5 of the Best Dog-Friendly Cities for Adventurous Pups

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Exploring the world in search of epic trails, stunning beaches, and breathtaking views is one of the greatest gifts this planet has to offer. (And doing so alongside “man’s best friend” is even better.)

While many establishments might turn their noses at our furry friends, there are plenty that welcome them with arms wide open.

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Here, we’ve rounded up five of our favorite dog-friendly cities with a plethora of restaurants, hotels, and outdoor activities—perfect for you and your four-legged friend.

Denver, Colorado

Located in the South Plate River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains and just east of the Rocky Mountains, Denver is the state’s capital and its most populated city. Despite its size, the Mile High City is extremely dog friendly and includes a wide collection of dog-friendly hotels, restaurants, and hikes in the immediate area. Located just outside of the city are a number of incredible hikes, perfect for bringing along your four-legged friend. Ranging from easy to difficult, some popular hikes include the Red Rocks Trail, Platte River Greenway Trail, Plymouth Creek-Plymouth Mountain Loop, First Creek Trail, and Royal Arch Trail. If you feel like going on an adventure sans Fido, there are also a few companies in town that will take your dog on their own outdoor adventure while you do your own thing. When it comes to food, Denver has dining options aplenty, including a number of breweries and eateries that happily welcome dogs – our top pick would have to be The Watering Bowl. The tavern includes a 7,000 square-foot fenced dog park and their menu offers dog treats and even doggie cakes. When it comes to hotels, Hotel Teatro in downtown Denver takes the cake. The hotel has partnered with a nearby certified canine massage therapist to pamper your pup during your stay (human massage not included).

Photo: Courtesy of Larry Barrett/Shutterstock

Bend, Oregon

Located on the eastern edge of the Cascade Mountains, Bend is situated along the Deschutes River and rings in as Central Oregon’s largest city. Once a thriving logging town, Bend has evolved into an outdoor lover’s paradise and is a hot spot for hiking, fishing, camping, rock climbing, biking, and skiing. In addition to being a jackpot for outdoor adventurers, Bend has one of the highest per capita dog populations anywhere in the world and as a result, the city is incredibly dog friendly. Home to 51 miles of urban trails and 13 off-leash areas in city parks and national forest, Bend provides ample opportunity for getting outside with your dog. Popular walks include the Shevlin Park Loop and the Deschutes River Trail, both of which wind along the scenic river. Or, if you visit during the winter, Wanoga, Edison, and Kapka Sno-Parks offer dog-friendly cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. If you and your dog prefer getting out on the water, rent a canoe, kayak, or SUP and take to the river. Or test your hand at fly-fishing, another popular Bend activity. If you’re in need of a flotation device for your furry friend, pick up a PFD from Ruff Wear, a Bend-based animal outfitter. In addition to outdoor activities, Bend is home to 40 restaurants that will happily accommodate you and your pup. Not only is Bend known as an extremely dog-friendly destination but it is also known for its beer, and as such, a number of breweries will welcome you and your dog: 10 Barrel, Cascade Lakes Brewing Co., GoodLife Brewing, Crux Fermentation Project, Worthy Brewing, and McMenamins Old St. Francis School. When it comes to accommodations, there are a number of dog-friendly hotels in town as well a wide selection of campgrounds in the surrounding area.

Photo: Courtesy of Richard Bacon/Shutterstock

Santa Cruz, California

Situated on the northern edge of Monterey Bay, south of San Francisco, Santa Cruz is the largest city in Santa Cruz County. Home to breathtaking coastline and lush redwood forests, Santa Cruz offers so many adventure options, both on land and at sea. Dogs are welcome at a number of beaches in Santa Cruz, including Its Beach, Seabright State Beach, Twin Lakes State Beach, Mitchell’s Cove, and Sunny Cove. Frolic on the beach or if you’re feeling adventurous, hit the waves. Keep your eyes peeled for local legend, Skyler the surfing dog. If you’re pup isn’t up for surfing, paddling the harbor or the Elkhorn Slough for a more mellow option. If you’re dog isn’t keen on water, there are a number of dog-friendly hikes and walks in town: West Cliff Drive, Pogonip Open Space, and Henry Cowell Redwood State Park. After a fun day outside, you’ll want to find a spot to refuel and crash for the night. Santa Cruz County is home to over 40 pet-friendly accommodations and 20 restaurants perfect for you and your furry friend. If you’re feeling casual stop by Seabright Brewery or if you’re feeling fancy, visit one of the many pet-friendly wineries. When it comes to finding a place to rest your head, the Chaminade Resort & Spa, Hilton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley, Ocean Echo Inn & Cottages, Hotel Paradox, and Beach RV Park Santa Cruz are all solid options.

Photo: Courtesy of Mike Chappazo/Shutterstock

Asheville, North Carolina

Known for its vibrant art scene and historic architecture, Asheville is located in Buncombe County, on the western edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Home to hundreds of miles of hiking trails, a walkable downtown with a rich art scene, and countless swimming holes, Asheville is an ideal vacation destination for dogs and humans alike. If you make the trip to Asheville, a visit to the Blue Ridge Mountains is a must. Ranging from easy to difficult, there are so many hiking options in the famous mountains, some leading to view points, others to waterfalls. If you wish to take in the scenery without muscling it, visit the Blue Ridge Parkway and take in the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the comfort of your vehicle. After taking in the sights, visit the historic downtown and enjoy one of the many pet-friendly restaurants or breweries. The 12 Bones Barbecue and Highland Brewing Company’s rooftop bar are both great choices. When it comes to pet-friendly accommodations, Asheville is in no short supply: Aloft Hotel, 1900 Inn on Montford, The Omni Grove Park Inn, Hotel Indigo, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Asheville, Biltmore Estate, and Asheville Log Cabins and Vactation Rentals all welcome dogs.

Photo: Courtesy of Wade Austin Ellis/Unsplash

Golden Isles, Georgia

Located on Georgia’s Atlantic coast between Savannah and Jacksonville, the Golden Isles includes the city of Brunswick as well as St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Little St. Simons and Jekyll Island. While most of the area has activities well suited for dogs – 65% of Jekyll island is untouched, making it a dog’s paradise. Due to the fact that most of the region is surrounded by water, visiting the beach is a popular activity. On St. Simons, dog-friendly beaches include St. Simons Island’s East Beach and Massengale Park and on Jekyll Island Driftwood Beach, Great Dunes Park, and Jekyll Island Beach are popular spots for dogs. If you’re feeling adventurous, rent a sailboat and tour the island via water. In addition to the beach, the Golden Isles are home to a number of hiking trails – Alice Richards Botanical Trailis a hit among kids, families, and furry friends. In addition to beaches and hiking trails, the Golden Isles have a number of al fresco dining options that welcome dogs. Brunswick, St. Simons Island, and Jekyll Island all have a wide variety of restaurant choices for you and your furry friend, but Tortuga Jack’s and Sandcastle Café & Grille are consistently popular options. When it comes to dog-friendly accommodations, the Golden Isles have it all from luxury resorts to bed & breakfasts, as well as coastal campgrounds.

Photo: Courtesy of Joanne Dale/Shutterstock

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