Activities For Dogs With Owners Who Like Camping

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Introduction

Most of us are familiar with camping — heck, it's likely you've participated in the activity yourself. How many of us, however, have adventured outback with our pooch at our side? Now's your chance! Grab your pooch and head out to explore the great outdoors together, sleeping under the stars and experiencing all nature has to "offur." Camping is an engaging and physically stimulating activity for any pooch.

The only requirement necessary for this activity is finding a campground that's dog-friendly. This shouldn't be hard, because most state parks and national forests come equipped with various campgrounds, giving you thousands of campgrounds to select from. Check out dog-friendly campgrounds listed on Wag! for more information. Campgrounds range in accommodation styles, from tent camping to vehicle camping (RVs, pop-up trailers, fifth wheels, etc.). They come equipped with a variety of amenities, including showers, swimming beaches, recreational facilities, camp stores, dog parks, rental equipment, and more. Find a campground that's "pawfect" for you and your pooch and head out for an experience you won't forget!

Hiking the Great Outdoors

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Any Day
Free
Easy
45 - 60 min
Items needed
Waste Bags
Leash
Fresh Drinking Water
Hiking Gear
Activity description

One way to explore the surrounding area is going for a hike with your pup. Hiking the nearby trails can be a strenuous activity depending on the trails you take and the terrain along the way. Most campgrounds provide campers with information about surrounding trails along with regulations.

Some trails are not dog-friendly, and others just have requirements like leash laws and waste pick-up. You'll want to pick a path that meets your pup's physical needs. If your pooch has an extensive amount of energy, go for a run or select a trail with challenging terrain. If your pup is older or requires less physical endurance, choose an easier path to explore.

Step
1
Finding the right trail
Choose a trail that you can be certain your pooch can successfully conquer. Use campground maps or GPS to figure out your route. Don't rely on the internet, as many campsites are secluded with poor reception. You may be able to access online maps before the hike to plan a trail — screenshots come in handy for accessing the maps later on. If you're camping for a long period of time, pick a different trail to explore each day, varying both of your experiences.
Step
2
Prepping your gear
Bring hiking boats and a water bottle along with you when camping if you plan to hike a fair distance. Portable water bowls that are flexible and fit conveniently into small backpacks are "pawfect" for long hikes. A physical map and compass are ideal tools for hikers, but not necessary. Hiking trails are usually marked, making them easy to navigate. A whistle and cell phone can help in case of emergency.
Step
3
Hiking the trails
While hiking the trails, marvel at the breathtaking scenery and take time to explore the unique physical attributes of the paths you venture down. Allow your pooch to stop, sniff, and enjoy. Depending on the trail, you may be fortunate enough to stumble across wildlife or unique locations such as waterfalls, lookout points, or rest areas.
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Swimming

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Hot Day
Free
Easy
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Swim Gear
Leash
Treats
Towel
Activity description

Hit the water and cool off with your pup on those scorching hot days at the campground. Many campgrounds come with pools, but few are dog-friendly. Search for a campground with either its own access to water, whether it be a beach or lake, that is dog-friendly. 

Dog-friendly beaches often have a designated dog area where you're likely to run into other pups playing in the water. Be sure you know all beach regulations before visiting and bring along the right gear for your swim. If you're planning a long stay, pack treats or even a meal with fresh drinking water for you and your pup.

Explore the water with your pup and use this "oppawtunity" to introduce them to new water games. Try fetch, wade the shallow water, or swim with your pooch to stimulate them both mentally and physically. 

