If you’re planning a road trip, what better a companion to bring than your dog?
Yes, planning a trip is exhausting enough as it is. Yes, the prospect of bringing your fur baby may not seem worth it. It also, however, might be worth a second look.
There are plenty of resources online to help you find dog-friendly accommodation, parks, hikes, even restaurants in whatever area you’re in, or wherever you’re going.
Stressed out about how to find those locations?
I got your back.
The First Thing to Consider
Let’s say you’ve already decided your dog is coming with you, and that’s that.
Congratulations, you’re just like me.
The first thing you should consider is, in fact, the restrictions this will pose. While finding dog-friendly activities and places to stay isn’t actually that hard, you may find yourself wanting to do some activities where dogs just aren’t allowed. (For us, our biggest problem was Josh wanting to go to the movies.)
There are some hotels that allow well-behaved dogs to stay in the room (though crated). Leaving your dog in unfamiliar territory, however, may bring your dog unnecessary stress.
Remember, dogs can’t communicate the way we can. They’re much more likely to feel nervous when left alone in foreign places.
Considering Additional Options for Your Dog
My dog, Piper, was a rescue, and because of that, I tend to shy away from kennels. The mere sight of one is enough to get her going crazy, and every kennel I’ve left her in has told me she didn’t handle the experience well.
As that would put a damper on my 50-state trek, I was nervous for a while after I first got her. I knew I couldn’t leave her alone in the room all the time, but I also knew I couldn’t have her every second of this trip.
Then, by the grace of God, I discovered two websites, which also have coinciding apps:
On each of these apps, you search in the city/town you’re going to (or for your own town if you’re just leaving for a few days.) From there, a list of potential dog sitters shows up, and after you peruse the pile of options, you choose one.
For the most part, this has been highly effective thus far on mine and Josh’s trip. The only place we had a problem finding a sitter was actually Portland, Oregon, but truthfully, that was because we waited a little too long to seek help.
Weeding Through Dog-Friendly Accommodation
The above-mentioned apps are good resources if you’d like to stay in a non-pet-friendly hotel, but there are plenty of places for you to stay that allow Fido to come along.
Finding dog-friendly accommodation, however, isn’t as difficult as you might think. The first and potentially easiest way is to Google the hotels in the town you’re going. After it shows the first few options, click on “More Hotels.” When the full list pops up, under “Amenities,” click “Pet-Friendly.”
If, however, you’d like the easiest and most convenient way to book dog-friendly accommodation and you’re not using points, check out BringFido.
BringFido is a website specifically designed to find parks, hotels, restaurants, campgrounds, hikes, and pretty much anything in between that will allow you to bring your pet.
This search engine has been incredibly valuable for myself and Josh on this trip, if for nothing more than taking away all the extra steps to make sure the location is pet-friendly.
That, and a “pet-friendly concierge” always makes sure the destined hotel is aware of your pet beforehand, just in case there are rooms that aren’t pet-friendly.
Dog-Friendly Hotels on the West Coast
As Josh and I are planning on hitting all 50 states, the following reviews are based only on California, Oregon, and Washington. More reviews will come as we explore.
Here are all dog-friendly hotels we used on the West Coast, and an honest review for each one.
For the purposes of this review, the Motel 6 locations are as following:
Washington – Tumwater.
Motel 6 has recently undergone renovations in all of its locations, and for the most part, it shows.
It’s important to remember that this is a chain of budget hotels, so it’s not like you should expect anything incredible. That being said, the new look we’ve experienced thus far has made it comfortable and homey, which is certainly something to look for when seeking a roof.
Motel 6 is definitely dog-friendly, and doesn’t charge extra for a pet fee. In comparison to the rest of the hotels on this list, I only have two somewhat negative points to cover:
- It is the only hotel on this list that charges for WiFi. At that, the WiFi isn’t as good as the free ones you’d get on any of the other hotels here. Conversely, even with paying for WiFi, it’s still the cheapest option on the list.
- It is the only hotel on this list that doesn’t offer a continental/complimentary breakfast. Again, it’s still marginally cheaper than anything else, so buying your own breakfast wouldn’t put too much of a damper on your purse, but sometimes it’s nice to have that breakfast already included.
Red Roof Inn
I would stay in a Red Roof any time, any day, any place.
There isn’t a Red Roof in every state, but the ones in California have been a good representation of the chain. Each of the locations we stayed in provided free WiFi, a continental breakfast, and no pet charge.
