How to find a beautiful, pet-friendly campsite near you

With autumn approaching, now is the best time of year to go camping. Amid cooler temperatures and beautiful autumn foliage, this is the perfect season to sleep under the stars. And when you choose the right pet-friendly national park, you can also bring your furry best friend on an adventure.

How To Find a Beautiful Pet-Friendly Campsite Near You
How To Find a Beautiful Pet-Friendly Campsite Near You

Although dogs are allowed in most national parks, they are usually not allowed everywhere in the park. To protect wildlife — as well as keep pets safe from predators—some parks prohibit pets from entering certain areas. This — though absolutely necessary and understandable — can be a real absurdity if you want to walk a certain trail or see a certain sight on your bucket list just to realize that it’s not pet-friendly. (Yellowstone National Park, for example, only allows dogs in camping areas — walking around Old Faithful is not allowed.)

Despite the limitations, many places make it really easy to camp and explore with your pet. Here are some of the best pet-friendly national parks to start with.

Pet-friendly national park with camping

  1. Shenandoah National Park
    Location: Virginia
Shenandoah National Park

Your dog and you can have fun camping in Shenandoah National Park. The National Park Service (NPS) said pets were allowed into the campsite and it was “one of the few national parks that allow pets on the trail.” The only rule is that when you hiking, your dog must always be chained. But even if the park is so pet-friendly, there are still some trails that prohibit pets from entering, so keep that in mind when planning your route.

  1. Yosemite National Park
    Location: California
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park

Pets are allowed in all campsites (except walking campsites and group campsites) in Yosemite National Park. You’ll also get multiple viewing actions together. According to the NPS, chained pets are allowed on roads, sidewalks, and bike paths unless otherwise specified. Although dogs are not allowed on the trail, they can join you on the Wawona Meadow Loop — a stunning 3.5-mile walk that takes about two hours to complete.

  1. Zion National Park
    Location: Utah
Zion National Park
SPRINGDALE, UT – MAY 15: The morning sun lights up the Court of the Patriarchs in Zion National Park on May 15, 2020 in Springdale, Utah. Zion National Park had a limited reopening Wednesday as part of its reopening plan after it was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

As long as you keep your dog chained, it’s allowed in campsites and picnic areas developed in Zion National Park. For the trail, only one of your pet dogs is allowed in — the Pa’rus Trail, a 3.4-mile trail with stunning views of the peaks and temples in the lower canyon. But with this stunning scenery, you will surely enjoy nature.

  1. Grand Canyon National Park
    Location: Arizona
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park

Your pet will get a beautiful view at Grand Canyon National Park. In the South Rim, chained pets are allowed on all trails above the perimeter as well as Mather Campsite, Desert View Campground, Trailer Village, and any development area. There is even a lodge in the park, Yavapai Lodge, which has pet-friendly rooms. If you want to see the North Rim, there are only a few places that allow pets to be chained.

  1. Redwood National Park
    Location: California
Redwood National Park
Redwood National Park

Yes, even the famous Redwood National Park is quite dog-friendly. The NPS said pets were allowed in developed campsites, on beaches, picnic areas, and on the road. You can also take your chained pet to a number of scenic locations – including Klamath River Overlook and Redwood Creek Overlook – as well as a few different beaches.

  1. Hot Spring National Park
    Location: Arkansas
Hot Springs National Park
Hot Springs National Park

Get ready for a long boost: Dogs can accompany all 26 miles of the Hot Springs National Park trail. The park has great mountain views, ancient hot springs, and beautiful forests. When you’re ready to relax, head back to Gulpha Gorge Campground.

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