Who wants to leave their furry friends behind when they’re headed into the great outdoors? The pets are part of the family, so they should get to go too! While not all campsites are conducive to bringing pets, if you plan your trip around pet-friendly campgrounds, you never have to leave the pets behind when you hit the road.
To provide you with a list of must-visit sites, we asked Paw.com to pick their favorite campgrounds on Campspot that are perfect for pet owners. Read the full list to see where you should visit next.
Tips for Camping With Dogs
Dogs Need Gear Too
Is this an excuse to buy more outdoor gear? Absolutely. Is it necessary, though? Actually, yeah.
You don’t need to have every piece of gear on the market, but you do want to cover the basics. You’ll need a travel set of water and food bowls, as well as an appropriately long leash and a harness.
You can even get a setup where you can attach the leash to a tree or a stake in the ground to give your furry friend maximum room to roam while still being on a leash. Consider a harness instead of a normal collar, especially a harness with a handle.
With all the new sounds and smells, you may want a good harness and strong leash to keep your dog by your side. If you plan to camp with your dog often, reference a dog camping gear checklist to see what you’ll need.
Know the Rules
When you’re at a pet-friendly campground, the rules are likely to be posted and a little more lenient for those bringing their dogs and cats. However, it’s still on you to be familiar with the rules. Additionally, if you’re trying to camp in state or national parks during your trip, make sure you know the rules inside and out.
Not all parks will allow pets (bummer, I know), so make sure you know where you can and can’t go, or you’ll be in for a really unfortunate surprise.
Expect Life to Be a Little Less Convenient
Look, you know pets take work. Don’t expect that to change when you go camping. Just because you’re outdoors doesn’t mean you can take a day off from paying attention to your pets.
Don’t be the camper whose pet is running around and bothering everyone else, or doesn’t clean up after their pet. You can have tons of fun bringing your pet along, just make sure you’re really up for it.
How to Find Campgrounds on Campspot With Dog Parks
There are more than just these five options, of course. If you want to expand your search, it’s easy to find campgrounds with dog parks on Campspot.
Step 1: Select the area (and dates, if you know when you’re going) that you want to visit and hit “search”
Step 2: Navigate to the “Park Features” section and check the box marked “Dog Park”
Once you’ve done those two steps, your search results should automatically update, so you’ll only see Campspot sites that feature dog parks. Simple as that!
Tips for Camping With Cats
Remember, They Aren’t Dogs
Yes, this sounds obvious, but hear me out. Camping with cats is a whole different experience than bringing a dog along. While taking a dog is relatively easy (and much more common), taking a cat requires a different mindset. You want to manage your expectations and plan accordingly.
On the bright side, they aren’t dogs. In many ways, especially for RV campers, bringing a cat along is simple. They’re self-sufficient and happy to just hang around while you do your thing. Bring food, water, toys, and a litter box, and just let them enjoy their time.
Bring the Creature Comforts
Cats may take a bit of time to warm up in ways that dogs don’t. No big deal, though. Bring their favorite toys and anything from home that might make the transition less overwhelming. If you have their favorite toy (and their bed if they have one), your cat should be just fine.
Know the First Few Times May Be a Learning Experience
It’s true that pet-friendly campgrounds are often geared more towards dogs. If you’ve never taken your cat camping with you, expect to have some learning experiences early on.
Maybe you’ll nail it on your first trip (good for you if so), but likely you’ll need a couple of trips under your belt to work out all the kinks. As long as you’re patient and attentive the first few times, you’ll have a formula that works for taking your cat on all your future adventures!
The 5 Best Pet-Friendly Campgrounds on Campspot
1. Sun Outdoors Paso Robles – Paso Robles, California
Starting out with a winner here! Sun Outdoors Paso Robles took home first place in the category Top Campground Design and second place in Top Campgrounds in the USA at the 2022 Campspot Awards.
This resort caters to the whole family and is nestled in the heart of one of California’s best wine regions. When you want to take your four-legged friend out, you’ll find plenty of lush outdoor spaces to enjoy nearby.
Nearest Airports: San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, Santa Maria Airport
Nearby Attractions: Pioneer Museum, Sunken Gardens, The Ravine Water Park
Pet-Friendly Sites: All site types feature pet-friendly site options
2. Kittawa RV Resort – Limoges, Ontario, Canada
Just half an hour from Toronto, Kittawa puts you near all of the city’s amenities without taking away from the outdoor experience. From the beginning of May to the end of October, you and your pets can enjoy the abundant greenery of this tree-lined resort.
If you’re coming from the U.S., make sure you familiarize yourself with the rules for traveling internationally with pets.
Nearest Airports: Ottawa International Airport, Massena International Airport
Nearby Attractions: Calypso Theme Waterpark, Petrie Island Park, Countryside Adventures
Pet-Friendly Sites: All RV sites
3. Verde Ranch RV Resort – Camp Verde, Arizona
If you and your pet are the adventurous types, this is the perfect pet-friendly campground to settle on. With proximity to the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Flagstaff, and a handful of other desert southwest hotspots, you’ll never be short on things to do and places to go.
When you’re here, you’ll get a full suite of resort-style amenities. If you’re visiting in the cooler months, take advantage of the heated pool or hot tubs.
Nearest Airports: Prescott Regional Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
Nearby Attractions: Montezuma Castle National Monument, Fort Verde State Historic Park, Out of Africa Wildlife Park
Pet-Friendly Sites: Deluxe Cabin and all RV sites. K9 Corner Back In sites are located right next to the dog park.
4. Carolina Pines RV Resort – Conway, South Carolina
Carolina Pines is another pet-friendly campground with a couple of awards to its name. Coming in at number eight in Top Campgrounds in the USA and number five in Top Campgrounds for First-Timers at the 2022 Campspot Awards, its pedigree speaks for itself. This is an especially great option if you aren’t an experienced camper but want to take your pet with you.
Carolina Pines is a beginner-friendly resort that caters to you and your pets marvelously. You’ll have every amenity you could think to want! If you want to venture out, you’ll be a short drive from the popular Myrtle Beach area.
Nearest Airports: Myrtle Beach International Airport, Wilmington International Airport
Nearby Attractions: Alligator Adventure, WonderWorks Myrtle Beach, Hollywood Wax Museum
Pet-Friendly Sites: Carolina Cottages with Loft (one and two-bedroom), Carolina Cottage Studio, Standard and Premium RV sites
5. The Hideaway Retreat – Navarre, Florida
Got a pet that loves the beach as much as you do? Immerse yourself in the white sands and vibes of Old Florida at this nostalgia-inducing resort. Even if you never experienced Florida in the mid-20th century, it’s easy to fall under the magical relaxation spell of this pet-friendly campground.
Enjoy walks among the trees with the sand under your feet (and paws). You’ll be just a quick walk from the resort’s private beach, nicknamed “Pooch Beach” for its pet-friendly policies.
Nearest Airports: Pensacola International Airport, Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport
Nearby Attractions: Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, Gulf Breeze Zoo, Navarre Beach Marine Park
Pet-Friendly Sites: All sites except the Shasta Camper Rental
When you’re on your next adventure, you can bring the whole family along! With a little planning (and reservations at pet-friendly campgrounds), you’ll never have to leave your furry friends behind.
Joe Coleman is a freelance travel and outdoor writer based in East Texas. His love for the outdoors started when living near Olympic National Park and has stayed with him ever since. Taking a respite from social media, you can reach him exclusively at firstname.lastname@example.org.