Warm Weather Destinations to Take Your Dog

Warm Weather Destinations to Take Your Dog

Posted by Jen Sotolongo on 21st March 2019

photo by @atlas_the_ridgeback

According to the calendar, spring is just
around the corner, however much of the United States and Canada is still
suffering from temps below zero and snowstorms. It’s that point of the year
where warm weather never seems like it will arrive. Fortunately, spring break
is coming up and warm weather isn’t all that far for many. Pack your bags and
have some fun in these dog-friendly warm-weather destinations.


The weather in Tampa ranges between 71° and
about 90° year-round, so it’s never unbearably hot and perfect for a winter

Thanks to the year-round warm weather, most
Tampa restaurants have patios that allow dogs. The best ones includes menus for
your pooch, such as Sweet Sage Cafe, which welcomes pups to their
Garden of Eatin’ and offers a doggie menu filled with delicious treats like
French Poodle Toast, Mutt Loaf, and a Beagle with Cream Cheese and Salmon. For
dessert, head to Bo’s Ice Cream, which has been serving the
Tampa area for over 60 years. Dogs can order the ice cream bowls complete with
a mini bone on top.

If you’re looking for a brew, check out Pinella’s Ale Works
(or PAW), a dog-themed brewery that serves beers such as the Play Dead
Barleywine, Piddle Pils, and Sit Amber Ale. If the outdoor patio is too hot,
then your pup is welcome inside to feel the air conditioning. PAW hosts a
“yappy hour” the last Thursday of each month to benefit Friends of Strays.

As expected, Tampa has also set aside plenty
of beach space for dogs. Davis Islands Dog Beach is great for letting
your pooch run around, however if you care to swim and play with your dog, then
Fort De Soto Park is the place to go.

With all the water access, kayaking, paddle
boarding, fishing, or boating are all dog-friendly activities to consider as
well. Dogs ride free aboard the 1.5 hour “Howl at the Moon” Sunset Cruise on
the Shell Key Shuttle.

Oregon Coast

Oregon may not be the first location that
comes to mind when you think “warm weather destination,” however, there is a
60-mile stretch between Brookings Harbor and Gold Beach where it’s not all that
unusual to find a 70° day in January. The best part about the Oregon coastline
is that it belongs to the public. That’s right. All visitors have legal public
access rights to every grain of sand along Oregon’s 363 miles of coastline.

Walk along the 18-mile stretch of the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor,
which features craggy bluffs overlooking the Pacific along 12 miles of
coastline. If you’re not quite up for 18 miles, simply pick one of the many trail sections for a snippet. Keep your eyes
on the horizon to look out for gray whales during the winter and spring.

For a simple beach walk, hit up Sporthaven Beach in Brookings, or if you want
to check out some windsurfers and go sand dollar hunting, Pistol River State Scenic Viewpoint is the
place to go. Most Oregon beaches require leashes, however McVay Rock is a secluded beach where dogs are
welcome to run around free.

When you need a break from the sand and some
nourishment, stop in to Woofs Dog Bakery to pick up a sweet treat for
your pup and then make your way to Checto Brewing, the local brewpub that grows
all the fruits and herbs on their own property. Since this dog-friendly brewery
doesn’t have a kitchen (but a food cart outside will keep you fed) dogs are
allowed both inside and outside on the patio.

Camping is popular during the high season, but
if you book early enough, you might be able to score one of the dog-friendly
yurts at Harris Beach State Park.

Barriles, Baja, Mexico

Just an hour from the San Diego airport over
the border in Baja, Mexico, lies a doggie heaven. Typical to most Latin
American countries, rules for dogs don’t really exist. What this means is that
dogs are often allowed just about everywhere!

A relatively unknown spot in Baja (though that
is changing), Los Barriles is becoming an active getaway destination for
expats, vacationers, retirees, and families from all over the world. Catch
world-class wind and kite surfers taking flight in the strong winds and keep an
eye out for breaching whales and leaping mobula rays close to the shoreline.

