Do you have vacation days coming, but a limited travel budget? No worries! A pet friendly “staycation” can be just as much fun as traveling!

Couple drinking coffee on sofa with white dog

When we start planning for vacation time, most of us imagine hitting the road. While traveling is fun and a wonderful way to explore new places, it can be expensive. If you’re looking for a way to maximize your vacation budget, consider a pet friendly staycation instead!

What Is A Staycation?

In the midst of our regular routines, we rarely take time to really explore our own backyards. Human nature apparently causes us to do massive amounts of research when we’re going somewhere new, while dismissing all kinds of fun things to do near our home. A staycation allows you to rectify that situation.

Couple sitting on sofa with a smiling dog on their lap

Staycations can take many forms, but it generally means taking time off from work and not traveling far from your home. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sleep at your house, however!

Becoming a tourist in your hometown (or somewhere nearby) frees up funds that you’d otherwise spend on places to stay, gas for a road trip, or airline tickets and a rental car. You can make great vacation memories by redirecting part of those savings to splurge on a few things that you’ll really enjoy!


Things To Do During Your Pet Friendly Staycation

No matter where you live, there are almost certainly fun things to do that you haven’t — up to now — made time for. This is your opportunity to truly appreciate the place you’ve chosen to live!

As you begin planning your staycation, stop by your local visitors bureau and pick up a travel guide. See what attracts tourists to your area, and make a list of the things that sound intriguing.

In addition to local attractions, here are some ideas of things you can do during your pet friendly staycation:

1. Stay At A Nice Hotel, Resort, Or Vacation Rental

If staying somewhere really nice is a special treat for you, plan to spend a few nights at a top-notch hotel, resort, or vacation rental near your home.

This can also be great practice for pets who are just learning to be well-behaved travel companions. There’s not as much risk as starting out with a big road trip, because if things don’t go well, you’re not far from home.

READ MORE ⇒ Training Your Dog To Travel

Brindle dog laying on a hotel bed holding a stuffed puppy

2. Go Camping

Camping is a wonderful way to spend a few days when you want to get away from it all. And most campgrounds are pet friendly! Whether you’re car camping, tenting, RVing, or renting a pet friendly cabin, the opportunity to relax in nature is good for the nerves.

Camping has become extremely popular, so try to make your reservations well in advance. If that doesn’t work, opt for a mid-week reservation when there is more availability, or set up the tent in the backyard!

READ MORE ⇒ Camping with Dogs – A Beginner’s Guide

6 Affordable Vacations to Take with Your Pet

3. Plan A Spa Day

Are you and your pup both due for a pedicure? Maybe you don’t normally treat yourself to that kind of pampering — but this is your staycation! Scheduling a spa day can leave you both feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

Two happy corgi dogs snuggled in a bed with a cup of tea.

4. Schedule Brunch, Lunch And Happy Hour

Our busy schedules sometimes make it difficult to spend as much time as we’d like with friends and family. During your staycation, you’ll have the flexibility to meet your friends or family when it’s convenient for them.

Schedule brunch, lunch, or happy hour at a pet friendly outdoor patio where your pet can join you!

Brindle dog, woman and two men on the pet friendly patio at Custer Wolf in Custer, SD

5. Go To The Movies

Most drive-in movie theaters are pet friendly, and seeing a movie is a fun way to spend time with your furry best friend. Get a bucket of popcorn and kick back and enjoy the show!

We’ve collected a list of pet friendly drive-ins around the country. Check to see if there’s one near you!

Drive-In Movie Theaters Across the U.S. |

6. Pack A Picnic

Pack a picnic with all your favorite foods (and your pet’s favorite treats) and spend an afternoon by a lake or at a park. Before you go, take a few minutes and make a zip line for your pup. You’ll both enjoy your time even more!

READ MORE ⇒ Making A Zip Line For Your Dog

Ty the Shar-pei and Buster the German Shepherd from relaxing in a campsite on their dog zip line

7. Visit A Sculpture Park, Botanical Garden, Or Museum Grounds

Museums might not leap to mind when you’re thinking about pet friendly things to do. But many museums that have outdoor exhibits welcome pets. And these pet friendly museums can be found in a wide range of settings!

Here are some types of places you can check in your hometown to see if they’re pet friendly:

  • neighborhood historic districts
  • sculpture gardens
  • ghost towns / abandoned mining towns
  • transportation museums
  • botanical gardens
  • historic estates
  • living history sites
  • state parks with historic sites
  • maritime museums
  • educational farms, and more
Dog sitting on a rock at the pet friendly Gilcrease Museum gardens in Tulsa, OK

8. Take A Class With Your Dog

There’s no better way to build a bond with your dog than learning something fun together! Whether it’s agility, nose work, tricks, or obedience, scheduling a class or sessions with a trainer can make your pet friendly staycation productive, too!

Pet Owner Training Dog Using Clicker

9. Enjoy A Local Tour

You can learn something new about the place you live by taking a tour in your home town. Walking tours can be guided or self-guided. For self-guided tours, check your local visitor’s center for maps.

Your visitor center will also be able to tell you about guided tours in your area. Just be sure to ask before you book if your pet is allowed to join you! There are many types of guided tours available. Depending on where you live you might find historical tours, architectural tours, or ghost tours.

Pet friendly Lavender Jeep Tours in Bisbee, AZ

10. Check Out Local Breweries Or Wineries

The craft beer and wine industries have grown quickly in recent years, and local breweries and wineries have popped up all over the country. Many of these establishments are pet friendly and love for you to bring your dog along. But it’s always a good idea to call ahead and ask before you go.


11. Make Time For Treats

Whether it’s ice cream, funnel cakes, taffy, or chocolate concoctions, no vacation (or staycaction) is complete without a few special treats. We encourage frequent trips to the ice cream shop, bakery, or wherever you get your favorite special snacks.

Ty's Ice Cream Cone - Tombstone, AZ

12. Rest and Relax

After a busy staycation, set aside a day to rest and relax before returning to your normal schedule. Make your favorite room extra cozy by lighting candles, ordering food from your favorite restaurant, pulling out a soft blanket, curling up with a good book, and staying in your loungewear all day. It will be the perfect ending to a great staycation.

I hope you agree that a pet friendly staycation can be just as much fun as traveling with your pet. You can still see and learn new things, without the challenges of being away from home.

Do you have more staycation ideas? Please share them in the comments below!

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