25 Best Dog-Friendly Vacations on the East Coast
Man’s Best Friend deserves a vacation just as much as you do. Most dogs love a beach where they can frolic and test the waters – the East Coast is extremely well-endowed with great dog-friendly beaches, particularly if you visit out of peak season when dogs are allowed on most beaches at any time. Most of the destinations below boast at least one dog park where you can take your pet to exercise and socialize off-leash as well as take part in other pet-friendly attractions such as tours, hiking, and more. Most also have reliable doggy day care if you are going on a non-dog-friendly day trip. Photo: doncon402/Fotolia
Portland is a wonderful place to explore with your dog. In Portland everyone seems to not only tolerate but genuinely welcome your dog and as you stroll the lovely cobbled streets of the Old Port, you will find many welcoming water bowls set out for furry visitors. You can take a scenic cruise around the offshore islands aboard the Casco Bay Mailboat, which also allows leashed dogs onboard at no extra cost. You have a few dog-friendly hotels to choose from, and there are also several Portland restaurants that allow your dog to join you at an outside table, including the Portland Lobster Company for scrumptious fresh lobster rolls. You and your pet are allowed to enjoy the beach together before 9am or after 5pm.
»Golden Isles, GA
You can enjoy a delightful vacation on Georgia’s Golden Isles without having to leave your dog at the kennels. Both you and your pet can enjoy unlimited access to the beautiful beaches, provided you visit in the off-season period from Labor Day to Memorial Day, when dogs are allowed to run free and frolic in the water. During the summer season dogs may visit the beach before 9am or after 5.30pm. At Frederica Park’s Dog Park your pet can also socialize and have an off-leash run. There are several hiking trails that welcome leashed dogs and you will also find many restaurants that offer an outside area where your dog is welcome to join you.
Photo: Brian Lasenby/Fotolia
»Outer Banks, NC
North Carolina’s Outer Banks offers miles and miles of pristine beaches you can explore with your four-legged friend by your side. The best time to visit the Outer Banks with your dog would be the shoulder season (or winter), when beach restrictions are more relaxed and days on the beach are more comfortable for your dog. If you visit during summer, most beaches allow leashed dogs on the beach before 9am or after 5pm, so there is still plenty of time for your pet to enjoy the beach. Outer Banks has many accommodation options where your pet will be welcome to join you.
»Asbury Park, NJ
Asbury Park in New Jersey is a great getaway choice for dog-loving New Yorkers, where your dog is not simply tolerated but is truly welcomed at several dog-friendly establishments. You can enjoy an evening drink on the deck at the Wonder Bar during Yappy Hour while your best friend enjoys socializing in a fenced-in area with a pet’s swimming pool. Tuesday is the day to drop by Lola’s European Café, where you dog will get a healthy and delicious frozen doggie treat. While you relax and soak up the sun on the beach, you can leave Fido at a Purr ‘n Pooch Pet Resort for doggy day care, grooming, and more. There are also several places where your dog can enjoy some off-leash fun in a safe enclosed environment – try Thompson Park and Wolf Hill Recreation Center.
Photo: Ritu Jethani/Fotolia
If you are planning a holiday in Burlington, Vermont, you need not hesitate to bring your dog along for the ride. There are at least ten accommodation options to choose from that allow you to bring up to two dogs with you for a small additional fee. When you need a break from exploring the city, you can choose from 30 dog-friendly restaurants that allow dogs at their outdoor tables. You can take your pet to have some off-leash fun at Starr Farm Dog Park, which has separate fenced areas for large and small dogs. You can also go hiking or biking with your dog at Mount Philo State Park or on the Richmond Mountain trails.
Charlottesville is nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. This dog-friendly town makes an ideal base for exploring the beauty of the area with your four-legged friend. You can all make yourselves at home in one of several dog-friendly hotels or apartments, including Hilton, Marriott, and Holiday Inn options. Your leashed dog is allowed to enjoy the hiking trails at Crabtree Falls or in Shenandoah National Park. You can take your best friend to enjoy some off-leash fun and socializing at one of three local dog parks – Darden Towe Dog Park, Azalea Dog Park, and Chris Greene Lake Park. Your dog may also join you for a wine tasting at Carter Mountain Orchard, beer tasting at Blue Mountain Brewery, or a meal at the 72 local dog-friendly restaurants.
