Dog days of summer vacation

Discover the most dog-friendly destinations in the US and Canada.

Melissa Philip /The Houston Chronicle/AP
Living large: Eva, a Great Dane, and her handler, Joel Rosenblatt, rested in their dog-friendly hotel room during last year's Reliant Park World Series of Dog Shows in Houston.

What are the most dog-friendly cities in the United States and Canada? According to the website, the top 10 cities in which to vacation with your dog are:

1. Boston – You can see most of the best tourist sites with your dog. Getting around is easy because the Boston T (subway) allows leashed dogs of all sizes during non-rush hours. Follow the red line on the sidewalk along the 2-1/2-mile Freedom Trail or take one of a number of boat tours. Even some whale-watching tours welcome pups. For a weekend getaway near Boston, you can take a dog-friendly ferry to Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, or Nantucket or visit the dog-friendly beaches of Block Island.

2. Vancouver, British Columbia – Visit Historic Gastown, Granville Island, and the Capilano Bridge and Park with your pooch. Many ferries allow leashed dogs of all sizes, and the city's public transportation allows small dogs in carriers. The city has many outdoor restaurants and cafes and quite a few of the stores allow you to shop inside with your dog. Consider taking a dog-friendly trip to the Minter Gardens, Hell's Gate Airtram, and to Victoria on Vancouver Island. While on Vancouver Island, you and your dog will want to see the beautiful Butchart Gardens. Vancouver boasts seven off-leash dog beaches and more than 20 off-leash dog parks that give your dog ample opportunity to run.

3. New York City – Some of New York's most fashionable hotels welcome dogs. If you stay outside the city, you can bring your dog on the Metro-North trains from Connecticut or the northern suburbs or on the Seastreak Ferry from New Jersey. There are also a number of Pet Taxi services in the city that you can call for transportation and some regular taxis will also pick up passengers with dogs. Many of the famous stores in Manhattan will allow leashed dogs to accompany you. Take a walking tour of lower Manhattan, a carriage ride in Central Park, walk the Brooklyn Bridge, or visit one of the 30 off-leash parks in the city.

4. San Francisco is a great vacation site for a traveler with a dog. There are so many parks, off-leash areas, and beaches. Try Baker Beach, Ocean Beach, or Fort Funston. Visit Golden Gate Park, walk across the Golden Gate Bridge or shop in many dog-friendly stores throughout the city. Also, dogs are allowed on most public transportation, including the famous cable cars, Muni buses, and trains. Every August the San Francisco Giants host their annual Dog Days of Summer baseball game where your dog is welcome to attend with you.

5. Austin, Texas – You and your dog can take a walking tour of downtown, ride a horse and carriage or visit the Zilker Botanical Garden. Austin has a large number of dog-friendly parks as well as 10 off-leash dog areas. You may also dine with your dog at many dog-friendly patio restaurants throughout the city.

6. Portland, Ore., boasts more than 20 off-leash dog parks, some of which are fenced; a city amusement park where leashed dogs are allowed; the Hoyt Arboretum; and the famous Rose Gardens. Also visit the Portland Saturday Market, an open-air market with artists, entertainment, and shops.

7. Northern Virginia – During the summer months, cruise the Potomac with your dog on the Potomac Riverboat Co. Canine Cruises. Visit the outdoor areas of historic Mount Vernon, the Iwo Jima Memorial, and the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial. Hike the Mount Vernon Trail from Washington, D.C., to Mount Vernon or visit more than 20 off-leash dog parks.

8. Orlando, Fla., long a popular people destination, has recently greatly improved its popularity with four-legged vacationers. You can take a boat ride on the St. Johns River with your dog, shop in the dog-friendly Winter Park area, and dine at Sam Snead's, the center of Florida doggy dining. It was here that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush signed Florida's doggy dining law.

9. San Diego has two major off-leash beaches (one's in Coronado), plus many others that allow dogs on leash. You'll find many dog-friendly outdoor restaurants in San Diego, La Jolla, and throughout the region.

10. Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas – While in Dallas ride a carriage with your dog, take a walking tour, or visit Pioneer Plaza. In Fort Worth, visit Fort Woof, one of the country's nicest dog parks, and the Stockyard Stations to watch the daily cattle drives.

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