Road Tripping with Rover

Sometimes it’s hard to leave our fur babies at home when we vacation. Thankfully, with so many pet-friendly cities in the Southeast, you can bring Fluffy with you.* Check out The AAA PetBook for a more comprehensive list.

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Play: These barrier islands span some 130 miles off the North Carolina coast and teem with charming beach towns. Many beaches welcome pets all year long. Nags Head Beach and Cape Hatteras National Seashore are good bets. You and your pooch can spread out at beaches like Oregon Inlet 4WD Beach and Kitty Hawk. Well-behaved dogs can be off-leash during off season months (roughly from Labor Day to Memorial Day).

Take your leashed pup for a visit to the Wright Brothers National Memorial, site of the first successful airplane flights. Dogs are also welcome on the kayak tours with Outer Banks Kayak Adventures (in Duck).

Eat: Bonzer Shack in Kill Devil Hills offers a laid-back vibe with live music, corn hole and outdoor picnic tables. An Outer Banks favorite since 1977, John’s Drive In  in Kitty Hawk dotes on its four-legged customers, offering a free “puppy cup” of ice cream to dogs, rabbits, horses and any other pet you might have with you.

Stay: Overnight options include The Anchorage Inn and Marina, Ocracoke; Comfort Inn South Oceanfront, Nags Head; and the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Atlantic Beach Oceanfront, Atlantic Beach.

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Play:The island of Hilton Head boasts an extensive system of walking trails, and dogs can enjoy beach time all day during the off season (Oct.1 through Feb. 28). During summer months, dogs are allowed on the beaches before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m. The island’s largest park, Chaplin Community Park, offers access to Burkes Beach and provides multiple fenced-in areas for your pup. 

Stop by Tail Wiggles in the Village at Wexford for “barkery” pet treats and human grade food. You’ll also find toys, leashes and bedding for both dogs and cats. 

Eat: At Old Fort Pub, a AAA Four Diamond restaurant, you can dine with your dog at the outdoor tables overlooking Skull Creek. Head to San Miguel’s in Shelter Cove for Mexican fare, marina views and top-notch margaritas.

Stay: AAA Four Diamond accommodations like Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort, Sonesta Resort and The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa ensure a pampered stay for you and your pup.

A few of the Southeast’s best pet-friendly spots to play, eat and stay.Sometimes it’s hard to leave our fur babies at home when we vacation. Thankfully, with so many pet-friendly cities in the Southeast, you can bring Fluffy with you.* Check out The AAA PetBook for a more comprehensive list.

Knoxville, Tennessee

Play: Fringed by the Tennessee River, this outdoor-loving city is a fun spot to vacation with pets. PetSafe Downtown Dog Park is ideal for off-leash fun. They provide separate sections for small and large dogs, ramps, exercise stations and dog water fountains. Just a few minutes across the river you’ll find 1,000-forested acres in the Knoxville Urban Wilderness. You’ll find more than 50 miles of trails here, as well as ten parks, four Civil War sites and extensive waterfront walkways.

Pop in the Mast General Store for Ruffwear gear like dog jackets, backpacks and other outdoor pet gear. Your pup
will likely receive a treat. Just make sure he’s leashed and doesn’t snoop in the Candy Barrel.

Eat: Convenient to downtown hotels, Chesapeake’s is situated in a restored historic building and serves up fresh oysters, live Maine lobster and varied seafood dishes. Enjoy pub favorites like loaded nachos, chicken wings and burgers on Stillhouse Tavern’s dog-friendly patio.

Stay: There are lots of places to hunker down for the night. Best Western Plus Strawberry Inn & Suites, Crowne Plaza Knoxville and Hilton Knoxville downtown are a few to consider.

Savannah, Georgia

Play: This historic city loves its pets, and offers more than 60 dog-friendly activities.Savannah Movie Tours & More allows leashed pets on both riding and walking tours like the Civil War Tour, Ghost Tour and the Movie Tour. Stops even include a water break with a doggie treat. 

Attractions like the Wormsloe Historic Site, Savannah Botanical Gardens and Georgia State Railroad Museum welcome leashed pets. The A.T. Hun Art Gallery in Savannah’s City Market features many pet themed art pieces, and they treat visiting pets to dog treats.

Eat: Fido can cool off with a doggie sundae at Leopold’s Ice Cream, located on East Broughton Street. With a plethora of flavors made from family recipes since 1919, there are plenty of human treats, too! Vic’s on the River Restaurant & Bar boasts a spacious dog-friendly outdoor area and classic Southern dishes.

Stay: Savannah is rich with a selection of pet-friendly AAA Four Diamond accommodations. Choose from the Andaz Savannah, the Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront, Foley House Inn, Mansion on Forsyth Park and The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa.

St. Augustine, Florida

Play: Beaches, parks and water-based attractions are plentiful for vacationers with dogs. Leashed dogs are allowed inside both the Spanish Military Hospital Museum and the Oldest Wooden School House, as well as roam the grounds of the St. Augustine Lighthouse.

Sample the diverse food and soak up bits of colonial history during a Pet Friendly Food Tour with Bone Appetit. Treats and special pet stops are weaved into this unique food tour. Pets are also welcome to tag along on Bone Appetit’s historic pub tour of St. Augustine.

Eat: Florida Cracker Café, in the heart of the historic district, provides outdoor dining to accommodate pets. Taberna del Caballo offers Spanish inspired dishes like assorted tapas, Cuban sandwiches and several types of Mediterranean flatbreads.

Stay: Try the Casa Monica Resort & Spa, a AAA Four Diamond property, as well as the Bayfront Marin House, Peace & Plenty Inn and Casablanca Inn on the Bay.

Alexandria, Virginia

Play: There are 20 public, off-leash dog parks like Montgomery Park with tennis courts, a playground and a fenced dog run at the riverside Founders Park.

The Potomac Riverboat Company offers an hour-long canine cruise around the Alexandria seaport. Rent a pet-friendly kayak or canoe at the Key Bridge Boathouse in Washington, D.C. They also provide doggie life jackets to keep your pooch water safe.

On select Saturdays, George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate hosts the All the Presidents Pups Walking Tour. The tour highlights the first president’s love for dogs and stops at several historic locations on the estate.

Eat: The pet-friendly dining options in Alexandria and outskirts are almost limitless.

Pet lovers will want to consider a meal at the Lost Dog Café. In addition to serving tasty salads, sandwiches and gourmet pizzas (at their five locations), they have sponsored, rescued and placed thousands of neglected and abandoned animals for the past 16 years.

Stay: You have lots of choices for a pet-friendly stay in Alexandria. The AAA Four Diamond Morrison House is a good bet. The Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Alexandria-Old Town, The Westin Alexandria, and the Sheraton Suites Old Town Alexandria also allow pets. 

*Please note: Many pet-friendly attractions require pre-visit paperwork, so please contact them prior to your visit. In addition, hotels and resorts that welcome pets may require an additional fee.