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12 Dog Friendly Spring Vacation Destinations

Updated 01/09/2024: It’s only natural to want to get away and explore new places in the spring. The renewed sense of life taps into our souls calling us to seek out new adventures. But what about your dog? As much as we would like to bring them along everywhere we go, they are not always welcomed. That’s why we pulled together this list of 12 Dog Friendly Spring Vacation Destinations.

Here you will find dog friendly vacation spots that welcome you, your dog and your whole family.

To make it on our list it, the location had to meet three criteria.

  1. The location had to have an adequate amount of dog friendly lodging
  2. It needed to have a decent amount of dog friendly restaurants
  3. Most importantly there had to be enough dog friendly activities in the area to keep you occupied for at least a few days.

It’s this last requirement that is always the hardest to find. While it’s fairly easy nowadays to find dog friendly hotels and vacation rentals, it is much harder to find activities that welcome dogs.

What’s the point in bringing your dog if you need to leave them behind in the hotel all the time.

If this is the first time you are traveling with your dog or simply want a few tips to make traveling easier, check out our post, Traveling With A Dog: Tips For An Easy Trip

Dog Friendly Spring Vacation Destinations

12 Dog Friendly Spring Vacation Destinations

Depending on where you are in the Northern Hemisphere, “Spring Time” will take on a slightly different look and feel. The first day of spring marks the day that the sun crosses the equator, heading north. For us in the USA it means the temperature will begin to warm up and the days will become longer.

When you look at this list keep in mind that northern areas may still have snow on the ground in early spring and that areas in the southwest might become too hot for your dog in late spring.

To make it easier for you to find what you are looking for we divided our destinations into three sections:

  • Springtime Dog Friendly Beach Vacations – these will only include dog friendly beaches that are warm in the spring
  • Dog Friendly Spring Hiking Vacations – this will include some areas that are still cool.
  • Spring Vacations in Dog Friendly Cities

Please confirm with all places listed here that pet dogs are still allowed prior to visiting. Information is subject to change without notice. While we strive to insure accuracy on, accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Also, the mentioning of a business in this post should not be viewed as an endorsement.

Dog Friendly Spring Beach Vacation Ideas

Dog Friendly Spring Vacation Destinations

1. Key West, Florida

If you are looking for a warm weather early spring vacation then Key West should be on your short list.

Located at the southernmost point of the United States, Key West has the warmest beaches in the US in late March. Air temperatures can reach to the high 70’s to low 80’s degrees in late March and early April. Water temperatures can reach into the mid 70’s by late March.

Another reason to consider Key West is that you can drive there. While most people choose to fly to Key West you can drive through the Florida Keys to get to it making the trip dog friendly.

But that is not the only reason it is a great dog friendly spring vacation destination. Check out some of the things you can do with your dog in Key West.

Dog Friendly Things to do in Key West:

  • If you are looking to spend some time on the beach with your dog, Key West does have a small dog beach. It’s located at approximately 1433 Vernon Ave, Key West.
  • Head out to a local sandbar for some doggy beach time with Lazy Dog Adventures. They rent dog friendly kayaks, stand-up boards and also offer pontoon boat tours to the sandbar.
  • Go for a sail – There are a few private sailing companies that allow dogs in Key West.
    • Hindu Charters – offers daily dog friendly sails on a luxury yacht.
  • Visit the Key West Aquarium – This is a small Aquarium that focuses on local species. It is also the only aquarium I have been to that allows leashed dogs inside.

For more dog friendly island vacation ideas check out our post on Dog Friendly Island Vacation Ideas in the USA

Dog Friendly Spring Vacation Destinations

2. Marco Island, Florida

Another warm dog friendly, spring vacation location is Marco Island. Marco Island is located off the southern coast of Florida on the Gulf of Mexico. Here the average temperatures in late March and early April is in the low 80’s, making it a good choice for people who want to get away from the cold.

While Marco Island is not as dog friendly as the Florida Keys, there is still enough to do to make the trip worth taking.

