No vacation would be complete without your four-legged BFF. So when it’s time to hit the road, head to a rental with unbelievably posh just-for-pets perks. At these homes, pets are more than just tolerated—they’re welcomed with open arms and handfuls of treats.
Animals appreciate luxurious amenities as much as humans do. (Don’t believe us? We have proof.) That’s why the owners of this beautiful lakefront home, called Waterstone, made a point to offer dog-friendly frills galore. Located in the quiet countryside about 20 minutes’ drive from Austin, Texas, this five-bedroom retreat rests beside Lake Austin in one of the area’s most desirable ZIP codes. (Matthew McConaughey is a neighbor.) Sit on the porch with a cocktail and a pup on your lap or cook up some Texas barbecue on the outdoor grill as boats and kayaks float past. Meanwhile, your four-footed companion can make a splash in the pool or the lake, or roam around a fully fenced dog run with a door that connects to a wildly adorable little room built just for canines.
We visited Waterstone with our favorite mutt, Mowgli, who took full advantage of everything this magnificent house has to offer. Watch the video >
This collection of three mountainside chalets is owned by professional dog trainer Nan Long, who provides on-site praise-based lessons for visiting canines. Better yet, there’s really no shortage of amenities for dogs at this rustic Asheville-area retreat. The list includes big, extra-fluffy dog beds; food bowls; securely fenced yards; and towels for dogs. On-site feeding and walking is available upon request. Squirrel connoisseurs both human and non-human should keep an eye out for the rare white squirrel, which is commonly seen in the surrounding forests.
Can’t decide whether you want to frolic in briny waves or take in peaceful river views? We have the solution. Bring the pack to Heaven Can’t Wait, a luxurious five-bedroom house nestled between the Indian River and the Atlantic Ocean in Stuart, Florida. (Where else can travelers take in both sunset and sunrise over shimmering expanses of water?) In addition to a long list of fun perks for people—from a private dock to water sports equipment such as kayaks, jet skis, and fishing equipment—the property’s pet amenities are abundant. The place has on-site kennels, indoor and outdoor dog-washing stations, dog beds, food bowls, and an outdoor fenced-in dog run. Pets and people alike will appreciate direct access to both shorelines. Pro tip: Travelers with dogs not experienced in the art of ocean swimming should head to the closeby Bathtub Beach, where the water is clear and the waves are calm.
If your pet’s favorite pastimes include sprinting with great abandon into bodies of water, you might consider choosing a property with ample shoreline. Here’s a brilliant option in the Northeast: This cottage on the Saint Lawrence River in Alexandria Bay, New York, comprises more than 200 feet of riverbank and lots of just-for-pets amenities. Multiple docks on the water are the perfect spots from which to swim, fish, kayak, and launch paws-first into the cool, fresh surf. Canines who aren’t quite ready to run wild can go off-leash in two securely fenced dog runs and an enclosed patio with river views.
This secluded ranch in the Sierra foothills is pure paradise for the active pooch in your life. Dogs can freely frolic off-leash on 60 acres of securely fenced land while humans enjoy sunset views by the fire pit or traverse on-site hiking trails. The two-bedroom lodge features vaulted pine ceilings and a log spiral staircase, plus floors of tile and concrete throughout that allow for easy cleanup in case of an accident. When it’s time for that requisite canine cardio session, head to the on-site dog agility course for some joyful jumping and weaving. Plus a private swimming pond with dock is the perfect place for your water-loving pooch to master the game of aqua fetch.
As its name implies, Bow Wow Bungalow is a place where man’s best friend is warmly welcomed. The property is located a few blocks from the beach in Port St. Joe, Florida. Its largest dog-focused amenity—a fenced run that connects a lap pool with a spacious second-floor deck—allows your furry one to safely enjoy playful romps in the Florida sunshine. A number of excellent smaller amenities are on offer too, from complimentary poop bags (necessary, yet often forgotten) to an outdoor shower perfect for washing off your fluffy pal after a run on the beach.
If your four-footed best friend is of the equine variety, book a stay at this lovely pastoral farmstead near the sea. The property features on-site horse boarding and a round pen and is near a handful of horse-friendly beaches and trails. If you dream of galloping by the ocean on your horse, this is your Shangri-la. Other creatures are welcome too, of course. Home to a variety of resident animals, the 23-acre working farm has dog-friendly fenced porches and a kennel for visiting dogs. When you’re ready to explore beautiful San Juan Island, head to the lavender farm next door, visit a local winery, or watch for whales in nearby waters.
Surrounded by mountain peaks in Flagstaff, Arizona, this five-bedroom ranch is just an hour’s drive from the Grand Canyon and about 20 minutes’ drive from downtown Flagstaff. Here, guests of all species can enjoy mountain views, big soaking tubs, fireplaces, a fully stocked kitchen, and soaring ceilings. The grandeur of this beautiful ranch house belies its creature-friendly features, which include spacious contained living areas built just for dogs: There’s a large securely enclosed dog run that connects to one of the bedrooms by way of a doggy door. Other amenities for pets include food bowls, dog toys, and towels for dogs. Wildlife such as elk regularly appear in the forest just beyond the fenced yard, providing five-star entertainment for curious pets.