Step
1
Prep your gear
Don’t forget to pack a swimsuit and towel before heading out to your camping destination if you plan to take a dip with your four-legged companion. Ideally, you’ve selected to camp at a park where the swim zone is relatively close by, but if not, packing a lunch and lots of drinking water is recommended. Bring towels, a blanket, and any toys you wish to use to entertain your pooch in water!
Step
2
Explore different water activities
When you get to the beach, pick a spot and jump on in. Decide how you're going to spend the day. Fetch is one way to encourage your pup to get in, especially if they're wary of the water. Bring along their favorite toy and toss it into the shallow end. You may also want to just wade the shallow waters with your pup so they can cool off comfortably. If your pup's a water lover, a good old-fashioned swim is another option.
Step
3
Socializing with swimmers
If the beach is loaded with other dogs, take this "oppawtunity" to socialize with other campers both two- and four-legged. Depending on the beach rules, your pup may be able to run the shores and work up a sweat before heading back in the water. If leashes are required, they can still enjoy controlled play. Visit the water daily to make the most of your camping experience.
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Socializing with Other Guests

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Any Day
Free
Easy
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Leash
Activity description

One perk of camping at a dog-friendly facility is that you'll usually find some form of area designated for pups. You can read reviews and check site details to find a park that meets the needs of your pooch. Whether the campground has a dog park or pet designated walking area, it's likely that you'll run into other guests and their four-legged sidekicks. Take this opportunity to let your dog run free, let loose and have fun.

You can socialize while visiting the dog area, swimming, or even at your own campsite, depending on the number of other campers and your situation. The dog park is ideal for running. If you're lucky, your neighbor will have a pooch that's up for play.

Step
1
Scope out your campground
The first thing you need to do is scope out your campground for its dog-friendly locations. It would be ideal if you did this beforehand when planning your trip. Finding campgrounds with dog parks or agility courses would guarantee an adventurous vacation for the two of you. If there's no dog park on-site, take walks and be on the lookout for other guests and their pups.
Step
2
Introduce your pup before play
Before getting ahead of yourself and allowing your pup to interact with other dogs, it’s a good idea to get a feel for the other pup’s socialization level first. Introduce yourself to the other owner and be sure their pooch is friendly toward unfamiliar dogs. You don't want to have an unfriendly encounter! Once you're in the clear, let the pups take over from there.
Step
3
Play time
If you find another guest with a pup who's up for play, let your dogs free in an area where permitted. That way, they can make the most of their interaction. If your pup is a friendly pooch, they'll likely run and wrestle with their new companion. Always keep an eye on your pup while playing to ensure their safety.
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More Fun Ideas...

Fishing

If you consider yourself an angler, select a campground that comes equipped with a fishing pond or lake. For a relaxing activity, bring your pooch along with you and sit shore-side together while you await a bite. Try picking an area with shade and pack treats and water for an extended outing.

Nature Watching

While you hike along the trails with your pooch, be on the lookout for wild animals in their natural habitat. See and feel the excitement in your pup when you come across a novel species. Be sure to have them on-leash while walking to avoid any unwanted contact with wildlife.

Riding the Waves

Hit the water in a boat with your pup for a unique outdoor experience. Most dogs enjoy lounging on the deck of a boat while you gently cruise the open water. Combine this activity with swimming by taking a stop and anchoring your vessel along your journey and jump in for a quick dip.

Conclusion

All dogs love to explore the outdoors, which is why camping is a “grrreat” way to spend time with your pup. No matter where you live, it’s likely you can find a campground within a reasonable distance. Different campgrounds come with various amenities and perks, which is why it’s best to research your options before heading out with your pup. Think about your dog's needs and interests when deciding on your destination, and consider a campground with access to a dog-friendly swim area.

Once you arrive, set up your site and begin your exploration with your pup. Hike the nearby trails to get a taste of the landscape and surrounding scenery. Watch for wildlife while you take in the fresh air. If you work up a sweat, swing by the beach and cool off. Play water games and socialize with other guests. Try socializing at designated doggy areas, including campground dog parks and walking paths. You could also rent a boat if you don’t own one for a day on the water. If this isn’t something that intrigues you, try sitting on the shore and casting a line while watching the sunrise with your pup. No matter which activities you choose, camping alongside your pup is an adventure in itself!