»Dewey Beach, DE
Dewey Beach in Delaware is officially dog-friendly. If you visit during the summer (May to September), you will only be able to take your dog for a walk on the beach before 9.30am or after 5.30 pm, but if you choose to visit off-season, you and your dog can enjoy the beach together all day long. The town offers 24 pet-friendly hotels and there are more than 19 rental apartments that allow you to bring your dog. Your pet will love going for a long walk along the Junction and Breakwater Trail, and when it’s time for a snack both you and your pet are welcome at Woody’s East Coast Bar and Grill.
»Bar Harbor, ME
Maine’s Bar Harbor is a popular dog-friendly vacation destination that offers over 60 accommodation options suitable for people travelling with their dogs. In addition, there are many outdoor activities where dogs are welcome to join you. If you fancy hiking or kayaking with your pooch, you can head to Acadia National Park, where you can enjoy all the outdoor activities, including camping with your dog – at Little Long Pond there is a great leash-free area where your dog can run free. Dogs are also allowed on the Island Explorer bus, the Beal and Bunker Mail Boat Ferry, and on Sea Princess Scenic Nature Cruises. There are also many pet-friendly restaurants in Bar Harbor.
Photo: Stuart Monk - Fotolia.co
The small town of Hebron in New Hampshire is a popular vacation destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Although you will find very limited options when it comes to pet-friendly accommodation right in the town, there are several hotels, inns, and vacation rentals that do welcome your four-legged friends within a distance of 7 to 10 miles in Ashland and other nearby villages. Hebron offers access to many outdoor activities, and although pets are not allowed in some areas, you can go hiking with your dog along the western trails in Wellington State Park. If you need some solo time to explore, you can book your dog into the Mountain View Pet Resort or the Lakes Region Pet Resort for quality doggie day care.
»Hilton Head Island, SC
It is almost certain that your four-legged best friend will enjoy a vacation on Hilton Head Island just as much as you will. There is nothing like a long run on the beach to start or end your day, and your faithful companion is allowed to join you before 10am or after 5pm all year round, provided you bring a leash and diligently clean up after them. You can take your pet to have some off-leash fun at the dog park in Chaplin Community Park and there are many options for pet-friendly accommodation and restaurants. If you would like to visit Daufuskie Island, you may take your dog on the ferry and rent a golf cart to tour the island. Should you need any supplies for your pet, you will find them at Tail Wiggles at Hilton Parkway.
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»Lake Placid, NY
Dog lovers can confidently book a vacation in Lake Placid in the Adirondack Mountains. The town offers a great selection of hotels, lodges, and rentals that welcome dogs – you have over 30 properties to choose from. You can look forward to enjoying a range of outdoor activities with your dog, starting with a canoe or kayak excursion with St. Regis Canoe Outfitters – dogs are welcome for free. There are walking and hiking trails you can explore together at John Brown Farm and Mirror Lake, where your dog is also allowed to have a swim. Several local restaurants welcome you to enjoy a meal or drink with your pet.
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»Myrtle Beach, SC
Myrtle Beach is an ideal seaside vacation destination for dog lovers, where you get to choose from no less than 60 pet-friendly hotels and around 30 vacation rentals that are happy to welcome you and your pooch. You can also take your dog on the beach, provided you don’t use the section of beach between 21st Avenue North and 13th Avenue South, which is off limits to pets. Myrtle Beach has a large fully fenced dog park (Barc Park South) where your pet can enjoy some off-leash time and there are more than 90 Myrtle Beach restaurants that allow dogs to join their owners. If you need to spend a day or two away from your dog, you can choose from a few places that offer doggy day care and grooming.
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Beach lovers wanting to take their dogs on vacation with them should consider spending some time on Nantucket Island, which is a particularly dog-friendly destination. Reaching the island is easy as both the ferries and Cape Air are happy to welcome your pet on board. Once you reach the island you can settle into one of several great pet-friendly accommodation options and let the fun begin. Your dog is welcome on all Nantucket beaches that do not have a lifeguard on duty at any time, while the main beaches allow leashed dogs before 9 am and after 5pm in summer (all day in winter). You can go hiking with your best friend along the Sanford Farm Trail, and the Offshore Animal Hospital can offer help if your pet becomes ill.
Photo: Niklas Kratzsch/Fotolia
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»Block Island, RI
Block Island is located just 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island and has long been a popular beach holiday destination. Just about everyone who lives on the island has a dog and consequently the island is very dog-friendly. There are several options for dog-friendly accommodation, and you are also welcome to bring your leashed dog on the ferry. Although city ordinances demand that your dog is leashed on the main beaches, you will find that the quieter western beaches are more lenient, and you and your dog can enjoy an off-leash run or swim. The National Hotel Tap and Grill has an outdoor deck area where your (well-behaved) dog is welcome to join you and will get a bowl of water.
