10 most pet-friendly road-trip cities in America

While we've already shared tips for taking a road trip with your dog, what about the destination itself? Are there cities in the United States that are particularly friendly to our four-legged friends?

Best Places, an online resource for people researching places to live, partnered with Motel 6 (a chain that doesn't charge pet fees at most locations) to determine the best places to bring your pet on a road trip. Although "pet" could include bringing your cat or turtle on vacation with you, let's face it, we're basically talking about dogs here. Just remember that Motel 6 is an exception to the pet fee rule, and that most hotels charge a pet cleaning fee that widely differs. Not all pet-friendly hotels are created equal — make sure to research or call about an individual hotel or vacation rental pet policy.


OK, so how did Best Places come up with this list?

"When you’re on the road it’s important to enjoy the trip, and that means finding cities like these which not only have great resources but also plenty of activities and sights to see," shared Best Places president Bert Sperling. "We chose the best cities for traveling with your pet by analyzing the availability of local dog parks, greenspaces, hiking and walking trails, pet stores, veterinarians, and dog-friendly dining options. Local climate was also considered, because it’s a challenge to go exploring when the temperature is over a hundred or there are drifts of snow."

So here it is, their list of the 10 most pet-friendly places to visit in the United States ...

1. Santa Monica, California

Adjacent to Los Angeles, this beach city is heralded for its nearby hiking and walking trails, and many open-air dining spots. It's climate is basically perfect all-year round, too.

2. Rockville, Maryland

Best Places chose Rockville for its proximity to the D.C. area, which lets you take in its many human-related sights while providing your four-legged friend lots of dog parks, state parks and local veterinarians.

3. Santa Fe, New Mexico

Its dramatic high-desert setting and natural beauty are touted here along with lots of pet stores, vets and pet-friendly outdoor dining venues.

4. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

Just north of Charleston, Mount Pleasant is a good pet-friendly spot for staying while touring Highway 17 on the Atlantic Coast. The South Carolina weather helps, too, for those looking to drive down from the snowy Northeast.

5. Newport, Rhode Island

Popular with everyone (not just those with doggy friends), Newport offers plenty of dog parks, greenspaces and parks. A great spot should you be exploring the Atlantic Seaboard during the summer.

6. Gloucester, Massachusetts

A fishing town an hour north of Boston scored the highest on Best Places' list for proximity to hiking and walking resources.

7. Richmond, Kentucky

Located near Lexington and Louisville, Best Places highly recommends stopping in Richmond during a drive through that part of the South.

8. Bend, Oregon

We can definitely attest to the pet friendliness of Bend, located in Central Oregon about four hours southeast of Portland. A staggering number of breweries abound (most of which offer dog-friendly patios) and the surrounding landscape of high desert and Cascade mountains provides a near-endless selection of hiking opportunities.

9. Asheville, North Carolina

Best Places notes that this is the best place to start your journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway, as it boasts hundreds of spots to walk or hike through the woods along the famed scenic driving road. The city itself is also more than enough of an enticement to stop by.

10. Charlottesville, Virginia

This would be on the other end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Best Places points out that Monticello is near Charlottesville, and something tells us they're not going to let you wander around the grounds with a Poodle. We probably would've made another choice out west somewhere, perhaps in Colorado.

Now, Best Places and Motel 6 also selected the most pet-friendly cities in those states that didn't have a choice in the Top 10. Here they are ...

  • Wasilla, Alaska

  • Daphne, Alabama

  • Bentonville, Arkansas

  • Tempe, Arizona

  • Fort Collins, Colorado

  • Stamford, Connecticut

  • Newark, Delaware

  • Tallahassee, Florida

  • Marietta, Georgia

  • Kailua, Hawaii (Oahu)

  • Council Bluffs, Iowa

  • Twin Falls, Idaho

  • Naperville, Illinois

  • Fishers, Indiana

  • Leavenworth, Kansas

  • Lafayette, Louisiana

  • Scarborough, Maine

  • Ann Arbor, Michigan

  • Edina, Minnesota

  • Branson, Missouri

  • Biloxi, Mississippi

  • Helena, Montana

  • Mandan, North Dakota

  • North Platte, Nebraska

  • Derry, New Hampshire

  • Princeton, New Jersey

  • Cooperstown, New York

  • Boulder City, Nevada

  • Lima, Ohio

  • Edmond, Oklahoma

  • State College, Pennsylvania

  • Rapid City, South Dakota

  • Chattanooga, Tennessee

  • Frisco, Texas

  • Ogden, Utah

  • South Burlington, Vermont

  • Seattle, Washington

  • Madison, Wisconsin

  • Morgantown, WV

  • Cheyenne, WY

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