As travelers with pets, my husband and I have an extra responsibility onboard. We also have an extra element of fun, adventure, and excitement when we take our fur-kids with us on the road! It’s our job to make sure our pets have as much fun traveling as we do. And the most important component to a good time for all is feeling welcome and comfortable at the campground we choose.
When we first began our travels almost five years ago in our RV, we took for granted that we would be welcomed with open paws at any campground. We found out quickly that every campground will have its own pet rules and guidelines. Some have breed restrictions. Others weight restrictions and limits on the number of pets we camp with, and a few have restrictions on all of the above. Doing your research ahead of time, and asking questions upfront, will ensure that you are not disappointed when you arrive. More importantly, this extra step ensures your pet is not disappointed! There is a perfect campground for a family with pets–and you can find it!
We have traveled to all of the 48 contiguous states with our dogs Peanut Butter Brickle and Digby Pancake. We have cut some campground stays short due to disappointment, but we’ve also extended our stays at some of the most pet friendly campgrounds around! Just like every person is different, every pet is different. Take into consideration your pet’s age, health and activity levels. There is a campground that is incredible for you and its waiting for your reservation!
Hanna Park is a county owned park near Jacksonville, Florida. If your dog is a beach lover, this campground is “pawfection”! Park your RV and set up camp in the wooded and shaded campground and then walk to the dog friendly beach at night. The staff is welcoming to pets and their people. I know this firsthand as we’ve visited this park for long periods at a time. We just couldn’t leave! Brickle loves the beach and Digby loves the wooded trails. This may be our perfect campground, but try and keep the secret!
4 Paws Kingdom
Rutherfordton, North Carolina
The 4 Paws Kingdom campground in North Carolina is truly one of a kind. The owners here have thought of everything a dog needs to be happy including numerous off-leash areas, fenced areas in campsites, a pond, and even trails! This campground is a destination in itself, and potential campers should know that only guests 18 and older are permitted—unless you’re a dog!
Trackrock Campground and Cabins
The Trackrock campground is peaceful, nostalgic, and endearing! We felt so welcome with our dogs when we visited. Every morning, we walked and looked at the horses and stables, let the dogs roll in the well maintained grass, and enjoyed the mountain air and breezes at night. This is not a resort for people, but Brickle and Digby can’t help but give it four paws up!
Located near the Greenbrier entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this campground is one of our favorites! There is nothing like hearing the sound of a rushing creek right behind your campsite. Take your dog on a walk in the morning at the campground and have a campfire breakfast. Then drive to downtown Gatlinburg. There, you can catch the Gatlinburg trail for a dog friendly hike. This trail is only one of two trails that dogs are allowed in this National Park. Both the Gatlinburg Trail and the Oconaluftee River Trail were the perfect distance for our dogs to walk. Grab some ice cream on the way back to camp and sit by your campfire wondering how life got so good.
John Wayne’s Rustic Waterfront Resort
Located in the famous dry belt of Sequim, Washington near the Northeast entrance of the Olympic National Park, the John Wayne Rustic Waterfront Resort park is nestled between the Olympic Mountains and Sequim Bay. Brickle and Digby loved walking across the street to watch the boats and activities at the marina. Many campers choose this RV park as a home base from which to visit popular tourist destinations on the Peninsula and Victoria BC. We enjoyed touring the local lavender farms with Brickle and Digby which provided wonderful picture taking opportunities.
Valley Of Fires Recreation Area
Carrizozo, New Mexico
Four miles west of the Town of Carrizozo in New Mexico on US 380, Valley of Fires Recreation Area is an unexpected camping destination adjacent to a lava flow! Yes, A lava flow! The lava flow is considered to be one of the youngest flows in the U.S., and you can camp near it with your dog. Not many travelers know about this place, and it’s a perfect place for stargazing. This campground has elevated views and a nature trail that Brickle and Digby loved. The nature trail is quite easy on their paws as it is paved. But be careful going off of the trail, as lava can be very hard on their feet.
Fort Pickens Campground Of Gulf Shores
Fort Pickens Campground is on Santa Rosa Island, a part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore south of Pensacola and Gulf Breeze, Florida. This is a pristine and protected area, and we felt quite privileged to be able to bring our dogs here. Although they are not allowed on the beach within the campground, there is a dog friendly beach just a short drive outside of the park. The main draw for us here was the history and being able to learn so much with our dogs right by our side. The campground gets booked quickly, so plan ahead, and be sure and reserve a shaded site.
Natural Tunnel State Park
This isn’t just any tunnel. You will be in awe! More than 850 feet long and 10 stories high, Natural Tunnel was naturally carved through a limestone ridge over thousands of years. This state park include two campgrounds, cabins, picnic areas, an amphitheater, a visitor center, a camp store and a gift shop. You can even bring your dog on the chairlift if they aren’t afraid of heights.
Kooser State Park
This small park had big personality! We were surprised how much Brickle and Digby loved the Kooser State campground and park. They truly wanted to stay here much longer than we did. With a stream right behind our campsite and grass they could lay in, they were relaxed and comfortable. They may have even got the zoomies, they were so happy. It’s not often that our dogs pick a park for their favorite, because they like so much. But, we know that this park and campground are in their top ten. At an altitude of 2,600 feet, Kooser State Park attracts campers all year to its 250 acres of forest and the beautiful stream.