Dog Friendly Activities on Marco Island, Fl

  • Marco Island offer over 30 restaurants and cafes that will welcome your dog on their outdoor patios. Plus, nearby Naples is also dog friendly. Just make sure to call ahead to confirm they are pet friendly.
  • Join the monthly Bark on the Ark Cruise to Keewaydin Island. Accessible only by boat, Keewaydin Island is a barrier island off the coast of Marco Island with dog friendly beaches. Dogs must remain on leash at all times.
  • Take your dog to Canine Cove located 1361 Andalusia Terrace, Marco Island, FL 34145. This large dog park offers separate areas for large and small dogs.
  • While Marco Island does not have dog friendly beaches, they do have plenty of dog friendly vacation homes making it easy to step out dog free for a few hours. Just make sure your rental allows you to leave them behind and that your dog is well-behaved when left alone.

3. South Padre Island, Texas

South Padre Island might be a little cold in early March, but by April it typically has temperatures in the low 80 degrees. Since it’s located off the southern tip of Texas in the Gulf of Mexico it benefits from the warm gulf currents to make the waters warmer to swim in.

But if you expecting solitude you won’t find it here in the spring. South Padre Island has been a popular spring break location for years now.

Also, don’t confuse North Padre Island with South Padre Island. Although they are on the same barrier island, North Padre Island has more to do but there is less of a tropical feel to it.

Here are just a few of the dog friendly family vacation activities in South Padre Island.

  • Visit the sea turtles at Sea Turtle Inc. Learn about the sea turtles on South Padre Island and the wonderful conservation efforts in the area while getting to view rescued sea turtles. Well-behaved, friendly and leashed dogs are welcomed.
  • Go on a bird and dolphin tour with Fins to Feathers tours. Dogs are welcomed, but let them know before you book the trip.
  • Stop by Rita’s Restaurant Bar at 4001 Padre Blvd in South Padre Island. Not only are they dog friendly, they even have a fur-kid menu.

4. San Diego, California

As we keep moving west, our next location is sunny San Diego, California. San Diego has been dog friendly long before the pandemic. It is also a great place to visit during the spring months.

San Diego is well known for its mild temperatures. In the spring you can expect temperatures in the high sixty to seventy degrees and it’s less rainy than the winter. San Diego is also known for its fabulous beaches. While dogs are restricted at the local public beaches, San Diego offers a few dog beaches.

Dog Friendly Spring Vacation Destinations

Here are just a few of the many dog friendly activities in San Diego:

  • As I just mentioned San Diego offers a few options for a dog friendly beach day.
    • Dog Beach – located at 5188 W Point Loma Blvd, San Diego, CA 92107. This is believed to be the first dog beach in the U.S.
    • Coronado Beach & Dog Park – Ocean Blvd, Coronado, CA 92118
    • Fiesta Island Dog Park – 1750 Fiesta Island Rd, San Diego, CA 92109. The entire island is dog friendly
  • Take a stroll around the Seaport Village – Here you cannot only window shop, but a few of the stores will allow your dog to come inside. Just make sure to ask first.
  • Go for a boat ride – Whether you are looking to go kayaking, boating or even sailing, San Diego has outfitters that will welcome you and your dog.
  • San Diego also offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun including, hiking, strolls in the park and even outdoor movies.

For more dog friendly beach locations, check out our posts on:

Dog Friendly Spring Hiking Vacation Ideas

5. Finger Lakes Region, New York

Early spring in the finger lakes can be a bit soggy, but if you can wait to go until mid-May you will be greeted with lush greenery and roaring waterfalls. The finger lakes are best known for its breathtaking scenery, lakes, plenty of outdoor activities, and wineries.

If you have never been to the Finger Lakes, Ithaca, NY and Tompkins County is a good place to start exploring.

Here are a few things to do in Ithaca, NY with your dog

  • Visit the Cornell Botanic Garden – Enjoy a warm spring day walking around the Cornell Botanic Garden with your dog. Leashed dogs are welcomed here.

6. Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia is located on Desert Island in an area called “DownEast” Maine. The island is full of breathtaking views and rugged coast lines. It’s also one of the few National Parks that are truly dog friendly. While there are a few areas that dogs are not allowed and a few more that may not be safe for every dog, most of Acadia is open to dogs and their people.

As an added bonus Bar Harbor, which is the biggest town on the island is also very dog friendly. Here you will find lots of activities you can do with your dog.

It’s important to note that Acadia will still be cold in the spring and some places might not be open yet. It’s best to aim for a late spring trip to Acadia. We went in June and it was the perfect time to go. Still low crowds but the weather was warm.

Here are just a few of the many dog friendly activities in Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor.

  • First the Island Explorer, which has stops throughout the island, allows leashed or crated dogs on the bus. This makes getting around during the high season easier. Just keep them off the seats.
  • The main reason most people go to Acadia National Park is to take in the beautiful scenery. You can do this by either taking some of the easier hikes, drive around the island or walk along the 45 miles of crushed stone paths. Whatever you choose your dog can come along with you.
  • If you want to see the island by water you can do that too. There are a number of dog outfitters that rent or provide tours for people and their dogs.
  • Take an Sightseeing and Nature Cruise with Acadian Boat Tours – The two hour, narrated cruise of Frenchman Bay will showcase the breathtaking scenery of coastal Maine, Acadia National Park, the islands of Frenchman Bay and Bar Harbor.

Sunrise over the Shenandoah Valley

7. Shenandoah National Park

Another dog friendly national park is the Shenandoah National Park, located in with north west portion of Virginia. At only an hour and a half ride from Washington, DC, Shenandoah is easy to get to.

Shenandoah is a smaller park if compared to Acadia National Park, but the waterfalls and views make up for its size. Shenandoah also has the famous Skyline Drive with breath-taking vistas at 75 park overlooks.

Much like Acadia the temperatures will be cool in the early spring. In the month of April, the highs typically range in the mid to upper 60’s making it great weather to hike in. Plus, it rains less in April than in May or June.

Spring is also a great time to visit Shenandoah, since the crowds that fill the park in the summer and fall will be much less.

Here are just a few of the many dog friendly activities in Shenandoah National Park.

  • Go hiking – Most of the park’s trails are open to leashed dogs.
  • Drive along the Skyline Drive and check out the views.
  • Visit one of the underground caverns in the area that are open to the public for tours. Small dogs are allowed to be carried on some of the tours.

For more things to do, check out our post on Dog Friendly Shenandoah National Park & Vicinity. For places to stay visit Shenandoah National Park Dog Friendly Lodging.

Dog Friendly Spring Vacation Destinations

8. Sedona, Arizona

If you are looking for a dog friendly outdoor adventure, Sedona, Arizona fits the bill.  This central Arizona town offers stunning scenery in the way of its famous red rocks.  Plus, you will be able to find plenty of dog friendly hikes in the area.

Spring is the perfect time to visit Sedona. The average springtime temperature ranges between the high sixty’s in March to mid-eight degrees in May. Remember to be mindful of your dog’s paws if you choose to go later in the spring, the trails can get hot and there is little shade.

Dog Friendly things to do in Sedona, Az:

  • If you are looking for something out of the ordinary visit the vortexes. These unique rock formations are believed to emit a healing energy.  
  • Take a guided jeep tour with your pup. There are multiple dog friendly jeep tour companies that will take you on a guided tour of your choosing. They can even bring you to some to the vortexes.

For more dog friendly hiking vacation ideas, check out these posts:

Spring Vacations in Dog Friendly Cities

9. Wilmington, North Carolina

Wilmington, NC is a mix of small-town charm and big city living.  Here you will find a lot of history, beautiful turn of the century homes, a growing craft beer community and plenty of dog friendly restaurants.

It is quieter and less touristy than its cousin to the south, Myrtle Beach, SC.  But it does offer dog friendly beaches that are about a 30-minute drive away.

