Road trips are a great way to see new terrains, and have new experiences for a reasonable price. Going on road trips with friends can be a great time, especially if those friends are your canine companions.
Road tripping with your dog can be a really valuable bonding experience, and the memories you make will last a lifetime. If you’re road tripping with a dog, you should have a number of dog friendly road trip destinations on your list of places to go.
Cross Country Dog Road Trip Ideas
Headed on a cross country road trip with your dog? Consider planning some of these general stops along the way!
- Dog Parks: Go on a cross country road trip and hit a number of different dog parks across the country. Catalogue the experiences with photos and videos.
- Explore the great outdoors: Taking your dog to pet-friendly national and state parks can be a great experience for both you and your pup.
- Travel the coastlines: Both the east and west coast have historic highways that can take you through ocean bluffs and open grasses.
- Dog-centric vacation resorts: Find resorts or vacation spots that have a pet-package, perfect for you and your canine friend to explore and hang out. If you’re traveling cross country, try to hit a few along the way.
- Open roads: During cross country trips, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to hit the best roads in the country. You might have a dog that simply loves it when you roll the windows down and they stick their tongue out. Find back roads and highways that offer your dog a bunch of new scents and sights. Enjoying the open air is a great way for your pup to get the most out of the experience, and is possible for any one of these cross country road trip dog ideas.
- Dog-friendly attractions: Visit dog-friendly road trip destinations that are intended to be human-friendly; this will be a fun experience for both of you! Get creative with these intersections of dog-friendly and human-friendly places. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find some good options—More and more locations and entertainment experiences are catering to people who have dogs.
1. Dog Parks
They’re literally built for you and your dog to have a good time. When traveling across the United States, you’ll have an opportunity to visit some of the best dog parks that have ever been built. Make a list of your favorites and be willing to drive a bit out of the way to get there.
2. The Great Outdoors and Camping
If you’ve got an outdoor dog that really needs to stretch its legs, camping might be the perfect activity. Humans and dogs can have a great experience by shacking up together in the wilderness, sitting around the fire, and enjoying life together. If you’re wilderness-bound with your canine friend, you can set up their bed in your tent and share some quality time under the stars!
Of course, all that dirt and mud can create a mess in the car. For the sake of the health and happiness of both you and your dog, try out our best ideas to keep your car clean on the road trip.
Camping with your dog isn’t too difficult, just remember to have appropriate amounts of food and water for both you and the dog. Bring plenty of cleaning supplies to help keep their fur and body clean while running through dust and dirt. Healthy snacks will go a long way. Also, remember that if camping for you involves a change in altitude or humidity, this can affect your dog’s experience as well. They might tire out a bit more easily, or start feeling a bit sluggish. Take it easy on them and provide them with plenty of water and quality nutrition.
Some of the best memories with your dog can be created along the beaches and open waves of the coast. The east and west coastlines both have great highways that you can drive along with your dog. On the way, you’ll encounter state parks full of beach destinations for you and your furry pal to get super sandy with each other. Trips to the coastline can give you new terrain and make memories that last.
4. Dog Friendly Vacation Resorts
If you’re looking for pet resorts, there are a bunch of vacation resorts that cater specifically to you and your pet. You can make it a yearly tradition, or a one-time visit — regardless, it’s a great way to spend some quality time. Neither dogs nor humans love being crammed into the car for excessive amounts of time, so pet-friendly vacation resorts are something both can look forward to. Also, the resort atmosphere makes the long trips worth the wait!
When picking a dog-friendly vacation, make sure to consider the personality of your canine friend. Do they like the great outdoors? Do they crave a little extra peace and quiet? Will they want to play with other dogs, or just have some one-on-one time with their favorite human? There are lots of different dog friendly vacation resorts with different attributes. Find something that you’ll both enjoy and if you've never traveled with your dog before checkout Your Dog Advisor for some useful tips.
5. Open Roads
Open roads are pretty easy to work into your road trips. Dogs love sticking their heads out the windows. It allows them to score an all-they-can-smell buffet of various scents and sensations. Noses are one of the strongest senses on a dog, so the amount of things that they can pick up blowing in the breeze is wonderfully stimulating for them.
If you’re taking your dog on a long drive down a beautiful highway, consider using some cargo liners to give them a bunch of room to play around. Cargo liners can make the space in your car a pet-friendly zone for them to roam around, stretch their legs, and feel comfortable. They protect your car, and make your pet happy!
Make sure to stop every once in a while to let your dog stretch their legs fully. Enjoy the road by taking your time and making special memories.
Route 66 is a historic, 315-mile stretch of road through the heart of the United States. It’s also a super dog friendly road trip. Your canine companion is even welcome at a lot of the monuments along the way. It’s one of the best roads you can drive with your dog.
While you might not want to make these the ultimate destination of your road trip, interstate rest stops can be a great place to get a break with your dog along the way. They usually have pet potty areas for your dog so they can get out of the car and stretch their legs.
6. Human and Dog-Friendly Vacation Spots
Remember to make it about you as well! If you want a more holistic, cultivated experience, try checking the best dog-friendly vacation spots that have great outdoor locations, and nearby hotels and resorts that can accommodate pets.
Places like Orcas Island, Washington and Cannon Beach, Oregon have amazing wilderness adventures that you can take your dog on, but are also extremely close to resorts that have special pet packages.
Cross Country Road Trip Tips
Road trips with your dog don’t have to be super long or super stressful. After you’ve picked that perfect location, and have meticulously planned out your route with yarn and a map, you’ll need to plan the logistics of the trip. Your canine friend will need special accommodations along the way in order to have a happy, healthy road trip. Don’t attempt a longer road trip with dogs that aren’t yet familiar with the car.
The best road trips with your dog start with great preparation and will allow you to call audibles along the way. You might have plans, and your dog might have other needs that come up. Stay in tune with your dog’s needs for a better road trip experience, and avoid common road trip mistakes that even the best dog owners tend to make.
Road trips can be confining for your pet. Dogs should be given a lot of freedom so that they don’t feel trapped, but there are also some things dogs shouldn’t do in the car. Try using dog seat covers, which not only keep your car clean, but also present a familiar fabric for your dog to smell and feel. To get your dog more accustomed to their spot in the car, try introducing the dog seat cover before you actually go on the road trip.
Take care to avoid motion sickness for your dog by keeping them in a cool environment, making sure that they have the right foods to calm their stomach instead of upset it, and allowing them to have some fresh air when they need it. While traveling with your dog, always be willing to stop for a minute, to let them catch their breath and equilibrium.
We wish you luck as you trek out on your journey. Have you done any of these road trip activities with your dog? Is there something your dog loved that you didn’t see on the list? Let us know!