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  • Writer's pictureSally Tran

Road Tripping with Your Dog

Do you ever dread the thought of leaving your dogs behind at home when you head out for a vacation, or a weekend day trip? What if you could find more ways to bring them along for the ride instead? As a dog mom myself, I am always in favor of the second option. Road trips are a great way for you to bond with your dogs, and to also get them more comfortable adapting to new places and experiences.

Tips to successful road-tripping with your fur babies:

  1. If your dogs are new to longer car rides, start smaller by taking them on shorter 30-45 minute drives first. Once they get the hang of it, you can increase the distance over time.

  2. When your dogs are ready to go on longer rides, make sure that you plan out some extra time to give them a potty break (at least once an hour) before you reach your destination.

  3. Pack plenty of food and snacks for both you and your dogs. If you plan to take your dog out for longer than a day, make sure that you pack ample amounts of their kibble/doggy meals so that they are well fed throughout the vacation.

  4. Water is a must- no one wants to be dehydrated!

  5. You can also make your dogs more comfortable in the back seat by bringing some of their favorite toys along, and even their dog bed to make them feel more at home when you check into your hotel.

  6. Always do your research first. There are very helpful “dog-friendly” search options on Yelp,, etc. that allows you to filter out the best restaurants, parks and hotels to visit with your dogs.

Road tripping is an experience! A well-prepared person and pup make it all the more fun and exciting to get out of the house and explore the wide open road. Once you have down the supplies and you think that both you and your dog are ready to hit the road, where will you visit?

Here are some of my favorite day trip destinations that are within a one to two hour drive of Orange County:

  1. Temecula – If you are a wine lover, Leoness Cellars and Miramonte Winery are both great spots to enjoy your tastings & delicious food with your dogs.

  2. Los Angeles - Set out time over the weekend to take your dog hiking at Runyon Canyon Park in Hollywood. They have a great trail with an off leash area available for your dogs. You may even run into a celebrity along the hike!

  3. San Diego – Balboa Park features a very spacious, off-leash play area for dogs. If you’d like to explore the harbor, you can also rent dog-friendly kayaks or surrey bikes in Coronado for some fun and active sight-seeing.

Day trips are great for when you want to feel spontaneous and bring some friends with you. These trips typically require less packing and time-consuming preparation. You can never go wrong with visiting spots along the California coast!

If you are looking to stay away for longer, here are some perfect dog-friendly vacation destinations:

  1. Santa Barbara – Book your stay at the dog-friendly Kimpton Canary Hotel and explore the Santa Barbara coast and wineries with your dog. Four-legged friends are welcome at most of the tasting rooms and vineyards in the area- including the beautiful Strange Family Vineyards, Beckmen Vineyards and Rideau Vineyard in Santa Ynez.

  2. Lake Tahoe – I highly recommend booking a stay the The Landing Lake Taboe Resort, where your dogs will be treated like royalty! A large majority of the parks and boat rental businesses in that area allow dogs.

  3. Sedona, AZ – If you are looking to be one with nature and your dogs, Sedona is the perfect destination! You can take your dogs with you to many of its scenic hikes, include the amazing Devil’s Bridge Trail.

Satisfy your craving for adventure, and most importantly, get out of the house and have fun! Quarantine has not been kind to anyone, so it is about time that we explore some of the beautiful, natural sites that make up California. If you have any trip recommendations, let us know!

**Thank you OC Pom alum for looking as cute as ever! If you are interested in transporting dogs from the shelter, to vet appointments, or to the groomer, fill out a volunteer application under our "foster" tab!


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