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Top Pet Friendly Road Trip Destinations


In honor of National Pet Day on April 11th, BestPlaces and Motel 6 have partnered to present the best cities in the United States for visiting on a road trip with your cuddly companions.

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. 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 considered, because it’s a challenge to go exploring when the temperature is over a hundred or there are drifts of snow.

In every state, we found the best place to stop for some rest, adventure, or exploration. Each of these places are interesting enough that you may even want to make these your ultimate destination for sightseeing and relaxing.

Here are the top ten cities for traveling with your pet and a short profile of each.

#1 - Santa Monica, CA
When you and your pet are on the road, there’s no better place to hang out than our #1 pick, Santa Monica, California. It’s located right on the Pacific Ocean with hundreds of nearby hiking and walking trails to let you take full advantage of SoCal’s near-perfect climate. And you can share a meal with your fur-buddy by dining at the popular open-air patios.

#2 - Rockville, MD
Rockville is a great place to stop for a while on your road trip, maybe just an afternoon or even longer. It’s a good base for your exploration of the DC area and all its sights, with everything your pet needs such as dog parks, greenspaces, nearby state and national parks, and local veterinarians.

#3 - Santa Fe, NM
You’ll definitely want to make a point of visiting Santa Fe with your pet. The dramatic high-desert setting has its own special beauty that you won’t forget. Like our other top picks, it has plenty of per-friendly amenities like pet stores, vets and a dog-friendly policy which allows them in outdoor dining venues.

#4 - Mount Pleasant, SC
Just north of Charleston, SC is the city of Mount Pleasant. It’s a great spot to visit or stay as you and your pet travel Highway 17 along the Atlantic coast. And its mild winter climate is a warm and welcoming change to the chilly Northeast winter.

#5 - Newport, RI
Newport has been a popular tourist destination for hundreds of years. You and your pet will enjoy the brisk sea air and pleasant summer climate, making it a perfect place to stop and stay as you road-trip along the Atlantic seaboard. You’ll find plenty of dog parks, greenspaces and parks to stretch your legs.

#6 - Gloucester, MA
The fishing town of Gloucester, MA is about an hour north of Boston, and steeped in New England history. Gloucester scores the highest in our list for the number of nearby hiking and walking resources, and there are plenty of pet amenities available when you need them.

#7 - Richmond, KY
If you’re taking a road trip through the South, you’ll want to consider stopping in Richmond, KY. Near St. Louis and just south of Lexington, it’s rich in history that’s worth a visit, especially when the weather up North turns cold and icy. And you’ll find everything here your pet needs while on the road.

#8 - Bend, OR
Bend, OR is fast becoming an outdoor recreation hotspot, with a strong dog-friendly culture. There are plenty of opportunities for your dog be part of your adventures in mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, skiing and climbing. And Bend is in the drier high desert region of Oregon, east of the soggy Willamette Valley.

#9 - Asheville, NC
Asheville, NC loves its dogs and has everything you’ll need on your road trip. It’s the perfect place to begin your journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which rambles nearly 500 miles northward from Asheville. There are literally hundreds of spots to take a walk or hike through the woods along the Parkway. Or you can just hang out in town and enjoy Asheville’s hip and laid-back, yet cosmopolitan vibe.

#10 - Charlottesville, VA
Charlottesville is located just 30 minutes from the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which stretches to the south along the backbone of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There’s plenty to do in and around Charlottesville too, which is home to the University of Virginia and Thomas Jefferson's famed estate, Monticello.

Here’s the rest of our list of the best places in every state to travel with your pet.

Motel 6 Welcomes Pets

Motel 6 proudly allows cats and dogs to stay for free at locations across the country. Conveniently situated along major highways and interstates throughout the U.S., Motel 6 will leave the light on for travelers and their four-legged companions, wherever their journey may take them. For additional information on Motel 6’s pet policy, click here.

For those long-term guests looking for extended stay options, pets are also welcome at most Studio 6 properties across the U.S. and Canada. Guests should check with the individual property ahead of time regarding their specific pet policy.

For travelers getting ready to hit the roads with their pets this year, Motel 6 and partner Patriot PAWS share tips on how to travel with pets safely, which can be found in full here.

About Motel 6

Motel 6 is an economy lodging brand with company-owned and franchised locations throughout the United States and Canada. Motel 6 has used the tagline, “We’ll leave the light on for you®” for more than 30 years, earning the chain the highest brand recognition in the economy lodging segment. Motel 6 offers standard amenities including free Wi-Fi Internet access, free local calls, no long-distance access charges and expanded cable channel line-up. Most locations offer guest laundry facilities. For more information, visit www.motel6.com.

About BestPlaces

With over 3 million monthly users, BestPlaces (www.bestplaces.net) is the nation's premier source for finding your best place to live. Founded by author and researcher Bert Sperling over thirty years ago, BestPlaces helps users make informed decisions about where to live, work, and retire. Bert's bestselling books "Cities Ranked and Rated" and "Best Places to Raise Your Family" are published by John Wiley & Sons, and he was named the "The Guy Who Picks the Best Places" by the New York Times.


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