Virginia Dog-Friendly Travel Guide

virginia dog-friendly travel guide - maltese looking out car windowTraveling with your dog can be a lot of fun. It can also be stressful if you don’t plan ahead as not everywhere you go will be pet-friendly. That’s where dog-friendly travel guides can help! If you’re planning to travel through Virginia, make sure to include some of these dog-friendly places in your travels. Use this Virginia dog-friendly travel guide to plan a trip both you and your dog can enjoy.

10 Dog-Friendly Activities in Virginia

Dogs are permitted in all of Virginia’s state parks provided they are well-behaved and on a leash no longer than 6 feet. Unfortunately, dogs are not permitted inside the state park buildings, but that won’t stop you from enjoying plenty of things to do outside. Depending on where you’re traveling in Virginia, be sure to enjoy some of these dog-friendly activities:

1. Alexandria’s Footsteps of the Past Walking Tours

If you happen to be in Alexandria and enjoy learning history, add Alexandria’s Footsteps of the Past Walking Tours to your itinerary. This is the historic hometown of George Washington and Robert E. Lee, so there is a ton of history to learn about.

These walking tours are educational and entertaining. Plus, there are tons of variations to choose from. And, as long as they are well-behaved, leashed, and under your control at all times, your pooch is permitted to join you on all of them.

2. Potomac Riverboat Company

While you explore Alexandria, be sure to book a cruise with the Potomac Riverboat Company. They have specific Canine Cruises available from April to October where your dog can join you at no extra charge for a 45-minute cruise around the Alexandria Seaport.

One dog is permitted per passenger and your dog must remain on a 6-foot leash at all times, but they’re free to enjoy the adventure with you. Plus, there will be fresh water and treats available for them.

3. Crabtree Falls

Crabtree Falls is located in Charlottesville. This vertical-drop waterfall is cascading and is the highest waterfall of that type east of the Mississippi River. Five major cascades and several smaller ones fall for 1,200 feet. The trail to the first overlook is gentle and paved, just a short distance from the upper parking lot. For more adventurous travelers, you can hike the remaining 2.5 miles uphill to 4 other overlooks.

Your dog is welcome to hike with you if they are on a leash. If your dog is well-behaved and very well-trained, especially when off-leash, they’re welcome to hike with you unleashed. It’s open every day from dawn to dusk. If you happen to be traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway, it’s near milepost 27, about six miles off of the parkway.

There is a $3 per person use fee. As a note, this can be a long hike, so make sure you pack plenty of water and snacks and dress comfortably. It is imperative that you do not wander off the trail. Going off-trail or climbing on the waterfall itself is extremely dangerous and several deaths have occurred when people have ignored the posted warnings.

4. Colonial Williamsburg

If historical Williamsburg is on your list, enjoy touring Colonial Williamsburg with your pup. This 18th-century city is the largest living history museum in the world and your dog is welcome to join you permitted they are leashed. They won’t be able to enter the buildings, but are welcome on all of the walking tours.

They can even ride with you on the shuttle from the Visitor’s Center. Colonial Williamsburg features over forty sites and trades, 4 historic taverns, and 2 world-class art museums. Plus, you’ll be able to see actors portraying historic Williamsburg residents and get to interact with them.

5. Daisey’s Island Cruises

If your travels take you to Chincoteague Island, make sure one of Daisey’s Island Cruises dog-friendly charter trips is on your list. You can go on Pony, Dolphin, Rocket Launch, and Sunset viewing trips and your dog is welcome to come along for the ride.

Tours run year-round and usually last 2 hours. They have been known to run a little longer every now and then if something really interesting happens. These charter trips are popular, so you’ll want to book ahead to make sure you and your pup have a spot on the boat.

6. Potomac Point Vineyard & Winery

If wine is more your thing and you happen to be in Stafford, Virginia, stop by the Potomac Point Vineyard & Winery. Your dog is welcome on the grounds and on the veranda.

Unfortunately, dogs are no longer allowed inside due to new statutes. However, the owners love dogs and will accommodate you and your pooch as much as possible. In addition to the events, you can stop by for wine tastings, Sunday brunch, or just to enjoy the bistro.

7. Manassas National Battlefield Park

This park is located north of Manassas and it preserves the site of major American Civil War Battles. The First Battle of Bull Run and the Second Battle of Bull Run, also referred to as the First and Second Battle of Manassas, occurred here in 1861 and 1862 respectively. There are a variety of trails you can explore with your dog as you read the signs describing the histories of landmarks.

Your dog is welcome to adventure with you in the Manassas National Battlefield Park as you delve into America’s history. This park is 5,073 acres and trails run through open meadows and dense woods. So, you’ll want to dress for exploring in the woods, bring plenty of water for you and your pup, some snacks, and plenty of bug protection. Make sure you and your dog have plenty of protection from ticks as you’re likely to come across some as you wander the historic trails.

8. Petersburg National Battlefield

Petersburg is home to the Petersburg National Battlefield. Your dog is welcome to join you for the adventure as long as they are leashed and the leash is no longer than 6 feet.

There are plenty of trails to choose from and history to learn as you explore. You can walk the grounds yourself, take a Ranger-guided tour, or take the 16-stop driving tour. With 2,700 acres to explore, you have plenty of options.

9. Natural Bridge

The Natural Bridge is located in Rockbridge County, Virginia. It is a designated National Historic Landmark and is certainly a sight to see. This limestone gorge is 215 feet tall and was carved out by Cedar Creek.