From local craft beers at Smokey’s Grill & Cantina, to all the tacos
you could want to eat, there is no lack of places to eat fantastic food with
your pup by your side. There are also plenty of hiking excursions in the area,
just ask the locals for some good spots.

It’s easy to take your dog across the border,
simply obtain a certificate of health and proof of rabies vaccinations from
your veterinarian no fewer than 10 days before departing and you’ll need the
same on your way back home. That’s it!

South Carolina

This charming destination is well known as one
of the most pet-friendly vacation spots in the south. The winter temperatures
dip to just 55°, and springtime is perfect for strolling or eating outdoors.

Charleston has several historical tours that
welcome dogs, including the free Charleston
Tea Plantation
tour, the only tea plantation in North America with
hundreds of thousands of tea bushes spanning as far as the eye can see. For a
lovely walk along 125 acres of riverbanks and through gardens, head to Drayton
. Pet-friendly walking tours include Free Tours by Foot, which allows dogs to join their humans
on their History and Architecture tours and Bulldog Tours welcomes pups on the Ghost and
Graveyard and Dark Side of Charleston tours.

After working up an appetite walking around,
head to Kitchen
, a casual patio restaurant located in a relaxing spot that is
perfect for people watching. To dine in one of Charleston’s more famous
restaurants, head to Poogan’s Porch. Named for the dog who used to
reside in the former Victorian home, Poogan’s pays homage to their namesake
with every doggie visitor today.

If you fancy coffee or beer, Kudu is
the place to go. This busy establishment features 20 taps, including several
local brews as well as a large selection of high-quality coffee drinks.

Pets are welcome all year on Folly Beach
and depending on the season, can play in the waves and dig in the sand to their
heart’s content. Be sure to check out the surfers and Morris Island Lighthouse
for a treat. Isle
of Palms
is another great option that allows dogs off-leash between
September 15th and March 31st from 4 to 10pm. Otherwise, take the short drive
to James Island County Park where your pup can
romp with his pals in the four-acre dog park and beach. Well worth the $2 entry

New Mexico

At an elevation of 8,000 ft, you’d expect Taos
to be quite chilly, however, springtime averages range from 54° to 72° during
the day and that sun feels warm when it hits you just right. Nighttime still
brings chilly temperatures, but as long as you have a cozy home, then you’ll
avoid the cold completely. This art-driven community set in the mountains is
home to more pet-friendly eateries and lodging than any other southwestern town
of the same size (~6,000 inhabitants).

Hiking abounds in Taos. Your problem won’t be
finding a trail, but rather choosing which ones to tackle. Closest to town is Carson
National Forest
. Since it’s a National Forest, it means that leashes
are not required by law over the 1.5 million acres it covers. Just beware that
the park is home to many wild species, including elk, antelope, black bears,
mountain lions, and bighorn sheep. Here are a few favorite trails according to AllTrails.

Just under an hour outside of Taos, visitors
can experience the Wild Rivers Recreation Area, located within
the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument and the Wild and Scenic Red River
corridor. This rugged area offers countless recreational activities, including
hiking, camping, fishing, boating, and spectacular views. And, since this is
BLM land, your dog can enjoy off-leash freedom just about anywhere in the
undeveloped areas.

Most shops and galleries welcome your dog
inside, so no need to miss out on the beautiful creations by locals while
you’re out wandering the town with your pup. And when you feel hungry, Taos has
several dog-friendly dining options. Stray Dog Cantina serves Northern New Mexican
fare including flame roasted red and green chiles. The Alley Cantina
makes its home in the oldest building in Taos, built by the Pueblo Indians in
the 16th century. Come during happy hour for great specials on food and drinks.

photo by @atlas_the_ridgeback

Jen Sotolongo is a writer and photographer and runs Long Haul Trekkers, a blog about independent, responsible travel with a pet. Over the past few years, she and her partner have taken their dogs around the globe including a cycle tour spanning across Europe and South America, proving that adventures can include your dog, no matter where in the world they may be.

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