New Jersey Dog-Friendly Travel Guide

new jersey dog-friendly travel guide - small brown and white dog in a carPlanning a trip to New Jersey, but don’t want to leave your furry family behind? With a wide range of places to stay and things to do, for both you and your pup, New Jersey is a fantastic destination. With this New Jersey dog-friendly travel guide to start your research, you can plan a trip to the “Garden State” that both you and your dog can enjoy!

12 Dog-Friendly Activities in New Jersey

Because not all places welcome dogs, it’s important to look into activities ahead of time to make sure they are dog-friendly, or that you have a plan for boarding your dog, before any of them make it onto your trip plan. Here are some dog-friendly activities in New Jersey to consider for your trip:

1. Donaldson Park

Donaldson Park is nearly 90 acres in size, and features a glistening river with a small pond to splash around in and paved trails. If you’re hungry, bring food to the picnic area for a beautiful afternoon in the park.

There is also a designated off-leash area for dogs where your pup can run to their heart’s content! Plus, there are four lit tennis courts, if you have other human companions along for the trip. Your pup can always fetch the tennis ball when you hit it out of bounds!

2. Paulinskill Valley Trail

More into an active hike than a leisurely day at the park? Paulinskill Valley has a 27-mile trail to really get the blood pumping! There are several trail endpoints, so you don’t have to hike the whole thing; you can just pick a few short stints you like and hike those if you prefer.

The trail stretches through scenic farmland, beautiful forest, and several interesting landmarks. The space is shared with horseback riders, so if your dog scares easily, keep that in mind!

3. Fairview Farm Wildlife Preserve

Headquarters of the Raritan Headwaters Association, the Fairview Farm Wildlife Preserve preserves the natural flora and fauna of the northeast. In fact, it’s home to over 175 different species of plants along with roaming turtles, coyotes, and even bears! If you and your pup are looking for a little less adventure than that, there’s also a butterfly and bird garden.

4. Absecon Lighthouse

One of the nation’s oldest, and tallest, lighthouses, the Absecon Lighthouse also boasts a restored living space and museum for you and your pup to explore. While you can’t take your dog to the top of the lighthouse, you can take them on the grounds and in the museum as long as you bring a leash!

5. Fisherman’s Cove Conservation Area

Fisherman’s Cove Conservation Area is a precious little gem of a beach park, which is an undeveloped section of the Manasquan Inlet in New Jersey. It’s a wonderful place to take your pup for a day trip. It’s also a great place for families with children. The whole family can enjoy activities held by the park’s staff, and check out the wildlife.

The park’s website says that dogs are welcome as long as they are kept on a leash. When planning your visit, make sure to check in with park staff. Don’t forget to read the signs indicating where dogs are allowed in the park and where they are not, as this may change according to conservation needs.

6. Barnegat Light Beaches

Long Beach Island (LBI) is a small barrier island in New Jersey with several townships, a lot of beaches, and plenty of activities. The general dog rule for the island is that dogs are not allowed on the beaches from May 1st through the end of September.

But, if your trip to New Jersey will be taking place between October 1st and April 15th, your dog will be able to join you on the Barnegat Light beaches as long as they are leashed. LBI also has plenty of restaurants and other activities available; just make sure they will welcome your dog before you drop by.

7. Naval Air Station Wildwood Museum

If aviation is something you’re interested in and your travels will take you near Rio Grande, New Jersey, consider exploring the Naval Air Station Wildwood Museum in Hangar 1 at the Cape May Airport.

The 90,000 square-foot museum features several aircraft, engines, special exhibits, and interactive displays where you can learn more about military history, aviation, New Jersey history, and more. Plus, your dog is welcome to join you as long as they are leashed and well-behaved.

8. Ort Farms

Ort Farms is located in Long Valley and hosts a ton of activities, especially in the fall. Although your dog is not permitted on the rides, they are allowed to join you everywhere else as long as they are leashed and well-behaved.

Aside from the hayrides, pony rides, and kiddie train that your dog cannot do, they can walk with you to the pumpkin patch, go through the corn maze with you, and experience the other activities on the ground. Be aware that there are apple cannons and they are loud, so keep that in mind. There are usually tons of food options, so don’t be afraid to come hungry.

9. Liberty State Park

Liberty State Park is located in Jersey City and offers great videos of the New York City skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and the Hudson River. Your dog is welcome to join you in the park as long as they are leashed and you clean up after them. There are usually stations with waste bags available, but it’s still a good idea to bring your own just in case.

10. Carnival of Collectibles

If you love shopping for antiques, vintage items, collectibles, and handmade items, the Carnival of Collectibles in Sicklerville is for you. This 12,000 square-foot property tends to feature over 130 dealers and vendors.

Vendors offer handmade crafts, antiques and collectibles, vintage items, and more. Your dog is welcome to join you as long as they are leashed and well-behaved, and you clean up after them. There are even dog treats and water available if you ask at the front desk.

11. Historic Cold Spring Village

If history is one of your interests and you’ll be traveling near Cape May, take some time out to explore Historic Cold Spring Village. There are 26 restored buildings on this 22-acre, open-air museum. There is even a brewery on the property.

During the active season, this living-history museum has working craftspeople in period clothing on the grounds. In the post-season, most attractions are closed, but you can still walk through the old village and visit the active farm. Your dog is welcome to join you as long as they are leashed and well-behaved, and you clean up after them.

12. Hot Sand Glass Studio

Hot Sand Glass Studio is located in Ocean Township and is New Jersey’s first dog-friendly and public glass studio. Your leashes dog is welcome to join you inside the studio while you watch a glass blowing lesson or the walk-in dog art available. There are even sometimes dog parties on the weekends!

