More things are dog-friendly than you might think.
Or, if you’ve been taking your dog along for a while, you know exactly what I’m talking about: Dog yoga, dog amusement parks, movie nights, dog-friendly trains … some events are specifically for the pups. Others are ‘dog tolerant,’ if you ask.
My loyal crazy up for (almost) anything dog Victor has pranced beside me on many adventures during our eight years together, and I’ve got dogtrotting.net to prove it. When we met, he’d been rescued after being returned to the SPCA twice (no fault of his) and was likely anywhere from five to seven years old, in need of stability and had energy to burn.
Adventurous became his middle name. Now, for a number of reasons, I’m spending time reflecting on our time together – including all the crazy stuff I schlepped him to. The result?
Presenting the dogtrotting.net list of You Can You Take Your Dog Where? surprises:
1. Dog-friendly Yoga or Dogya
Dog yoga isn’t a regular thing at most (or any) yoga studios but it’s a great attention getter at a festival or fundraiser. And that’s where we gave it a try: at Toronto’s Vegetarian Food Festival, one of several new things we tried. So, is my pup Victor Zen? Not in the least. At least he didn’t hump like he sometimes does during Down Dog at home, but he certainly wasn’t focused.
2. Dog-friendly Amusement Park Rides
Twice we’ve enjoyed Knoebels dog-friendly Amusement Park in Pennsylvania – that’s right, you don’t have to leave Fido home to enjoy the antique carousel, mini train and even floating boats at this family-run good-old-fashion day at the fair. And yes, your dog can hop aboard a few rides (though not all).
Find out what a Knoebels dog experience looks like here.
3. Dog-friendly Horse-drawn Carriage Ride
One of my top three dog-friendly places is Mackinac Island, Michigan, and it was Victor’s last major trip where he could still full on run – his favourite thing to do. But our second day at Mission Point Resort we climbed aboard a horse-drawn carriage to tour the island. Other than bikes, horses are the only way to see the sites because cars are not allowed on Mackinac Island. Did Victor like the horses?
Find out here: a dog-friendly Mackinac Island adventure.
4. Dog-friendly Drive-in Movie Night
Many drive-in movie theatres (if you can find them) are dog-friendly and why not have your pup with you in the car? You can even bring snacks for him, though people food you’ll have to buy at the concession stand. Not all drive-ins have a ‘dog walk’ trail to give Fido a break from a big screen triple feature, but the Starlight we visited in Hamilton, Ontario does.
Find out what we saw during our dog-friendly drive-in movie night here.
5. Dog-friendly Historic Streetcar Ride
One of Southern Ontario’s under appreciated but charming experience is the Halton County Radial Railway Museum in Milton, Ontario thanks to a group of train-loving volunteers. Tour the garages of reconditioned historic rail and streetcars. Then climb aboard a reconstructed streetcar to ride 2 km of tracks installed specifically for this purpose. Where does the streetcar go?
Find out on our Dog-friendly Milton, Ontario post here. And yes, you can take your dog on the streetcar.
6. Dog-friendly Houseboating
The 1000 Islands area in Ontario, Canada is a beautiful place to visit using your own boat or on a rental – specifically a houseboat. One company offers dog-friendly houseboat rentals and this means one thing: slowly moving from island to island, many part of Canada’s National Parks system, while bringing your entire hotel room with you.
Check out which one during our dog-friendly Houseboating vacation here.
7. Dog-friendly Beer Drinking
More craft breweries are popping up everyday and many are dog-friendly, sometimes thanks to laws allowing non-food service places the option to let pups on the premises. Many love the idea of their best fur buddy curled up under their bar stool. But wait. What if he didn’t have to sit still? Imagine if your dog could run free in an enclosed area while you relaxed at the bar or table.
Victor and I found such a place on a road trip through North Carolina – check it out – called Lucky Dog Bark and Brew.
8. Dog-friendly Wineries
Craft beer breweries can’t have all the fun and since many wineries are primarily outside, dogs are usually (but not always) welcome. The enthusiasm ranges from all in to ‘well, ok but only if you stay over there and on leash.’
It’s the enthusiastic places I look for and this includes one of my favourite annual events (unfortunately cancelled in 2020): Muddy Paws Wine Festival at Featherstone Winery and Vineland Estates in the Niagara Region, Ontario. It’s hard to say what’s more important: the wine or the dogs at this event, but hey, why choose?
Check out our Muddy Paws Wine Festival experience here.
9. Dog-friendly Art Galleries
Ok, so I haven’t yet found an actual dog-friendly art gallery in my travels, but I have walked my pooch through many outdoor sculpture parks. Our first was at the Guelph Art Gallery in Guelph, Ontario while visiting the grounds of my alma mater.
Many other outdoor galleries, like ZimArt near Peterborough, Ontario, claim leashed dogs are welcome but I’d recommend letting them relieve themselves outside of the sculpture park first.
Check out our Guelph Art Gallery dog experience here.
10. Dog-friendly Zoo
Few Zoos allow dogs (although there’s a dog living at the San Diego Zoo) understandably because they’ll likely disrupt the animals behind the enclosures. However, there’s one exception in Toronto. No, not the Toronto Zoo, but the High Park Zoo adjacent to High Park in the city’s west end.
Established in 1893, the zoo focuses on native species (and a few infamous capybaras) and is primarily a city street through a neighbourhood – so yes, anyone walking along including dog walkers can enjoy the site.
Find out what’s there at High Park Zoo with the Dog here.