Dog-friendly road trips
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More Ultimate Family Road Trips With Your Dog

By Carol Vinzant

If you’ve got a dog in your family, chances are your mutt gets to go on vacation with you, at least some of the time. Thankfully more and more hotels and attractions allow dogs, and that’s fine if you’re only passing through. But if you’re planning a special trip in your spacious 2014 Traverse, you want to pick a place to stay where people will truly welcome your pooch, not tolerate the family pet with an eye roll. These destinations don’t just accommodate dog owners; they do it with a smile.

SoHo Grand, New York, NY Dog-friendly doesn’t have to be a motel by the interstate. The SoHo Grand, a swanky hotel in downtown Manhattan, cultivates a cool image, making frequent appearances in movies and on TV shows. And it’s totally cool with your dog. No weight limits or extra charges, either. The dog statues guarding the entrance set the tone. Pet-supply giant Hartz Mountain Industries owns the hotel, and is unabashedly dog-friendly. The SoHo Grand has the usual array of special dog amenities—like room service and dog bowls—but they really go the extra mile with a recently installed dog run. The hotel often pops up in celebrity gossip items and has its own original art collection.

Dog Mountain, St. Johnsbury, VT If you believe there’s a heaven for dogs, it probably looks something like sculptor Stephen Huneck’s 150-acre studio, gallery and dog park, complete with trails and swimming pond. The artist, known for carvings and wood-cut prints of dogs and angels, created the memorial dog chapel after his love of dogs pulled him through a near-death experience. To him, it’s “a place where people can go and celebrate the spiritual bond they have with their dogs. It’s the largest artwork of my life, and my most personal.”

Dog Bark Park Inn, Cottonwood, ID Do you want to stay in a building-sized beagle? The husband and wife team of Dennis J. Sullivan and Frances Conklin took the money they made from selling chainsaw-carved wood sculptures of dogs and created a beagle the size of a T. Rex that sleeps two, plus dogs. You walk up a staircase and sleep in a dog-themed room in the body of the beagle.

Assateague National Seashore This dog-friendly beach on Maryland’s barrier island has the East Coast’s most famous wild horse herd. Fold down the 60/40 split seats in your Traverse to maximize cargo space (for pet and camping gear) and tour the 12 miles of sandy beaches comfortably with your dog’s head out the window; then set up your tent on the shore. It’s the farthest point north that brown pelicans live all year, as well as the winter home of thousands of geese, and a migratory hot spot. And since dogs—even in vehicles—aren’t permitted to cross the border on the island into Virginia, all the dog families stay together on the Maryland side. The island is also known for great fishing, crabbing and birding.

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This is Part 2 in a series of stories on traveling with your dog. We hope you’ll enjoy reading Part 1, “Where Dogs Can Have Their Day: 5 Idyllic Vacation Spots for You AND Your Furry Best Friend,” as well as “Creature Comforts: 5 Must-Have Accessories for a Road Trip With Your Dog.”

Carol Vinzant edits AnimalTourism.com and has written for Fortune, The Washington Post and Slate, among other publications.