20 Summer Vacation Spots Where Pets Are Welcome
Just off the coast from Fort Myers, Sanibel Island has several dog-friendly beaches, including Algiers Beach (aka Gulfside Beach, where a parking fee applies) and Bowman Beach, which features hiking trails. Another popular spot is J.N. "Ding" Darling Wildlife Refuge, which has more than 6,400 acres of mangrove forest and 245 bird species. Admission is $5 for vehicles, or $1 for hikers and bikers. Dogs must be leashed. Should Fido run out of any of his favorite goodies, just 6 miles down the road is Island Paws, a family-run store filled with natural foods and treats, doggie gear, and creative gifts, including souvenirs for fellow animal lovers back home.
Gatlinburg's pet-friendly attractions run the gamut. Paws N Claws Pet Fashion, along the parkway downtown, carries fancy and adorable collars, sweaters, college clothes, and dresses -- as well as strollers, doggie sunglasses (doggles), life vests, and raincoats. The boutique is worth a stop just to browse and be amused. The Gatlinburg Sky Lift offers panoramic views of the town and the Smoky Mountains from Crockett Mountain. Guests ride in ski-lift-style seats ($15.50 for adults; $12 for kids) and dogs are welcome to ride along. To satisfy hunger cravings, stop by Fannie Farkle's, a combination food cart and arcade downtown. The sausage subs, cheesesteaks, and foot-long corndogs are popular offerings. Funnel Cake Co. features fried dough treats with tempting toppings and offers seating for dogs.
Related: Traveling With Pets: 12 Need-to-Know Tips
If the dog fancies a boating trip, head to Destin, Florida. Both Crab Island Cruises and Dockside Watersports Parasailing offer pontoon boat rentals to visitors and their dog friends. Destin also has a 1.5-acre dog park with a separate area for small dogs, and dogs can walk on leashes along the nature trails at Henderson Beach State Park. Many restaurants in Destin go out of their way to accommodate dog owners. Jim 'N Nick's BBQ features outdoor seating for diners with dogs, and Poppy Hammerhead's Bar Grille offers a doggie menu. Other dog-friendly restaurants in the area include Cuvee Destin and Dewey Destin Seafood Restaurant.
Related: 8 Tips for Finding Pet Care Before You Go on Vacation