(This road trip with dogs post was updated on July 12, 2023.)
As proud new pet parents ourselves, we finally get it: you need ideas for dog-friendly destinations. As you plan your own road trip with dogs, bookmark this post and revisit it from time to time as we add more content.
Every time we go on a new adventure with Duchess — a mini-poodle who just turned 10 months old — we’ll write about it here. Just like we’ve outlined some fun day trips from Toronto, road trips from Toronto, and other weekend getaways in Ontario, you can expect to find hotels that allow dogs (or other lodging, like vacation homes), dog-friendly cafés and restaurants and activities to do with your furry friend at these dog-friendly destinations.
Looking for dog-friendly beaches in Ontario? That post is for you.
A ROAD TRIP WITH DOGS: DOG-FRIENDLY DESTINATIONS
We love how many of you have already told us how much you’re loving our dog-friendly destinations series. We love it, too! It’s definitely been a learning curve travelling with Duchess, but it means so much to us when we can bring her along on our family adventures.
In this ongoing series, you’ll find these dog-friendly destinations featured:
- Lake Placid
- with more coming soon!
Dog-friendly destinations — Toronto
Take a road trip with dogs to: Toronto!
It’s about time we featured Toronto in our dog-friendly destinations series; after all, we lived here for years ourselves and even now we’re less than an hour away. You can now find a much more detailed “Toronto with dogs” post with complete information about the hotel featured here in my Toronto pet-friendly hotel post, alongside more info about each of the activities and restaurants.
But for the quick hits, keep on reading…
Toronto pet-friendly hotel: Chelsea Hotel
We absolutely loved our stay at The Chelsea and now we get why families love coming here so much!
Here’s the run-down:
- The Chelsea is Toronto’s — and Canada’s! — biggest hotel
- It enjoys a sweet location near College Park and too many amenities to list
- Underground parking is free with your stay but can only accommodate vehicles under 5’6″
- There’s a breakfast buffet ($) onsite
- There’s a Show Your Key & Save attractions discounts available for hotel guests, including a pet-friendly one noted below
- Onsite restaurant T|bar features a nice atmosphere, great food and nice portions — without crazy prices (just keep in mind there is not a special kids’ menu)
- There’s a Family Fun Zone with a properly heated pool, waterslide, a kids’ centre and teen lounge
- There’s also an adult pool and fitness centre on the 27th floor
- Best of all, The Chelsea is, of course, a Toronto pet-friendly hotel!
Here are a few things you need to know about bringing your dog to The Chelsea:
- The hotel has a 50-lb. weight limit
- Two pets per room
- There’s a $50 per stay pet fee
- Dogs are allowed in the lobby and hallways
- There is real grass across the street at College Park
- There’s an enclosed patio just outside of the Market Garden Restaurant that’s perfect for dining with your dog when the weather is nice
Note that a more complete list of DOGGY DOs at The Chelsea can be found in my Toronto pet-friendly hotel post.
THINGS TO DO IN TORONTO WITH DOGS:
Since you won’t want to spend all your time at the Chelsea Hotel, step out into the city with your dog (and kids if you have those, too!). I’ll provide a brief overview here, but you can find even more info in my Toronto pet-friendly hotel post.
- The Distillery Historic District – visit Sniffany & Co with higher-end pet products and treats. Stay well into the evening and do the Haunted Walk (if you dare!); it’s dog-friendly
- Go to High Park or Trinity Bellwoods — equally awesome for dogs. High Park is huge and you could spend all day there – there is more off-leash space here than we’ve seen anywhere
- Beach, beach, let’s go to Cherry Beach! There’s even a dog-friendly beach area here!
WHERE TO EAT/DRINK IN TORONTO DURING YOUR ROAD TRIP WITH DOGS:
When patio season is in full swing, there are few cities better than Toronto. This section will definitely grow over time, and there are even more deets in my Toronto pet-friendly hotel post.
Our recos include:
- Black Lab Brewing – where dogs are even allowed indoors! There’s some food available to buy there but you can also bring in your own
- Goppion Caffe – bring your dog in to order and then find a spot on the patio. Get a doughnut for sure!
