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Study: 100 US Destinations, 700+ Insights — The 10 MOST Pet-Friendly Cities

The header image for the article; contains the text "The most pet-friendly cities" and a cartoon graphic of five dogs.

You love your pet; you love to travel — I don’t have to tell you these two passions can clash. I’ve been there, renting the only pet-friendly hotel in town because it’s the only option, certainly not out of appeal. Of course, it’s miles from the closest dog park. Finding a pet-friendly eatery nearby that you also want to eat at? Forget about it!

In a country like the U.S., seemingly dominated by travel enthusiasts and pet lovers alike, those of us who travel with our four-legged companions often find ourselves frustrated by the limited availability of establishments that accept pets nationwide.

More to Read: Top 15 Pet-Friendly Resorts in the U.S.

Suppose instead of boarding your pup, you decide to find the most pet-friendly city in the U.S. for your next travel destination — that’s a dedicated pet parent right there. But how to measure “friendliness?”

Alas, as with all great burning abstract questions — a data-driven approach can help us find the answer. Even better, working like a dog, I found the cities for you!

Here are some jump links to help you navigate this page:

A blue US map labeled 'Top 10 Pet-Friendly Cities'. The map highlights Asheville, North Carolina as the top city, followed by Orlando, Miami, Denver, and others, ending with Sarasota, Florida in the 10th spot.

Roster: Top 10 Pet-Friendly Cities in the US to Visit


By harnessing data from the national tourism office, prioritizing U.S. tourist hotspots, manually collecting pet-friendly hotel, Airbnb, restaurant, park and store data and applying a 13-metric statistical analysis, I could gauge the overall pet-friendliness for the 100 most visited U.S. cities — not to say I’m putting on the dog or anything.

Additionally, I measured the “acceptance” of local populations toward traveling pets, the concentration of pet-friendly establishments in each city, and pet-friendly lodging costs. Everything from highly-rated hotels to off-leash dog parks went into my normalized, weighted, indexed, logarithmically transformed scoring system that answers the question, “Which U.S. cities roll out the red carpet for our beloved four-legged companions?”

This question was like herding dogs, but the result? A travel destination where it’s guaranteed to be raining cats and dogs. (If your dog doesn’t find this “punny,” I suggest you stop reading now.)

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A table titled 'Top 20 Pet-Friendly Cities' ranking cities by their pet-friendliness. The table has columns for City, Score, and Highlight. The top city is Asheville, North Carolina, followed by cities like Orlando, Florida and Miami, Florida. The list continues with cities like Denver, Portland, and ends with New York, NY in the 20th position.

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Methodology


Independence: I conducted this research impartially, but we may earn commissions from links on this page.

Selection Criteria: Cities were selected based on the top 100 U.S. MSA destinations for overseas tourists using data from the National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) Survey of International Air Travelers (SIAT) for Q2 2022-Q1 2023.

Data Points:

  1. Pet-Friendly Hotels (Booking.com): Data collected during 7/25/23-7/26/23 MDT, focusing on total pet-friendly locations and those with 8/10+ reviews.
  2. Pet-Friendly Airbnb Rentals (Airbnb): Data extracted between 11 AM-12:25 PM 7/27/23. Filters included entire places, Superhosts, and essential amenities. Metrics included total locations and average pricing.
  3. Pet-Friendly Restaurants (Tripadvisor): Filtered for establishments that have a dog-friendly feature.
  4. Off-Leash Dog Parks & Stores (BringFido): Only within city limits.

Analysis:

  • Data Normalization: Pet-friendly amenities were normalized using per capita and square mile calculations.
  • Logarithmic Transformation: A logarithmic transformation was applied to the data to counteract city size and population biases, ensuring fair comparisons across cities of different scales.

Scoring:

  • Pet Acceptance Level: Captures a city’s acceptance of pets; establishments per capita.
  • Pet Density Index: Gauges concentration of pet-friendly spots; establishments per sq mile.
  • Pet-Friendly City Score: Combines the two scores above for a comprehensive view.
    • Airbnb Prices: Factored into the final score without per capita/square mile calculations. Weighed at 13.5%.
  • Final Weights: I weighed scores to a 10-point system. Key metrics include Hotels (15.14%), Highly-Rated Hotels (12.98%), Airbnbs (15.14%), Restaurants (15.14%), Dog Parks (15.14%), Pet-Friendly Stores (12.98%), and Airbnb Price (13.50%).

