12 Pet Friendly Staycation Ideas That Are Better Than Traveling

Do you have vacation days ahead of you, but a limited travel budget? Do not worry! A pet-friendly stay can be just as much fun as traveling!

Couple drinking coffee on sofa with white dog

When we start planning vacation time, most of us imagine hitting the road. While travel is fun and a wonderful way to discover new places, it can get expensive. If you’re looking for a way to maximize your vacation budget, consider a pet-friendly stay instead!

What is a staycation?

Amidst our regular routines, we rarely take the time to truly explore our own backyards. Human nature apparently causes us to do massive amounts of research when we go to a new place while rejecting all sorts of fun things around our house. A stay allows you to correct this situation.

A couple sits on a sofa with a smiling dog on their laps

Staycations can take many forms, but it generally means taking time off from work and traveling close to home. However, it does not necessarily mean that you have to sleep at your home!

Becoming a tourist in your hometown (or somewhere close by) frees up funds that you would otherwise spend on accommodation, gas for a road trip or plane tickets and a rental car. You can create great vacation memories by diverting some of those savings to treat yourself to a few things you’ll actually love!

Things to do during your pet friendly stay

No matter where you live, there are almost certainly fun things to do that you haven’t – until now – taken the time to do. This is your opportunity to truly appreciate the place you have chosen to live!

When you start planning your visit, stop by your local visitors office and pick up a guide. Find out what draws tourists to your area and make a list of things that sound intriguing.

In addition to local attractions, here are some ideas for things to do during your pet-friendly stay:

1. Stay in a nice hotel, resort, or vacation rental

If staying in a really beautiful place is a special treat for you, plan a few nights in a quality hotel Hotel, resort or vacation rental near your home.

This can also be great exercise for pets who are just learning to be well-behaved travel companions. The risk is not as great as with a big road trip, because if things don’t go well, it’s not far to home.

READ MORE ⇒ Train your dog to travel

Brindle dog lying on a hotel bed and holding a stuffed puppy

2. Go camping

Camping is a wonderful way to spend a few days if you want to get away from it all. And most campsites are pet friendly! Whether you’re car camping, camping, RVing, or renting a pet-friendly cabin, the opportunity to unwind in nature is good for your nerves.

Camping has become very popular, so try to make your reservations well in advance. If that doesn’t work, opt for a mid-week reservation when there’s more availability, or pitch the tent in the backyard!

READ MORE ⇒ Camping with Dogs – A Beginner’s Guide

6 affordable vacations with your pet

3. Plan a spa day

Are you and your pup both due for a pedicure? Maybe you don’t normally treat yourself to this kind of pampering – but this is your stay! Planning a spa day can leave you feeling both relaxed and rejuvenated.

Two happy corgi dogs snuggled up in a bed with a cup of tea.

4. Plan brunch, lunch, and happy hour

Our busy schedules sometimes make it difficult to spend as much time with friends and family as we would like. During your stay you have the flexibility to meet up with your friends or family when it suits them.

Plan brunch, lunch or happy hour at a pet friendly outdoor deck where your pet can accompany you!

Brindle dog, woman and two men on the pet friendly patio at Custer Wolf in Custer, SD

5. Go to the cinema

Most drive-in movie theaters are pet-friendly, and catching a movie is a fun way to spend time with your furry best friend. Grab a bucket of popcorn and sit back and enjoy the show!

We’ve compiled a list of pet-friendly drive-in theaters across the country. Check if there is one near you!

Drive-in cinemas in the USA |  GoPetFriendly.com

6. Pack a picnic

Pack a picnic with all your favorite foods (and your pet’s favorite treats) and spend an afternoon by a lake or in a park. Before you go, take a few minutes and build a zip line for your pup. You’ll both enjoy your time even more!

READ MORE ⇒ Make a zipline for your dog

Ty the Shar-pei and Buster the German Shepherd from GoPetFriendly.com relax at a campsite by their dog zip line

7. Visit a sculpture park, botanical garden or museum site

Museums might not come to mind when you think of pet-friendly activities. But many museums that have outdoor exhibits welcome pets. And these pet-friendly museums can be found in a variety of settings!

Here are some types of places you can check in your hometown to see if they’re pet-friendly:

  • Neighborhood historic districts
  • sculpture gardens
  • Ghost Towns / Abandoned Mining Towns

  • transport museums
  • botanical gardens
  • historical property
  • sites of living history
  • State parks with historic sites
  • maritime museums
  • educational farms and more
Dog sits on a rock in the Gilcrease Museum's pet-friendly gardens in Tulsa, OK

8. Take a class with your dog

There’s no better way to bond with your dog than learning something fun together! Whether it’s agility, nose work, tricks, or obedience, scheduling a class or session with a trainer can make your pet-friendly stay productive too!

Pet owners train dog with clicker

9. Enjoy a local tour

With a guided tour in your hometown, you can learn something new about where you live. Hiking tours can be guided or self-guided. For self-guided tours, look for maps at your local visitor center.

Your visitor center can also inform you about guided tours in your area. Just ask before booking if you can bring your pet with you! There are many types of guided tours. Depending on where you live, you might find historical tours, architectural tours, or ghost tours.

Pet Friendly Lavender Jeep Tours in Bisbee, AZ

10. Check out local breweries or wineries

The craft beer and wine industry has grown rapidly in recent years, and local breweries and wineries have sprung up across the country. Many of these establishments are pet-friendly and welcome your dog. But it’s always a good idea to call ahead and ask before you go.

12 Pet Friendly Staycation Ideas That Are Better Than Traveling 1

11. Make time for treats

Whether it’s ice cream, funnel cakes, toffee, or chocolate concoctions, no vacation (or staycaction) is complete without a few special treats. We recommend frequent visits to the ice cream shop, bakery or wherever you get your favorite snacks.

Ty's Ice Cream Cone - Tombstone, AZ

12. Rest and relax

After a busy stay, plan a day to rest and relax before returning to your normal schedule. Make your favorite room extra cozy by lighting candles, ordering food from your favorite restaurant, throwing off a soft blanket, curling up with a good book and staying in your loungewear all day. It will be the perfect ending to a great stay.

I hope you agree that being pet-friendly can be just as much fun as traveling with your pet. You can still see and learn new things without the challenges of being away from home.

Have more staycation ideas? Please share them in the comments below!

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