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Top Dog-friendly Road Trip Destinations in New York
By Mel Lee-Smith
Published: 10/07/2020, edited: 11/17/2021
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If you're planning to hit the road with Fido, New York is one state you don't want to miss. When people think of the Empire State, it's usually skyrises and bright lights that come to mind. Many people don't realize New York has some of the most picturesque mountainscapes and waterways in North America.
Even the indoorsy types will find plenty to love in this state. New York is a cultural mecca, with countless booming visual art districts, culinary hot spots, and unique museums you won't find anywhere else in the world.
Few destinations are as welcoming to pets as New York, which is why so many pet parents flock to this state! Need some dog-friendly road trip ideas in New York? We'll you're in luck. Buckle up — we're going to show you all the spots you'll want to see while traveling with a dog in New York!
Where to play
Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, NY
New York may be a relatively small state, but there are plenty of outdoor adventures on offer here. A great place to start your experience is at Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, NY. Dogs are welcome to take a dip. If this is your fur-baby’s first foray into lake swimming, why not train your dog to swim in a lake before your visit?
The Adirondack mountains create a stunning backdrop for this beautiful glacial waterway and offer plenty of dry land to explore when Fido tires of swimming.
Slide Mountain Wilderness Area
If Tucker is up for a challenge, hit the Giant Ledge and Panther Mountain Trail in the Slide Mountain Wilderness Area for some heavy cardio and priceless views. You'll want to wear footwear with decent tread. This place isn't called "Slide Mountain" for nothing!
Another great trail to check out is the Kaaterskill Falls Trail in Haines Falls, NY. This 2.5-mile path may look unassuming at first, but stick with it for an up-close view of one of the state's prettiest waterfalls. The best time to hike this path is from April to October.
Walkway over the Hudson
Some of the best dog-friendly road trip ideas aren't in the wilderness at all, but are smack-dab in the city center! Take, for instance, the Walkway over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie. At just over a mile in length, this footbridge is an easy trek with spectacular views, but there's much more to do around here than see the sights! There are loads of dog-friendly destinations within a bone’s throw from either end of this architectural gem, including dog-friendly eateries, historic landmarks, shops, and walking trails.
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn Bridge Park is a "pawpular” hangout for pups and humans alike. Unlike other parks in the area that attempt to recreate a wilderness experience, Brooklyn Bridge Park embraces the look and feel of New York City.
Here, you'll find historic landmarks, barges, man-made beaches, and urban gardens all surrounded by the city's trademark architecture. Pups have to be on-leash throughout the main park area, but there’s a dog run where their spirits can run free! Plus, since the ground is covered in rubber, you won't have to worry about muddy pawprints in your minivan!
Where to stay
There are tons of fantastic dog-friendly campgrounds in New York state, and you don't have to look far to find them!
Deerpark / New York City Northwest KOA
The Deerpark / New York City Northwest KOA in Cuddebackville is like a mini amusement park that just so happens to be a campground. Here, families can enjoy some friendly competition on the disc golf course or rock wall, or take it indoors for some old school games at the arcade.
If you have human kiddos, you'll have a hard time pulling them away from the waterslide area and bouncy inflatables. Collared campers have their very own bark park to show off their athletic skills and mingle with the other furry vacationers.
This KOA has private access to the river and pond and offers intertube and kayak rentals if you decide to float rather than swim. Not into swimming in natural water? You'll find an in-ground pool here, too!
On clear nights, the campground puts up an outdoor movie projector so human and furry campers can enjoy classics under the stars. Your pack will be howling to come back to this spot!
Getaway at Emerald Glen Farm
The Getaway at Emerald Glen Farm in Morris is another top contender for the most dog-friendly campgrounds in New York. The Getaway isn't a human campground that allows dogs, but rather a doggy destination that just so happens to allow their parents! This campground is completely canine-centric, even down to the names of different locations around the facility.