- Grenadier Cafe – spending the day at High Park? This cafe is inside the park itself and allows dogs on the patio
- HOTHOUSE – a longtime family fave, its Sunday brunch is to die for and dogs are allowed on the patio
- Mill Street Brewpub – the food and drinks here always satisfy and your pup is welcome on the patio
- Lobster Burger Bar – there’s dog menu, y’all. Yes – a DOG MENU! We ordered a $6 portion for Duchess and she DEVOURED it
- Market Garden’s patio at The Chelsea – grab some food onsite or from a local restaurant to enjoy here with your doggo
- Mildred’s Temple Kitchen – loving its newer location in Liberty Village, with a dog-friendly patio (important note… indoor dining opens at 9 a.m., but the patio doesn’t seat guests until 10 a.m.)
Dog-friendly destinations — Ottawa
Take a road trip with dogs to: Ottawa!
We had the Lake Placid trip detailed above planned for a while before I decided to look into pee breaks that made sense geographically. I mentioned to the kids that Ottawa might be a nice spot and they were ecstatic about returning. It had been a few years and it’s one of their favourite cities.
Are you reading this during summer months? Then you’ve gotta check out my weekend getaways in Ontario post — Ottawa is featured!
No. 1 Ottawa pet-friendly hotel: The FAIRMONT CHÂTEAU LAURIER
It was such a treat to finally stay here. It’s a truly beautiful hotel that feels regal from the moment the valet takes your car keys. Fairmont hotels are known for LOVING dogs — some even have a house dog — and this one was no different. It’s definitely the spendier option of the two, but for those who need a little luxury in their lives, this is the place. Diamond-studded doggy collars will not be out of place here!
Here’s what you need to know about bringing your pooch to The Fairmont Château Laurier:
- The Château Laurier accepts a maximum of two dogs (or cats!)
- There’s additional per-stay pet fee
- Pets must remain leashed when you’re not in your room
- Major’s Hill Park behind the hotel, offering loads of greenspace
Note that a more complete list of DOGGY DOs at both the Fairmont and the Westin can be found in my Ottawa pet-friendly hotel post.
No. 2 Ottawa pet-friendly hotel: The Westin Ottawa
We’ve stayed at Westin hotels so many times over the years, but this past winter was our first time staying at the one in Ottawa. And it’s SO dog-friendly. The Westin Ottawa is also a good test for those who are confident they’re done housetraining; there are a lot of floors and between waiting for an elevator and making it across the street to real grass is an event.
As with the Toronto entry above, you can now find a much more detailed “Ottawa with dogs” post with complete information about the hotels featured in the Ottawa section here in my Ottawa pet-friendly hotel post, with much more info about each of the activities and restaurants, too.
Here’s what you need to know about bringing your dog to The Westin Ottawa:
- Dogs up to 80 pounds are allowed, provided you add them to your reservation in advance
- Your room will be set up with a Heavenly Bed just for your dog (plus food and water bowls)
- Your dog needs to stay on-leash in hotel public areas and they can’t go where food and beverages are served
- If you leave your room, your pet must be with you
- The hotel is connected to the Rideau Centre — and the mall is dog-friendly!
Things to do in Ottawa with dogs
Remember that this is just top-line and a detailed list with much more info is in my Ottawa pet-friendly hotel post.
- Bruce Pit dog park — sure, it’s in the ‘burbs but it’s great if you want a huge space for your dog to run
- Walking along the Rideau Canal
- Visiting the Rink of Dreams (from mid-November to mid-March)
- Explore Sparks Street
- Check out Major’s Hill Park
- Do a Haunted Walk
- Casually stroll the ByWard Market
- Wander around the Parliament Hill grounds
- Book a GrayLine double-decker bus tour or take your dog on the Amphibus with Lady Dive
- Do a guided bike tour or rent bikes with Escape Bicycle Tours
Where to eat/drink in Ottawa during your road trip with dogs:
- Black Dog Bistro — 30 minutes or so from downtown Ottawa in Manotick
- Beyond the Pale Brewing Company — your dog is allowed inside, too!
- Especially on a hot day, enjoy indoor air conditioning with your dog at the Ottawa Bike Cafe
- EVOO Greek Kitchen — OMG, sooooo good
- Let your foodie fairy tale come true at Tavern at the Gallery
- Starling Restaurant & Bar — in the historical ByWard Market
- Altcetera Cafe — in the pet-friendly Alt Hotel
- The Ottawa Farmers’ Market — from May through October, it’s outdoors and between November and April, it’s housed in the Aberdeen Pavilion
Remember to head to my Ottawa pet-friendly hotel post for more details about everything noted above.
