5 Of The Best National Parks For Pets

Pets are an equal member of your family – you take great care of them; you feed them; play with them; walk them; clean after them; and you love them unconditionally.

So why would you leave them home when you go camping or hiking in national parks? The good news is that pets are allowed even if they have to be restrained sometimes while you're not in a designated recreational area.

Some national parks are friendlier for the pups than others. So grab a leash and bring them along.

Acadia National Park, Maine

Few pet-friendly national parks offer more opportunities to take a hike with your pooch than Acadia, according to the National Parks Foundation. Spanning several islands along the rugged Maine coast, the park features 100 miles of pet-friendly hiking trails and 45 miles of carriage roads where leashed pets are welcome. "Dogs are also permitted at the Blackwoods and Seawall campgrounds and at off-leash area adjacent to the park at Little Long Pond."

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

The Great Sand Dune National Park in Colorado, which are on the list of the most spectacular, is going to become your pooch's favorite. It is going to love exploring the tallest sand dunes on the continent. Take it to Medano Creek to cool off after all that excitement. It'll be good for you, too. Dogs are allowed up to the first tall ridge of dunes (between High Dune and Castle Creek Picnic Area) and throughout the adjoining Great Sand Dunes National Preserve.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Your dog will have a lot of freedom at Shenandoah National Park (check out the most dangerous place there). There are about 500 miles at Fido's disposal; only about 20 are off-limits. Hiking may become your pet's favorite activity after going on a few short hikes along the majestic Blue Ridge Parkway. You can take pets to all campgrounds as well.

Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

You may have even heard of Hot Spring National Park, but if your dog could talk, it'd say "Take me there." Pooch can come with you for a half-mile stroll down Bathhouse Row and along the Grand Promenade. Then go on a longer hike of inter-connected trails all the way to the city.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

There are over 110 miles of hiking trails and 20 of the Towpath Trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park where pets are permitted, according to NPS. They are permitted in the Stanford Campground as well. Pets must have a leash, but can be as long as six feet. That will give you plenty of room to maneuver and have fun.

More readings: 

Pet Friendly Vacation Destinations

The Most Incredible Adventure Destinations for Animal Lovers

8 Incredible Health Benefits of Owning a Pet