Above: Photo courtesy of capesanblas.com. A visit to Cape San Blas on the gulf coast of Florida can be a fun trip for you and your pet. 

As a relatively new dog owner who rescued a black lab a few months back, I’m taking a different approach to my summer travel plans this year: Wherever I go, I’m taking my pup with me.

Here are a few of my ideas for dog-friendly summer trips.

Get Your Paws Sandy

3 Picks for Dog-Friendly Summer Travel 1

Dogs can get sandy at Cape San Blas on the Gulf Coast of Florida

Coast to coast, there are scores of dog-friendly beaches in the United States. A great resource for finding one where your furry friend can run, swim and play is Bringfido.com. The site offers a complete listing of dog-friendly beaches, hikes, attractions and accommodations.

My Pick

Cape San Blas on the Gulf Coast of Florida is a six-hour drive from Atlanta, and the entire stretch of beach is pet-friendly (dogs must remain on a leash at all times). Get yourself a dog-friendly vacation rental on the beach and hang with your best friend and the rest of the family for a relaxing weekend getaway.

Cape San Blas is about an hour south of Panama City by car.

Take a Hike

Go exploring with your dog by taking a drive through the Appalachian Mountains and experiencing everything the region has to offer. Breathe in the fresh mountain air and take the short drive up to North Georgia, Asheville, N.C., or the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. All three destinations are less than a four-hour drive from Atlanta and offer hiking, camping, rafting, wineries, and many more family-friendly and dog-friendly activities.

My Pick

Rent a dog-friendly cabin in Gatlinburg, Tenn., and enjoy everything that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park region has to offer. Although dogs are not allowed on many of the trails, they are allowed in the campgrounds and picnic areas and along roads.

Bear the Black lab

Bear the friendly Black lab

Try hiking on the dog-friendly Gatlinburg trail and Oconaluftee River trail. The Gatlinburg sky lift in the middle of town allows dogs to ride with their owners to the top of the mountain and hike down.

Hit the Open Road

Take a dog-friendly road trip this summer to parts unknown. Take advantage of Bringfido.com’s extensive listing of pet-friendly hotels, motels and other accommodations across the country.

Certain nationwide hotel chains, including La Quinta Inn & Suites and Best Western, are pet-friendly but recommend calling ahead to check on individual locations.

My Pick

Give your dog a taste of the city life with a pilgrimage to Woofstock in Toronto. The two-day event held every May is the largest outdoor festival for dogs in North America. This year’s Woofstock on May 28 and 29 saw 200,000 attendees and 150,000 dogs converge at Toronto’s Woodbine Park on the shores of Lake Ontario.

Toronto offers a wide variety of pet-friendly accommodations and dining options.

Looking to stay in town? Atlanta hosts a similar Woofstock event in Smyrna each fall.