When your dog is a member of the family, it just makes sense to bring him along on a family vacation. But where to go? It's easy to find pet-friendly accommodation— many hotels and lodges allow dogs, and some even have special treats and bedding for your furry friend— but the real trick is finding activities that allow pets to take part in the fun. Happily, British Columbia has many options for dog-friendly vacations that you've probably never thought of. For example, did you know man's best friend can join your next golf trip to Predator Ridge?
Here are five more trip ideas for you and your dog's next vacation. Remember, please follow local bylaws, keep your dog leashed where required, and under control at all times.
Dogs in the City
If your posh pup is a fan of city living, Vancouver and Victoria are ready to roll out the welcome mat. In Vancouver, your leashed companion is welcome at popular attractions such as Capilano Suspension Bridgeand Stanley Park. Visit Spanish Banks Beach and adjacent Pacific Spirit Park for extensive off-leash areas and stunning views of the city and English Bay. Dogs are welcome aboard the Aquabus ferry service, which offers short boat trips around False Creek with stops at Granville Island, Olympic Village and downtown Vancouver.
Canines can lounge in the lap of luxury with Fairmont Hotel Vancouver's Designer Doggie Package, which includes a fashionable dog collar, an hour-long Pup-arazzi photo shoot with Flytographer, round-trip transportation to the dog park, and more. The hotel also offers a canine in-room dining menu with drool-worthy items like Prime Rib Bone with Gravy Lacquer. If your pup is pooped after a day out on the town, a one-hour in-room canine massage is included as part of the Pampered Pooch package at the Opus Hotel in Vancouver.
In Victoria, bring your dog along on your visit to Butchart Gardens, and continue to the nearby Cy Hampson Park in North Saanich for off-leash access to grassy fields and a pebble beach with views to the Gulf Islands. The books aren't dog-eared but the visitors can be at Munro's Books, Russell's Books and Chapters.
In British Columbia, dogs aren't permitted in restaurants or on patios with food service, but there are a number of restaurant patios with adjacent public spaces where your pet can relax while you dine.
Wine Touring for the Dogs
While your dog will be more interested in the water bowl than the wine glass, there are plenty of wineries in Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley that welcome four-legged friends. Notably, See Ya Later Ranch pays homage to the canine companions of original landowner Major Fraser with wine labels that feature a small golden dog with wings. Many wineries, such as Road 13 Vineyards and Okanagan Crush Pad, allow dogs to join their owners in the winery's tasting room or shop, or have comfortable and shaded areas for your dog to relax nearby.
Dogs on the Water
Water dogs will feel right at home on Vancouver Island, where the open beaches of Tofino and Parksville beckon for humans and canines alike. If you're looking for an organized tour, head to Tofino where dogs can join the boat trip to Meares Island and guided tour of Big Tree Trail with Ocean Outfitters. Canoeing or stand-up paddleboarding can be a fun adventure with your dog, and there are rentals available in Ladysmith, Comox and Tofino, among others. It's a good idea to buy or rent a lifejacket for your dog for water-based adventures: Vancouver-based RC Pets has a few options available.
Dogs in the Mountains
Alpine peaks aren't just for the Saint Bernards; British Columbia's mountain trails and towns will appeal to any breed. Whistler is home to many dog-friendly walks and hikes, as well as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter. There's Dogfest in April and Woof Weekend in October, annual events that feature canine-related activities. In the mountains of the Kootenay Rockies region, a number of events also welcome dogs, including an annual "Pooch Plunge" at the public pools of the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort.
Dogs on the Range
Running through the open grasslands of the Cariboo is the ultimate dog adventure. Well-balanced and disciplined dogs (those unlikely to chase chickens or deer) are welcome at Flying U Guest Ranch and Big Bar Guest Ranch, both notable as destinations for horseback riding. And a ranch vacation isn't just for the dogs: both Big Bar Guest Ranch, as well as Nipika Resort in the Canadian Rockies offer "Bale and Breakfast" equine vacations, which provide stabling for horses who accompany their owner's visit.