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Fall travel ideas for you and your dog

Fall travel ideas for you and your dog

The weather’s cooling down, and fall is an ideal time to hit the road with your pup. You don’t have to go far: Adventures and fun can be as close as a local pick-your-own orchard or a tailgate party before a football game.

Here are more pet travel ideas for the fall months:

  • See the leaves change colors in Vermont. Dog Chapel, on Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury, has a lovely church where dogs are welcome—and cherished, and there are lots of hiking trails on this 150-acre, private mountaintop. The trails and grounds are open to the public even if the chapel is closed. Dog parties are held several times a year, and leashes are optional.

  • Visit a nearby orchard. Fall is harvest season, and depending on where you live, you might pick-your-own in an apple orchard or pumpkin patch, or fill your basket with fresh produce from an outdoor farmers’ market. (Dogs won’t be allowed if you go into a market and store, so ask a friend to watch Fido if you shop indoors.)

  • Enjoy a “Ruff” activity. The Ruff Guide to the United States (Kendall Media) lists 365 places to take your pup, one for every day of the year. You’ll find all sorts of adventures in its pages, from hitting the links with your canine at Discovery Bay Golf Course, in Port Townsend, Washington, to romping with your fur baby in Utah’s Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.

  • Take a scenic train ride. Roaring Camp Railroads has a redwood forest steam train ride and a Santa Cruz beach train ride, and both allow well-behaved dogs on leashes. (Some conductors may require dogs to wear muzzles, but they’re free to borrow). You can find several dog beaches if you head to Santa Cruz. The one closest to the beach train station is on West Cliff Drive. 

  • Go campingand roast hot dogs around the fire (sneak one to your four-legged companion). Some of the “dog-friendliest” campgrounds in the U.S. include Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park) and Acadia National Park in Maine. Both have stunning scenery to enjoy too, especially when the leaves change. Many state parks also allow pets. Look for information on hiking and/or camping with pets on each park’s website.

  • Throw a tailgate party, or snag an invitation to one that’s pup-friendly. If dogs aren’t allowed in the stadium when the game starts, catch the highlights later on TV, and get some exercise tossing a ball to your fur kid on the grass.

  • Host a “Howl-o-ween” party and invite your canine friends and their people to dress up. Serve dog treats and bowls of water, and award prizes for the funniest and scariest outfits.

  • Go to an outdoor festival to shop for arts and crafts, hear live music and snack on candy apples and popcorn while you and Fido stroll around. Look for vendors who make homemade, healthy dog biscuits or customized collars and leashes.

  • Have fun on the water. If your dog likes boating, rent a kayak or canoe and take him out on the water. Have him wear a properly fitting canine life jacket, even if he can swim, and be safe. Accidents can happen.

  • Take a road trip anywhere. Stop often so you can both stretch your legs. If you exit the car, take your dog with you. Never leave him unattended at any time; car temperatures can soar, even in the fall, leading to injury or death.

  • This won’t cost you a dime: Play Frisbee on your lawn or at a dog-friendly park. And jump in a pile of leaves and let your dog find you. Of course, you’ll need an unraked space with lots of deciduous trees!

Note: Before you travel—whether you’re going around the block or across the country—find out if pets are allowed at your destination.

If the temperatures keep dropping, it may get too cold for outside adventures. That’s when you can relax with your dog by the fireplace, or take him to a heated, outdoor patio so you can both enjoy an evening out. Your only limit is your imagination!

Lynn Coulter is owned by two rescue dogs—Molly and Miss Paws—and occasionally blogs at She’s also the author of three books and a freelancer who writes about travel, gardening and more. She and her husband live in metro Atlanta, where they cheer for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and spend their money on dog biscuits.

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