Staycationing with your Dog

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Today we are sharing another post topic with our friend Dexter and Carol over at Fidose of Reality. We are both writing about traveling with your dog – the ins & outs traveling and offering up our tips and suggestions for making it fun and stress free for everyone.
We’ve all heard about the trend of “staycationing”. Wikipedia defines a staycation as: “a period in which an individual or family stays home and participates in leisure activities within driving distance, sleeping in their own beds at night. They might make day trips to local tourist sites, swimming venues, or engage in fun activities such as horseback riding, paintball, hiking or visiting museums”. Staycations became popular during the last financial crisis. (Wait, isn’t there always a financial crisis going on?)


We prefer staycations because we aren’t big travelers. It’s a hassle to travel, especially with two big dogs and a vacation isn’t much of a vacation if half of the family isn’t there, so we prefer to take our vacations with our dogs.

This year we took a big vacation and traveled with Jack and Maggie to Big Bear Lake about a 3 hour drive from our house. We had a great time and wrote all about it back in July.
But, since our vacationing preference is staycations, today I want to write about finding fun day trips you can take with your pets.
Back when I was a kid many years ago, our family did a staycation summer. I had an older brother & sister and our parents let us each pick a destination. It had to be within a few hours drive from our home so that we could make the trip there and back in the same day. This was the best thing ever for us because we each got to pick something we were interested in. If I remember correctly, my older sister picked Niagara Falls, my brother picked the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY and I picked the Enchanted Forest in Old Forge, NY.
Normally, I have a really bad memory, but the thrill of getting to pick where we went on our vacation and the fun we had has stayed with me over the years, so I recommend a staycation as an option for those of you with kids – let them pick where the family will go. Now, if I let Jack pick where we went, we would end up at a meat rendering plant or a bacon factory or something equally food related, so we don’t let him pick 🙂
We are lucky enough to live within a 30 minute drive of the Pacific Ocean. You would think that would be a regular trip we would make. But, not all beaches are dog friendly beaches and there’s many a beach in CA that are great for surfers with big strong waves, but they aren’t so great for dogs. The Pacific Ocean also has serious undertows and there have been many a scary story about dogs getting swept away by them, so be aware and forewarned. If you live close to a beach, on either coast, and plan a day trip there, be sure and check the conditions of the beach and the regulations about allowing dogs.
Don’t live near the ocean? There are plenty of lakes, rivers, streams, etc. that you can take your dog to. Pack a picnic lunch and make a day of swimming, hiking and of course eating.
Speaking of hiking, that’s another great staycation you can do. Wherever you live, there is sure to be open space with hiking trails within driving distance. And hiking is such great exercise for you and for your dog. So get out and see some of the countryside. Live in a city? No excuse, do a city hike. Hike from one neighborhood to another – you will be surprised at what you discover.
How to get around? Planes, Trains and Automobiles, right? The whole premise behind a staycation is you stay close to home – so airline travel seems out of bounds. How about trains? Unfortunately, Amtrak doesn’t have a great pet policy. Although, to their credit there is a pilot program being conducted in Illinois, so maybe if that proves successful, then things will change. Greyhound Bus line has a similarly restrictive pet policy.
vacationIt looks like automobiles is the way to go. The most important thing about taking your dog in the car is keeping them safe. That means seat belts or harness or even crating them in the car. Be sure and bring water and stop for breaks so they can relieve themselves.


Every city, county or state has travel guides for fun adventures, historic sights to visit, museums, parks and other family entertainment. The Automobile Club of America (AAA) also has travel guides and road maps. The “Google” is your best resource to find trips or sights to see close to home. Just search for your city name and ‘day trip’ and you’ll find lots of ideas. Or try these website:

Since the plan is to take your dog, be sure and check the rules for pets wherever you decide to go . Make sure they allow them and that there will be accommodations for them – shady spot to lie down, water, a place for potty, etc.
The most important thing of course is to enjoy yourself and your time with your pet. Just like vacations, staycations can be a great bonding experience, so make the most of it.

Be sure and check out Fidose of Reality post on Five Dog Friendly Eastern US Getaways.
Additional Resources:

SlimDoggy Pinterest Board on Traveling with your Pets

Car Travel Tips

Traveling With Pets Tips: A How-To Guide On Vacations With Your Cat Or Dog

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mondaymischief   We are joining up with the Monday Mischief Blog Hop, hosted by Snoopy's Dog Blog, Alfie’s Blog and My Brown Newfies  


  1. That’s one of the best things about staycations; you get to bring your dogs (and cats when you’re not travelling.)

    Wags (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats.
    Susan and the gang from Life with Dogs and Cats recently posted…Playin’ Pool: dogs cooling offMy Profile

  2. Hi Y’all!

    Some great ideas there!