Dog-friendly destinations — Mont-Tremblant
TAKE A ROAD TRIP WITH DOGS TO: MONT-TREMBLANT!
Is Mont-Tremblant dog-friendly? HECK, YES!
We already knew from years of walking the pedestrian village that people love to bring their dogs to Tremblant. But until we were dog parents ourselves, we had no idea that the village is so pet-friendly that they even have stickers that shops can put on their doors. I lost count of how many of the storefronts sported green hearts – it was very much the rule rather than the exception.
Summertime will be a truer test for Tremblant when we will no longer have a puppy and can venture out on hikes and perhaps even try some cycling with Duchess. And for restaurants… Although we had no trouble keeping Duchess exercised and mentally stimulated, it was actually pretty surprising that with all of the pet-friendliness we encountered in the shops that the one heated patio that was open (Lucille’s) was confused about its pet policy. But more on restaurants below.
My things to do Mt Tremblant post might just be the most comprehensive guide to All Things Mont-Tremblant that you’ll find on the web, so be sure to head there for even more Tremblant inspo!
Pet-friendly hotels in Mont-Tremblant: Fairmont Tremblant
We loved introducing Her Highness Miss Duchess to our long-time favourite slopeside lodging. The Fairmont Tremblant is one of only three pet-friendly hotels in Mont-Tremblant’s pedestrian village, and the only ski-in and -out property.
And they LOVE dogs! (In fact, they used to have a house dog with his own dog house in the lobby.)
I’ll only be providing a quick overview of the Fairmont in this post since I have a newly updated and expanded Fairmont Tremblant hotel review with a much bigger look at the hotel as a whole, so be sure to check that out, too.
Here’s what you need to know about bringing your furrrriend to the Fairmont Mont-Tremblant:
- There are no dog size or weight restrictions (but, obviously, it should be well-behaved and housebroken)
- There’s a $48 per night pet fee, which accounts for enhanced cleaning protocols – and all of the homemade dog treats you like from the front desk!
- Dogs are not supposed to be in your room unaccompanied but exceptions are made for those who can be happily (ergo: quietly) crated, which means you can go skiing as a family for a few hours before you start taking turns dog-sitting
- Dogs are allowed in the lobby and hallways to get to and from your room to the village, but not in any restaurants or other common areas like the outdoor pools
- All of the Fairmont Tremblant staff members we encountered were true dog lovers, even as Duchess’s puppy excitability came out and she jumped up to greet them
THINGS TO DO IN THE TREMBLANT VILLAGE WITH DOGS:
Since the village is pedestrian-only, it’s a dream to be able to walk around not worrying about cars and roads. There are plenty of other dogs in the village, too, offering your pooch lots of opportunities to socialize. We only came across one other dog owner who said her dog wasn’t friendly enough with which to interact.
Here are some other things to do:
- Go shopping! The Tremblant village is exceedingly pet-friendly and you’ll see stickers near the doors (with green hearts) for just about every store inviting you to bring your pet in and shop. Even the most expensive store in the village welcomed Duchess with open arms
- Look for the photo-ready vignettes in the upper and lower villages and take Insta-worthy family pics with your pet
- Schedule a pottery-painting session at Studio Créatif around your dog’s naptime; provided your dog is happy to quietly sit or lie down for an hour or two at your table, s/he is welcome to join you here
WHERE TO EAT/DRINK IN TREMBLANT DURING YOUR ROAD TRIP WITH DOGS:
This is one area where Tremblant could improve its pet-friendliness. I’m not sure if Quebec’s restaurant regulations legally preclude dogs (other than service animals, of course) from joining their families on outdoor patios, but we were surprised to learn that even though there was a new heated patio open the weekend of our visit, dogs were not permitted. Lucille’s looked like it had a kickin’ vibe and we hope they work out a consistent policy before our next visit. More on this (and all of Tremblant’s eateries) in my Mont-Tremblant restaurants post.
Other than room service, there sadly wasn’t an option for us to include the fifth member of our family in any of our foodie experiences. We will look forward to visiting in the warmer weather when there are more patios open to update this section.
In the meantime, you can certainly get takeout from any of the Tremblant restaurants and take it to the outdoor lounge areas (look for the fire pits!) or even back to the Fairmont Tremblant.