The only note I would have about the San Diego location is that it’s $16 per night for parking. That, however, is partially due to its prime downtown location. They could just issue the parking permits to their guests, but it is what it is.
Apart from that, the Red Roof we stayed at in Thousand Palms and the one in Arcata were both booked extremely last minute and were highly accommodating.
This covers only the Best Western Pony Inn in Portland, Oregon.
As far as nice rooms and the complimentary breakfast, I think this Best Western may take the cake. Very friendly staff that accommodated us wanting to stay an extra night.
For the sole purposes of reviewing the pet-friendly portion of this hotel, I’d have to give it a thumbs down. You’re allowed your dog, yes, for an extra $20 per night. At that, the pet is then not allowed on any furniture, and provided a tiny blanket.
As this is the only hotel on this list that charges that much nightly and then limits what the dog can do in the room, it kind of turned us off a bit to Best Western. That, plus the cost of the room itself makes it seem like you’re paying a lot to have a lot of restrictions.
They also only have limited pet-friendly rooms (which isn’t uncommon), so be sure to call ahead and make sure you’re booking the right one (we ran into an issue, but they were very accommodating about it.)
If, however, you don’t generally let your pet on the furniture anyway, Best Westerns are usually nice, and this one was no exception to that.
This covers only the Days Inn in Bend, Oregon.
If you’re ever in Oregon, especially if you have a dog, go to Bend. It is the most dog-friendly location we saw in Oregon, and people highly recommended it just because of that.
Here, the pet fee is an additional $25 per night, but there aren’t the same restrictions posed as in Best Western. This particular location is also conveniently located near two Dutch Bros. Coffees and a grocery store across the street.
This covers only the Super 8 in Central Point, Oregon.
First of all, if you love pools, don’t pass up your opportunity to stay at this Super 8. There’s a massive slide, and the pool is generally open to the public because of it. Although, admittedly, that draws a lot of kids, so be prepared.
Apart from that, can’t say anything negative about this Super 8. There’s also a charge of $20 per pet, but it isn’t per night, which is a definite plus.
Avoid like the plague.
I mean, truthfully, there’s more than one Travelodge in Sacramento, but we stayed at the Convention Center one.
I guess to back up a bit:
We checked in, paid (as well as the extra $20/night for Piper), and went to the room. There, we found holes in the walls, dead bugs on the walls, holes in the sheets, the toilet didn’t flush, the WiFi didn’t work, and three minutes after we entered, someone on drugs came knocking on our door looking for more drugs. On top of that, the parking lot was filthy, and it was the worst experience we’ve had thus far on the trip.
To make matters worse, there were no refunds when we left. We stayed not even half an hour and weren’t compensated one single cent for when we complained. We were only told, “There’s no bugs here.”
That completely turned us off from the Travelodge, but we had already had another one booked in Salem. That location has been converted into a Knights Inn, and while it was nowhere near the level of atrocity we found in Sacramento, we will never stay at a Travelodge again.
Can we get a chorus to sing “Hallelujah” really quick?
Personally, I name La Quinta as the best pet-friendly accommodation here on this list. Although it only covers two locations, those two locations have been among the best experiences we’ve had thus far.
With beautiful rooms, no pet fee, and great breakfast choices, La Quinta is the best in pet-friendly accommodation.
The one downside, however, is that they don’t come as cheap as, say, Motel 6. We have used some points to book the La Quinta’s we’ve stayed in (and there will be more), but they would stack up in expenses pretty quickly if we didn’t.
Apart from that, the locations we’ve seen are clean, the staff friendly and accommodating, and, for me, the best part is the 24-hour pool. I’m not sure if that’s the same for every La Quinta, but we’re 2-for-2 on that at the moment. I, for one, would much rather have a quiet, 3 A.M. swim than a loud one in the afternoon.
Choosing What’s Best for You
I won’t lie, traveling with Piper is hard. In fact, it’s probably the hardest aspect of the trip.
With that being said:
I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Having her with us is the biggest blessing we could have on this trip. Every time she gets out of the car, she’s in a place she’s never been. The same as all of us. Her excitement, however, rubs off on us. She’s always running, playing, sniffing, smiling, and happy.
Weeding through all the dog-friendly accommodation and the dog sitters is daunting, but worth it in the end. No matter what, you just have to choose what’s best for both you and your pet. Remember, they’ll miss you when you’re gone, so why not bring them with?
Due to weather, we have so far been unable to camp. BringFido is also a good resource for finding campgrounds, but make sure they’re open :).