15 Best Dog-Friendly Vacation Destinations in Alabama

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terrier is posing at the cheaha state park in delta alabama

Located in the southeastern United States between Mississippi, the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee, Alabama is a popular state for those who like warm weather all year long. Nicknamed the Heart of Dixie, Alabama has just over five million residents and an estimated 800,000 dogs. The first inhabitants lived in Russell Cave more than 10,000 years ago, and later, Native Americans resided there until Spanish explorers came and pushed them out. 

Alabama has 22 million acres of land with thousands of recreational spaces including 11 national parks, four national forests, 21 state parks, and hundreds of county, city, and community parks as well as gardens, lakes, and rivers. You can always find something to do in this state because the weather is almost always inviting. 

If your pooch likes to play at the beach, Alabama has several dog-friendly beaches. Some of them allow for off-leash play too. There are also some cities with multiple dog parks where your pooch can play leashless. Here are our top 15 choices for dog-friendly vacation spots in Alabama.


For those on a budget, Birmingham has 10+ dog-friendly hotels that are under $100 including Red Roof Inn, Best Western, Quality Inn, Motel 6, Days Inn, Sonesta Simply Suites, and La Quinta Inn. In fact, Sonesta, Best Western, and Days Inn all have swimming pools and fitness centers as well as free Wi-Fi and breakfast. All for less than $100!

While you are in town, make sure you visit at least one of the off-leash dog parks so your pup can get rid of that excess energy he always seems to have. Cabana Beach Dog Park is one of the best, with three acres of fenced space featuring brick patios, walking trails, and waterfalls. You will have to pay a small fee, but since you saved money on the hotel, it is worth every penny!

Afterward, let your pooch play some more while you enjoy a cold beer with other pup parents. The Good Dog Park & Bar has a huge fenced yard with all kinds of agility fun, including tunnels, ramps, and jumps. 

Gulf Shores 

In the southwestern corner of Alabama, just east of Pensacola Beach, Gulf Shores has beachfront property for you and your fur baby to enjoy on the Gulf of Mexico. First, drop off your pooch at doggie daycare and take the family to Waterville, USA. The 20-acre water park has 19 rides, including 12 water rides, a lazy river, a wave pool, and several water slides, as well as mini-golf, go-karts, and kiddie rides. 

Then, pick up your pup and take him to Gulf State Park, where you can all play on the beach and in the water together. As long as your fur buddy is leashed, he is welcome on the 3.5 miles of soft white sand and in the water too. You can also rent a canoe or kayak to get out on the water or explore 28 miles of trails. 

Let Fido play with other fur babies off the leash at the City of Gulf Shores Dog Beach on Clubhouse Drive. It has tons of space for pups to play fetch or frisbee, a small dog section, waste stations, and water. 

Fort Morgan 

At the end of Mobile Point on Mobile Bay, Fort Morgan is a military fort built in the early 1800s that was named after war hero Daniel Morgan. It was the main stage for the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864 and it was used again during the Spanish-American War, WWI, and WWII. Although you will not find many hotels at Fort Morgan, a place called Paws & Relax is an incredible deal right on the beach. 

Speaking of the beach, Fort Morgan Historic Site Bayside Beach is dog-friendly as long as he is on a leash. You have to stay between Old Fisherman’s Wharf and Fort Morgan Pier, but there is plenty of white sugar sand and turquoise water to play in. It is a perfect weekend stay with your pooch. 

On the other side of the beach, you and your pupster can do some fishing. Just remember to get an Alabama fishing license. Also, bring lots of water for your canine companion and doggie bags to pick up after your pup. 

DeSoto State Park 

Pack up the RV or your tent, and you and Fido can stay at DeSoto State Park in Fort Payne for the weekend. The park has 3,502 acres in Cherokee and DeKalb Counties on the Little River and Lookout Mountain with 94 campsites for RVs and tents as well as some cabins and chalets. This is a great place to do some hiking, too, with over 25 miles of trails. 

Some of the most popular sites here are the Little River Canyon Nature Preserve and DeSoto Falls, which is a 104-foot waterfall. The nature preserve has over 15,000 acres protecting the country’s longest mountaintop river, the Little River, which runs right through Lookout Mountain to make one of the deepest canyons in the southeast. Be sure to take some selfies of the falls while you are there. 

You and your puppers can also enjoy kayaking or canoeing on the river, fishing for giant bass and catfish, and picnicking at one of the many picnic sites throughout the park. 


Tuscaloosa is a wonderful place to bring your sweetheart and your fur buddy for a romantic getaway. You can get one of seven cozy private rooms at the Bama Bed & Breakfast Campus, a historic home built in 1823. Each one is unique with its own special decor, including Egyptian towels, waffle weave robes, and feather pillows. You also get a microwave, fridge, TVs with cable, Wi-Fi, and free breakfast. The bed and breakfast also has a game room, fitness center, and barbecue grills. And Fido is welcome throughout the place.

