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Dog-Friendly Getaways in BC

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It’s a ruff life being the family pet, with all the tail wagging, shake-a-paws, and afternoon zoomies. Our four-legged friends are an important part of the family and they’d feel left out if they couldn’t join us on vacation. Good thing there are plenty of dog-friendly hotels, eateries, breweries, wineries, parks, and attractions throughout BC. So, pack your bags (and your pup), and head off to explore one of these pet-approved getaways.

Canoeing with the pooch in Whistler. | Tourism Whistler/Mike Crane

WHISTLER

Whistler—a resort known for its luxurious spas, outdoor fun, and indulgent culinary scene—is just as fun to visit if you’re rocking a tail. Nita Lake Lodge in Creekside, the Aava Hotel in Whistler Village, and the Fairmont Chateau Whistler in the Upper Village are just a few of the pet-friendly hotel options in town. Take your pooch out for a paddle, hit one of the lakeside off-leash dog parks, or meander through a canine-friendly hiking trail (Train Wreck is a woodland walk with an artsy twist). If you’re heading out on a humans-only excursion, you can book a dog sitter to watch over your fur friend. Visiting in the winter? You’ll want to hit the dog-specific snowshoeing and cross-country ski trails at Whistler Olympic Park (they have the largest designated off-leash area in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor).

PRINCE GEORGE

As a gateway to the rugged wilderness of Northern BC, Prince George offers an abundance of nature trails, parks, and attractions to enjoy, with your dog in tow. Take a step back in time with a visit to the Huble Homestead Historic Site and the Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum—both welcoming dogs as long as they’re on leash. Savour charcuterie and a cool pint on the large patio at Crossroads Brewery and Distillery (they even feature a Patio Pup on their Instagram each week). There’s plenty of room to roam in Ginter’s Meadow, an expansive accessible trail system near the University of Northern British Columbia. The Coast Hotel in Prince George is not only pet friendly, they have accommodated a pretty wide range of creatures: lizards, cats, birds, rodents, and even bear cubs (don’t ask). If you’re looking for an intimate ranch stay, book in at the Woodhouse Cottages and Ranch, a 300-acre property with plenty of space for four-legged frolicking.

Grab a beer with your four-legged companion on the patio of Red Collar Brewing in Kamloops. | @redcollarbrewing

KAMLOOPS

Kamloops gets high paws for dog friendliness. The abundance of places to go for “walkies” includes six fenced city dog parks, five off-leash nature areas, three Provincial Parks where on-leash walks are permitted, and four dog-friendly beaches. Pioneer Park, located in the heart of downtown, is one of the most popular dog beaches in the city, while Kenna Cartwright Nature Park offers 60 kilometres of trails to explore with sweeping views of the Thompson Valley below. Many cafés, eateries, and breweries allow pets on their patios. Sit and stay for a pint of the “Floofy” IPA and a warm atmosphere on the pup-approved patio of Red Collar Brewing and Distilling Co. (aptly named after the red collar worn by the owner’s dog). Or, bring Fido for a flight at Privato Winery, a family-run vineyard specializing in Burgundian styled wine. There are dozens of hotels and vacation properties that welcome pets, including Sandman Inn and Suites Kamloops and Scott’s Inn Kamloops.

Wine tasting goes hand-in-paw with dog walks at St. Hubertus Estate Winery | tourismkelowna.com / One Peak Creative

KELOWNA

A fun-loving city perched on the edge of rolling Okanagan foothills and alluring lakes, Kelowna is a retreat for the two- and four-legged alike. Bring Rover along as you explore Kelowna’s abundance of dog-friendly wineries, including Kitsch Wines in Kelowna and The Hatch in West Kelowna. Next up, try the beer. A vibrant red mural marks the spot for Red Bird Brewing, where you’ll find a comfy perch for your pet, hearty pub food, and well-rounded beer menu. Get the blood pumping with a hike up Mt. Boucherie, a 50-million-year-old extinct volcano that offers 360-degree views of the area. Paul’s Tomb at Knox Mountain or Mission Creek Greenway are great alternative dog walks. Dogs are welcome at the luxurious Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort, which is conveniently situated near the Downtown Kelowna boardwalk for those early morning and evening dog walks. There are also a number of great pet-friendly accommodation options.

NELSON

The Kootenays might be a bit farther away, but dog-friendly Nelson is worth the drive (and there are plenty of places to stop for business breaks along the way). Once in town, the first thing you’ll want to do is hit the trails (there are plenty to choose from). Bike-savvy dogs can join their human for a ride—how about Top Dog? Popular dog trails include Pilot Bay Provincial Park (on-leash only), Sproule Creek, and the iconic Pulpit Rock. Winter visitors can also explore the Nordic trails with their fur child. The Prestige Lakeside Resort is a relaxing and scenic escape, and just so happens to be located along the Lakefront Walkway Dog Park. While dog-friendly patios are in short supply, you can grab a to-go coffee and a bite at one of the town’s gourmet coffee shops and dine al fresco.

