Contributed by Pet-Friendly Hotels + Travel

Pets are much more than just furry companions. Two out of three American households have at least one pet, and 95 percent of Americans with pets consider them to be family. Not surprisingly, pets are increasingly included on trips. Pet parents are even centering their trips around their pets as a way to bond and create a special, memorable experience.

“Pets have such a special place in our hearts,” says Gracie White, Marketing Manager of Pet Photo Saver, a photo storage app specifically dedicated to preserving pet photos. “The memories we create with them really are priceless, and we’ve found that people increasingly want to document and preserve them for the future.”  

With the rising availability of pet-friendly accommodations, restaurants, and events, taking a trip with your pet is easier than ever.

But if you’re looking to do more than just travel together, we have some ideas to help you create a trip that’s memorable, special, and sure to make you and your furkid happy.

Memorable accommodations

Many hotels, B&Bs, and vacation rentals across the country welcome pets. But some truly stand out for creating a special pet travel experience.

Kimpton Boutique Hotels

In terms of chain hotels, our pick, paws-down, is Kimpton. If you bring your pet to one of their numerous locations across the U.S. and Canada, you’re all but guaranteed a memorable trip. To start with, Kimpton has no restrictions on pet size, type, or breed–their motto is, “If your pet fits through the door, we’ll welcome them in.”  But it gets even better–Kimpton offers exceptional pet-inclusive activities, like a pet concierge, yappy hours, and pet-friendly wine events. Some even have pet masseuses available.

Atlantis Lodge

For a resort stay, we absolutely love Atlantis Lodge in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. Established in the 1960s, this lodge has been pet friendly from the start. Atlantis allows both dogs and cats, and pups are greeted with gourmet treats upon arrival. There’s a designated dog park and a pet-friendly beach, where chaise lounges and umbrellas will be furnished for your pets. There’s even a doggy wash station with organic pet shampoos. Suite rooms feature furnished kitchenettes and walk-in closets, so you’ll be perfectly comfortable on a long stay. If you love the beach, this is a perfect, truly memorable destination spot for you and your pet.

Mount Baker Lodging

Another favorite of ours is Mount Baker Lodging in Mount Baker, Washington. There are a variety of pet-friendly lodging options to choose from, including cabins, cottages, condos, and executive vacation rental homes. The best pet-friendly feature of this lodge is access to the exquisite Mount Baker and the Snoqualmie National Forest region. Explore all of the breathtaking mountains, lakes, streams, and waterfalls with your furkid by your side.

Memorable destinations

Asheville, North Carolina

Located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville, NC definitely makes our short list of memorable, one-of-a-kind places to visit with your pet. Of course, there’s the Biltmore Estate. Set against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this historic luxury home is open for public touring.  While pets aren’t allowed inside, they can explore the hundreds of acres of exquisite trails and gardens surrounding the estate right along with you. Then there’s Asheville itself–the city is famous for its earthy, low-key vibe, vibrant food, wine, and craft scene, and proximity to the mountains. It’s also truly pet friendly, with numerous festivals, outdoor cafes, breweries, and cideries that welcome pets with open arms.

Portland, Maine

Head up to New England and enjoy the quaint town of Portland, ME. It’s another of our favorite pet-friendly destinations. This northeastern city features loads of pet-friendly restaurants, breweries, shopping, and activities. Wander down the historic waterfront, play together on one of the many dog-friendly beaches in the area, OR for a real memorable adventure, go island hopping on a pet-friendly ferry.

Huntington Beach, California

On the West Coast , a pet-friendly gem awaits beach lovers and their pups. Voted as one of California’s most pet friendly cities, Huntington Beach, CA, welcomes both human and canine visitors with equal enthusiasm. The city features a large dog park, a designated off-leash dog beach, and ample pet-friendly cafes and restaurants. In addition, the city regularly hosts a variety of dog-themed events, including the “Running of the Wieners,” “Corgi Beach Day,” and the Surf City Surf Dog Competition. Your pooch can even join in on the fun and hang ten with surfing lessons at Good Karma Surf Instruction.

Memorable activities

No matter where you’re headed, you can make any trip memorable and special if you’re willing to think outside the box. Consider a walking tour – maybe even a spooky one, like the Ghostly Encounters Walking Tour in St. Augustine, FL. Visit a monument, a botanical garden, or a historical site. Some museums, like the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, welcome pets on their grounds. Like being on the move? Enjoy a trolley ride, a kayaking trip, or even a train ride with your furkid. With a bit of research, planning, and creativity, you really can find amazing, memorable pet-friendly options wherever you go.

Capturing special memories

There are a myriad of ways to preserve all of your best memories from your trip, but the simplest and most common way is, of course, taking tons of photos. To ensure those treasured photos stay safe, try Pet Photo Saver, a combination smart drive and app that allows for easy storage and safekeeping of pet photos. Downloading pet photos into the app is simple, even without an internet connection. But the best thing about Pet Photo Saver is its unique pet facial recognition photo. It will scan your photos for your pet’s face, and only download the photos that feature your pet, making it ideal for capturing and preserving the highlights of a pet-centered trip.

“The memories of our pets are essential to so many of us, and these trips mean so much,” says Gracie. “We love providing a way to ensure they’re preserved forever.”   

About TripsWithPets

TripsWithPets is a leader in the pet travel industry – providing online reservations at pet-friendly hotels across the United States and Canada.

With a vast inventory of pet-friendly accommodations, TripsWithPets provides pet travelers with a wide variety of pet-friendly options.

Pet parents go to for all they need to find and book the perfect place to stay with their pets –  including detailed, up-to-date information on hotel pet policies and pet amenities.

As passionate animal advocates, TripsWithPets  supports local and national 501(c)(3) animal welfare organizations by raising much needed funds through their annual Partners for Animal Welfare Series (PAWS).

This article originally appeared on The Buffalo News: Don’t just travel with your pet, create memories that will last a lifetime

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