So the air is warm and the sun is shining (most of the time anyways), so I guess it means we’re way into summer now! We’re scheduled to go away next month to Florida, where we will be staying at the amazing Key West beach. Tilly is so excited, and we can’t wait to spend some time in one of our favourite hot spots.
Our reasons for choosing Key West, however, might surprise you. Besides being a beautiful, sunny and uplifting place and perfect for families, Key West is also a primarily dog-friendly place. And with Roxy, our four year old golden retriever in tow, what other reason do we need?
While lots of dog-owners might see their holidays as a rest from the doggie duties, we’ve been taking Roxy on our trips for the last three years. The first time we left her was difficult for both us and her, so we decided that whenever possible, we would include her in our summer vacations in the future. The cost of paying for your dog’s stay in a hotel is about the same, if not less than putting them up in kennels for two weeks anyway. So why hesitate?
Key West has a dog-friendly beach, a dog-friendly restaurant next door (the Afterdeck Bar at Louie’s Backyard) and a range of other dining options where dogs are welcome (Island Dogs Bar; Blue Heaven, and Cheeseburger on Duval Street). We’ve been there before and always had such a great time and Roxy loves the opportunity to frolic in the sea.
However, Key West is definitely not the only option if you’re looking to take your furry friend on a much-needed trip. San Diego in California is home to a number of dog beaches where leashes aren’t mandatory, and there are dog-wash facilities nearby. There are also plenty of pet-friendly eateries like Baja Betty’s, O’Bistro, Cafe Merlot and Heavenly Cupcake (where they even make ‘pupcakes’ for dogs!)
If the crisp English countryside is more your thing, then England and Scotland is just brimming with hotels and country lodges where your canine will be welcome.
The Swan Hotel in Southwold provides lovely dog-tailored accommodation in its Lighthouse Rooms for just £10 a night, and dogs get their own bowl and treat upon arrival. There’s also a dog beach along Walberswick Harbour for running and playing.
Fieldshead Hotel in the pretty fishing town of West Looe also looks like it would be a great choice. The hotel is said to be luxurious and relaxing, providing five-star service, pet-friendly rooms, and an ocean coastline right on your doorstep. Meanwhile, Trigony House Hotel in Thornhill, Scotland, looks a classically beautiful and charming place, surrounding by enchanting Scottish countryside including lots of exciting walking trails. This place is said to be a more up-market stay for dog-owners that want a bit of luxury for both themselves and their pooches, and its service is award winning.
It can indeed be difficult to get a good blend on dog-friendly vacations, especially as humans tend to like sightseeing and culture, whilst dogs love forests, fields, woods and other open spaces. English Heritage and National Trust in the UK however often aim to combine outdoorsy activities with historic walks and experiences, so their trips can be a good option (and they accommodate dogs in many of their hotels, pubs and restaurants too).
As far as accommodation is concerned, you’re certainly not necessarily limited to camping. Lots of travel agents (including a young startup named Chien Bleu Travel) can point you in the direction of lots of pet-friendly hotels, as well as self-catered holiday homes and lodges, right across Europe and beyond.
Be patient, do your research, and don’t be afraid to make enquiries (or be open to something new!) When the whole family travels, there should be no more excuses for leaving your four-legged friend behind.