Replicability: All raw data is publicly available. For questions, email [email protected]. [Google Sheets link] contains the gathered data and calculations minus proprietary info. Please credit if sharing.

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1. Asheville, North Carolina Asheville, North Carolina
Credit: Asheville, North Carolina by Sean Pavone via Dreamstime

1. Asheville, North Carolina

The U.S. City Most Open to Pet Travel

  • Pet-Friendly City Score: 10 of 10

  • Highlight: Highest Pet Acceptance Level

Fetching Facts: When I embarked on our quest to discover the most pet-friendly places in the U.S., Asheville, North Carolina, stood out before I gathered any data. It earned the #2 spot on Bring Fido’s opinionated ranking and secured notable positions in data-driven studies by CertaPet and Euro Puppy. As I collected information, I was keen to gauge the openness to accommodating pets in each city. I developed the Pet Acceptance Level to quantify this by measuring the availability of pet-friendly hotels, Airbnb’s, restaurants, parks, and stores per capita. 

You guessed it — Asheville tops the charts with the highest score on this index, catapulting it to the #1 highest Pet-Friendly City Score, thereby making it the most pet-friendly city in the U.S. Specifically, Asheville has the nation’s most pet-friendly Airbnbs per capita; the most pet-friendly stores per capita and square mile. It placed third for the most highly-rated pet-friendly hotels per capita and in the top ten for four other metrics in my comprehensive review. From my analysis, if you are genuinely passionate about pet travel, doggone it; you can’t do better than Asheville!

Top Stays: Kimpton – Hotel Arras and Pet-Friendly Log Cabin on Reems Creek

Top Restaurants: The Funkatorium and The Corner Kitchen

Top Parks: French Broad River Dog Park and West End Paw Park

More Top Stays:10 Pet-Friendly Hotels in Asheville

2. Orlando, Florida Orlando, FL
Credit: Orlando, FL by Sean Pavone via Dreamstime

2. Orlando, Florida

Elite Pet Comfort

  • Pet-Friendly City Score: 9.6 of 10

  • Highlight: Most Highly-Rated Pet-Friendly Hotels per Capita

Fetching Facts: Orlando, Florida, is barking up the right tree! Today, it steps into the limelight as one of the most dog-friendly cities in the U.S. The city doesn’t just boast the second-highest number of pet-friendly hotels per capita and square mile—it also leads the pack with the most top-rated pet-friendly hotels per capita. Plus, with its impressive ranking of #5 for dog parks per capita, Orlando fetches a Pet Acceptance Level just tailing Asheville, North Carolina. The overall score? A paw-sitively impressive 9.6 out of 10.

Top Stays: Rosen Shingle Creek and 6-Bed Luxury Villa with Private Pool

Top Restaurants: Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa and The Hall On The Yard

Top Parks: Pups Pub and Barber Park

More Top Stays: 13 Pet-Friendly Vacation Rentals in Orlando

3. Miami, Florida Miami Beach, FL
Credit: Miami Beach, FL by Sergey Chernyaev via Dreamstime

3. Miami, Florida

Unparalleled Amenity Concentration

  • Pet-Friendly City Score: 9.2 of 10

  • Highlight: Highest Pet Amenity Density Index 

Fetching Facts: You would be barking mad if you passed up Miami for your next pet-centric getaway! A wide selection of high-quality dog-friendly hotels and Airbnbs? Check. Restaurants seemingly around every corner that allow dogs? Check. A community of warm-welcoming pet enthusiasts? Check! Though often under the radar, my analysis places Miami at the pinnacle: #1 on my Pet Amenity Density Index. This score evaluates pet-friendly hotels, Airbnb’s, restaurants, parks and stores per square mile, guaranteeing you’re always near a pet-approved establishment in Miami, more so than anywhere else in the U.S. Don’t miss out!