You can also obviously consider crating your dog (or leaving your older kids at the hotel to dog-sit) to go out for a nice meal or cocktails. Some favourites include the buffet breakfast at Le Comptoir at the Fairmont Tremblant, the Veuve Clicquot-branded apres-ski at La Terrasse (also at the Fairmont, outdoors alongside the Nansen run), Le Shack for pulled pork poutine and the traditional raclette experience at La Savoie.
Dog-friendly destinations — Haliburton
Take a road trip with dogs to: Haliburton!
We’ve been to Haliburton, Ontario, a few times in the last couple of years — but this was our first winter visit. And our first pet-friendly one, too! Even though the colder months are going to be inevitably more challenging when it comes to things like dining out with your dog, we loved exploring Haliburton from this perspective and uncovering some really awesome options for y’all to consider.
DOG-FRIENDLY HALIBURTON COTTAGE RENTAL: MÖKKI STAY
Mökki Stay is dog heaven! With eight glorious acres belonging to the property, leading off of a side road with very little traffic, your city- and suburban-dwelling pooches may not even know what to do with all this freedom at first. You can read a much more detailed post about this vacation home, plus see way more photos of it and learn about its pricing structure in my Haliburton cottage rental post.
The five-bedroom vacation home, which has just hit the Haliburton AirBnB circuit, is the perfect setting for a multigenerational family getaway, a girlfriend retreat with your besties or a multi-family vacay. The top floor features three bedrooms — one with a king, one with a queen and one with two twins — and a bathroom with a bath/shower combo. There’s also a stunning, Nordic-style living space with a full kitchen, a large dining table and a cozy living room with a TV and books that will inspire you to find your inner woo.
Downstairs is another king bed and a room with a single-over-double bunk bed — plus a bathroom that boasts a deep freestanding soaker tub. With high-end bath salts to boot. There are two distinct living and entertaining spaces down here, too, giving your entire group plenty of room to spread out and have both together-time and alone-time. The K Man would like you to know that the big-screen TV on the lower level is better than the one we have and made his anime the best he’s ever seen.
We loved using the beginnings of the onsite trails here, which are set to be even more defined by the end of this summer, to test out all of the hard work we’ve been putting into Duchess’s training. We took a leash down into the woods and then let her loose — with some of her favourite treats handy, of course. Trails are a safe distance from the roadways and with all of the snow that fell leading up to and during our stay, Duchess had to jump like a bunny through all of it, so she couldn’t get too far too fast anyway.
Every detail here is thoughtful. Aside from the wood-burning fireplace there’s also loads of built-in entertainment, including:
- Several pairs of snowshoes available
- A foosball table
- A mini curling game
- A ring-toss game
- Board games
- A huge whiteboard (for Pictionary or to simply amuse kids who like to draw)
- A dart board
- And Big B’s highlight: the wood-burning sauna nestled into the forest’s edge
Even though you can tell that everything is carefully put in place, it’s still homey and chill. We used the blankets in the decorative baskets, put our slippered feet up on the couches and really felt at home. There are also two robes in every room and a basket of basic slippers available if you don’t bring your own.
Mökki Stay is a minute or two from the well-stocked Eagle Lake Country Market — where you can pick up everything from a week’s worth of groceries to locally baked goods or simply stock up on Kawartha Dairy ice cream — and only a four-minute drive to Sir Sam’s Ski & Ride and about 15 minutes from downtown Haliburton. It doesn’t have lake access onsite (not an issue for this gal who refuses to swim in lakes anyway), but the owners do plan to make the pond swimmable.
Here’s what you need to know about bringing your puppers to Mökki Stay:
- There’s no dog discrimination at Mökki Stay; your dog can be any size as long as it’s well-behaved and housebroken
- There’s a $95 pet fee, which accounts for extra cleaning protocols that may be required after you check out
- Dogs can remain in the cottage unattended provided they’re comfortably crated
- Dogs are not allowed on furniture or beds
- There are a couple of leashes available at the front door and a roll of poop bags (but definitely bring your own and consider these merely a back-up plan)
- There is so much forested acreage to explore with your dog! Trails are still being eco-consciously carved out, but we were comfortable letting Duchess off-leash all across the property because her recall is now very good. That said, there are some considerations for leashing — first, there is a pond that was completely snow-covered during our visit and its perimeter was not clear as a result; there is a family of deer who frequent the property, so if your dog is highly prey-driven, keep this in mind for the deer’s safety; and, finally, there are other wild animals in Haliburton (including bears, wolves and bald eagles), so depending on the time of year, your dog’s size and propensity for wandering out of eyeshot, be mindful of potential predators
It’s the little details that really caught my attention at Mökki Stay. Things like a bar fridge stocked with cold, locally sourced beer and other non-alcoholic bevvies. Things like the Mökki Movie snack pack for kids, and an assortment of some of the owners’ favourite things in a welcome basket (that are all peanut-free, BTW). Things like all of the kindling, dry wood and fire-starter you’ll need for your stay.
