The 10 Most Dog-Friendly Cities for Summer Vacation · The Wildest

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The 10 Most Dog-Friendly US Cities to Visit With Your Pup This Summer

Complete with beaches, trails, and dog-friendly accommodations galore.

by Sio Hornbuckle
May 17, 2024
Woman and her dog in a cafe.
Lumina / Stocksy

Summer’s just around the corner, which means you might be planning a destination getaway to get some rest and catch some rays. And, of course, no place can be truly relaxing without the presence of the best travel companion there is: your dog. Plus, your pup deserves a vacation, too. Luckily, some of the most popular vacation spots in the United States are also super dog-friendly, with tons of offerings for both you and your pup to enjoy. 

USA Today took a look at the top 50 most-visited cities by overseas tourists in the U.S. and ranked them on six metrics: the number of dog-friendly hotels, dog-friendly bars, dog-friendly restaurants, veterinary offices, dog-friendly beaches, and dog-friendly trails.

Each category was rated on a 100-point scale and then weighted against the other categories for an overall score out of 100. Below are the best vacation spots in the country to bring your pup. 

10. Key West, Florida

The 10th most dog-friendly city is a classic vacation destination: Key West, the island city famous for its coral reefs and gorgeous beaches. And when you’re chilling out after exploring the nature, your pup’s welcome at many of Key West’s establishments. For every 100,000 residents, there are 17 dog-friendly bars and — hold onto your hat — nearly 122 dog-friendly restaurants. It’s by far the most dog-friendly city for dining of any of the 50 analyzed.

9. Denver, Colorado

Now to somewhere that’s very much not an island: Denver, Colorado. The so-called Mile High City is a great place to explore another, rockier kind of nature — Denver offers 55 dog-friendly trails. Denver also has a walkable downtown with a thriving art scene and plenty of shops and museums to explore. For every 100,000 residents there are nine dog-friendly restaurants and nine dog-friendly accommodations. 

8. Nashville, Tennessee

Yep, the iconic country music hot spot is super pet-friendly. For every 100,000 residents, there are 14 dog-friendly restaurants. Plus, there are 18 pup-friendly walking trails in the city. Nashville’s also chock-full of veterinary offices, with 612 vets for every 100,000 businesses. 

7. Naples, Florida

Naples has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, famous for their white sand and turquoise water. And lucky for your pup, eight beaches within 50 miles of Naples are dog-friendly. There are also 13 dog-friendly trails, 45 dog-friendly restaurants per 100,000 people (the second highest score on this list!), and 27 pet-friendly accommodations per 100,000 residents. 

6. San Diego, California

San Diego might not be the first vacation spot to pop into your mind when you think of California, but its dog-friendliness might raise it in your rankings. For every 100,000 residents, there are 21 dog-friendly restaurants.

And for outdoorsy pups, the offerings are even greater: there are 10 dog-friendly beaches within 50 miles and over 102 dog-friendly hiking trails. 

5. Portland, Oregon

With 171 dog-friendly trails, Portland is full of chances for you and your pup to get your steps in — and see some seriously impressive nature while you’re at it. There are about 18 dog-friendly restaurants per 100,000 residents, too. Plus, Portland has tons of vets, with 541 vet offices per 100,000 businesses.

4. Austin, Texas

There’s no shortage of options for an activity-filled vacation in Austin, from the legendary music scene to lakeside hikes to museums and historic sites. Austin has 94 dog-friendly trails and about 21 dog-friendly restaurants per 100,000 residents.

3. Santa Barbara, California

Ninety-two miles north of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara is known for its beautiful architecture and Mediterranean climate. It’s the perfect place to visit with your pup; there are 57 dog-friendly trails, 29 dog-friendly restaurants per 100,000 residents, and 19 dog-friendly accommodations per 100,000 residents. 

2. San Luis Obispo, California

Yep, we’re still in California — this time, a little further north. According to Oprah, San Luis Obispo is the happiest town in America... which means there must be lots and lots of dogs. There are plenty of outdoor activities to bring your pup along on, including a thriving farmer’s market and 42 dog-friendly hiking trails. San Luis Obispo has 32 dog-friendly accommodations per 100,000 residents and nine dog-friendly beaches within 50 miles. 

1. Flagstaff, Arizona

Coming in at number one on the list is Flagstaff, Arizona. Surrounded by stunning mountains, deserts, and pine forests, Flagstaff offers some breathtaking views of nature — and your pup’s welcome to enjoy them, because there are 132 dog-friendly trails in the city. Flagstaff makes it easy to bring your pup along on vacation, with 56 dog-friendly accommodations per 100,000 residents and 39 dog-friendly restaurants per 100,000 residents. It’s practically puppy heaven.

Some more dog-friendly cities

These ten best cities are far from the only options for your pup. Coming in numbers 11 through 20 on USA Today’s list are Jacksonville, Florida; Charlotte, North Carolina; Salinas, California; Orlando, Florida; St. George, Utah; Seattle, Washington; Phoenix, Arizona; San Jose, California; Atlanta, Georgia; and Salt Lake City, Utah.

Sio Hornbuckle

Sio Hornbuckle is a writer living in New York City with their cat, Toni Collette.

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