Several dog-friendly trails are available for hiking and your dog is welcome as long as they are leashed. There are trails leading to the Monacan Indian Village and Lace Falls in addition to living history programs and more.

10. Shenandoah National Park

Explore the Blue Ridge Mountains with your pooch in Shenandoah National Park. Your pup is permitted on almost all of the trails provided they are leashed and the leash is no longer than 6 feet. Unfortunately, dogs are not permitted on the lake or waterfall trails.

But, these only account for approximately 20 miles of the total 500 miles of trails available. Thankfully, there are plenty of other trails and 75 scenic overlooks to enjoy along the Skyline Drive National Scenic Byway.

The byway runs from Front Royal to Waynesboro and will cost you $30 per vehicle to enter Skyline Drive, which gives you and your passengers entry to it for 7 consecutive days.

5 Dog-Friendly Hotels in Virginia

After exploring and running around all day, you and your dog will need a place you can rest. Start your planning with these dog-friendly hotels to make things a little easier:

1. Mainstay Suites

The Mainstay Suites in Williamsburg is pet-friendly. You are permitted to bring two pets up to 65 pounds. Plus, there is no additional pet fee!

There is also a large grassy area at the back of the hotel perfect for walking your pooch. It is also located just around the corner from Colonial Williamsburg, which makes it the perfect place to rest after you spend the day traveling through history.

2. Snug Harbor Marina and Hotel

If your travels take you to Chincoteague Island and you need a place to stay, the Snug Harbor Marina and Hotel is pet-friendly and is a tropical paradise open from May through October. You can stay in a cottage right next to the water.

Plus, you’re right by the marina in case you want to rent a kayak, canoe, or boat to explore. You might even catch a glance of the famous wild Chincoteague ponies during your stay.

An additional fee of $40 per night applies to your pets and you are welcome to bring two pets of any size along with you for your stay. You’ll want to make sure you book ahead to ensure you have a pet-friendly room available.

3. The Alexandrian Autograph Collection

This historic hotel is located in Alexandria and is right across the river from the National Harbor. It’s named after the city’s founders, Philip and John Alexander. The Alexandrian Autograph Collection is historic, elegant, and pet-friendly.

They have a beautiful, dog-friendly interior courtyard and plenty of amenities for a luxurious stay. For an additional $25 fee per pet, per night, you can bring two pets up to 85 pounds along with you. When you make your reservations, a dedicated Canine Concierge will make sure a pet-friendly room is set aside for you.

4. The Clifton Inn

The Clifton Inn is located in Charlottesville. It is a hotel, restaurant, and wedding venue all rolled into one. It’s also close to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello Estate.

Best of all, it’s pet-friendly. You are welcome to bring pets of any size and there is a $75 pet fee per stay. You will want to book your stay here early as pet-friendly rooms are limited.

5. Quality Inn Petersburg

If Petersburg is where you’ll be spending the night, make sure you include the Quality Inn Petersburg in your hotel research. It sits a short 3 miles from historic Petersburg, is close to several attractions, and offers many amenities to make your stay comfortable.

Plus, it’s pet-friendly. This dog-friendly hotel permits 3 pets of any size and charges a pet fee of $10 per pet, per night. They do have a limited number of pet-friendly rooms available, so you’ll want to call ahead and book early to reserve your room.

5 Dog-Friendly Restaurants in Virginia

You’ll be needing to chow down during your travels. Fast food or convenience stores can get boring quickly for you and your pup. Why not add some local cuisine into your diet with some of these dog-friendly restaurants?

1. Acacia

For fresh seasonal fare in Richmond, Acacia is the place to go. Their menu features delicious entrees like crab cakes, oysters, ribeye, and more. It has an upscale midtown setting and features dog-friendly outdoor seating.

It’s a classy dining experience with delicious food and a welcoming atmosphere. Your dog will even get a water bowl to go with his chow.

2. Le Refuge Restaurant

Le Refuge Restaurant is located in Alexandria. It is dog-friendly and is also the oldest French Restaurant in Old Town. You and your pup can take a break on the outdoor patio and chow down on some delicious food.

They don’t have dog food on the menu, so you may have to bring your own snacks for your pooch or order some food you know you’ll be able to share with them.

3. Lost Dog Cafe

Also located in Alexandria is the Lost Dog Cafe. In addition to their extensive menu and dog-friendly back patio, they also work closely with the Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation.

This is a non-profit organization formed to continue the mission of the first Lost Dog Cafe – to find homes for stray pets. Take a break and recharge during your travels with the good food, good beer, great customer service, and love for animals that the Lost Dog Cafe is known for.

4. Aromas World Coffeehouse & Bakery

This restaurant has locations in Williamsburg, Newport News, and in the Stem Library on the College of William & Mary campus. Aromas World Coffeehouse & Bakery offers a full menu in addition to their delicious pastries, cakes, pies, and coffees.

Their outdoor seating is dog-friendly. Plus, you know your furry pal is welcome when the entrance is guarded by metal dog statues and water bowls are available. It’s a great place for a quick snack and a drink or for a full meal.

5. Foster’s Grille

If your travels bring you through Manassas during meal times, be sure to check out Foster’s Grille. In addition to delicious food and a comfortable atmosphere, it’s also dog-friendly.

Your pooch is welcome to join you in the outdoor seating area and will be provided with a water bowl. They also have locations throughout Virginia, including Alexandria, Bristow, Chantilly, Warrenton, and more.

With dog-friendly travel guides on your side, planning a trip you and your dog can enjoy together becomes a lot easier. Here’s to safe travels and a lot of fun with your furry friend!