For some of us, the best family vacations include a dog. Luckily, there are a lot of national parks and landmarks across the country that are dog-friendly. Some may already be on your bucket list, others might be new to you — but all of them allow your canine companion to come along!
Acadia National Park
This beautiful park stretches along the rugged coast of Maine and spans several islands. Dog are welcome on most of the 158 miles of hiking trails, with the exception of a few that require climbing equipment. They’re also allowed at some of the park’s campsites.
Dogs are allowed on the National Mall, which is bordered by the Washington Monument, the Capitol Building, and the Smithsonian Institution. There’s plenty of room to picnic and let your dog stretch his legs. Most pets are restricted from entering the actual memorials.
George Washington’s home in Alexandria, Va. — which isn’t too far from D.C. — welcomes dogs on the extensive grounds. It’s only fitting, since our first president was an avid dog lover. However, pets are not allowed in the buildings.
Shenandoah National Park
With more than 500 miles of trails, only a few are off limits to dogs. Cascading waterfalls and stunning vistas await you, and pets are also allowed in the campgrounds.
Washington Crossing Historic Park
This site, where Washington and his army crossed the Delaware, welcomes dogs in some parts of the park. Only service dogs, however, are allowed inside the historical buildings and in the campgrounds.
Gettysburg National Military Park
Pets are allowed in some areas of this historic battlefield and at a few of the events that take place throughout the year. As with most national and state parks, check with the park ahead of time to see which events are dog-friendly.
Independence National Historical Park
Located in the heart of historic Philadelphia, the park includes the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Leashed pets are permitted on the grounds, but not in buildings.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
A recent addition to the National Park Service, Cuyahoga Valley has 125 miles of trails, most of which run along the Cuyahoga River. There are fields, stream crossings, wetlands, and woodlands. Dogs are permitted throughout the park, including the picnic areas.
The largest privately owned home in America was built over a six-year period by George Washington Vanderbilt II. While dogs are not allowed inside, they’re more than welcome to explore the 8,000 acres of hiking trails and gardens — on a leash, of course. They’re also permitted at several restaurants that offer outdoor seating.
Centennial Olympic Park
This is where the 1996 Summer Olympics took place, and it remains a popular attraction in Atlanta today. There are scheduled events throughout the year and lots of room to walk around. Leashed dogs are permitted.
Oliver Bentleys Historic Dog Walk Tour
Savannah is a dog-lover’s paradise. You can explore the historic sites with your pup on this unique, dog-centric walking tour. Canine visitors even receive their very own goody bags.
Natchez Trace National Parkway
Native Americans, European settlers, soldiers, and plenty of others used this historic corridor long before there were paved roads and highways. The 444-mile route, which also runs through Alabama and Tennessee, features exhibits, hiking trails, archaeological sites, and gorgeous scenery. Pets are welcome everywhere, except inside buildings.
Mammoth Cave National Park
The biggest attraction is the caves, though dogs are not allowed inside of them. However, your canine companion can explore nearly 84 miles of scenic trails, and there are some pet-friendly accommodations.
Discovered by an Ozarks farmer (and his dog) in 1862, this attraction brands itself as America’s only ride-through cave and features a pet-friendly, Jeep-powered tram tour through the stalagmites and stalactites.
Hot Springs National Park
While your dog may not be able to enjoy the healing benefits of the 47 natural hot springs, there’s plenty to explore here, including 26 miles of trails and a campground. This is the oldest area in the national park system, and visitors have been coming for centuries.
Padre Island National Seashore
More than 60 miles of beaches — as well as tidal pools, camping areas, and dunes — are pet-friendly, as long as your dog is leashed. This is the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world, and it teems with wildlife, including many rare, endangered, and threatened species.
BayWatch Dolphin Tours
If you’re longing to get out on the water, this Galveston attraction will appeal to you. Dogs ride free on this 45-minute tour.
Although pets are not allowed below the rim, there are plenty of hiking trails for you and your dog to enjoy, including the striking South Rim Trail. It’s easy to navigate, but do remember to bring plenty of water for both the humans and canines in your group. There’s even a boarding kennel on the South Rim if your adventure includes going down into the canyon. The South Rim also has a dog-friendly lodge.
Should you want to relive the Wild West, one of the best places to go is Tombstone, once dubbed “the town too tough to die.” There are historic attractions, stagecoach tours, gunfights, and other adventures. Your pup is welcome to explore the town, bandana and cowboy hat not included. Many businesses even allow dogs inside.
This 486-mile trail extends from Denver to Durango, and much of it is dog-friendly. Experience the Rockies, lakes, creeks, wilderness areas, and a diverse ecosystem. This is not your everyday walk in the park, but serious hikers can map out a route that allows them to bring their favorite canine hiking buddy.
Monarch Crest Scenic Tramway
The whole family, dog included, can ascend nearly 12,000 feet in the scenic tramway. You’ll be astride the Continental Divide, with breathtaking panoramic views. There are plenty of dog-friendly hiking trails, too.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Located in Southern Colorado, these are the tallest dunes in North America. But it’s not all sand; the landscape includes wetlands, aspen forests, lakes, grasslands, and more. Pets are allowed in most areas, although no longer permitted in the backcountry. Note: The sand is extremely hot in summer, so plan to visit when the weather is cooler.
Crazy Horse Memorial
Still a work in progress, Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear and sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski began creating this sculpture in 1947. Located in the Black Hills, this 6,532-foot-high memorial is the world’s largest sculptural undertaking. Leashed pets are allowed on the mountain carving viewing deck and the roofed, concrete floor entry leading to the deck.
North Cascades National Park
Although dogs are not allowed in many areas of the park, they can join you on this piece of the Pacific Crest Trail, a spectacular (and challenging) hiking trail where you can even camp overnight with your canine companion. Dogs are also allowed in the Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National recreation areas and on most surrounding national forest land.
Yosemite National Park
Dogs are permitted on only one trail, the Wawona Meadow Loop, but they’re welcome on sidewalks, roads, and bike paths. Plus, leashed dogs can join you in most of the park’s campgrounds.
South Yuba River State Park
With dozens of trails and swimming holes, you and your dog can work up a sweat and then cool off with a swim. The South Yuba River and its watershed were the focal point of the California Gold Rush, so you may even want to try your hand at panning for gold.
Ocean Beach Dog Beach
For that SoCal vibe and plenty of off-leash freedom, check out this beach in San Diego County. Unlike some beaches that only allow dogs after hours, this is a 24/7 dog beach, and was one of the first leash-free beaches in the country.
Wherever you decide to go, it’s best to check your destination’s website for any rules they have regarding dogs ahead of time. Make sure to pack a leash, water, and treats — and don’t forget to have a great time!