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Dogs have a special bond with their owners, and you probably want to take your pup everywhere you go. How else are you supposed to have adventures in the great outdoors together? However, you must remember that dogs aren’t always allowed in protected spaces. The best national parks for dogs will be the ones that allow them on trails and through the parks in general. Here are five of the most dog-friendly national parks you can visit with your furry friend.
With over 500 miles of hiking trails and only 20 of them inaccessible to dogs, Shenandoah National Park is one of the most obvious choices for a dog-friendly park. Dogs are also allowed on the campgrounds, meaning you can spend even more time with your best friend. After you’re finished hiking through this park, you can take a trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway, the most popular national park system, and drive through the beautiful road that leads from Virginia to North Carolina.
Bordering the shore of Lake Michigan, this national park is a great change of scenery if you want to take your dog somewhere with more water. It’s one of the best national parks for dogs simply because dogs are allowed on the beaches, which can help tire your pup out and will enable them to experience new environments, like beaches and wetlands.
The sands of New Mexico provide a welcome challenge for daring pups. With over 275 miles of desert, this protected dune field will keep you and your pup entertained for hours. Dogs are permitted everywhere in this park — except for buildings. You may need to avoid the visitor center when you plan on bringing your pup with you. Otherwise, both of you can enjoy the park to its fullest.
This park is the definition of wild. It’s tricky to get into because you must take a plane or boat just to enter. You and your pup can embrace the adventure by seeing wildlife up close, but be careful. You must have your dog on a short leash, and they have to be fully trained. The last thing you want is them running off into the wilderness without you. Keep the both of you happy and safe by sticking close together as you explore.
Mammoth Cave National Park has both campsites and comfortable cottages that allow dogs. The only places in the park where pups aren’t allowed are in the expansive cave system. While the caves may be the main draw of this park, the park has plenty of trails you and your pup can adventure together on. Whenever you want to explore the cave systems, you can either keep your dog in your cottage or use the kennel the park runs to house your pup temporarily.
The Best National Parks for Dogs to Visit
While you likely have countless national parks on your bucket list, some of them may not be very dog friendly. You might have been one of the 240 million annually to visit a national park, but can you remember the last time you brought your pup with you? These locations are great national parks for dogs to visit, as they make several allowances for your canine companion and allow them to experience something different from what they’re used to.