Most and least pet-friendly US vacation spots ranked
Numerous considerations go into selecting a location for a vacation. Depending on who is taking the trip — a family, a couple, or a solo traveler — the factors of what will make for a great vacation will vary considerably. This is especially true for pet owners looking to take a trip with their furry friends. A lack of pet-friendly accommodations and restaurants can really make or break a vacation for pet owners.
With this in mind, travel experts evaluated 50 of the most popular vacation spots in the U.S. on their pet-friendliness to help guide pet owners in their search for the perfect pet-friendly getaway.
To determine the most pet-friendly vacation spots for pet owners, the experts compared 50 of the most popular vacation spots in the U.S. across 8 key criteria.
Each of the 8 factors was graded on a 5-point scale, with a score of 5 representing the most favorable conditions for owners and pets. Each city’s total score was calculated from the total of its individual factor scores, which were weighted according to their importance to a pet-friendly vacation. The sum of these weights is 10, for a total possible score of 50. Each is listed below with its weight and data source.
- Dog Parks per 100k People — Weight: 0.75
- Pet Stores per 100k People — Weight: 0.50
- Pet-Friendly Hotels per 100k People — Weight: 2.50
- Pet-Friendly Vacation Rentals per 100k People — Weight: 2.50
- Pet-Friendly Restaurants per 100k People — Weight: 2.00
- Veterinarians per 100k People — Weight: 0.75
- Hiking Trails per 100k People — Weight: 0.50
- Miles of Hiking Trail — Weight: 0.50
Based on theranking analysis, Asheville, NC topped the list of pet-friendly vacation spots in the U.S. with a total city score of 47.5 out of 50, more than 5 points higher than the next location on the list — Santa Fe, NM. Asheville received top scores for 6 out of the 8 factors, including the 2 factors carrying the most weight in the rankings — the number of pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals relative to the population. Asheville’s large number of pet-friendly accommodations provide plenty of places for pet owners to stay and hang out with their furry pals. The city’s abundance of hiking trails is a great activity to unwind and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
The #2 city, Santa Fe, also received top marks for its pet-friendly accommodations and had the second-highest number of both pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals relative to the population of any city. The #5 city, Key West, FL, is home to both the highest number of pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals per 100k people, so if you’re looking for plenty of options for lodging, Key West may be the answer for you and your pet.
If dog parks are a must for you and your pet’s vacation, you should take a closer look at visiting Charleston, SC. Charleston has the highest number of dog parks per 100k people with 9.54.
Rounding out the top 15 most pet-friendly vacation spots were:
- Asheville, NC
- Santa Fe, NM
- Orlando, FL
- Savannah, GA
- Key West, FL
- Newport, RI
- Scottsdale, AZ
- Charleston, SC
- Portland, ME
- Greenville, SC
- New Orleans, LA
- Salt Lake City, UT
- Austin, TX
- Portland, OR
- Boise, ID
Top 15 Least Pet-Friendly Vacation Spots in the U.S.
Moving on to the locations pet owners may want to avoid if they’re looking to bring their furry friend on their next adventure, Maui, HI received the lowest score for pet-friendliness with a score of only 2.3 out of 50. It received 0 points for any of the factors related to pet-friendly accommodations or activities. The 2.3 points it did receive came from the city’s hiking options.
Several large cities appeared on the 15 most least-friendly lists, including New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. What these cities have in common is their low numbers of pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals relative to the cities’ populations. Additionally, urban areas offer less in terms of outdoor activities and availability of hiking trails for walks and all 4 cities also scored low for their number of dog parks. It might be best to leave your pet at home when you go to take in the sights of these sprawling metropolises.
Rounding out the top 15 least pet-friendly vacation spots were:
- Maui, HI
- New York, NY
- Milwaukee, WI
- Brooklyn, NY
- Detroit, MI
- Anaheim, CA
- Memphis, TN
- Philadelphia, PA
- Buffalo, NY
- Rochester, NY
- Chicago, IL
- San Antonio, TX
- Kansas City, MO
- Louisville, KY
- Los Angeles, CA