More than 60 million households in the U.S. have a dog in their family and many take their furry best friend on vacation to relax and play. We may be in the midst of a pandemic, but you can still make safe travel choices for you and the furriest member of your crew.
The experts at Vacasa pulled together a handful of trends and determined the top pet-friendly vacation rental destinations in the U.S. Then, examined the benefits homeowners gain by welcoming dogs into their vacation rentals.
5 takeaways about dog-friendly vacations
1. Travelers are hitting the open road, but sticking close to home.
- This summer, the average driving distance is down 19%, or 73 miles, across the U.S.
2. So, unsurprisingly, more people are bringing Fido along on vacation.
- Compared to 2019, the percentage of reservations in pet-friendly units increased by 5%.
3. Dog parents are selecting larger homes with plenty of room.
- The most commonly booked vacation rental type is a three-bedroom home, followed by a four-bedroom home.
- Dog owners are statistically more likely to book a cabin or a house over a studio or apartment.
4. Travelers are booking longer vacations with their dogs—because they deserve it.
- Pet-friendly Vacasa homes saw 11% longer stays in 2020 than the year prior.
5. Dog owners are shelling out more cash to make sure their furry best friend is happy.
- In 2020, the average spend for a stay in a pet-friendly vacation rental is $2,209—representing a 20% increase year over year.
Top 10 dog-friendly destinations
Bearing in mind that dog owners are road-tripping and selecting larger homes for longer stays, we sought to uncover the best dog-friendly vacations nationwide. We ranked our U.S. markets by where we’ve seen the highest percentage of reservations with pets so far in 2020.
Plus, the majority of these locations are off the grid and serve as a gateway to dog-approved outdoor activities—like bodies of water perfect for swimming, and mountain ranges with plenty of creatures to chase!
#1. Sugar Mountain, North Carolina
Featured dog-friendly Vacasa home: The Portabella
Masked by North Carolina’s range of Blue Ridge peaks, Sugar Mountain is a true hidden gem. Hike the High Bluff and Rhododendron Gardens Trail, then hit up the Beech Mountain Bark Park for some off-leash fun in a clean, safe environment set against a backdrop of natural beauty and lush greenery.
View all of our dog-friendly vacation rentals in Sugar Mountain.
#2. Sunriver, Oregon
Featured dog-friendly Vacasa home: Sunriver Deschutes Riverfront Lodge
A basecamp for outdoor adventure, high-desert Sunriver is well known by Oregonians for its stunning resorts and golf courses. But, there’s much to enjoy out of the spa and off the green, like the wonders that await you along Deschutes River Trail, set in the heart of Deschutes National Forest.
View all of our dog-friendly vacation rentals in Sunriver.
#3. Folly Beach, South Carolina
Featured dog-friendly Vacasa home: Mellow Marsh
Just south of Charleston sits the small town of Folly Beach, where all public beaches are dog-friendly and perfect for a game of fetch. There are multiple private cruises you can take from the pier, and of course your dog can hop aboard!
View all of our dog-friendly vacation rentals in Folly Beach.
#4. Hilton Head, South Carolina
Featured dog-friendly Vacasa home: Dunes House
Dogs are always welcome on Hilton Head’s many stretches of sand, which is why the small town is made for Fido-loving beach goers. Spend your day swimming in the warm waters, then curl up on the deck of your vacation home and listen to the waves crash against the shores.
View all of our dog-friendly vacation rentals in Hilton Head.
#5. Mammoth Lakes, California
Featured dog-friendly Vacasa home: Juniper Crest 11
Nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Mammoth Lakes is only a half-hour from Yosemite National Park. When you’re in the mood for a little R&R, unwind at June Lake beach. If you head west along the shore, there’s a trail leading to a dog-friendly area that’s typically less crowded—with better, furrier company.
View all of our dog-friendly vacation rentals in Mammoth.
#6. Bend, Oregon
Featured dog-friendly Vacasa home: Sawyer Reach Ct
Bend is beloved for its laid-back residents and craft brew scene—but did you know many of its famous breweries are open to dogs of all sizes? In Bend, you can bring your dog just about anywhere, including Tumalo Falls Loop and the sandy shores of Riverbend Dog Park.
View all of our dog-friendly vacation rentals in Bend.
#7. Truckee, California
Featured dog-friendly Vacasa home: Donner Lakefront Retreat
A rural mountain community, Truckee serves as a peaceful retreat for travelers looking to get away from it all. Lake Tahoe is located just 12 miles away, or you can raft with your dog along a five-mile stretch of the less-crowded Truckee River.
View all of our dog-friendly vacation rentals in Truckee.
#8. Chestertown, New York
Featured dog-friendly Vacasa home: Solitude at Lake’s End
In the southeastern Adirondacks, Chestertown lands you close to two scenic lakes, and a whole lot of outdoor fun. Rent a kayak or canoe from Lake George Kayak Company—dogs are welcome to join you in the boat!
View all of our dog-friendly vacation rentals in Cherstertown.
#9. Lake Anna, Virgina
Featured dog-friendly Vacasa home: All Decked Out
There are many charm-filled small towns clustered around Lake Anna, so we couldn’t pick just one. If you’re staying near Lake Anna, you really can’t go wrong. And, while you can’t bring your dog to public swimming holes, you can spend hours exploring—and sniffing tree trunks—in Lake Anna State Park.
View all of our dog-friendly vacation rentals in Lake Anna.
#10. Arnold, California
Featured dog-friendly Vacasa home: Sierra Zen
If gigantic sequoias and fresh mountain air sound like the height of relaxation and comfort to you, Arnold is the escape you deserve. Careen through the shaded forest along Arnold Rim Trail with your dog in tow, then kick off your hiking boots to host an evening picnic at Calaveras Big Trees State Park.
View all of our dog-friendly vacation rentals in Arnold.
3 reasons to welcome dogs into your vacation home
If you’re a vacation rental owner and you’re considering opening your home to pets, here are three reminders to keep top of mind:
1. Your vacation home will be in higher demand.
Less than a quarter of vacation homes in the U.S. allow pets, and we’ve seen a 6% decline this year alone. That means your home will stand out to dog owners, who have a 10% higher likelihood of booking than those who aren’t searching for a pet-friendly rental.
2. You’ll experience greater financial returns and earn more repeat guests.
Vacation homes that welcome dogs have 10–20% higher vacation rental income and overall higher occupancy than those that don’t. And, this trend holds steady during peak season and in the off-season. Guests and their dogs will love your home, and keep on coming back.
3. Your vacation home can remain in pristine condition.
Professional vacation rental property management companies can handle cleaning and maintenance of your home, so you don’t have to worry about paw prints, damaged blankets, or worn furniture.