It’s officially road trip season, humans: Your favorite playlist is queued up, the cooler loaded with (pup-and-people friendly) snacks, snouts are pressed up against the window. So brush up on our primer for avoiding dog motion sickness, and read our tips for taking your pup on a long car ride. Then it’s seat belts buckled and harnesses on, because these are the five dog-friendliest road trips around the continental USA:
1. From: Seattle, Washington
To: Bend, Oregon
Total driving: 336 miles, approx. 6 hours
The rugged outdoor beauty of the Pacific Northwest manages to make even its interstate freeways appealing, so hop on I-5 down to Portland (just shy of 3 hours). Once you’re there, make a pit-stop at Nossa Coffee in the Pearl District, where friendly baristas will give your well-behaved pup a treat. Eager to stretch your legs, too? The Fields park is just a six-minute walk—and well worth it for some off-leash fun.
Back on the road, cut over to Hood River (about an hour east on the 84). Along the way, make a stop at the “off-leash mecca” of Thousand Acres at Sandy River Delta, before ogling the many waterfalls along the Columbia Gorge. Next up, the 35-mile route along the Hood River Fruit Loop is ripe with fields of lavender, fruit trees, and vineyards.
You’re both likely to be bone-tired by the time you reach Bend (appx. 2 hours 45 min), so get some rest at the Riverhouse or Alpenglow. Fuel up with brunch at Chow before a full day of recreational outings in this notoriously dog-friendly town. Don’t miss the pet-friendly chairlift at Mt. Bachelor during summer months, or book a canoe trip for two from the dog lovers at Tumalo Creek. Humans and canines alike can also take a hike: 95% of the 1,200 miles of trails in the Deschutes National Forest are off-leash through the summer months.
2. From: New York, New York
To: Lake Placid in the Adirondacks
Total driving: 299 miles, approx. 5 hours
Even city dogs get a yearning for the great outdoors every once in awhile. Get an early start up to the 87, so you can make a stop in the Hudson Valley. Pop over to Bluestone Wild Forest to get a glimpse of the gorgeous Onteora Lake (or hit up the adjacent trail—though at 7.6 miles, it’s not exactly a pit stop). Power up with lunch at Diego’s Taqueria, named after the owners’ rescue terrier-hound mix.
Back on the 87, it’s another 3 hours to the Adirondacks. Celebrate your arrival with a crisp one overlooking the water in the back patio at Lisa G’s. Then head to the Lake House at High Peaks Resort. Camping more your style? Tent up at <a href="https://northpoleresorts.com/camping.html"target="_blank">North Pole, where each pup is an additional $2 per stay.
In Lake Placid, you and your pup have your pick of hiking trails. For a light stroll, take the “easier trail” <a href="http://www.lakeplacid.com/do/hiking/cobble-hill"_blank">Cobble Hill—it leads to Echo Pond, the perfect cooling-off spot. Or, at 2.5 miles one-way, Whiteface Landing is a bit more challenging. And then there’s the loop at Big Slide, which at nearly ten miles, will likely take all day. Top it off with a much-deserved pub fare at Big Slide Brewery.
3. From: Austin, Texas
To: Palo Duro Canyon, Texas
Total driving: 543 miles, approx. 8.5 hours
They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and the views along this drive definitely live up to the hype. Planning to stay a while in the Lone Star state capital? Don’t miss Yard Bar brewery, where “dog-friendly” is an understatement—there’s an off-leash dog park onsite. Once you’re ready to get on the road, take I-35 heading to Fort Worth. The bustling western city is your halfway point; swing by Spiral Diner for vegan fare amid dog-friendly seating.
Then it’s onto Claude. Once you arrive, relish the 45-minute drive to south of Silverton—what this stretch lacks in miles, it makes up for in vistas. Along with cottonwood trees and clear blue skies, you can catch glimpses of your destination: America’s second largest canyon.
Once you get to Palo Duro, your leashed companion is welcome on all trails. Make sure to bring plenty of water for everyone—temperatures climb to the 90s during dog days of summer. Get some local flavor at Bar Z winery, where your dogs are welcome to rest up as you sample unfiltered Texan wines. Then, go big and go home at the sprawling Nocona Lodge.
4. From: San Francisco
Total driving: 165 miles, approx. 3 hours
The perfect weekend getaway for the pampered pup (and person), this scenic jaunt up north proves wine country isn’t just for humans. Java up at St. Frank Coffee (in Russian Hill) before heading across the Golden Gate Bridge. Around Mill Valley, cut over to Highway 1, which will take you through the redwood splendor of Muir Woods. Although pets aren’t permitted to walk in the woods, you and your leashed pal are welcome right outside the forest at Stinson Beach.
From here, it’s smooth sailing to Mendocino. You and your copilot have the option of resting at Little River Inn or the Beachcomber. Either way, make sure not to miss Raven’s, the vegan eatery famous for its dog-friendly dining room.
5. From: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
To: Badlands National Park + Black Hills National Forest
Total driving: 400 miles, approx. 6 hours
There’s something retro about a road trip in this mystic part of the country. Before you hit the road, check out Spencer Park, where the spacious fenced-in area is designed for off-leash fun.
You’ll be glad to have exerted some energy, since the drive to Badlands is more or less a straight shoot of 4 hours. Once you’re there, you and your dog can explore the massive campgrounds of the national park, as long as you have a leash.
Next up is Black Hills National Forest, which boasts stunning views from its numerous dog-friendly hiking trails. An urban mecca this is not, so make sure you’re ready to rough it—you and your pup will be camping out. In nearby Spearfish, Chris’ Campground is renowned for its wag-worthy setting. Just don’t forget to send us a postcard!
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.
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