Mökki Stay is downright special. It captured our hearts and we had to tear the kids away when it was time to leave. The Mökki Stay mantra is “the forest is calling,” and it sure is already calling us back.
THINGS TO DO IN HALIBURTON WITH DOGS:
Aside from enjoying scenic drives through the Haliburton Highlands with your doggo in tow, you outdoorsy folks are going to love getting out into nature here no matter what time of year it is (though we’ll definitely be updating this list after a summer visit).
For now, here are some things to try during winter:
- The Abbey Gardens groomed trails, all of which are free to enjoy. There are about five kilometres of marked trails through 140 acres of mature forest, most of which are wide enough to enjoy with your pup if you like fat-biking and snowshoeing. Of course, you can always just walk! Depending on the time of year, be on the lookout for the therapy horses, bees (at the bee yard) and Chantecler chickens
- A private kicksledding lesson! Got a dog who loves to pull? Book an unforgettable experience with an award-winning competitor and instructor through YoursOutdoors. Although Duchess is still too young to be harnessed and asked to help pull these modified dog sleds, your dog doesn’t have to be a husky or any specific breed (or even as big as you might expect) to participate. Instructor Karen Koehler can even bring her own dogs if yours doesn’t fit the bill physically or behaviourally. Either way, you’ll spend about 1.5 hours learning how the sleds work, how you help propel — and stop — them, practising your new moves and then going on a run with the dogs connected to your kicksled. It’s super fun and you can expect to get a bit of a sweat on, too, so dress like you’re going cross-country skiing
- Snowshoeing at Haliburton Forest. With dedicated trails at the ready, bring your own or rent snowshoes when you get there. It’s free to use the Forest’s maintained trails and dogs are welcome (don’t forget your poop bags so everyone can enjoy the trails)
If you’re visiting and the snow is *checks notes* up to here, you’ll want to take advantage of the crating policy at the cottage and hit some runs at Sir Sam’s Ski & Ride. Like I mentioned, it’s less than five minutes away by car and the drive itself is so pretty.
Sir Sam’s may not be the biggest ski hill in Ontario — OK, not even close — but, WOW, is it picturesque. And with private lessons for less than $100 per person and plenty of forgiving terrain, it’s also a fantastic spot to learn or fine-tune skills on the slopes. Our kids raved about their individual instructors and both commented how lessons continued even on the chair-lift rides, which is unusual in our experience — but very welcome when you’re paying $95 an hour.
Unfortunately, our day at Sir Sam’s was cut pretty short thanks to a cold front that brought minus-41 temps to the area and made us give in after only a couple of hours. I barely have any photos of the runs because I was truly risking frostbite when I took my hand out of my ski mitt.
We’re itching to go back in nicer weather, though, because they’ve done a beautiful job cutting runs through trees and making the hill feel bigger than it is. There were even some ungroomed runs that mimicked what you might find at a resort with more vertical. Impressive.
WHERE TO EAT/DRINK IN HALIBURTON DURING YOUR ROAD TRIP WITH DOGS:
In the winter months, this is going to be predictably more challenging than when warmer weather hits and patios start to open. But, once they do, there are two dog-friendly breweries in the Haliburton Highlands worth visiting for more than just beer: craft brewers Boshkung Brewing and Haliburton Highlands Brewing.