Photo: SE Viera Photo/Fotolia
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»Pilot Mountain, NC
Pilot Mountain in North Carolina is an excellent destination for nature lovers and the good news is that many attractions in the area also welcome your four-legged friend. The highlight of your visit would undoubtedly be Pilot Mountain State Park, where you and your leashed pet can enjoy several hiking trails as well as canoeing, picnicking, and camping. More pet-friendly hiking and camping is available in Hanging Rock State Park. You can enjoy some wine tasting at the pet-friendly Rag Apple Lassie Vineyard, take a walk through the Old Salem Museum and Gardens, or take your pet to have some off-leash fun at Horizons Happy Hounds Dog Park.
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Boston, Massachusetts, is a fascinating city to explore and the good news for dog owners is that your dog is just as welcome in Boston as you are. There are many dog-friendly hotels in the city, including several of the big-name groups such as Hyatt and Sheraton as well as many smaller establishments in the suburbs. Getting around the city with your dog could not be easier – leashed (or carried) dogs are allowed on all the metros, trains, ferries, and busses. Boston is best explored on foot, and your four-legged friend will love the chance to walk the 2-mile Freedom Trail, visit Minute Man National Historic Park, or have a run in one of the off-leash areas of the city parks. There are also many restaurants that are happy to welcome your pooch.
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Providence Rhode Island is a great vacation destination for dog lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The town has several pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals and if you prefer camping, you will find three campgrounds within a 20-mile radius of the city that allow pets. There are several places where you can go hiking with your pet, including Wanskuck Park and India Point Park. Although there are no pet-friendly beaches in Providence, you can take a drive out to Compass Rose Beach in North Kingstown, where leashed dogs are allowed to have some beach fun. Your dog is also welcome to join you on the Providence Ghost Tour and at the Rustic Tri View Drive In.
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If you are planning a Cape Cod vacation with your dog, then Provincetown is the ideal choice. The town has been nominated as one of the top five dog-friendly destinations in the US, where both you and your dog will have a marvelous time on Cape Cod’s only off-leash dog-friendly beaches. There is a long list of great activities for you and your pet to enjoy, including hiking the scenic lighthouse-studded Long Point Trail, whale and seal watching at Race Point Beach, and over-sand beach driving at Nauset Beach. There are plenty of hotels and vacation rentals that welcome your pet and there is no shortage of places where you are both welcome to have a meal or drink.
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»Rehoboth Beach, DE
Rehoboth Beach in Delaware welcomes dog owners and their pets with a large choice of accommodation options in hotels, inns, vacation rentals, and camping and RV Parks. At Delaware Seashore State Park your leashed pet may join you on the beach at any time of day provided you visit during the winter season. If you are planning to come to Rehoboth Beach between May and September, you will need to choose areas where there is no lifeguard on duty. There are several pet-friendly restaurants where your dog is welcome at the outside tables, including the Big Chill Surf Cantina. You are also welcome to bring your dog to watch a movie at the Cinema by the Surf at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand.
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»Sanibel Island, FL
Sanibel Island is an ideal vacation destination for dog lovers on the beautiful Gulf Coast of Florida. One of the reasons that Sanibel Island is such a popular doggy destination is that there are no less than three beautiful dog-friendly beaches for you to enjoy with your pet. Gulfside Beach, Bowman’s Beach, and Causeway Islands all allow leashed pets to walk, run, and swim and there are picnic areas, grills, toilets, and hiking trails. There are many dog-friendly hotels and vacation rentals and at least 14 restaurants that welcome pets and their owners. Both you and your pets can enjoy a nature drive through the J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, located in a large mangrove ecosystem.
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Savannah, Georgia, is a very pet-friendly city that understands your need to bring your four-legged baby on holiday with you. The Oliver Bentley Historic Dog Walk Tour is exclusively tailored to dog lovers and your pet is also welcome to join you (on a leash, of course) on the Architectural Tour of Savannah and the Haunted Savannah Tour. Your pet is also welcome at the GA State Railroad Museum, and Old Savannah Trolley Tours and the Plantation Carriage Company allow you to bring along small dogs of up to 20 lbs. There are two great dog parks where your dog can enjoy an off-leash romp, and you can both go hiking at Skidaway Island State Park or enjoy the beach at Fort Pulasky National Monument.
