5 Best Pet-Friendly Destinations For Summer Travel

North Beach San Diego pet friendly

According to the Travel Industry Association, more than 30 million Americans travel with their pets every year, and that number continues to rise, thanks to relaxed rules and regulations at hotels, airlines, and other travel companies that treat your pet as family. I’m one of the millions of travelers who takes my pup on the road, and we’ve visited plenty of the best pet-friendly destinations across America and Mexico. Here are the 5 best pet-friendly destinations for summer.

Pet friendly Surf Air
Ruby on a private jet!

Btw: Before I even begin on the 5 best pet-friendly destinations for summer, let me tell you about my travel companion!

Inspired by beautiful cities and exciting adventures, my pup Ruby is a bona fide jetsetter. She has set her paws in almost 20 states—as well as Mexico and Canada—but she’ll always return to these five cities that are some of the pet-friendliest destinations on the planet.

5 best pet-friendly destinations for summer

  1. Palm Springs, California
Riviera Palm Springs pet friendly
Ruby in Palm Springs (Riviera Palm Springs Hotel).

Visitors to Palm Springs may be drawn to the desert city’s midcentury-modern architecture and myriad attractions but pet owners get another thrill: you can practically take your pooch anywhere.

Palm Springs is so dog friendly that it’s almost hard finding a place your pet is not welcome. No one knows this better than Ruby, who has visited Palm Springs eight times! It’s definitely one of the best pet-friendly destinations in America.

This is one of my favorite weekend bags for weekend trips, which is on sale on Amazon! Tons of different styles and colors too.

There are almost a dozen dog parks (some as large as 30 acres including Cahuilla Hills Park and Freedom Dog Park), and plenty of businesses offer dog bowls and dog treats when I take Ruby for a stroll along famed Palm Canyon Drive.

The number of pets allowed at restaurants (on the outdoor patio) and even bars is astounding. Ruby’s favorite is Spencer’s Restaurant (known for its elegant outdoor setting), and she always gets love from customers and staff at the popular and casual Koffi.

Plenty of doggy daycare spas will ensure proper pampering though Ruby makes a beeline to Waldorf Astoria La Quinta’s spa (where The Bachelorette was filmed this year) that offers pampering dog massages.

2. San Diego, California

North Beach San Diego pet friendly
North Beach San Diego is pet friendly

San Diego is nirvana for pets. Ruby has visited the laid-back, sunny city five times, and with good reason: she loves the beaches, the sprawling parks and the wealth of pet-friendly restaurants.

San Diego is also home to the famous dog surfing competition every year, which assures pet owners there’s no shortage of activities for their furry companions.

A major highlight is the handful of beaches designated specifically for dogs. It’s not typically common your pet can run off leash on beaches in California but San Diego is one of the rare cities that stands as a true testament for dogs.

Ruby’s favorite is North Beach in Coronado (Coronado Beach is consistently voted as one of the top beaches in America), where dogs run amok, splashing in the ocean and meeting new friends. For active dogs, plenty of businesses offer exercise options for visitors and their pets (like runs, hikes, kayaking and even yoga!). San Diego is home to parks that offer off-leash areas, and the famous Balboa Park is Ruby’s favorite for a stroll.

3. Aspen, Colorado

Four Seasons Denver pet friendly
Stopover at Four Seasons Denver before heading to Aspen!

When Ruby visited the tony ski city of Aspen last year, she had a blast with her first time frolicking in snow. Considering the affluent travelers that hit the slopes, Ruby fit in by dressing up in a fashionable ski jacket from CB Paws—a preferred pet boutique for highbrow and celebrity visitors—to get the true Aspen look. After all, dog couture is a thing here!

Outside of ski season, Aspen continues to lure pet owners with its natural beauty and abundance of hiking trails and off-leash dog parks, ensuring nature-loving dogs will never get bored.

Take your pooch down Rio Grande Trail or for a swim at Roaring Fork River (Wagner Park is a favorite for dogs). Dogs are permitted on the Silver Queen Gondola during summer, so hikers can bring them to the top of Aspen Mountain for some serious impressive views. Don’t have a dog? Aspen is one of the few places in the world where you can “borrow” a dog for the day from several shelters.

4. Park City, Utah

Another popular ski town in America, Park City— affectionately referred to as “Bark City”—is a haven for dogs. Thanks to its high altitude (6,900 feet), the weather is relatively cool and pleasant during the summers (as opposed to other areas of Utah where temperatures can be too hot for your pup!).

Many hotels and businesses have pet ambassadors, like Silver Queen Fine Art Gallery. The buzzing gallery that features a collection of unique, hand-picked art has a resident cat, King Midas, who has more than 2,000 friends on Facebook! Even Ruby was obsessed with him.

This is also a big town for pet bikes trailers! I actually can’t believe I got one but guess what? It’s 2022. LIVE YOUR PET’S DREAMS 🙂

Park City offers more than 350 miles of trails and 7,000 acres of preserved open space for exploration, and Ruby particularly loved the walks in scenic Deer Valley. A number of restaurants with outdoor patios on Main Street are perfect for leisurely dining, including Butchers Chop House & Bar, serving some of the best steaks in town. For being such a good pup at dinner, Ruby got the best treat of her life: the bone from the 16oz Cowboy bone-in ribeye. Either way, Park City is one of the best pet-friendly destinations for summer.

5. Los Cabos, Mexico

Ruby at One & Only Palmilla in Cabo.
Ruby at One & Only Palmilla in Cabo.

The beach towns of Mexico are insanely pet friendly, and Ruby is such a fan it’s hard to get her to leave. Most airlines accept pets, and crossing the border is easier than you think (you no longer need a dog health certificate when you cross into Mexico).

Ruby has visited Mexico 9 times, and she prefers Los Cabos in Baja California. It’s definitely one of the best pet-friendly destinations in Mexico. She can spend hours at Medano Beach, running along the white sand and splashing in the crystal clear water.

Like most beaches in Los Cabos, there’s no leash restrictions. Ruby has a love affair with yachts, and visitors can charter pet-friendly sails. Plenty of restaurants (in fact, most restaurants we went to) allow dogs on the patio, and Ruby even got to experience the famed Nikki Beach club, which offers dog beds for patrons.

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Jimmy Im has traveled to 113 countries, stayed in over 600 hotels and has flown a million airmiles. He lives in New York City.

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