What to do in Wilmington, NC with your dog? Here are just a few of the things to do.

  • Take a stroll along the Cape Fear River on Wilmington’s Riverwalk. Located in the historic downtown section of Wilmington, this dog friendly trail goes on for nearly two-miles. Dogs must be leashed.
  • Take to the river with a Cruise Cape Fear. Cruise Cape Fear offers dog friendly cruises up the river.
  • Freeman’s Park in Carolina Beach, NC. This dog friendly area is about 30 minutes from Wilmington. While dog friendly, it’s primarily a 4×4 beach. To drive on the beach, you need an approved 4×4 vehicle and pay the fees. Otherwise you can park in one of the paid parking lots that are a block or more away. Dogs are allowed off leash from October 1 to March 31, but must be under voice control, otherwise dogs must be leashed.
  • Fort Fisher State Recreation – Here dogs must remain on a six-foot leash year-round. They are not allowed on the swim beaches or in buildings.

10. Charleston, SC

Charleston is known for its deep southern roots, historic charm and fantastic architecture. It’s both a foodie’s paradise and romantic getaway. It is also happens to be very dog friendly.

Its warm southern climate makes it an excellent choice for dog owners since it allows you to enjoy that well-known food outdoors where your canine companion can join you.

But there is more to do in Charleston with your dog then just eat. Here are just a few of the pet friendly activities available in Charleston.

  • A trip to Charleston can’t be complete without a walk along King street with its impressive homes. As you near the harbor you will find the dog friendly White Point Garden. This picturesque park features historical statues and views of the Charleston Harbor.
  • Take a carriage ride along the streets of Charleston. Charleston Carriage Works allows small dogs to ride for free if they can fit on your lap. For larger dogs you will need to purchase a child’s ticket.
  • Visit a dog friendly beach – Seabrook Island has dog friendly beaches all year. A little further away you will find Kaiwah Island which also offers wide sandy beaches that allow dogs year-round. We stayed on Kaiwah Island during our trip. We found the beaches can be rather windy in the spring.

11. St. Augustine, Florida

Home to pristine dog friendly beaches and centuries of history, the beautiful city of St. Augustine is a must see. Located on the eastern shores of Florida about a forty-minute drive south from Jacksonville, FL this area offers near perfect spring like weather.

In addition to its miles of dog friendly beaches, St. Augustine offers plenty of plenty of dog friendly activities. Here are just a few.

  • Enjoy a scenic Cruise of St. Augustine aboard the Victory III. Leashed pets are welcomed aboard the 75-minute cruise.
  • Enjoy an eco-tour with St Augustine Eco Tours – Call them in advance to let them know you would like to bring a dog.
  • Explore the River to Sea Preserve. The 90-acre preserve offers nature trails and public access to the beach. Leashed pets are allowed in the preserve.

12. Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara, is sometimes referred to as the American Riviera, due to its beautiful beaches, rolling foothills, vineyards, and historic coastal buildings. Located on the Pacific Ocean just 2 hours north of Los Angeles, this quaint town is full of Spanish charm.

From the elegant Spanish fountains to the colorful tiles, Santa Barbara made me feel like I was transported to another country.

Here are just a few of the pet friendly things to do in Santa Barbara.

  • Santa Barbara Botanic Garden – Just three miles from downtown, the Botanic Garden will greet you with spring flowers and a walkway lined with redwoods. Unlike most Botanic Gardens this one is dog friendly, but they ask that you keep your dog leashed and try not to let them “mark” the area. Advanced reservations are required to visit.
  • Stroll along the Spanish inspired street of downtown Santa Barbara. I especially loved walking through the La Arcada Courtyard. Here you will find beautiful tiled walkways, Spanish fountains, unique statues and dog friendly cafes with outdoor seating.
  • Take the self-guided Red Tile Walking tour. This walk around the downtown area will showcase Santa Barbara’s most interesting historic landmarks.

For more dog friendly beach locations, check out our posts on:

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