Whether you’re a full-time RVer or a weekend warrior, bringing pets along for the journey always adds to the adventure, but it also requires extra planning and research. While sniffing out awesome places to bring your pet, you’ll find many popular locales not as warm to the idea of Fido. Many parks restrict pets on trails due to safety or wildlife concerns, so it’s important to read the rules beforehand to ensure your pup gets to enjoy the vacation as much as you do. You’ll find pet rules under the “Policy” heading of each campground listing details page. With that being said, no matter where you and your pooch find yourselves around the country, there are pet-friendly beaches, mountains and desert destinations that are sure to get your tail wagging.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Nestled in the banana belt of Colorado, this national park is a sandbox of epic proportions. Towering 750 feet high, the dunes are the tallest in North America and offer staggering views of the rugged 14,000ft high Sangre de Cristo mountains. Located outside of Alamosa in the San Luis Valley, the park and preserve spans 30 miles and contains over 5 billion cubic meters of sand. Best of all, this national park is 100% pet-friendly, so you and your pup can explore these majestic dunes together! While there, go sandboarding or sledding, enjoy the seasonal Medano Creek, or hike the Mosca Pass trail. At night, enjoy stargazing at this certified international dark sky park which boasts incredibly clear skies due to the dry air, high elevation, and very little light pollution.
Stay: Cool Sunshine RV Park, Alamosa, CO – Surrounded by two magnificent mountain ranges, the San Juan Mountains and Sangre de Cristo Mountains, it’s a place to escape and relax.
Straddling the California-Nevada state line, this popular mountain resort town offers activities throughout the year. From swimming in the crystal blue waters of Lake Tahoe to exploring the dozens of scenic trails in the surrounding mountains, there are tons of pet-friendly options in this area. If your dog enjoys swimming, take a dip at Kiva Beach or Zephyr Cove. Work up a sweat by hiking up to Maggie’s peak or Mt. Tallac, where you can enjoy 360 views of the lake. For more solitude, take a trek in the Desolation wilderness that boasts 63,960 acres of sub-alpine and alpine forests, valleys, and lakes. If you come during the winter season, enjoy snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. When it’s time to find food, there are over 20 restaurants and bars in South Lake Tahoe that welcome pets.
Stay: Tahoe Valley Campground, South Lake Tahoe, CA – Surrounded by breathtaking beauty of towering pines and mountain vistas. Enjoy the beaches or a stroll by the river.
Grand Canyon National Park
Without a doubt, the Grand Canyon provides some of the most jaw-dropping views in America, and unlike most parks, the Grand Canyon is one of the most pet-friendly national parks in the country. The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is the perfect place to bring the pup, as pets are allowed on trails located above the rim. Starting from the village and ending at Hermit’s Rest, visitors can enjoy 13 miles of canyon views along the pet-friendly and paved Rim Trail. For a scenic drive, travel east of the visitor center to Desert View where there are several overlooks perfect for taking pictures.
Stay: Grand Canyon Railway RV Park, Williams, AZ – Take the historic train into Grand Canyon National Park without having to worry about navigating through the busy local roadways. Park your RV in the clean mountain air in Williams, just two blocks away from Route 66.
Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway meanders through some of the oldest mountains in the world starting from Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smokies in North Carolina. Their misty blue ridgelines are highlighted with spring rhododendrons and vibrant fall colors. The parkway, which is the country’s longest linear park, stretches 469 miles, providing spectacular views of Appalachia and is home to Mt Mitchell, the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi River. While visiting the area, explore Grandfather Mountain, the Linville Gorge, and the dozens of waterfalls scattered along this scenic drive. Besides hiking, many towns in western North Carolina are very pet-friendly, where you can find bars, eateries, and galleries that welcome pets.
Stay: Madison Vines RV Resort & Cottages, Madison, VA – Centrally located in the Shenandoah Valley between Historic Fredericksburg & Shenandoah Natl Park. In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mts, vintners are plentiful, history abounds & nature beckons you to sit a spell.
Stay: Buck Creek RV Park, Marion, NC – Explore nearby Linville Falls, Blue Ridge Parkway, Biltmore House – all within easy drives. Then come home & cool off in their swimming holes, walk the trails, relax in a shady site or sun in the open meadows.
Unlike other states, all 363 ocean-hugging miles along the Oregon coast are publicly accessible, with most beaches open to pets. From the rugged and rocky coastline to giant sand dunes, and flat expansive beaches, you’ll find a wide range of ocean views. Driving along Oregon Highway 101, you’ll find shipwrecks, caves, lighthouses, tide pools, marshes, and waterfalls. During the summer months, take a trip to Bandon and see the incredible Circles in the Sand labyrinths. In Lincoln City, go treasure hunting for blown glass balls hidden on the beach. Get a taste of the Oregon coast and go crabbing at Coos Bay, Yaquina, and Tillamook. If you head to the Southcoast, not only can you enjoy majestic views of the ocean along the Samuel Boardman scenic corridor, but you can also bring Fido to Oregon’s Redwoods located near Brookings.
Stay: AtRivers Edge RVResort, Brookings, OR – this quiet off-highway RV resort is on the banks of the Chetco River, a gateway to the Wild and Scenic Region and the Kalmiopsis wilderness. Enjoy private river access, wooded surroundings and close proximity to pristine ocean beaches.
Situated along the Utah and Arizona state line near the town of Page, Lake Powell provides a gorgeous desert oasis with numerous pet-friendly activities. This man-made reservoir along the Colorado River has over 2,000 miles of shoreline, with hundreds of hidden coves and canyons to explore. One of the most iconic attractions in the area is Horseshoe Bend, located just a few miles downstream from the lake. The short pet-friendly trail provides stunning views of the Colorado River below. Continuing south, take the drive to Marble Canyon, where you can walk across the Navajo bridge and visit Lee’s Ferry, the starting point of the Grand Canyon where you can explore the historic sites and hike along the River Trail. To witness some of the Southwest’s most interesting geology, take a hike at White Pocket or the Toadstool Hoodoos Trail. Later, cool off at one of the several beaches along Lake Powell, many of which offer camping.
Pet RVing Safety
While you and your furbaby are adventuring, please make sure to stay aware of your surroundings and the weather. Some dogs do not acclimate well to higher elevations and are also more susceptible to warmer temperatures. Hot pavement, rock, or sand can lead to blisters, so make sure to bring dog booties and enough water. If you are in an area with natural predators, bear spray is highly advised. While visiting the coast, be aware of sneaker waves and undercurrents, and never turn your back on the ocean. Lastly, always make sure to follow the park rules by keeping your pets leashed and picking up waste so we can continue to enjoy these amazing pet-friendly places.