We hit both of them during an outstanding Sip, Swill & Savour tour that we customized with YoursOutdoors. Guests tell YoursOutdoors how long they have and what their food-and-beverage-loving hearts desire and they’ll help create a unique-to-you itinerary to visit some of Haliburton County’s best spots — and they’ll do all the driving so you can imbibe responsibly. In addition to these two breweries, we also hit up:
- Abbey Gardens — where we enjoyed the same coffee beans prepared two different ways alongside some freshly baked yummies. Ask to see the two therapy horses onsite while you’re there (they’re an Ojibwe breed and some of the rarest in the world)
- Eat Minden Cheeserie and Cocktails — featuring fabulous high-end cocktails, a tasty charcuterie platter and the most wonderfully random environment (stay with me here…you walk in and there are bedazzled shoes for sale on your left but as you look straight ahead, it’s a hair salon; then, on the other side of the open-concept space, it’s a bar with some tables and ornate stand-alone lighting fixtures, surrounded on nearly all sides by things for sale — from candles and shackets to glassware and fuzzy blankets. But wait, there’s more! Head to the bathroom, with more shopping in the hallway en route, and what awaits is unlike any washroom I’ve experienced, including a vibrant Pride-inspired Christmas tree in one corner)
- Wintergreen Maple Syrup and Pancake Barn — the husband-and-wife owners will probably be onsite and Tom is a character who is all smiles, funny and engaging, and loves a good story (but may not be for the more sensitive types). As part of the Sip, Swill & Savour tour, we toured the sugar shack and tried all four kinds of maple syrup produced here and some maple-fied alcoholic bevvies, too. You absolutely MUST take home a bottle of the dark or very dark maple syrup; even though Wintergreen’s light syrup is technically the award winner of the lineup, we were smitten with the darker varieties, which add incredible flavour complexity to a cup of coffee!
Truss Foodworks Smokehouse — which will open a summer food truck outpost at the local marina (cleverly named Smoke on the Water) this summer with an 80-person patio; it so badly wants your dogs to join you that the team puts out and refills dog water bowls all day. Truss’s primary home, just past the entrance to Haliburton Forest, is open year-round and dogs can definitely join you for your meal outdoors. Have the duck wings with kettle chips and the Pitboss poutine, drowning in slow-smoked brisket and pulled pork.
Last but absolutely not least, consider leaving your dog (and kids) at Mökki Stay so you can enjoy a beautiful dinner at Rhubarb. Just because you’re doing a road trip with dogs doesn’t mean they have to be by your side from start to finish!
There’s a roaring fire in the back with warm lighting throughout and handsome leather chairs that will easily hold the extra seven or so pounds you stand to gain while seated as you order course after course of what must be Haliburton’s best fine-dining restaurant. We tried so many different dishes — all from the daily specials menu since the standard menu is guaranteed for what I know will be many return visits — and each one hit a home run.
There was a smoky soup with bacon that had sweet notes peppered with jerk seasoning. There was a lamb shank the size of Texas that fell off the bone. There was a flourless chocolate torte with raspberry coulis that still has me drooling today as I write this. And cocktails; oh, there were fabulous cocktails!
Forget taking a taxi to and from Rhubarb, though. The local taxi company (yes, there’s only one) comes with terrible reviews online that were corroborated by the locals to whom we spoke. If you really don’t want to drive — and Rhubarb’s cocktails are definitely worth finding an alternative — you can book your YoursOutdoors Sip, Swill & Savour tour for later in the day and make Rhubarb your final stop, which means it’ll be your tour guide driving you back to your vacation home! (Just don’t forget to bring a tip for your guide.)
Dog-friendly destinations — Lake Placid
Take a road trip with dogs to: Lake Placid!
When we started thinking about this new evolution of travel content here at MommyGearest.com HQ, the first of many dog-friendly destinations on our list was Lake Placid. We’ve visited many times over the years with our kids and it’s always been noticeably welcoming to visitors on four legs.
If you’re looking for the best skiing in Lake Placid, info about the Lake Placid Holiday Village Stroll or summer family activities in Lake Placid, just follow those links after you’ve finished reading more about Lake Placid below.
Lake Placid dog-friendly hotel: Mirror Lake Inn
When I found out that the Mirror Lake Inn — one of my all-time favourite hotels in Lake Placid, New York, allows guests to bring their dogs with them, I was all in. After all, if you’re visiting a dog-friendly city by car, it makes both financial and emotional sense to bring him or her along.
