Pets are family members, so it’s only natural that we want to bring them with us on family vacations. To ensure their health and well-being, we need to do some research into the pet-friendly amenities available at our destination. We should know if there are pet-friendly hotels & restaurants, dog parks, dog-friendly hiking trails, pet stores and nearby veterinarians.

Upgraded Points has a list of the best and the worst cities in the US for pet-friendly vacations, based on eight criteria used to evaluate the most popular vacation spots in the country.


AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/Upgraded Points has recently unveiled the results of their latest data study — this one rating the degree of pet-friendliness for 50 of the most popular U.S. vacation destinations.

Analysis Methodology

For this study, data was compiled on the following eight criteria:

  1. Number of dog parks per 100K population
  2. Number of pet stores
  3. Number of pet-friendly hotels
  4. Number of vacation rentals that will accommodate pets
  5. Number/extent of pet-friendly restaurants
  6. Availability of veterinarians per 100K population
  7. Total miles of hiking trails available
  8. Total number of hiking trails per 100K persons

The eight criteria, when summed, gave each location a possible maximum value of 50. Each city rated was then ranked numerically according to their calculated score.

Cities with the Highest Pet-Friendly Ratings

The clear winner in this data study was the city of Asheville, North Carolina. It topped the list with a total score of 47.5 out of 50 points. In fact, Asheville received maximum positive ratings for six of the eight total criteria. Critically, two of those maxed-out positive ratings were for the number of pet-friendly hotels and also the number of vacation rentals available that were considered pet-friendly. The city also has a large number of hiking trails, which would be important to any pet owner desiring to take their pet outside.

The number two city was determined to be Santa Fe, New Mexico. This city also had top-flight rankings for pet-friendly accommodations, pet-friendly vacation rental units and hotels.

The top US vacation spots for pets are:

  1. Asheville, NC
  2. Santa Fe, NM
  3. Orlando, FL
  4. Savannah, GA
  5. Key West, FL
  6. Newport, RI
  7. Scottsdale, AZ
  8. Charleston, SC
  9. Portland, ME
  10. Greenville, SC
  11. New Orleans, LA
  12. Salt Lake City, UT
  13. Austin, TX
  14. Portland, OR
  15. Boise, ID

The Best Cities for US Pet Vacations

Cities with the Lowest Ratings for Pet-Friendliness

Unfortunately, this study uncovered a few cities that have room to improve their experience for travelers with pets. With the lowest score was Maui, Hawaii, which only scored a 2.3 rating out of 50 possible points. It did get some rating for their hiking opportunities, but failed to secure any points for accommodations that were pet-friendly, nor did they receive any points for pet-friendly activities (such as restaurants that were pet-friendly).

Alex Miller, founder of Upgraded Points, speaking about a major finding of this study, noted that “A big surprise to us was to find the shocking number of major metropolitan U. S. cities that did not score well at all. A number of these cities have very few pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals for their population size, which is a big drawback for those traveling with pets, and most struggle to provide enough — or any — amenities like dog parks and hiking trails. Until this situation changes, we would strongly recommend that travelers avoid traveling to those cites with their pets.”

The major U. S. cities with poor pet-friendliness ratings were Los Angeles (ranked 14th out of 15), Chicago (ranked 11th), New York City (ranked 2nd poorest) and Philadelphia (ranked 8th out of 15).

The worst US vacation spots for pets are:

  1. Maui, HI
  2. New York, NY
  3. Milwaukee, WI
  4. Brooklyn, NY
  5. Detroit, MI
  6. Anaheim, CA
  7. Memphis, TN
  8. Philadelphia, PA
  9. Buffalo, NY
  10. Rochester, NY
  11. Chicago, IL
  12. San Antonio, TX
  13. Kansas City, MO
  14. Louisville, KY
  15. Los Angeles, CA

The Worst Cities for US Pet Vacations

The Best and Worst US Cities by Ranking Factor

Key West, FL gets four paws up for pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals, as well as restaurants, pet stores and veterinarians, but they fall short on hiking trails.

The Best and Worst City for US Pet Vacations

About Upgraded Points LLC
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Upgraded Points is a travel company that provides insider strategies on maximizing travel points and rewards. Launched in 2016 by Alex Miller, Upgraded Points uses targeted research efforts and in-depth studies to give travelers, as well as those looking to travel a real understanding of how to maximize their points and miles. Learn more at:

Media Contact:
Alex Miller

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2 thoughts on “Best and Worst Vacation Spots for Pets in the USA

  1. Well if I can’t actually GO on vacation right now at least I can plan one! Thanks for the info.

  2. Architecture and real estate has improved through the years. However, I’ll like to see more venues that accommodate the needs of our canine and feline companions. Great job with this article and site at large.

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