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Dog-Friendly Winter Destinations

Girl and Husky dog

Written by The Halo Team

February 1, 2024

Wagging tails and curious noses add an extra layer of joy and excitement to vacations. Who wouldn’t want a companion that’s enthusiastic about every adventure and always happy when the day is done? From the serene coastal charm of Carmel to Aspen’s wintry expanse, there’s a pet-friendly place to suit every whim and mood.

Dog-friendly luxury hotels offer enhanced experiences for furry guests and pet parents. Picture a plush dog bed, delicious dog treats, dog-friendly rooms with food and water bowls and an array of pet amenities. Keep reading to discover the nation’s best pet-friendly hotels and destinations in winter, plus advice about dog-friendly trails, dog-allowing restaurants and other resources.

Why Choose Pet-Friendly Hotels and Winter Destinations?

Choosing a pet-friendly hotel means you can give your sister a break from dog sitting next time winter vacation comes around. Even better, it reduces the risk of your dog getting separation anxiety, strengthening the bond between you and your four-legged friend. What’s more, exploring nature with animals adds an extra layer of authenticity to outdoor experiences — and they’re so photogenic.

Let’s look at the benefits in more detail:

  • Enhanced bonding: Shared experiences give way to memories you’ll remember forever, deepening the connection between you and your dog and positively impacting mental health. Companionship is an excellent antidote to stress, and bringing your dog with you instead of leaving it at home can mean a better winter for you and your best friend.
  • Physical activity: Getting lots of exercise is one of the best ways to promote well-being for you and your pet. With dog-friendly hiking trails, beaches and off-leash parks, you and your beloved pup can burn off steam together in the great outdoors. If it’s too cold to get outside, there are plenty of indoor games to play, too.
  • Nature’s therapeutic effects: It’s not just movement that’s good for you and your dog — being out in nature is equally as health-promoting. Most dogs love spending as much time outside as possible, and a winter vacation is a great way to get out into the beauty of nature.
  • Social interaction: Going to a dog-friendly hotel and exploring as a solo traveler is a great way to meet fellow pet parents and feel connected to other people. Whether it’s just a chat at a dog park or you end up going to a (dog-friendly) coffeehouse with a fellow pet parent you meet at the hotel, your dog can help you bond with others.
  • Fulfillment: Taking responsibility for your dog while on vacation can present challenges, but giving it the best possible life is highly rewarding and fulfilling.

These days, there are plenty of outdoor spaces and outdoor dining options for a traveler and their furry friend, and the destinations we’ve chosen are especially welcoming. Whatever you love doing with your dog, the pet-friendly properties below are all within walking distance of endless opportunities for fun and frolics. Guest rooms include pet-friendly amenities like dog beds, food bowls and treats. Some even go the extra mile and offer extras, such as a dog walking service or spa treatments for pups.

Cute dog performs a command of his master

Top 3 Dog-Friendly Winter Destinations

The winter destinations below are noted for pet friendliness, whether for small dogs, big dogs or anything in between. There are recommendations for trails, restaurants and beaches and resources to help make the vacation extra-special for you and your four-legged friends. We also mention notable pet-friendly hotels in each location offering more than just the basic pet beds and a water bowl.

1. Carmel by the Sea, California

Self-described as the number one dog-friendly town in the United States, Carmel offers unforgettable adventures for dog owners and four-legged guests. Take your pet down to Forge in the Forest, a restaurant with a dedicated dog menu and a dog-friendly outdoor patio. On your next day out, bring it to Carmel Belle, a cozy spot serving fresh, local dishes with a welcoming outdoor area for dogs.

Carmel Valley Ranch and Cypress Inn are Carmel’s top dog-friendly hotels, with luxurious amenities for you and your pup. The former has 500 acres of hiking trails, while the latter welcomes you and up to three dogs. Carmel Beach allows dogs to roam free off-leash, offering tail-wagging opportunities for socializing and playtime. A short drive away, Garland Ranch Regional Park has pet-friendly trails for dogs on a leash.

Check out the Paws app or BringFido’s Carmel page for in-depth local information.

2. Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Cape Cod is a winter wonderland for you and your furry friend, with plenty of breathtaking scenery to explore. Start at the 26-mile Cape Cod Rail Trail, which allows leashed dogs and is excellent for bike rides and strolls. Be sure to check out the beautiful Nickerson State Park, which also allows dogs on leashes no longer than 6 feet. Off-season, dogs can go off-leash over at Sandy Neck Beach, while leashed dogs are welcome year-round at Herring Cove Beach.

There’s no doubt you’ll work up an appetite after all that hiking, and places like Baxter’s and The Dog House are sanctuaries for dogs and pet parents. Once you’re ready to hit the hay, head over to the pet-friendly Sea Crest Beach Hotel, which allows up to two dogs per room with a maximum weight of 50 pounds.

The Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, the National Park Service and BringFido’s Cape Cod site can help you build a packed schedule for you and your dog.

3. Aspen, Colorado

Aspen is in the heart of the Colorado Rockies, offering a stunning backdrop for adventures and pictures for social media. The dog-friendly hotels here take pup luxury to the next level, with The Little Nell providing a pet menu, bowls, treats, beds and even dog walking services. That means you get the option of enjoying breakfast in bed and sleeping in while a dog-loving team member takes care of your pet. Alternatively, stay at the Limelight Hotel, with pet-friendly rooms featuring complimentary placemats and bowls.

Sample the delicious wares at The Red Onion or the Meat & Cheese Restaurant and Farm Shop, each with inviting heated outdoor seating areas and tasty dog treats. For winter hikes, don’t miss the Smuggler Mountain Road Trail or Rio Grande Trail, which are perfect for cycling, jogging or walking with a leashed dog.

The Aspen Pet Guide and BringFido Aspen can help you learn more about the city’s adventures for pups and pet parents.

Selecting the Best Dog-Friendly Hotels and Resorts

There’s plenty to consider when choosing the best dog-friendly hotel for you and your pet. Here’s a quick guide to help you find the perfect spot:

  • Check the pet policy section of the hotel’s website to learn about pricing, size restrictions, how many dogs you can bring and other essential information.
  • Opt for locations with a wide range of activities and facilities allowing dogs and pet parents. It might take a little research, but some places (like our top three) are tailor-made for winter vacations with your furry friend.
  • Find rooms that offer free gifts for your dog, such as treats, food and water bowls, blankets and bedding.
  • Read through the reviews and testimonials online to find out what real people say about how pet-friendly hotels live up to expectations.

Considering these factors carefully ensures you and your dog will have an experience that’s memorable, comfortable and heart-warming.

Travel Tips: Prepping for a Pawsome Winter Getaway

Get ready to learn everything you need to know about preparing for a winter vacation for you and your dog.

Basic Packing List

Here’s a list of the basics to bring when traveling with your pet:

  • Any specialty food, medication, and supplements — make sure there are enough to last the entire trip
  • Cozy and familiar blankets and bedding, even if the hotel provides them, because these can offer comfort and familiarity while your dog settles in
  • Leash — always check local regulations, as some places have restrictions on leash length

Health and Safety

The health and safety of your pet are paramount, and you should be even more conscientious when it comes to unfamiliar environments. Consider these crucial health and safety measures:

  • A GPS-enabled smart collar such as Halo Collar gives you peace of mind while out exploring nature with your four-legged friend. In addition to helping make off-leash play safe, it has a ton of other useful features. Plus you can let your dog out safely without having to go out into the cold winter weather yourself!
  • Learn about the signs of altitude sickness in dogs if you’re heading to the mountains, and be sure to acclimate gradually.
  • Bring a jacket or sweater for short-haired dogs if the temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Invest in collapsible water and food bowls to ensure your dog stays hydrated and fed on long hikes in nature.
  • Be prepared for snowstorms by carrying a flashlight and knowing to keep your dog close in case of a blizzard.
  • Bring paw pad protection, including dog boots and paw wax — and any other winter-ready dog gear that can help your pet stay comfy and cozy.

Enjoy Pup-Tastic Winter Escapes!

Winter travel with pets can bring immense joy and adds so much to your vacation experience. Exploring new places and meeting new people and dogs together brings you close and creates memories that last a lifetime. Embrace the delight of a winter journey and take the necessary safety precautions to ensure you never have to compromise on adventure.

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