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7 of the Best US Road Trips to Take With Your Dog

These itineraries are perfect for you and your pup.

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Hi, I'm Laura!

Laura Ratliff is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor with more than a decade of experience in the travel and lifestyle space, who regularly spends more than 200,000 miles on a plane each year. As a freelancer, her work has appeared in Architectural Digest, Condé Nast Traveler, GQ, Jetsetter, Bon Appétit, and more. She has also held staff positions at Architectural Digest, Bloomberg News, and Condé Nast Traveler, and was most recently the senior editorial director at TripSavvy.

There's nothing quite like taking to the open road on an epic trip across the country—but one way to up your game? Bring your furry best friend along for the ride. Your dog will enjoy a sensory adventure filled with exciting sights, smells, and plenty of playtimes, and with so many dog-friendly sights and activities in every corner of the country, it's easy to find places that both you and your dog will love.

These road trips point the way to an amazing journey with your pup, but make sure to plan ahead and map out off-leash parks, pet-friendly accommodations, pet-friendly restaurants, and attractions along the route. Know that with some destinations, such as national parks, you may need to purchase a special pass or pay an extra fee. It's also important to double-check the laws and regulations regarding pets in the area you’re visiting.

Finally, before setting out, make sure your dog is prepared for an extended car ride by making sure they’ve had enough exercise and are well-rested before the trip. Also be sure to bring plenty of food and water, along with bowls, any medications they might need, a leash and collar, and a toy or two. Remember their favorite treats, and always pack extra. Now hit the road!

1. Pacific Coast Highway

Hikers and their dog hike off the Pacific Coast Highway in Golden Hour on their US road trip.
This coastline was made for exploring.Photo Credit: aaronj9 / Shutterstock

California

For those looking to explore the West Coast, the Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most beautiful and dog-friendly road trips out there. This stretch of highway runs up the coast of California and provides plenty of chances to explore the beautiful outdoors. Dogs will love the wide open spaces along the beaches, the countless pet-friendly parks and restaurants, and the chance to explore the rugged coastline around Big Sur.

2. Route 66

A dog poses at an art installation of painted cars in the desert on its US road trip.
It's a classic for a reason.Photo Credit: Lynda McFaul / Shutterstock

Chicago to Los Angeles

For a classic American road trip, you can't go wrong with the iconic Route 66. This highway runs from Chicago to Los Angeles and provides plenty of exciting sights and activities for you and your dog. Take advantage of the countless pet-friendly attractions along the way and explore all the small towns and cities that Route 66 passes through.

3. Blue Ridge Parkway

A dog looks out at a forested vista on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
It's peaceful, it's pretty, and there are plenty of hiking options.Photo Credit: Alisha Bube / Shutterstock

North Carolina and Virginia

The Blue Ridge Parkway through North Carolina and Virginia is a great option for those looking for a peaceful and scenic escape. This winding parkway, which runs 469 miles (755 kilometers) from Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, provides endless opportunities to explore with your pup, such as breathtaking mountain views, lush forests, and plenty of hikes. Adventurous dogs will love the hike up to Crabtree Falls, which features waterfalls up to 60 feet (18 meters) tall.

4. Great River Road

A woman and her dog ride the Great River Road on a sunny day in a canoe.
See the Midwest from a whole new angle.Photo Credit: Edgar Lee Espe / Shutterstock

Mississippi River

Consider checking out the Great River Road if you want a unique, scenic experience of the Midwest. This 3,000-mile (4,830-kilometer) stretch of highway runs alongside the Mississippi River, providing plenty of chances to explore the stunning scenery and enjoy the outdoors with your dog. The route will take you on a marathon journey through Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

5. Southwest Circuit

A dog checks out the Grand Canyon on its US road trip.
This one's for fans of awesome vistas.Photo Credit: Kara Arceneaux / Shutterstock

Arizona and Utah

Another great road trip for adventurous dogs is across the southwestern United States, where you and your faithful hound will take in some of the country's most beautiful and diverse natural landscapes. From the red rock canyons around Sedona and the stunning desert views near Lake Powell to the rugged beauty of the Grand Canyon, this trip offers plenty of places to explore that canines love; just be sure to pack lots of water and mind the heat!

6. Northeast Coast

A dog and its friend contemplates a lake in Maine on a US road trip.
Take in the best Maine has to offer.Photo Credit: Michael Carni / Shutterstock

Maine

If you’re looking for a picturesque road trip, look no further than a drive across coastal Maine. This route provides plenty of chances to explore the coastline, charming towns, and numerous pet-friendly attractions of Maine. Stop at the flagship L.L. Bean store in Freeport, Maine, to pick up a blanket to keep Fido warm and cozy during the chilly Maine nights.

7. Great Lakes Circle Tour

A dog looks out at Lake Superior on its US road trip.
There'll be plenty of shoreline spots for your pup to splash around in.Photo Credit: Devin Koob / Shutterstock

Michigan

For a beautiful tour of the Great Lakes region, consider driving the Great Lakes Circle. This 1,800-mile (2,900-kilometer) route takes you through some of the most gorgeous areas of the Great Lakes region, including parks, forests, and plenty of pet-friendly attractions. If your dog loves to romp freely, you won’t want to miss Lake Superior Park, where off-leash dogs are welcome on the trails and the entire length of the shoreline.

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