Fall foliage – reds, oranges, yellows – will soon spring to life. The end of summer vacations and the start of autumn adventures occur soon with America’s Labor Day weekend, September 1 – 3. As sunsets start earlier, temperatures become cooler, and the leaves of trees and shrubs turn more colorful, the new season of fall beckons walks, hikes, and trips in the car. Where might you and your furry friend enjoy going this fall? Here are a few ideas for travel in America:
New England and Mid-Atlantic States – from Maine through New England to the Great Smoky Mountains, a palette of vivid colors splash nature’s canvas. The leaves of hardwood trees, like maples and oaks, turn vivid shades of red, orange and yellow, creating a natural painting unlike one can find anywhere else in America.
Western National Parks – on the other side of the U.S. national parks beckon with yellow leaves of aspen and bugling elk. The mating season for these majestic creatures takes place each fall, and in addition to the trumpeting, the males clash with one another for mating rites. Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho are some of the best places to see both bull elk and golden aspen leaves.
Southwest Desert – Even America’s Desert Southwest experiences color changes in autumn, which comes later in the year than most places in the U.S. Summer temperatures can remain through October, but this is one of the best places to observe wildlife as well as fruits on cacti and yellows of shrubs. Butterflies, raptors, and other migrating wildlife species call southern Arizona and New Mexico home. Therefore, a trip to the Desert Southwest over Thanksgiving might be one to consider.
Gulf Coast – food , fun, and frolic entice people to the Gulf Coast, and with cooler temperatures, autumn is an excellent time to visit. Beaches, food fests, and historical homes and battle sites are just some of the places to visit in America’s southern states.
Oregon Coast – speaking of coasts and beaches, the state of Oregon has some of the most breath-taking views of the Pacific Ocean. State-run beaches cost little to nothing and are wonderful places to picnic, beach comb, horseback ride, and wildlife watch. Known as “the second summer,” August through October often brings more sunny days than other times of the year.
As pet parents, there’s nothing worse than leaving Fido and Fluffy behind when we travel. While not all animals can jet-set with us, road trips make for a great way to include your furry friend on your adventures. Use this dog road trip guide from CarRentals to learn tips and tricks for keeping your furry best friend safe and happy while on the road together.
Additionally, here is another helpful website and guide regarding traveling and hotel accommodations when you and your pet take an adventure together:
Summer visitation at many national and state parks is in full swing. These places remain popular destinations for individuals and families. I recently returned from the Yellowstone National Park area, one of my favorite places in the U.S. Each year nearly four million people trek by automobile, motorcycle, bicycle, and RV through Yellowstone; many also hike the trails and visit the famous geyser basins, such as Norris and Old Faithful.
There are rules about pets when it comes to taking them in national, as well as state parks. Before embarking upon such a journey with your furry friend, review the pet policies.
National Parks and Pets
Pets are welcome in America’s national parks. However, there are some rules that travelers with pets should be aware of. Those include:
In addition to providing a wonderful respite for humans, America’s national parks are home for many species of wildlife; in Yellowstone and Grand Teton, for example, these include bears and bison. Pets running loose or hiking with owners in the backcountry can harm wildlife – or be harmed themselves. Therefore, the National Park Service, recognizing that many people travel with pets, accommodates our four-footed companions in certain areas while prohibiting them in others, for the safety of both pets and wildlife.
Speaking of accommodations, are there places inside the parks that allow people to stay with their pets other than the campgrounds? In some cases, yes. Hotel accommodations in Yellowstone, for example, are not pet-friendly, but a few of the cabin facilities inside the park do allow pets. Additionally, just outside the national parks’ boundaries are gateway communities in which many hotels can be found, and many of those are pet-friendly. Prepare in advance to review the communities’ lodging options and investigate ahead of time whether pets are welcome. Look and book in advance! There are many great resources for finding pet-friendly lodging, including GoPetFriendly.com and BringFido.com. Rover.com provides a listing of pet sitters in various communities, which can be a good option if you’re staying in a town near a national park and you want to take a day-trip for hikes, horseback riding or other activities that don’t accommodate pets.
Although the national parks have similar guidelines because they are federal entities, different parks may have different pet policies. To learn about the regulations in the park you’d like to visit, log onto the National Park Service’s website at www.nps.gov, find the park you’re interested in, and review that park’s pet particulars. You can also visit this Travel Channel site to read an article about national parks that are pet-friendly and those not as much so: https://www.travelchannel.com/interests/national-parks/photos/exploring-our-national-dog-parks.
State Parks and Pets
In June, I spent a week in Oregon visiting family and driving along the Pacific Coast Highway. I was pleasantly surprised to find two things: (1) many Oregon state parks have no (or minimal) entrance fees; and (2) pets are welcome at most Oregon state parks and beaches, including some trails. Therefore, I visited many of these places with my traveling companion, Jeremiah the Shih Tzu.
All states differ in their pet policies when it comes to visiting state parks. Wyoming, where I live, for example, allows dogs to be on leashes up to 10 feet in length (many other states limit the length to six feet). A person is also able to leave a pet unattended for an hour (although I personally would not do so).
So, know before you go! Visit the parks’ websites for the state (or national) park you want to visit before taking your pet on the trip.
May your adventures with your furry friend be enjoyable – happy traveling!
Many communities throughout the nation provide special parks for dogs to run and play. These dog parks offer activity and exercise for resident and visiting canines.
With spring returning and summer on the horizon, there many days and weeks of wonderful get outdoors as well as traveling weather for you, your family, and your four-footed friends to enjoy. Knowing there are “pet playgrounds” in various locations can assist you and your furry companion.
Throughout the nation dog parks are popular. Many offer fenced-in security where dogs can safely run, play, and exercise. Fenced-in parks mean greater safety, an important concept in a dog owner's mind, especially for owners who travel with their furry friends. An enclosed park keeps dogs from running away and from running onto busy streets. Who wants to lose their dog while on vacation … or any other time?
More and more hotels are becoming pet-friendly, so having a dog park in a community is an added benefit for enticing travelers to stop and even to stay in that town. Such communities become more welcoming to visitors traveling with their dogs because dogs, like people, need to stretch their legs while on a journey.
Dog parks also provide socialization opportunities, again for both the dogs and their owners. While walking or playing with one's dog at a park, a person is likely to engage in conversation with other dog owners … and the dogs are apt to play with one another, running through the park or fetching a ball or other toy. Studies show people who have dogs are more outgoing and engage in more socializing because, well, like with our kids, we dog people like to talk about our furry family members!
Even communities that don’t have an actual enclosed dog park, some provide wonderful walking paths at which owners can give themselves and their furry friends good exercise.
A great resource to learn about pet-friendly places, such as hotels and parks (including dog parks) can be found here: http://www.bringfido.com/attraction/.
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.