MAPLE RIDGE

When helicopter-riding Instagram super-pup Mister Bentley visits Maple Ridge, you know its a bonafide doggie playground. While its agricultural roots are strong, the community is also fringed by forest, mountains, and lakes—meaning plenty of outdoor fun. A few pup-friendly hotspots include Jerry Sulina Park, Cliff Falls trail at Kanaka Creek Regional Park, and Golden Ears Provincial Park (check if day passes are required). Bring your dog for a lazy afternoon on the Witchcraft Pub. Or, stroll the North Alouette Regional Greenway, ending with a patio pint at Ranch Pub and Grill at the Maple Ridge Equi-Sports Centre (your furry friend might just get a little treat too). Dogs are also welcome at many boutiques and shops in Downtown Maple Ridge. You can stay at the pet-friendly Best Western. There are plenty more dog-friendly stops along Scenic Highway 7 if you plan to continue your journey off the beaten path.

Exploring Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver with a fur buddy. | @woofandstuff

NORTH VANCOUVER

North Vancouver is a veritable dog’s paradise. Take your floofer on a seaside stroll along the Spirit Trail and Lonsdale Quay, or hike through the vast network of North Shore trails—Dog Mountain is an apt choice and features a lookout with panoramic views of Metro Vancouver. Adventure seeking pups and owners can even pay a visit to the iconic Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, which allows on-leash dogs in designated areas (including the bridge itself). Your fur child can join you for a meal at the Tap and Barrel Shipyards, where they’ll seat you near a doggie tie-up station. And, if you’re a bit of a beer hound, you can sit on the dog-friendly patio at Black Kettle Brewing. Stay near the waterfront at Seaside Hotel Vancouver or the Pinnacle at the Pier hotel, located in bustling Lower Lonsdale near shops, eateries, and the Shipyards Brewery District.

SUNSHINE COAST

The Sunshine Coast, with its long stretches of coastline and lush rainforests, gets an enthusiastic tail wag for its dog-friendly trails and parks—Sechelt alone has at least six off-leash dog parks. What’s more, Expedia recently pegged the town of Gibsons as one of its “Insta-worthy destinations to visit with your pet.” Here, you can head for a sun-drenched patio pints in a hop farm setting at Persephone Brewing or enjoy a flight in the garden at Sunday Cider. Swing by Sharkey’s Fish Locker or historic Molly’s Reach for take-out and dine on the beach with your pooch (on leash, of course). Come winter, you can also bring your pup to Dakota Ridge for an on-leash snowshoe. There are plenty of dog-approved campsites, vacation properties, and hotels on the Sunshine Coast. Unique pet-friendly accommodation options include a geodesic dome or cabin at the Back Eddy Resort and Marina in Egmont, and the architecturally stunning Aerie guesthouse at Pointhouse Suites in Sergeant Bay.

NANAIMO

This classic coastal city makes for a fun seaside getaway with your pet. Invermere Beach is perfect for off-leash ocean splashing. Meanwhile, Cable Bay—named for the old log boom cables dotted along the shore—is great for an adventurous dog walk. Enjoy coffee and treats on the Drip Cafe patio, which overlooks Departure Bay Beach. On-leash dogs can wander with you through nearby Neck Point Park, which hugs the Salish Sea (Strait of Georgia) and looks out over the slate-grey shores of the mainland. If you’re peckish, head to the Baby Salsa patio on Fifth Street for authentic Mexican fare and a cool bowl of water for your pup. Dogs are also allowed on the waterfront patio of Beefeater’s Chop House & Grill, which serves up a Mediterranean-inspired menu. Curl up with your four-legged pal at the Coast Bastion Hotel, with views of Nanaimo Harbour. Road tripping throughout Vancouver Island? Check out the other Island stops on their dog-friendly itinerary.

Winston, the Fairmont Empress Hotel resident doggo, stands proudly overlooking Victoria's Inner Harbour. | @winstonattheempress

VICTORIA

Exploring this capital city’s trails, parks, and patios is even more fun with your doggo by your side. Victoria’s Inner Harbour makes for a central hub for your visit. Stay at the Fairmont Empress hotel, where the resident pup Winston welcomes his canine friends with a tail wag, treats, and a toy. There are plenty of wide open spaces to visit within a 20- to 30-minute drive of town, including Goldstream Provincial Park, Sandcut Beach, and Mount Doug (a local’s favourite). Take your buddy for a leashed walk through The Butchart Gardens to enjoy vibrant seasonal foliage. While visiting the Saanich Peninsula, swing by The Fickle Fig, a dog-friendly farmers market, bakery, and bistro with Italian flair. If you’re out exploring nearby Sooke for the day, bring your good boy (or girl) to Bad Dog Brewing for an outdoor pint. Unsworth Vineyards in the fertile Cowichan Valley (a 45-minute drive northwest of Victoria) offers a sunny garden patio for wine tasting and dining. You might also meet their resident winery dog, Beau.

 

Always remember to be a responsible dog owner. Pay attention to and respect local bylaws, follow signage, bring a leash, and pick up after your pet.  

Featured image:  A doggy walk through Rose Valley Regional Park. | Tourism Kelowna / Scott Bakken Productions

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