Some of our Favorite Dog Friendly Places & Campgrounds
Most NY State Parks are dog friendly and have shaded, wooded sites! They are also Carry In Carry Out so disposing of dog waste can be a challenge. But be sure to pick up after your dog! Most, if not all, have a 6 foot leash rule! When camping, don't be afraid to call the campgrounds directly and find out what their more private sites are. We enjoy tent camping and like the more private sites when we are traveling with our dogs so we can be careful not to disturb others.
Toronto Islands, Canada- simply wonderful! If you think the big city of Toronto couldn't possibly be dog friendly, think again! We discovered a wonderful get away right near the city! The Toronto Islands lie just off the coastline of downtown Toronto and are accessible only by ferry. But that is ok because dogs are allowed on the ferry! Taking the ferry affords a beautiful view of the Toronto skyline. Once reaching the islands you will find miles of trails, ponds, gardens and beaches. There is also a lighthouse and pier that overlook Lake Ontario. Leashed dogs are allowed. There is even an amusement park on the islands which allows you to bring your dog. Of course, they are not allowed on the rides though! Finding a place to eat while touring the islands with your dog is not a problem- there are many kiosks and outdoor seating areas or you can picnic and use their grills to cook out. I have read also that there are many hotels in the city centre that accept dogs. Toronto can be a wonderful dog friendly get away.
Taughannock Falls State Park, NY- nice large , private campground sites, dogs welcome on trails and across the road at the lake beach. One section is a "people only" beach but the rest is open so your dogs can swim. If you have children you can easily watch them swim or play at the playground while letting your dogs walk or swim as well. Food stand so you can eat with your dog at a picnic table. Also, nearby Buttermilk Falls State Park and Campground is dog friendly and trails are open to dogs and good spots for taking a dip once you make it up the steep trail. And they have nice, private wooded sites as well. It is a bit of a walk though from the campground to the Buttermilk Falls.
Port Dalhousie, Ontario, Canada- very nice waterfront walking trails, dogs welcome, outdoor patio restaurants nearby so you can eat with your dog. Carousel and playground for kids and you can also take your dog. Lighthouse and pier walk, quaint historic district. And you can add an additional side trip to the Welland Canal in St. Catherine, where you can walk your dogs along the path and view the large ships and barges traveling to various ports around the world. There is a playground for kids and some outdoor exhibits. NO shade in parking lot.
Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada- Canis Bay Campground has a dog beach and private sites. Dogs are welcome on most of the trails. Especially fun is the logging museum trail and the outdoor amphitheatre which both welcome dogs. We don't recommend going to the main museum as the parking lot has NO SHADE- can't leave the dogs in the car(on a cool day of course) while touring this museum. One of the restaurants had an outdoor patio so you can dine with your dog! There is one trail the dogs are not allowed on because it is specifically for wildlife/moose viewing but most of the trails are open to dogs. We tried to hike trails near water so our dogs could take a dip. Canoeing is a "must do" activity in this park and we saw many people renting canoes for themselves and their dogs !
Saratoga Springs, NY- We found the town and the State Park to be dog friendly. Nice trail in the park where you can see geysers and everyone can go wading, even the dogs. There are many spots in the area which feature natural springs and fountains, some fountains in the town were even at dog level, enabling them to drink as well. There is a carousel in the town center, just off a park, again dog friendly. A side trip to Schenectady found a nice park along the river where dogs were welcome and there was a playground as well for the kids. There was a walking tour of the historic part of town(1600's) with many commemorative plaques on shaded, tree lined streets.
Parker Dam State Park & Chapman State Park, north central Pennsylvania- Trails, beaches and nice, shady sites. The dogs were welcome at the park programs as well!
Valens Conservation Area & Campground, outside of Hamilton, Ontario- Wonderful treed sites. Pet beach!! And people beach too! Very strict leash law. Many dogs were at this park when we camped here. Just about everyone had a dog. And yet it was quiet at night. Lots of level (flat terrain) trails to take your dogs on. If you have kids the pet beach is next to the playground so it is easy to let your kids play while your dog is taking a swim. Actually we had no trouble finding a shady spot on the grass under a tree with our dog at the "people beach"- dogs just aren't allowed on the sandy beach proper. So the whole family can stay together and kids can swim without having to leave the family dog behind!
Some traveling tips when vacationing with your dog: If you can't find a good spot to eat outside with your dog we find we sometimes can locate a restaurant where we can park our dogs in the shade and leave the windows & doors wide open (our dogs are crated) and sit at a window in the restaurant where we can see our vehicle. Never leave your dog in a car in the summer with only the windows cracked, not even for a few minutes!!! Temperatures can soar rather quickly inside of a vehicle. Battery operated crate fans are a great investment as well. Always have fresh water available. Keep a copy of your dog's vaccination records and rabies certificate in the glove compartment. Have a doggie first aide kit packed with bandages, tick tweezers, Benadryl(for bee stings) and Pepto Bismol (for diarrhea). Do try to bring as much water from home as possible to lessen the chances that your dog will get an upset stomach. Don't let them drink from creeks or ponds as your dog can catch Giardia. Do obey LEASH LAWS!!!! Ok, so your dog obeys you and you can predict 100% of the time 100% of what your dog is going to do. It is not going to chase after a squirrel or a deer it encounters. SO WHAT! It's the LAW!! And if you come across someone with a dog who IS on lead that dog may feel threatened if your dog comes running up on it. And who has the LAW on their side if anything happens? You guessed it- the party with the leashed dog! Also many parks exist to conserve wildlife. Dogs running loose disturb nesting birds and other creatures that parks are there to protect!
Places that weren't ideal for traveling with dogs:
Watkins Glen State Park, NY- Dogs welcome in some camping loops but be aware they are not welcome on some of the park trails.
Lake Erie State Park & Campground, NY- not a lot of shade and no access to water so dog's can swim and there is a train that goes by frequently which might spook your dogs.
Lake Ontario Beach State Park and Pier- no dog's allowed, anywhere! Period! Also, dogs are not allowed at any Rochester city sponsored events i.e. festivals.
Queenston Heights Park, Niagara Falls, Canada- no dog's allowed