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…Abandoned! I Was Abandoned!My Profile

  3. We are staycationers for the most part too. Mom traveled the world most of her life and is so happy to just stay home and if she travels to take the car. It is nice to just put all your stuff in the car, as much as you can fit without worrying about size and weight. Day trips are fun, and we usually take 1-2 long car trips a year, but we are happy with that. No need to jet off here and there anymore.
    Emma recently posted…Balancing at Jensen LakeMy Profile

  4. I\’m with you, to spend a day on a great place and to sleep in my own bed at night is the best. I totally dislike to live from a suitcase what contains anyway the wrong things and after our last adventure at Norman Bates Motel, I try to avoid longer trips. And as long as dogs have to travel in the cargo area, airplanes are anyway no options fo us

  5. Great ideas! We just take day trips, with 3 large dogs that’s about all mom and dad can handle! It’s nice to get away for the day and come back to the comforts of our own home!
    Miley’s Daily Scoop recently posted…The Mischievous CatMy Profile

  6. Staycations are a fav of ours too – we are blessed to have family in Charleston SC (my “happy place”) that adore Harley also. So that’s our usual “go to” place which is like a staycation a few miles down the road. Traveling w/o Harley is never an option. True stories: when my father in law passed away, wonderful friends offered to keep the boys, my husband said “thanks, but they’re coming with us, their part of the family, and during times like these, families need to be together!”
    Groovy Goldendoodles recently posted…WHILE I WAS GONEMy Profile

  7. We’re huge fans of staycations! When we had 2 dogs, we could travel, but with 4, it’s just not possible – our car isn’t big enough and no hotels or homes will take 4 dogs. Staycations are less stressful for all of us and we have a great time while getting a lot done.
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…Tips For a Good Night’s Sleep with Littermates During a StormMy Profile

  8. I’ve been working so much a staycation would be lovely with Kilo!

  9. We love mixing in local dog-friendly staycations with our bigger trips. It’s a fun way to explore the parts of the city we don’t normally get to, and after a long day you get to sleep in your own bed!

  10. I love stay-cations with the family. We end up taking picnics, day trips, exploring the local parks, going for walks, and just enjoying extra long play sessions. So great to do this shared post with you!
    Carol Bryant recently posted…Five Dog Friendly Eastern U.S. Fall GetawaysMy Profile

  11. Our favorite day trips are to the coast where Mr. N can run around on the beach and to the mountains to hike. Mr. N loves traveling. I think the biggest problem we face is where to eat especially during the winter when there are no patio options.
    Tenacious Little Terrier recently posted…Monday Mischief #45 – Protecting your dog from dog attacksMy Profile

  12. If I can’t go then there’s no vacation! Staycations are the best, we have tons of places to go and a beach too. Thanks for the tips. Love Dolly
    Dolly the Doxie recently posted…Mischief at Grandma’sMy Profile

  13. We don’t have many trails and no water available for the boys. Except the water sprinkler. ☺ They love taking walks in different areas for fun.
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…BFTB Channel 7 NETWoof NewsMy Profile

  14. We do this a lot on weekends when we have some free time. Haley loves going to new places too and checking out the local sights, sounds and smells. There are so many places you can visit with your dogs and they enjoy variety too, instead of the same handful of places you normally might walk your dog. Of course, we always take the ‘dog car’, lol!
    Elaine recently posted…GoPro Fetch Dog Harness ReviewMy Profile

  15. For the most part we do staycationing as well. We love going new places without having to worry about how we’re going to take care of Laika for the night. She’s always up for new adventures with us and luckily here in Michigan we have many interesting landmarks nearby. Of course we all love the outdooor ones best.
    Jen Jelly recently posted…Does My Dog Have Fleas? Signs, Symptoms, and TreatmentMy Profile

  16. Interesting! Love the idea of stacationing!!!!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…It’s my babies birthday! – PLUS “Worlds happiest dog” rescueMy Profile

  17. We are so lucky to live close to the beach as well. Just a 20-minute walk! You’d think we would go there more often, but I probably take Ace there once a month or maybe twice a month. I’m planning a “staycation” over the holidays this year and can’t wait to just relax and enjoy some of the sights and things to do around my community, with and without my dog.
    Lindsay recently posted…Easy socialization tips for dogs and puppiesMy Profile

  18. I love the idea of “staycations”! Riley has only been on one actual trip with us, and it was only a few hours away in Minnesota (we live in Iowa). We stayed in a lakeside cabin for a couple of nights, and all of us had so much fun – gotta love those pet-friendly cabins/B&Bs/hotels! Thanks for sharing these great ideas!
    Chelsea Price recently posted…My Peekapoo Poops in PetCo…My Profile

  19. Rita loves it when we take a staycation – Mommy and Daddy both around to do fun stuff with, and no long stretches in the car! We live by the ocean but don’t go very often – Rita much prefers calm water so she’s a fan of streams and lakes, and not so much of waves!
    Jackie Bouchard recently posted…Monday Mischief: You Mean… She’s Not Mexican?My Profile

  20. We love these tips and ideas for staycationing! Living in the PNW, we have so many fun dog-friendly adventures within a few hours drive- we have been trying to take full advantage since moving here a year ago. We also just love to travel and vacation with our dogs whenever possible!
    Kaitlin-SheSpeaksBark recently posted…Comment on {Black & White Sunday} Little Big Dog by Golden WoofsMy Profile

  21. We usually save vacation so we can spend time at our cabin during hunting season. I guess you would call that a “staycation”. It is hard to travel with three dogs so that is why we got our little place. 🙂
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Freighter’s Second MajorMy Profile

  22. Great post! We \”staycation\” a lot since we have several large dogs. I agree, it\’s just not a vacation if you have to leave the dogs at home. 🙁

  23. Great post. I just love taking my gang anywhere’s there is water. The undertow sounds really scary and never thought of that.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Tasty Tuesday~Yummy Human TreatMy Profile

    • There was a really sad case a few years ago – dog got swept away, the dad went after him and drowned…it was horrible. One reason I don’t like to take our dogs there too often. Luckily they aren’t big swimmers.
      mkob recently posted…Protein in Dog Food: Common Meat SourcesMy Profile

  24. We prefer to staycation as well. Unfortunately we often get caught up in household projects and forget to go do something fun!
    Jan K recently posted…Wordless Wednesday – K9 HuddleMy Profile

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