If you have an RV and a dog (or two), head to the South! There are endless paws-ibilites for travel. The best part about traveling, for our family, is being together, and that includes our dogs. So we look for destinations that welcome us both with activities, sights to see, and camping spots that are drool-worthy!
Tampa Bay, Florida
We admit that we are partial to the Tampa Bay, Florida area. Both of our dogs Peanut Butter Brickle and Digby Pancake were adopted from the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. Tampa, Florida has so much to offer to travelers with their dogs. One of our favorite spots to take Brickle and Digby is Davis Island Dog Beach. Dogs can play, swim and run off-leash in this fenced oasis. There are two separate dog park areas. One is the beachside that is fenced on three sides leading to the water. The other dog park area is a fully fenced, grassy space. After playing, you can wash your dogs off at the cleaning area, and then be sure to stop for a treat at Wag Natural Pet Market.
Tampa Bay is home to hundreds of pet-friendly restaurants, breweries, hotels, and 16 dog parks and beaches, including Picnic Island. But that is not all. For senior dogs, Florida is a great place to hike due to its flat terrain. The 2.6 mile Tampa Riverwalk is perfect for a stroll at night when the temperatures have cooled down.
If you are looking for a little alone time, and your dog needs to burn off some energy, Unique Dog Boarding north of Tampa is your home away from home. Unique Dog Boarding is a ranch for dogs! With transportation services available, even from your hotel, give your dog a vacation too. As your dogs relax in the lap of luxury, we recommend going to see a movie at the historic Tampa Theatre in downtown Tampa.
The Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a favorite of our dog Digby Pancake. The scenery, hikes, and time with our dogs here make it one of our absolute favorite destinations in the South. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway. It is America’s longest linear park and it runs for 469 miles through 29 counties in Virginia and North Carolina. We made it a goal to travel the full length of the parkway in our RV, and we recommend it to all travelers with their dogs. You can go as fast or as slow as you wish. We recommend following your dog’s lead and taking in the sights, smells, and history. Have a picnic and a hike at Crabtree Falls and tour Mabry Mills. The park’s developed campgrounds are open from May-October, but there is little to no cell service.
Check out these other Blue Ridge Parkway Campgrounds.
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
If you are looking for adventure, fun, and a total experience with your dog, the town of Harpers Ferry in West Virginia is a southern destination for you both. The town of Harpers Ferry is dog-friendly and features a national park! Harpers Ferry is the easternmost city in West Virginia. It is located where the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers converge. Do some window shopping with your dog in the quaint 19th-century town, and have lunch at dog-friendly Cannonball Deli. Spend the entire day exploring and hiking with your dog, then head back to camp at dog-friendly Harpers Ferry Campground.
Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina
Hunting Island is South Carolina’s most popular state park. The beach here is dog-friendly and peaceful. With five miles of beachfront, thousands of acres of marsh and maritime forest, and ocean inlet, this state park is a destination all on its own. Take a walk with your dog to the Hunting Island Lighthouse. Although they cannot go inside, they can gaze up as you take advantage of a prime picture opportunity. Stay at the park’s campground, but be sure to reserve ahead as many dog travelers wait for a spot!
Jekyll Island, Georgia
Jekyll Island in the state of Georgia is known to be one of the most dog-friendly destinations around. Stay at the Jekyll Island Campground with spacious campsites and other traveling dogs. Walk right from your campsite to the historic homes of Jekyll Island and take a step back in time. Our dogs’ favorite place to take a break in the green grass is Islands Sweet Shoppe for a scoop of ice cream. Trails, dog-friendly beaches, and memories are waiting for you and your dog here.
Asheville, North Carolina
Almost every place in Asheville, North Carolina welcomes your dog! Dog-friendly hikes, wineries, and breweries await. Trails are the top attraction for our family, and Asheville does not disappoint. Head out to DuPont Recreational Forest which is a 10,000 acre park. Waterfalls, mountaintop views, and lakes let your dog choose what the day’s adventure is. No trip to Asheville, North Carolina would be complete without a visit to the Biltmore Estate. Although dogs cannot go inside buildings, they can roam the grounds including the gardens! Walk around the grounds and then hike to Deer Park Trail. Dogs are welcome to join you for dining at several outdoor eating spots in Antler Hill Village. Lake Powhatan Recreation Area is one of our favorite places to camp with our dogs at an affordable price.
Smith Island, Maryland
Smith Island is located 12 miles offshore of Crisfield, Maryland. This was not a southern destination that was on our travel list, but we were missing out! Get your dog ready for an adventure. Head to the Crisfield city dock and embark to sea on a passenger ferry. The ride over to Smith Island takes 45 minutes. This island is not well known and there are less than 200 residents that live here. Take your time and walk along the island’s streets by foot and paw. Grab your dog a bite to eat at Bayside Inn Carryout and Ice Cream, and you can sample Maryland’s state cake here. Not many travelers know about this quaint island. Although you cannot camp on Smith Island, we stayed at nearby Janes Island State Park!
Chattanooga, Tennessee has it all. Trails, waterfalls, and dog-friendly attractions are just the beginning. Who needs more? Our dog Peanut Butter Brickle is Rock City’s #1 fan. All leashed dogs are welcome to tour this attraction! Rock City is a destination all on its own. Located on top of Lookout Mountain and 6 miles from downtown Chattanooga, you can experience nature and creativity with your dog. Rock City has massive rock formations, an Enchanted Trail, Fairyland Caverns, and a view unlike any other. Located nearby, one of the most hidden places await you and your dog called Lula Lake Land Trust. Only open on specific days with reservations required, this is a protected and special place to hike with your dog to see waterfalls and nature. Don’t forget to reward yourself after a hike at one of the many dog-friendly breweries of Chattanooga. Camping options are numerous in this area of Tennessee including beautiful Cloudland Canyon State Park.
Crater Of Diamonds State Park, Arkansas
Many travelers call Arkansas, Bark-ansas! That is because the state of Arkansas is very dog-friendly. If the lure of hidden treasure excites you, Crater Of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas is for you! This is one of the only places in the world that the public (and their dogs) can search for real diamonds at the place of their original source. Think you won’t find a diamond? Let your dog dig! With your dog, you can search a 37-acre field. Feel free to bring your own equipment, or rent some from the park. Other things to do at this park include camping and trails!
Galveston welcomes dogs with open paws! Get your picture taken with your dog at Buster’s Old Time Photos. You won’t be able to resist this experience with props, costumes and editing services! If your dog is patient enough to take pictures, get both of you a reward at one of the many dog-friendly restaurants. If you still have the energy to burn, head out to the bayou on a kayak or paddleboard with your dog. Walk the beaches with no worries, because all of Galveston’s public beaches are dog-friendly! Camping is a dream at Galveston Island State Park.
We look for things to do with our dogs, not just places that allow our dogs to be there. Making our dogs part of the RV lifestyle takes planning. But we are sure you will agree, they are more than worth the extra effort or miles! Head to the South in your RV with your pets and find out why.
Rachael Johnson and her husband Nate founded 2 Traveling Dogs in 2011. They write a daily dog blog that highlights the RV adventures of rescue dogs Peanut Butter Brickle and Digby Pancake as they travel the USA to highlight animal rescue. With over a million social media followers, they use their platforms to encourage others to adopt their pets and live the best life possible together while traveling!