Top Stays: The Elser Hotel Miami and Renovated Home with Heated Pool

Top Restaurants: Marabu Restaurant and La Cañita

Top Parks: West Kendall District Park and Bark Park Dog Park

More Top Stays: 9 Pet-Friendly Hotels in Miami

4. Denver, Colorado Denver, CO
Credit: Denver, CO by Kevin Ruck via Dreamstime

4. Denver, Colorado

Endless Stays

  • Pet-Friendly City Score: 8.3 of 10

  • Highlight: Most Pet-Friendly Hotels per Square Mile and Capita

Fetching Facts: You probably already know that Denver is a tail-wagging good time and very welcoming of dogs — the 5th-most welcoming city, according to my analysis. But the data revealed something unique about the Mile High City: Denver’s unmatched dog-friendly hotel offerings. After a day exploring the Colorado wilderness, you and your pup have a vast selection of places to rest. Denver boasts the highest number of dog-friendly hotels per capita and square mile, along with the most high-quality hotel options per square mile nationwide. A paw-fact mile-high escape awaits!

Top Stays: The Oxford Hotel and 1930s Bungalow With Big Backyard & Hot Tub

Top Restaurants: Lucile’s Creole Cafe and Little Man Ice Cream

Top Park: Willow Bark Park and Fuller Dog Park

5. Fort Lauderdale, Florida Fort Lauderdale, FL
Credit: Fort Lauderdale, FL by Sean Pavone via Dreamstime

5. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Airbnb Oasis for Pets

  • Pet-Friendly City Score: 7.6 of 10

  • Highlight: Most Pet-Friendly Airbnb’s per Square Mile

Fetching Facts: I promise we are not chasing our tails here; Florida is undeniably a paradise for pet enthusiasts! Fort Lauderdale clinches the #5 spot with a Pet-Friendly City Score of 7.6 out of 10. And here’s a fetching detail: it ranks #1 for the highest concentration of pet-friendly Airbnbs per square mile! Do you still need some convincing? It also holds the #2 position for pet-friendly Airbnbs per capita, showcasing a vacation rental scene that warmly welcomes whiskered wanderers. And for foodie fur parents? It’s a treat, ranking #4 nationally for pet-friendly dining options per square mile.

Top Stays: Hotel Maren Fort Lauderdale Beach and Beach Access Home with Saltwater Pool

Top Restaurants: Tarpon River Brewing and Coconuts

Top Parks: Barkyard n’ Brews and Dog Park at Oakridge

6. Portland, Oregon Portland, OR
Credit: Portland, OR by Sean Pavone via Dreamstime

6. Portland, Oregon

Well-Rounded

  • Pet-Friendly City Score: 7 of 10

  • Highlight: High Pet Acceptance Level and Amenity Density Index

Fetching Facts: Is it not quintessentially Portland, Oregon, to shine not by dominating a single category but by excelling across the board? The city boasts an impressive Pet Acceptance Level and Amenity Density Score. But the real feather in its cap? A stellar #2 rank for off-leash dog parks per square mile and per capita nationwide. According to my analysis, Portland stands alone on this top ten list for also ranking among the top ten most affordable places for pet-friendly Airbnb stays. The city ranks #9 most-affordable in the nation. It’s genuinely Portland’s consistent performance that earns its “Reserve Best In Show” badge.

Top Stays: Hotel Lucia and Forest Bungalow with Private Beach

Top Restaurants: Screen Door Eastside and Cartopia

Top Parks: Cycle Dog Tavern and Dog Park and Luuwit View Dog Park

More Top Stays: 9 Pet-Friendly Hotels and 8 Pet-Friendly Vacation Rentals in Portland

7. Naples, Florida Naples, FL
Credit: Naples, FL by Sean Pavone via Dreamstime

7. Naples, Florida

Wants to Pet Your Dog

  • Pet-Friendly City Score: 6.8 of 10

  • Highlight: 3rd-Highest Ranking in Pet Acceptance Level

Fetching Facts: Although Naples, Florida, has one of the lowest concentrations of pet-friendly establishments on this top ten list, you will be hard-pressed to find a more welcoming community for pet travelers. The city is the #3 most welcoming to pet travel in the nation, with the most puppy love coming from the sheer volume of pet-friendly Airbnb listings and restaurants per capita. Although pet amenity concentration is not its claim to fame, Naples does place #6 for the most Airbnbs per square mile. So if a relaxing pet-accommodating vacation rental and some fantastic dining experiences sound like the perfect vacation to you, Naples is a paw-some choice!