I’ve got an updated Mirror Lake Inn review that goes far beyond just its dog-friendliness, so be sure to give that a read if you want to learn more about this exceptional property, one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Pulling from that, here’s what you need to know about bringing your four-legged friend:
- The Mirror Lake Inn has 40 of its 127 rooms designated as pet-friendly
- There are some common-sense rules and there’s a contract to make sure you follow them
- Your dog must be 70 lbs. or less and crate-trained, unless you never plan to leave him/her in your room unaccompanied
- There’s a US$50 per night pet-related cleaning fee that will be added to your bill. A portion of every pet fee goes to the
Joshua Fund, a local non-profit fund that supports dog rescue, care and adoptions
- You need to allow housekeeping into your room every day of your stay — no exceptions
- The Classic Rooms are great for families who bring their dogs; we were comfortable with a king bed, pull-out sofa and a rollaway cot. We also brought Duchess’s travel-friendly Diggs Crate for times we needed to leave her in the room, like going for breakfast at The View each morning
- You will be responsible for any compensation that the hotel is forced to provide other guests should your dog cause any disturbances, so if you don’t have a well-behaved doggo, this may not be the kind of adventure for you
Things to do in Lake Placid with dogs:
Lake Placid is a very, very, VERY dog-friendly city! Here, it’s not about figuring out where you can bring your pooch but rather the rare exceptions where you can’t. Shops, cafés — even the wine store on Main Street! — the bookstore, you name it…the overwhelming sentiment is “we don’t just tolerate your dog, we LOVE your dog.”
At the very top of the list, my biggest shout-outs go to:
- The Smoking Cork — a fab little wine shop with a spitfire of an owner who won’t just sell you some great wine, but she’ll also happily tell you about all of the other places in town where you can take your dog
- The Bookstore Plus — a great bookstore that’s bigger inside than it appears from Main Street! Come in and browse, ask for recommendations and don’t be surprised if the staff offer your dog a treat at the checkout counter
- Lake Placid Ski & Board — this is my fave ski gear shop in Lake Placid and I’ve shopped a lot here over the years, so it was a delight to bring Duchess in with me this time around
I should also point out that although you should already be travelling with your own as responsible dog owners, there are several poop bag stations around Lake Placid if you happen to run out while you’re exploring:
- Mirror Lake Town Beach
- John Brown Farm
- Heaven Hill
- Henry’s Wood’s
- Peninsula Nature Trails
Other things to do in Lake Placid on your road trip with dogs
Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg in Lake Placid. Our visit was a short one this time around, and it was wintertime, but these are at the top of my list to do with Duchess the next time we visit:
- We had hoped to make it into Man and Beast, which sells pet foods, supplements and giftables, but ran out of time — it looked great as we window-shopped!
- There’s a dog park at the back of the Horse Show Grounds in an enclosed area, which apparently offers incredible views of the ski jumps and Whiteface Mountain. To get there: turn off Cascade Road into the grounds and stay straight on the road; then go to the back and look for signs for the off-leash area
- Take an afternoon walk at Heaven Hill, which reportedly offers jaw-dropping views of the Great Range across a gorgeous meadow
- Hike at Henry’s Woods and take the Rocky Knob trail for a view of Lake Placid and Whiteface Mountain
Don’t forget: if you’re visiting in the summer, this activities in Lake Placid post will come in handy.
Where to eat/drink in Lake Placid during your road trip with dogs:
Even though, technically, New York state does not allow indoor dining with pets (with the exception of service animals), we found Lake Placid was…well…flexible to some degree.
My biggest shout-outs go to:
- Lisa G’s restaurant — I’m putting this first, because where — seriously, WHERE ELSE?! — does a restaurant have a completely sheltered, heated patio set up for people to eat dinner all winter long with their dogs? It was a wonderful surprise to learn that we could all dine together at one of my family’s favourite Lake Placid restaurants
- Emma’s Lake Placid Creamery — where there’s a $1 doggy treat (vanilla soft serve topped with a dog biscuit), which you can add to your order, and if it’s too cold outside to enjoy your yummies, your pup is welcome to stay and enjoy everything with you inside if you score the limited seating that’s available
- The Coffee Bar — located in The Alpine Mall on Main Street just a stone’s throw from The Smoking Cork, all of your coffee fantasies await (get the mocha), along with a killer lake view
- Summer visitors will be glad to hear that Lake Placid has many dog-friendly, open-air patios, such as:
- Big Slide (another one of our faves!)
- Great Adirondack Brewery
- Wiseguys Sports Bar & Grill
- Lake Placid Pub & Brewery
- Dack Shack
I hope you’re inspired now to take a road trip with dogs to Lake Placid! I know we’ll be back again soon with Duchess.
DISCLAIMER: while some of these destinations may have sponsored this content, others may have been entirely booked on our own. Destinations are not invited to review or approve anything in this series and all opinions and suggestions are my own.