Little Buffalo State Park
If wandering around with your dog, walking through covered bridges, and playing in a creek sound good, this place is for you! This is a small campground, and not many conveniences are nearby, so make sure to have your supplies before arriving. Walk around the lake, take some pictures by a historic mill and walk the trails! The staff here at Little Buffalo State Park were helpful and welcoming of our dogs, and we truly felt relaxed.
Bradenton/Hunsader Farms KOA
The family that owns and runs the Bradenton Hunsader Farms KOA campground has now become our family too. Brickle and Digby woke up every morning at this campground and could not wait to start their day! After a run in the grassy dog park, we took our time walking to the farm stand. Brickle and Digby were greeted with a treat every morning as we picked out our fresh produce for the day and said hello to all of the farm animals. This family is proud of their farm, and they should be. So much care is taken with the land and the food that they grow. Celebrate fall with their popular Pumpkin Festival every year and bring your dog! Don’t forget to say hello to Jack the Kangaroo!
Shenandoah River State Park
The campsites at Shenandoah River State Park felt like home. Privacy, cleanliness, and friendly folks are the highlight of this park. Located outside the Shenandoah National Park, this dog friendly campground and park allows you to camp near a national park without the crowds. Numerous trails kept Brickle and Digby busy, and we loved dipping our feet into the river and watching the sunsets. This park is on the Shenandoah River and has more than 1,600 acres along 5.2 miles of shoreline to explore.
Crater Of Diamonds State Park
You may think you have found a treasure in your dog. But imagine looking for treasure with your dog! That’s right! Crater of Diamonds State Park is a dog friendly state park. It not only allows dogs to camp, but your dog is allowed to look for diamonds with you! If you ever wanted to put your dog’s digging skills to good use, now is your chance! The campground is beautiful and spacious which is perfect for after a day of diamond hunting.
Hillsborough River State Park
Growing up in Tampa, Florida near the Hillsborough River State Park, I never appreciated it enough! This park has a very rare feature in Florida: water rapids! Go on a hike above the Hillsborough River and admire the alligators from afar. Take in the natural beauty of the campground and walk to trails right from your campsite! With a snack bar and gift shop, once you get here for the weekend with your dog, you don’t have to leave!
Myrtle Beach State Park
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
This campground is so big that it’s easy to get lost just taking a walk! One of Brickle and Digby’s favorite activities are looking at other campers’ set ups! We can’t argue how fun that is too, especially when other campers say hello to them. With an expansive dog friendly beach, the fun never ends at Myrtle Beach State Park!
Galveston Island State Park
Does a picnic with your dog on the beach sound fun? It should. And it is! The campground at Galveston Island State Park was truly memorable for us. Hearing the waves at night, looking up at the stars and seeing the sunsets will make you remember why you travel. And, you won’t forget your time here at the spacious campsites.
Lopez Lake Recreation Area
Arroyo Grande, California
We’ve stayed at Lopez Lake campground twice on our trips around the USA. Although out of the way, it feels like exactly where you are meant to be. Ground squirrels by our campsite were better entertainment than television! The wildlife here is abundant but so are the views of Lopez Lake. Hike with your dogs on one of the many trails, and stop by the visitor center to say hello to some of the nicest staff we have met. The dogs may love them for the treats.
Marina Dunes RV Park
We love California; this is no secret. But, we found a new favorite area to explore with Brickle and Digby! Thanks to Marina Dunes RV Park, we were able to take day trips into downtown Monterey and Monterey Bay. We explored the towns by day and walked on the beach right from the RV park by night. There’s nothing like having a beach all to yourself, and we truly felt the magic of the California coast here.
Buccaneer State Park
Buccaneer State Park campground has spacious campsites which is big plus for us. Privacy and nature are the main draws here. Walk to the beach any time of day from your campsite or take a hike overlooking marsh lands. There are numerous campground areas in this park, so pick the one that is right for you and your dog!
Hidden Acres Family Campground
We feel like we’ve stepped back in time when we camp at the family owned Hidden Acres campground in Preston, Connecticut. With spacious campsites, many along a river, you will forget all about your troubles. They may be hidden and out of the way, but, for us, that’s a plus. With staff that knows you by name, you’ll find that they are dog lovers too! Brickle and Digby loved to wet their paws in the river and we loved watching them! The water was a bit cold for us, but many like to tube and raft on this rocky river.
Fort Desoto Park Campground
Tierre Verde, Florida
The Fort Desoto campground is the best of Florida. If you are fortunate to book a campsite here, you have to plan early. Although the entire campground isn’t dog friendly, there are plenty of great sites that are. Shade is important in Florida, and there is plenty here! Be ready for your dog to have one of the best days or weeks EVER. A huge, off leash dog beach is a dream come true. After a long visit to the fenced in dog park, head to the beach and after, use one of the dog showers to clean up before taking a nap back at camp. And then the next day, do it all over again!
Find Your Favorite Pet Friendly Campground
The best part about traveling with our dogs is that we get to know each other better! Time is precious with our pets. We want every moment, every day, and every campground that we visit to be memorable. And, we can’t wait to find new favorites.
Use the Good Sam Find-A-Park tool and filter for “Pets Welcome,” to find your next pet getaway.
Enjoyed the article. Didn’t know there are places for dogs to enjoy too.
I really enjoyed this. I am always interested in campgrounds that enjoy our dogs and have walking trails and beaches or lakes available to them too. I will be following you