One of the most popular activities at the Hot Sand Glass Studio is getting a glass rendering, usually a paperweight, of your dog’s paw print. They make it right in front of you. And, if you don’t have time for something in-store, they sell an at-home DIY glass kit so you can make your own impression of your dog’s paw print.

5 Dog-Friendly Hotels in New Jersey

It’s not always easy to find lodging that welcomes pups, but it’s far from impossible! If you research ahead of time and book your room early, you can guarantee that you and your pup have a welcoming place to stay. Below are a few dog-friendly hotels in New Jersey to consider while planning your trip:

1. Showboat Hotel

Whether you love hitting the casinos, or just appreciating the beach lit up at night, Atlantic City is the place for you – and your pup! The Showboat Hotel not only allows pets, but welcomes them.

They have a pet park available for all guests and their furry families! Along with organic doggy treats and only a $50 pet fee, the Showboat Hotel is ideal for beach trippers and their pups.

2. Ocean City Mansion Bed & Breakfast

Pamper your pup at The Ocean City Mansion Bed & Breakfast, and don’t forget the hot breakfast! This historic site boasts seven themed suites and two apartments for your comfort.

True dog lovers, the proprietors even offer a dog-sitting service that includes walking, feeding, and petting, of course. With this hotel, your pup can get the care they need while you get a night on the town. The pet fee is a modest $59 per dog.

3. Extended Stay America

If you’re enjoying your New Jersey vacation so much that you decide to extend it, look no further for lodging than Extended Stay America. At Extended Stay America in Mount Olive, they specialize in longer stays.

Their spacious rooms offer workspace, and play space, for you and your pup. Up to two dogs are welcome to join you as long as they are not taller than 36 inches. Larger dogs or more than two dogs will require the property manager’s approval. For $25 per dog, per night, you can stay for weeks on end!

4. Billmae Cottage

Billmae Cottage is within walking distance of attractions in Cape May, including the beach, and is one of the dog-friendly lodging options available. They even advertise “dogs welcome” on their sign. Up to two dogs of any size are welcome to join you for your stay. And, there is no additional pet fee!

All suites at this location are dog-friendly. Plus, each suite has a private outdoor space in addition to a private entrance, one or two bedrooms, a parlor, a kitchen, a full private bath, and more. Additionally, there is an outdoor shower complete with dog shampoo and towels where both you and your dog can rinse off after a day at the beach.

On top of that, there are welcome gifts upon arrival for dogs. Every now and then, the property hosts “Yappy Hours” for owners and their dogs. As long as your dog is well-behaved when you’re not around, you can leave them unattended in your room. Also, your dog must be flea and tick-treated to stay with you.

5. Island Breeze Motel

If you’ll need to stay overnight in Wildwood, consider booking a room at Island Breeze Motel. Up to two dogs of any size are welcome to join you for your stay. And, there is no additional pet fee! Although there is no grassy area on-site, Wildwood Dog Park and Beach is within walking distance of the motel.

6 Dog-Friendly Restaurants in New Jersey

Although you can always rely on the food you’ve brought with you and convenience stores, that can get boring and can mean you miss out on the local flavor and dining experience. Instead of missing out, consider grabbing a bit at one of these dog-friendly restaurants in New Jersey if your travels bring you nearby:

1. Wonder Bar

The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park hosts a “Yappy Hour” where pups and their owners can spend time together in a restaurant setting. The area is fenced-in so all guest dogs can frolic freely!

There’s even a swimming pool just for dogs. The Wonder Bar’s deck is open seasonally and is reserved for adults over the age of 21.

2. Pupcakes and Pawstries Barkery & Shoppe

The owners of Pupcakes and Pawstries devote their entire shop to dogs! They develop and sell custom dog birthday cakes, cupcakes, and cookies. Along with novelty pastries for dogs, they also sell locally-sourced meat patties for dogs with digestive difficulties. Dogs are welcome, of course.

3. Brickwall Tavern & Dining Room

Want to catch the game and kick back with friends, but don’t want to leave your pup behind? The Brickwall Tavern & Dining Room has craft beer and a classic tavern menu for your enjoyment. With sidewalk seating for you and your pup, you can have a relaxing evening out together!

4. Working Dog Winery

If you enjoy tasting local wines, the Working Dog Winery could be the perfect fit for you. Located in Robbinsville, this winery and tasting room is dog-friendly.

Your dog is welcome to join you on the lawn to enjoy some wine and the grounds. It’s a popular spot on the weekends for owners and their dogs, so make sure your dog will be well-behaved around other dogs and ready to make friends.

5. Blue Pig Tavern

If you’re in Cape May around a mealtime, consider grabbing some food at the Blue Pig Tavern. This restaurant is located in the historic Congress Hall and has a spacious outdoor seating area where your dog is welcome to join you.

Plus, they have a menu with a variety of options. From roasted beet salad and baked mac and cheese to smoked salmon sandwiches, grilled Reubens, turkey burgers, and more, there’s something for everyone on this menu.

6. Harbor View Restaurant

Also in Cape May is the Harbor View Restaurant. In addition to boat docking, the deck dining area offers great views, umbrella-shaded tables, and dog-friendly dining. Your leashed dog is welcome to join you. Between sushi, fresh seafood, burgers, hot sandwiches, pizza, and more, there is bound to be something for everyone on this menu.

Although this New Jersey dog-friendly travel guide is a good place to start your research, it certainly doesn’t cover everything. If you find something else you want to do, just make sure your dog will be welcome to join you before it becomes a part of your trip.

If you love traveling with your pup and are headed somewhere else, check out the other dog-friendly travel guides available. Here’s to safe travels and wagging tails no matter where your adventures may lead!