No. 10 – Carmel-by-the-Sea, California
With its stunning natural beauty, storybook architecture and thriving arts community, Carmel-by-the-Sea is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the West Coast. It’s also one of the most dog-friendly communities in the country. Canines can frolic leash-free to their hearts’ content on beautiful Carmel Beach, provided they remain under voice control. They can also accompany their human companions on the Carmel Walking Tour, which includes the homes of famous artists, movie stars and literary figures who have lived in this seaside town.
Need a pet-friendly place to stay in Carmel-by-the-Sea? No problem. Most of the hotels here cater to canines, including the Happy Landing Inn, Tradewinds at Carmel and the Cypress Inn. There are also plenty of dog-friendly dining options in Carmel-by-the-Sea, including Portabella’s on Ocean Avenue. If you like shopping with your pet, visit Carmel Plaza, where most stores welcome leashed dogs and some may even offer treats. If you go, look for the “Fountain of Woof,” Carmel Plaza’s designated “dogs only” drinking fountain.
No. 9 – Alexandria, Virginia
There are many pet-friendly perks about Washington, D.C., but nearby Alexandria, Va., takes the No. 9 spot in our countdown for going well beyond the call of doggie duty. From Alexandria, tourists and their four-legged friends can see the sights of the capital city — including the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument — on a canine cruise with the Potomac Riverboat Company. There are also great parks for dogs in and around Alexandria, including the Theodore Roosevelt Island Park and Memorial, accessed from the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
For the cocktail crowd, Alexandria offers a number of regular “yappy hours,” including a twice-weekly one at the Hotel Monaco on King Street. The Monaco also offers pet-friendly accommodations, coordinated by Charlie, a bichon frise who serves as the hotel’s director of pet relations (no kidding, the dog is actually part of the hotel’s management team). And for additional dog-friendly accommodations, try the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel on Jefferson Drive or the Morrison House Hotel on Alfred Street.