There are 58 national parks in the United States, and each one has its own awe-inspiring beauty and wildlife to enjoy. Last year, almost 70 million people visited a national park. If you are planning a trip that includes your dog and would like to take in the views of our national parks, some do allow limited access for canines, and five are considered to be “dog friendly.”
Pet access varies from park to park. Park superintendents have the authority to adjust pet policies at their specific park to ensure that the land, wildlife and the pets are protected. It’s important to plan ahead before heading out to a national park, historic site or seashore, and do research to make sure pets are welcome. Many national parks only allow dogs in designated areas like roads and developed areas. Most trails or wilderness areas are off limits to canines. Finding lodging for you and your pet can also be a challenge, but some parks do have kennels for pets. The only exception are service dogs who are allowed to go everywhere with their owner.
You can find current information about pet policies, entry fees, park hours and scheduled events at national parks on the National Park Service website. For pet policies, go to the search bar in the upper right hand corner where it says “find a park.” Click on a state and scroll down to find the national park you’re interested in. On the left side, click on plan your visit, click basic information, scroll down and click pets. You will also notice a red box for park alerts such as weather updates and construction projects.
If you love to take your dog along when you travel or just get out for a day of fun, there’s no shortage of Fido-friendly places you can go. Here are some ideas to consider.
Dog Days Baseball Games
Yes, you can take your four-legged BFF with you to the ball park, on specific dog-allowed days. This year, 18 major league baseball teams hosted Dog Days (some stadiums call them Bark in the Parks), with many holding multiple events. This dog-friendly event began in 1996 when the White Sox offered the first Dog Day which was a huge success. Some even have festivities such as parades, competitions, dog-related vendors and fundraisers for animal charities. Each stadium has its own requirements for vaccinations, weight limits and such, so be sure to visit their website or call before you go to get all the details.
National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C.
This historical site in the heart of our nation’s capital includes a host of iconic monuments including the Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt Memorials as well as the World War II, Korean War Veteran’s and Vietnam Veteran’s Memorials. The National Mall also includes Constitution Gardens, Washington Monument, Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site and Park, Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site, and a clock tower built in 1899. According to the National Park Service, dogs are permitted up to the monuments except in indoor or covered areas. In-between monument viewing, there are lots of places to walk, picnic, sight-see, enjoy the views and play a game of Frisbee with your dog.
As the economy continues to evolve, there have been some notable changes to the transportation industry. More and more Americans are switching to smaller cars, and sales of hybrid automobiles are on a steep upward trend. Families that used to be two-car households are figuring out creative ways to drop down to one car and eliminate the inflated cost of gasoline, property taxes, maintenance, etc. for that second car.
As a response, public transportation is taking on a more important role in the new American lifestyle. We have a long way to go to catch up with many of the countries in the European Union, but I’ve seen giant strides even in the small southern town where I live now.
Fortunately, some trains, buses, trolleys and light rails now allow pets. Be aware, however, that there are still many restrictions for this method of transportation when your travel companion walks on four legs. At this time, people that plan to have their pet accompany them must avoid Amtrak and Greyhound; neither carrier allows animals on its trains and buses.
Other than avoiding Amtrak and Greyhound, there are no standard guidelines to follow when determining whether a certain train, trolley or light rail system will allow pets and, if they do, what their rules and regulations are. Before making your plans, check for updates and new information regarding which carrier in your area of travel allows pets and what restrictions apply.
If you’ve determined that pets are allowed to travel with you on public transportation, make sure you both adhere to good travel etiquette. Here are some tips:
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.