Your family can fire up the grill and hang out with other furry campers at the Hound Hub or hit Darcy's Trail for some fresh air with Fido. Pups like getting wet and wild can take a dip at Barking Beach at the northern end of the property.
The best part of this doggy “pawadise” is that leashes are optional, and all dogs are carefully vetted to make sure they'll get along with other visitors. Canine campers are welcome at all RV spaces, tent pads, cabins, and cottages on the property; just make sure you pay attention to the dog limit for each lodging type. Your doggy road tripper is sure to give this campground 4 paws up!
Niagara Falls Campground
If you want something a little more naturesque, look no further than Niagara Falls Campground. This site supports both RV and tent camping and is just a hop and a skip away from the world-renowned falls. There's plenty to do within the camp, too, with a playground, pool, on-site shop, and dog walk area near the front entrance.
Where to eat
Driving cross-country with a dog can sure work up an appetite. Luckily, New York state has heaps of delicious dog-friendly joints. The only question is, which way are you headed?
In Catskill, you and Fido can dine on orange beurre blanc salmon, hot housemade pierogies, juicy burgers, or authentic pork schnitzel!
Furry vacationers will be drooling at the scents wafting down Woodstock's streets, with local offerings of homemade focaccia, decadent pasta puttanesca, and some of the best pizza this side of Italy. Looking for something lighter on the tummy? You can find equally delicious (and equally pet-friendly) vegan grub hubs in this area too. Veggie Indian enchiladas, anyone?
Where to roam
Between the gorgeous Catskills and the miles of lush rolling farmland, you won't have trouble finding picturesque landscapes to enjoy during your road trip through the Empire State. After all, life is about the journey.
When it comes to scenic drives in New York state, the Durham Valley Scenic Byway is a “mutts-see” route. This drive meanders through historic districts and verdant farmland and boasts some truly breathtaking views. Make a pit stop at Five State Lookout for a group photo and one of the best views in all of the Catskills. On a clear day, you can see into 5 different states!
The Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway, which runs from Phoenicia to Andes, is one of the most "pawpular” scenic drives in New York state. This path will lead you through some of the most beautiful lands in all of New York, traversing through 2 historic hamlets, 2 villages, 5 wilderness areas, and 4 towns in Ulster and Delaware Counties.
This 52-mile mountain byway is a real treat for wildlife loving doggies. Passengers frequently see black bear, porcupine, and whitetail deer hiding among the hardwoods and hobblebush in the Slide Mountain Wilderness portion of the route. If your pack wants to delve deeper into the area's rich history, download an audio tour to listen to as you navigate these winding roads.
Where to learn
Everyone knows about the Museum of Modern Art, but New York has tons of amazing galleries that inspire creativity outside of the Big Apple. As you'd expect, most of these spots only allow service animals, but that doesn't mean you have to miss out when traveling with a dog. Book a dog walker in New York and enjoy the finer things with your two-legged pals while your pup is having some fun of their own.
One spot you won't want to miss is the Storm King Art Center in Cornwall. This massive open-air art gallery has played home to many permanent and temporary structural exhibits over the last 60 years.
There's even an upscale delicatessen on-site where you can grab a bite or a beer while enjoying the works. This attraction books up fast, so make sure you place a reservation a few weeks in advance if it's on your itinerary.
Next, explore how glasswork has changed through the years at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY. Here, you can view historical and modern art installations, watch live glassblowing demonstrations, and get hands-on in the studio while creating a one-of-a-kind piece.
Those wanting a more in-depth look into the mind of abstract art revolutionaries can visit the studio and home of Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner in East Hampton, NY. You'll walk on the paint-spackled floors where Pollock's creations took form, see the priceless designs that permanently reside in their home, and with an appointment, you can even view the archives at the on-site study center.
These attractions just scratch the surface of dog-friendly road trip ideas in New York. What are you waiting “fur”? Start planning your Empire State adventure today!