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The 15 Most and Least Pet-Friendly Vacation Spots in the U.S. [Data Study]

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Alex Miller
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Alex Miller

Founder & CEO

Countries Visited: 34U.S. States Visited: 29

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

Countries Visited: 44U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Numerous considerations go into selecting a location for a vacation. Depending on who is taking the trip — a family, a couple, or a solo traveler — the factors of what will make for a great vacation will vary considerably. This is especially true for pet owners looking to take a trip with their furry friends. A lack of pet-friendly accommodations and restaurants can really make or break a vacation for pet owners.

With this in mind, we evaluated 50 of the most popular vacation spots in the U.S. on their pet-friendliness to help guide pet owners in their search for the perfect pet-friendly getaway.

Read on to learn more about the details of our ranking and to see how locations you may be considering for your next vacation compare.

Analysis Methodology

To determine the most pet-friendly vacation spots for pet owners, we compared 50 of the most popular vacation spots in the U.S. across 8 key criteria.

Each of the 8 factors was graded on a 5-point scale, with a score of 5 representing the most favorable conditions for owners and pets. Each city’s total score was calculated from the total of its individual factor scores, which were weighted according to their importance to a pet-friendly vacation. The sum of these weights is 10, for a total possible score of 50. Each is listed below with its weight and data source.

  1. Dog Parks per 100k People  — Weight: 0.75
    1. Source: Trust for Public Land
  2. Pet Stores per 100k People — Weight: 0.50
    1. Source: Bring Fido
  3. Pet-Friendly Hotels per 100k People — Weight: 2.50
    1. Source: Bring Fido
  4. Pet-Friendly Vacation Rentals per 100k People — Weight: 2.50
    1. Source: Bring Fido
  5. Pet-Friendly Restaurants per 100k People — Weight: 2.00
    1. Source: Bring Fido
  6. Veterinarians per 100k People — Weight: 0.75
    1. Source: Bring Fido
  7. Hiking Trails per 100k People — Weight: 0.50
    1. Source: Hiking Project
  8. Miles of Hiking Trail — Weight: 0.50
    1. Source: Hiking Project

Top 15 Most Pet-Friendly Vacation Spots in the U.S.

15 most pet friendly vacation spots in the us 1

Based on our ranking analysis, Asheville, NC topped the list of pet-friendly vacation spots in the U.S. with a total city score of 47.5 out of 50, more than 5 points higher than the next location on the list — Santa Fe, NM. Asheville received top scores for 6 out of the 8 factors, including the 2 factors carrying the most weight in the rankings — the number of pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals relative to the population. Asheville’s large number of pet-friendly accommodations provide plenty of places for pet owners to stay and hang out with their furry pals. The city’s abundance of hiking trails is a great activity to unwind and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

The #2 city, Santa Fe, also received top marks for its pet-friendly accommodations and had the second-highest number of both pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals relative to the population of any city. The #5 city, Key West, FL, is home to both the highest number of pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals per 100k people, so if you’re looking for plenty of options for lodging, Key West may be the answer for you and your pet.

If dog parks are a must for you and your pet’s vacation, you should take a closer look at visiting Charleston, SC. Charleston has the highest number of dog parks per 100k people with 9.54.

Rounding out the top 15 most pet-friendly vacation spots were:

  1. Asheville, NC
  2. Santa Fe, NM
  3. Orlando, FL
  4. Savannah, GA
  5. Key West, FL
  6. Newport, RI
  7. Scottsdale, AZ
  8. Charleston, SC
  9. Portland, ME
  10. Greenville, SC
  11. New Orleans, LA
  12. Salt Lake City, UT
  13. Austin, TX
  14. Portland, OR
  15. Boise, ID

Top 15 Least Pet-Friendly Vacation Spots in the U.S.

15 least pet friendly vacation spots in the us 1Moving on to the locations pet owners may want to avoid if they’re looking to bring their furry friend on their next adventure, Maui, HI received the lowest score for pet-friendliness with a score of only 2.3 out of 50. It received 0 points for any of the factors related to pet-friendly accommodations or activities. The 2.3 points it did receive came from the city’s hiking options.

Several large cities appeared on the 15 most least-friendly lists, including New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. What these cities have in common is their low numbers of pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals relative to the cities’ populations. Additionally, urban areas offer less in terms of outdoor activities and availability of hiking trails for walks and all 4 cities also scored low for their number of dog parks. It might be best to leave your pet at home when you go to take in the sights of these sprawling metropolises.

Rounding out the top 15 least pet-friendly vacation spots were:

  1. Maui, HI
  2. New York, NY
  3. Milwaukee, WI
  4. Brooklyn, NY
  5. Detroit, MI
  6. Anaheim, CA
  7. Memphis, TN
  8. Philadelphia, PA
  9. Buffalo, NY
  10. Rochester, NY
  11. Chicago, IL
  12. San Antonio, TX
  13. Kansas City, MO
  14. Louisville, KY
  15. Los Angeles, CA

Hot Tip: Get the most out of every dollar you spend on your pet. Check out our guide to the best credit cards for pet expenses.

The Full Results

We’ve spotlighted the most and least pet-friendly cities overall, and we also wanted to determine the best and worst cities for each of the evaluated criteria. The chart below highlights the city that received the highest and lowest score for each of the 8 ranking factors in the data study.

best and worst city for each pet friendly category 1

Lastly, we know some pet-friendly factors are more important to pet owners than others. For that reason, we wanted to provide a means to explore the full set of data. The interactive chart below allows you to sort by the various ranking factors, to get a better idea of how all of the cities compare.

Made with Flourish

Final Thoughts

Vacations are a perfect time to unwind, relax, and explore cities around the U.S. and they’re even more perfect if you can share them with your furry companion. Each destination offers varying levels of accommodations and things to do with pets. We hope this study helps guide your travel plans the next time you are researching a pet-friendly trip.

If your travels involve a flight and you’re interested in which airports are the easiest to fly in and out of with pets, make sure to check out our study on the top 10 most pet-friendly airports in the U.S.

Alex Miller's image

About Alex Miller

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business, The New York Times, and more.

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