Top Stays: The Capri Inn and Home with Game Room, Pool and Hot Tub

Top Restaurants: Molto Trattoria and Jane’s Cafe on 3rd

Top Parks: Naples Dog Park and Rover Run

8. Atlanta, Georgia Atlanta, GA

8. Atlanta, Georgia

Abundant Hotel Options

  • Pet-Friendly City Score: 6.5 of 10

  • Highlight: 3rd-Most Pet-Friendly Hotels per Square Mile

Fetching Facts: Let your sleeping dog lie — pretty much anywhere in Atlanta! The city is #3 nationwide for its plethora of pet-friendly hotels per capita and square mile! Looking for a dash of luxury? Atlanta takes the #5 spot for top-tier pet-friendly hotels per capita. However, there’s a hitch: Regarding pet-friendly stores, Atlanta lags, landing at a surprising #84 per capita and square mile. So while its hotels’ beckon pet travelers, its shopping scene could use a nudge in the fur-friendly direction.

Top Stays: Omni Hotel at the Battery and Urban Retreat with Hot Tub

Top Restaurants: Arepa Mia and Fox Bros. BBQ

Top Parks: Brookhaven Park and Freedom Barkway Dog Park

More Top Stays:8 Pet-Friendly Hotels in Atlanta and 8 Dog-Friendly Date Spots in Georgia

9. Tampa, Florida Tampa, FL

9. Tampa, Florida

House With a Yard

  • Pet-Friendly City Score: 6.4 of 10

  • Highlight: 4th-Most Dog Parks per capita & 6th Airbnb’s per capita

Fetching Facts: Driven by a warm welcome to dogs from across the country through abundant off-leash dog parks and pet-friendly vacation rentals, Tampa, Florida, scores a high #8 city most accepting of pets, transitioning to a #9 overall most pet-friendly city nationally. Although Tampa’s plentiful per capita park and Airbnb offerings signal a culture that embraces four-legged wanderers, the concentration of such offerings is a little spread out. Sitting at #20 for pet-friendly establishments per square mile, dragged down mainly by a #43 ranking for pet-friendly stores and #28 for restaurants. The love of dogs is there, but the geography? It’s got a bit of catching up to do.

Top Stays: ROOST and Tropical Pool Retreat with Hot Tub

Top Restaurants: American Social Bar & Kitchen and Tampa Bay Brewing Company

Top Parks: Queenie’s Dog Park at Water Works Park and Hair of the Dog Park

10. Sarasota, Florida Sarasota, FL
Credit: Sarasota, FL by Jocrebbin via Dreamstime

10. Sarasota, Florida

Sunshine Embrace for Pets

  • Pet-Friendly City Score: 6.2 of 10

  • Highlight: 7th-Highest Ranking in Pet Acceptance Level

Fetching Facts: It’s not every day that the compass of our data points right to the stomping grounds of Trips to Discover! But every dog has its day! Welcome to Sarasota, Florida, where the call of the open road meets the call of the wild! It may come in as the #10 overall most pet-friendly city in the U.S., but Sarasota is the #7 most accepting of traveling pets nationwide! Now, I’ll admit its #19 rank for sparsity in pet-friendly establishments per square mile keeps its score from soaring higher. Yet, Sarasota earns its stripes with an enviable lineup of pet-friendly Airbnbs, dine-out spots, and top-tier hotels per capita. Cheers to the hometown champ!

Top Stays: Art Ovation Hotel and Sea Forever at Beach Dreams Resort

Top Restaurants: Mandeville Beer Garden and Old Salty Dog

Top Dark Parks: Brohard Paw Park and Bayfront Park and Marina

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