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»St. Augustine, FL
You can expect a lot of excited tail-wagging when you take your dog with you to St. Augustine in Florida. All the beaches at St. Augustine (with the exception of Anastasia State Park) are dog-friendly and your pet is allowed to join you for a walk, run, or swim, at any time provided they are on a leash. There are many pet-friendly accommodation choices, and when it comes to activities you will find St. Augustine a very welcoming town. Your pet is welcome to come along on the popular Tour de Chocolate Tour, the St. Augustine Historic Walking Tour, and a St. Augustine Scenic Cruise. When you best friend needs to let off some steam, you can visit the dog parks at Treaty Park and Ron Baker Park.
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Vermont is a perennial favorite with nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, and you will be pleased to know that your pet is just as welcome as you are. There are over 40 pet-friendly places to stay, including hotels and lodges as well as a great selection of secluded cabins and fully equipped vacation rentals. Both you and your pet can enjoy hiking in Smugglers Notch State Park or explore the Stowe Recreation Path and the Moss Glen Falls Trail together. Taking a scenic drive up the Mount Mansfield Auto Toll Road is another great activity you can share with your pet, and Fido is also welcome to join you on a tour and tasting at the Alchemist Brewery.
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»Virginia Beach, VA
You needn’t feel hesitant about bringing your dog with you on vacation to Virginia Beach, where dogs are very welcome indeed. Not only do you have upwards of 70 dog-friendly accommodation choices, the city also has well over 100 restaurants where you and your pet are welcome. Your leashed dog may join you at any time of day at First Landing State Park Beach, where you can also go hiking along a good network of trails – pet-friendly camping is also allowed in this park. When your pooch needs some off-leash time you can take them to one of five dog parks – Bayville Farms Park is one of the most popular and has fully fenced areas and plenty of shade.
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» Washington, DC
Dog lovers will be delighted to find out that the nation’s capital is ready to welcome both you and your dog with open arms. There are a staggering 192 pet-friendly hotels in the city, catering to all tastes and budgets. Restaurants also come to the party – there are over 300 city eateries where your dog may join you. You can take wonderful walks with your leashed pet in famous Lincoln Park, the National Mall (which borders the Smithsonian Institutes and the Capitol Building) and the US National Arboretum. If you like to hike, you can head to Rock Creek Park. Once you have both worked up an appetite you can try a local craft beer at Bluejacket (water bowls supplied for Fido) and enjoy the Doggy Happy Hour (free treats buffet) every Monday at Cantina Marina.
Photo: Barna Tanko/Fotolia
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25 Best Dog-Friendly Vacations on the East Coast
- Portland, ME, Photo: Courtesy of Crin - Fotolia.com
- Golden Isles, GA, Photo: Courtesy of Brian Lasenby - Fotolia.com
- Outer Banks, NC, Photo: Courtesy of sherryvsmith - Fotolia.com
- Asbury Park, NJ, Photo: Courtesy of Ritu Jethani - Fotolia.com
- Burlington, VT, Photo: Courtesy of jiawangkun - Fotolia.com
- Charlottesville, VA, Photo: Courtesy of Bram - Fotolia.com
- Dewey Beach, DE, Photo: Courtesy of gravescreative - Fotolia.com
- Bar Harbor, ME, Photo: Courtesy of Stuart Monk - Fotolia.co
- Hebron, NH, Photo: Courtesy of Charles - Fotolia.com
- Hilton Head Island, SC, Photo: Courtesy of FotoRike - Fotolia.com
- Lake Placid, NY, Photo: Courtesy of Tomtsya - Fotolia.com
- Myrtle Beach, SC, Photo: Courtesy of ehrlif - Fotolia.com
- Nantucket, MA, Photo: Courtesy of Niklas Kratzsch - Fotolia.com
- Block Island, RI, Photo: Courtesy of SE Viera Photo - Fotolia.com
- Pilot Mountain, NC, Photo: Courtesy of WesMadisonPhoto - Fotolia.com
- Boston, MA, Photo: Courtesy of jovannig - Fotolia.com
- Providence, RI, Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
- Provincetown, MA, Photo: Courtesy of haveseen - Fotolia.com
- Rehoboth Beach, DE, Photo: Courtesy of Chee - Fotolia.com
- Sanibel Island, FL, Photo: Courtesy of captiva - Fotolia.com
- Savannah, GA, Photo: Courtesy of Christian Hinkle - Fotolia.com
- St. Augustine, FL, Photo: Courtesy of gnagel - Fotolia.com
- Stowe, VT, Photo: Courtesy of SNEHIT - Fotolia.com
- Virginia Beach, VA, Photo: Courtesy of spiritofamerica - Fotolia.com
- Washington, DC, Photo: Courtesy of Barna Tanko - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of doncon402 - Fotolia.com
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