Choosing where you want to live is both exciting and stressful. Factors such as the cost of living and climate, among myriad of other things, determine whether or not you’ll experience the best quality of life. For pet parents in the U.S., the decision revolves around our pets. A pet’s quality of life is just as important as our own. Whether you live in the heat of Texas or the cool shores of Maine, there’s a dog-friendly city ready to welcome your furry best friend with open arms!
What Makes a City Dog Friendly?
Hotels, beaches, trails, restaurants and even events that allow you to bring your pooch along all help to meet the criteria to determine the top dog-friendliest cities. Naturally, it has to be a fun place for pet and pet parent. Dog-centered activities, such as doggy festivals, parades and other events, as well as how many hotels are dog friendly and how many restaurants allow dogs to eat on their patios are important. Excellent veterinary care and an active humane society are also key elements of a pet-friendly city.
While several cities across the nation cater to the canine population, the 10 cities on OneGreenPlanet.org’s list of “Awesome Dog Friendly U.S. Cities to Visit” represent the crème de la crème of dog-centric living. From dog-friendly botanical gardens, dog bakeries, off-leash beaches to dog-friendly restaurants and wineries, these cities are a dog’s paradise.
And without further ado, here are 2015’s top 10 dog-friendliest U.S. cities:
Austin is a puppy paradise.1 Offering unique experiences for every four-legged friend, including more than 10 off-leash dog parks! Oh, there’s also dog yoga – Namaste. Take your pet along to delight in all of the beautiful scenery at the Zilker Botanical Gardens. Austin offers abundance of restaurants and shops ready to welcome you and your pooch. Discover one-of-a-kind doggy bakeries and boutiques to tickle your pet’s fancy.
Bar Harbor is home to diverse dog-friendly outdoor activities and sights. If you and your dog love relaxing along the water, there are numerous dog-friendly beaches to enjoy. Or perhaps you and your furry friend prefer to hike along scenic trails. Either way, there are several parks nearby, including a 140-mile long path that hugs Acadia National Park.
Cape Cod is a wonderful city for you and your pet to live in, with stretches of beautiful, well-kept beaches to enjoy and historic walks to explore. If you appreciate history, you’ll love navigating through the city by way of The Cape Cod Rail Trail, a 22-mile old railroad trail.
Carmel is a city that’s sure to keep those tails wagging. Discover tons of dog-friendly shops, restaurants, hotels and so much more. This city also offers miles of gorgeous beaches that are perfect for basking in the sun with your pet.
Chattanooga is the ideal city for pet parents and pets craving more of the great outdoors! From scenic hikes to dog-friendly restaurants with patios, this city has everything that dogs love. Take time in the morning to workout with you pooch along a 10-mile hike along North Chickamauga Creek. Meet up with friends for dinner at 212 Market Restaurant, a delectable eatery that allows your dog to sit comfortably on the solar deck with water bowls to quench your pet’s thirst.
Chicago is home to an abundance of pooch-friendly beaches, restaurants, bars, shops and hotels spread across the Windy City. Enjoy a relaxing 18-mile trail along Lake Michigan with your dog day or night. White Sox baseball fans get ready for a fun-filled day at the ballpark with your pup during the Dog Day baseball game.
Colorado Springs truly knows how to cater to pets. Don’t leave Fido behind on your next trip to the museum. Take in all of the historic sites at various museums with your pup in tow. Nature lovers, prepare to indulge as you hike through pooch-friendly parks, including Bear Creek Nature Center and Garden of the Gods Park.
Florida is renowned for its beaches and scores of outdoor activities – and Key West delivers it all – with your furry friend in mind. This city offers pooch-catered beaches, trendy shops, restaurants and bars galore. Ready to make a splash? Spend a fun-filled day kayaking with your dog.
Portland is a city that will greet your dog with open arms all year-round! In fact, this city is known for the Lucky Labrador Brewing Company, a unique brewery that allows your pet to hang out with you while you enjoy a beer after a long day at work. Discover myriad trendy coffee shops and restaurants that adore canine company. Miles of off-leash beaches span Portland’s terrain. Portland also offers numerous canine-friendly restaurants, shops, hotels and more.
While Sonoma Valley and Napa Valley are celebrated for their wineries, these cities also welcome your dog to come along with you as you experience the best wines. Some wineries even allow dogs in the tasting room1 Mutt Lynch Winery is a distinct experience for both pet and pet parent. Not only is this a fun place to visit and taste some wine outside with your pup, but they support and donate money to several dog rescue groups.1
Most of the time, it’s the dogs themselves who remind us to live in the moment, appreciate the beauty around us, and reflect on the deep truths that permeate time and space.2
For more information on pet-friendly cities, check out Go Pet Friendly. There, you can find hotels, campgrounds, restaurants, activities and more that will make your pet feel loved.