-mile waterfront walking path in Augusta, GA, that runs along the Savannah River and is the perfect place to stroll with your pup. Next, hop across the river to North Augusta, SC, and visit Manuel’s Bread Café for some fabulous eats on a dog-friendly patio. Feeling adventurous? Pups and their pet parents have easy access to kayaking or paddleboarding on the water at Betty’s Branch, an offshoot of the Savannah River.

4. Atlanta, Georgia

Take a tour with your dog of Atlanta’s incredible BeltLine. The planned 22-mile dog-friendly loop’s multi-use trails weave through plenty of parks, restaurants, and markets. Along the way, check out the incredible public art exhibits and wall murals, then head to Piedmont dog park for three acres of off-leash fun. Just off the park, you’ll find Orpheus Brewing, a pet-friendly taproom serving eclectic beers, with a dog-friendly patio and deck overlooking the park. ­

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5. New Orleans, Louisiana

In New Orleans, beyond the fantastic historic architecture, art exhibits, and parks, you’ll find one of the best dog-friendly events in the country. Krewe of Barkus is a walking Mardi Gras parade just for pups (and pet parents) that runs through the streets of the French Quarter. Dogs are welcomed at 80-plus eateries with outdoor seating, including Herbsaint, Café Beignet, Parkway Tavern, and The Bulldog.

6. Tampa, Florida

Along the coast, Tampa, Fla is consistently ranked as one of the most dog-friendly cities in the United States. The Sparkman Wharf is a fun stop for both people and pets because of the wide-open turf, excellent food options, and stunning waterfront views of the sunny Tampa Bay. Stay at one of the nearby pet-friendly bungalows or the luxe Westin Tampa Waterside.

7. Fort Myers Beach, Florida

On Florida’s West Coast, head over to the Lover’s Key State Park dog beach, where you’ll find white sand, calm waters, and the perfect area for a water-loving pooch to play. The secluded park is one of Florida’s only off-leash dog beaches and has shallow water with plenty of sand bars, so even itty bitty pups can experience the water.

8. St. Augustine, Florida

Add Saint Augustine to your list of pet-friendly adventures in the Southeast. This historic city offers plenty of sights and beautiful streets to stroll with your pup. Admittedly, this one isn’t all for the dogs because the Witty Whisker Cat Café is a must-visit. Enjoy a mocha while watching some adorable (and, yes, adoptable) cats lounge about, or reserve a time to become one with the cats. When planning a visit to St. Augustine, be sure to scoop up a dog-friendly beach rental early, especially during peak season.

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daniela lopez

Daniela Lopez

Daniela Lopez is a digital media specialist and long-time contributor to The Bark.