6 awesome places to vacation with your dog

A couple with their family dogs on the beach
Photo by michaeljung/Shutterstock

As we slide slowly into winter, it’s time to start preparing for winter getaways. Beautiful beaches, sunny climes, and cozy Canadian resort stays await. But holiday planning brings up an important question: Is a vacation really a vacation if your dog can’t come with you?

We’d rather not find out. After all, the best way to appreciate a holiday is to do it with someone who really knows how to get into the vacation mindset, and pooches have the full package: unquenchable lust for life? Check. Healthy appreciation for the outdoors? Check. Ability to leave stresses behind and just relax? Double-check.

So we’ve come up with a list of places you can vacation with your pup in tow. Within Canada, travelling with your dog should be a snap. Going across the border can be a little trickier, but if your pet’s vaccinations are up to date, it can be achieved with a little extra research and effort. Whether you want to stay in the country or head abroad, we have some great dog-friendly vacation ideas. We know you and your best friend will appreciate the opportunity to get away together.

Salt Spring Island, B.C.

Salt Spring Island, B.C.

Photo by ppa/Shutterstock

Want to find milder weather without leaving Canada? The Gulf Islands of B.C. are your answer. Salt Spring Island is located in Vancouver Island’s “rain shadow,” and exists in a warm microclimate with a lot less precipitation than surrounding areas. There are lots of pet-friendly rental homes and BnBs on the island, as it’s a very pet-friendly area, and there are lots of activities to please you and your dog as well. There are beaches, trails, and even shops that accept dogs. On top of it all, there’s the Salt Spring Island Saturday Market doggy daycare! This small, friendly island is basically a canine utopia.

Lake Louise, Alberta

Lake Louise, Alberta

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Lake Louise is a great winter getaway because of the amazing Fairmont Chateau Resort, which—bonus—is pet-friendly. Dogs are allowed in all but one of the Fairmont’s wings, and the hotel even offers pet-sitting services. Talk about dog-friendly service! Lake Louise is a place of great natural beauty and outdoor trails—which your dog will love— and the Fairmont is a place of incredible luxury and relaxation—which you will love. It’s a great place for a dog and their human to spend their days exploring the outdoors and their nights being pampered.

Richmond Hill, Ontario

Ontario in the fall

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Why would we suggest Richmond Hill, of all places, as a vacation spot? Because it’s the home of Dog Paddling Adventures, a business that offers guided excursions for you and your furry friends. Dog Paddling Adventures organizes single- or multi-day skiing, paddling, and snowshoeing adventures. If you and your pup are active types, you might want to beat the winter blues by getting out into nature and exploring the wintery world. Be inspired by your dog’s amazing ability to enjoy nature in any kind of weather. You might be surprised by how much fun it is to play in the snow.

Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood, Ontario

Blue Mountain, Ontario. Collingwood

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Blue Mountain’s website says it all: “We provide your dog with everything but skis.” The ski resort knows that outdoor adventures are always better with pups present, and they make staying away from home with a dog as easy as possible. They provide dog beds, food and water dishes, and treats for your travel companion, and hot tubs, massages, and fun after-hours activities for you. It’s the perfect his-and-grrs combination holiday.

Barkwells in North Carolina

Barkwells North Carolina

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A fair number of vacation homes will let you bring your dog, but how many are actually designed for you to bring your dog? Well, at least one. Barkwells is a vacation retreat with “dog-centric luxury vacation cabins.” The surroundings are beautiful, with fenced meadows and a pond for your dog to explore and swim in, and the cabins are homey and comfortable by any human’s standards. Each cabin also has a fenced yard and a dog door, so your dog will have freedom to come and go as he or she pleases. There are also hiking spots and ski slopes nearby, as well as restaurants featuring delicious local fare.

St. Petersburg, Florida

St. Petersburg, Florida

Photo by Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Who loves the beach more than a dog? Bringing your dog to a warm beach is an activity you’ll both appreciate, and St. Petersburg is close to some of the best beaches in the world, including the Dog Beach and Paw Playground at Fort De Soto State Park. This beautiful beach is a great place for dogs to run and play in the surf, all off-leash, of course. Floridians know that life is better with dogs, and there are lot of dog-friendly accommodations, restaurants, and public parks in St. Petersburg. You and your pooch will both love the opportunity to play in the waves and recharge in the sun.

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