3 Best Dog-Friendly Road Trips In The U.S.

Let's ride 😎

dog in the car

If you’re thinking about taking your pup on a road trip, do it!

Road trips with dogs can be a ton of fun, and your pup will definitely appreciate being included in your vacation plans.

Keep in mind, though, that a huge key to the success of a road trip with dogs is choosing the right dog-friendly destinations to visit along the way. So plenty of pre-planning is essential.

The Dodo did the groundwork for you and rounded up the best dog-friendly road trip routes that stop at the most pup-happy places you’ll find in the U.S. — all without taking up too much driving time.

Dog-friendly California road trip

Dog-friendly road trip route: San Francisco > Yosemite > Los Angeles > San Diego
Total time driving: About 11 hours

If you want your road trip to be filled with beautiful sunrises, stunning nature and good food, head on over to the west coast for the road trip of a lifetime. California is a super dog-friendly state, so you’ll have no trouble bringing your pup along for the fun.

San Francisco, California

Take a ride in the famous cable cars, bring your pup to see the sea lions at Fisherman’s Wharf, or let him off his leash at Baker’s Beach. And don’t forget the Golden Gate Bridge, which allows pups to enter after 5 p.m. San Francisco is the ultimate pet-friendly city and should be at the top of your road trip destination list.

Are dogs allowed at Yosemite?

After visiting San Francisco with your dog, you’ll want to head east so you can stay a night in the campgrounds at the dog-friendly Yosemite National Park. While pups are allowed in the park, there are some restrictions on where he can go. He can enter the campgrounds leashed, for example, but he isn’t allowed on most trails. Your pup is allowed on the Wawona Meadow Loop, however, which is 3.6 miles long and has an absolutely beautiful view.

Los Angeles, California

About six hours south of San Francisco (and five from Yosemite), Los Angeles is another must-visit pet-friendly city. There are a total of eight off-leash dog parks and countless dog-friendly restaurants, like Momed and The Fat Dog, and hotels, like The Hoxton in downtown LA. While you’re there, you should definitely check out the dog park located directly below the Hollywood sign, known as Lake Hollywood Park, for some touristy photo ops.

San Diego, California

About two hours south of Los Angeles is sunny San Diego. It’s the perfect city to play beach bum with your pup since there are several dog-friendly beaches to choose from, like Ocean Beach and Fiesta Island on Mission Bay. And what’s awesome is your pup is allowed to go leash-free at these beaches, so he can run around to his heart’s content.

Pacific Coast Highway

While traveling along the west coast, you’ll be taking the famous Pacific Coast Highway, which goes from San Francisco to San Diego and is one of the most scenic roads in the country. Some must-visit pit stops along the way include Big Sur (where you can camp with your pup along the famous misty coastline) and Carmel-by-the-Sea, which is a super quaint, dog-friendly seaside town you’ll find totally adorable.

Dog-friendly Southwest road trip

Dog-friendly road trip route: Las Vegas > Grand Canyon > Albuquerque
Total time driving: About 10 hours and 30 minutes

Going to the desert can be a super fun vacation and can be even better when you bring your pup with you. It can get pretty hot in the summer, but in the cooler months, it’s a great destination if you plan on spending time outside. The amazing rock formations, vast lakes and other natural wonders will make for beautiful memories.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas can be a really fun place to take your pet. While it’s known for the Vegas Strip, there’s also a ton of nature activities you and your pup will love, like hiking the River Mountains Loop Trail or kayaking on Lake Las Vegas. Dogs are only allowed on the strip between 5 a.m. and noon, and you can give your pooch a taste of the high life with a trip in a pet-friendly limo.

Grand Canyon, Arizona

About four hours east of Las Vegas is the Grand Canyon, which is arguably one of the most beautiful areas in the country where pups are welcome (to an extent). Dogs are allowed on trails above the South Rim, plus in plenty of campgrounds onsite.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque is one of the most dog-friendly cities in the nation. It has a total of 14 dog parks, plus tons of lodging and dining spots where you can bring your pup, too. The La Luz Trial is also dog friendly and has incredible mountain views both you and your dog will really enjoy. Just head east for about six hours on Route 66, and you’ll be ready to take on the city!

Route 66

There are so many fun stops along the way on Route 66 that are perfect for pups, too. When traveling to Albuquerque from the Grand Canyon, make sure to take a pit stop in pet-friendly Flagstaff, Arizona, and the Petrified Forest National Park in Holbrook, Arizona.

Dog-friendly East Coast road trip

The North East has so much history that you’ll always have something to do. And they really love pets there, so your pup will feel super welcome the entire time.

Dog-friendly road trip route: D.C. > Philly > NYC > Boston
Total time driving: About 8 hours

Washington, D.C.

Your dog will love D.C. And you will, too! With so many national monuments, you’ll have endless photo opportunities. Don’t forget to visit the National Mall as well as the Tidal Basin, which has a ton of beautiful cherry blossom trees in spring.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Just three hours north by car (or two hours by train) from D.C., Philly is one of the best places for you (and your dog!) to get cultured in U.S. history. You can take your pup to visit Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell (you can’t bring your pup inside, only outside around the buildings), plus go on one of many historical walking tours that are totally dog friendly.

New York, New York

After just two hours driving north from Philly, you and your pup will find yourselves in the Big Apple. You’ll obviously want to hit up Central Park while you’re there, which has over a mile of green spaces and 23 off-leash areas where your dog can roam between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Other popular dog-friendly activities include walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and taking a ferry past the Statue of Liberty.

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston is another super dog-friendly city that is full of historical landmarks and trails. Like the 2.5-mile-long Freedom Trail that lines the city and allows pups. Or you can check out the Boston Commons, which is the oldest urban park in the U.S. (and even has some off-leash areas, too).

If you’re going on a road trip with your pup, save some time planning for the trip and make the most of your vacation by following one of the routes above.