After checking in, take your two best friends to Hurricane Creek Park where leashed dogs are welcome to play and swim with you. The park also has five trails you can enjoy including the easy Creek Trail, which takes you along the edge of the creek. You can see some incredible waterfalls and rock formations along the trails too where you and your loves can have a picnic. 

Then, stop at Good Dog Park for a few adult beverages while you watch your poochie play with the other pups. They have an indoor dog park with astroturf, playground equipment, and bark rangers to keep the peace.

Lake Guntersville State Park 

With access to both Lake Guntersville and the Tennessee River, Lake Guntersville State Park boasts almost 6,000 acres along the 69,000-acre lake, the largest in the state. Whether you come for fishing, swimming, boating, hiking, or camping, you can do all that and more here with your cuddle buddy. There are 36 miles of dog-friendly trails as well as 295 campsites with bathhouses, playgrounds, and a recreation area with a splash pad, badminton, basketball, and volleyball. 

There are several other campgrounds in the area, including Timberline Glamping, Georgia Mountain RV Resort, and Parnell Creek RV Park. But don’t forget to take Fido to Guntersville Dog Park at Tom Jackson Park so he can run around off his leash for a while. There is a small dog section as well as benches, water, and waste stations. 

Nearby, you and your pooch can have a meal at Fire by the Lake before heading to The Brewers Cooperative for adult beverages and snacks. Or you can try the famous oysters and shrimp at Old Town Stock House. 


Pack up your pup for the weekend and take him to Huntsville, awarded one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations List by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. There are approximately 215,000 humans and 35,800 fur babies living in the award-winning town so you know there are plenty of dog-friendly places and activities including several parks in the Tennessee River Valley as well as the Tennessee River Greenway Trail on an abandoned railway along the river.  

Monte Sano State Park offers over 20 miles of trails too, with a variety of activities, including fishing, swimming, and camping. The 2,140-acre park has some spectacular views from the mountain, a disc golf course, playgrounds, picnic areas, a Japanese Garden and planetarium, wildlife viewing, and just relaxing with your best bud.  

For something different, take your pupster shopping at Bridge Street Town Centre. The outdoor mall has numerous pet-friendly shops and eateries. Be sure to check for the “pet-friendly” sticker on the door before bringing your dog inside, and always keep him on a leash.


Most people would not expect to find a winter wonderland in Alabama but Mentone has the Cloudmont Ski Resort with more than 800 acres of skiable fun on the mountain as soon as it is cold enough to make snow. They have two lifts that take you to the top, which is 1,800 feet with a vertical rise of 150 feet. Although your pooch cannot join you on the slopes, he is welcome at the nearby lodge and several of the rental cabins around the area. 

The ski resort also has classes for those who are beginners as well as rental of ski equipment like snowboards, skis, poles, and boots. There are also plenty of activities to do around the area that have nothing to do with snow. Since it stays warm even in the winter, you can take your pup to enjoy the nearby parks like Cloudland Canyon State Park with some incredible cliffs and caves. 

Mentone has several dog-friendly eateries including the Hatter Cafe, which serves breakfast and lunch, or Roadside ‘Que where you can get some burgers or ribs. 


On Mobile River at the entrance to Mobile Bay, Mobile has about 187,000 residents with approximately 31,600 dogs. The city enjoys a subtropical climate with warm winters and hot summers, so you can enjoy outdoor sports all year long. While you are in Mobile, be sure to take your pooch to Dog River. This perfectly named river has several dog-friendly parks along its banks, including Dog River Park, which has several boat ramps, and Schwartz Park, which has playgrounds and picnic areas. 

If you want to learn some interesting history about Mobile, stop at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park where your leashed pup is welcome. They even have dog kennels out front where your pup can safely wait while you tour the inside. Nearby, Medal of Honor Park also has a lot of historic sites as well as disc golf, concessions, playgrounds, and a dog park.

Don’t miss the 100-acre Mobile Botanical Gardens on Museum Drive with thousands of beautiful flowers and plants. Something is always blooming there!

Oak Mountain State Park 

Oak Mountain State Park is the largest state park in the state on Oak Mountain Lake, Lunker Lake, and Double Oak Lake. It started with just 940 acres and has grown to 11,900 acres over the years. Some of the most pup popular activities in the dog-friendly park include biking and hiking with 100+ miles of trails. But there is also an 18-hole disc golf course, archery, pickleball, playgrounds, picnic areas, and several fishing lakes with two beaches.

Speaking of fishing, the lakes are stocked with crappie, catfish, bream, and bass so there is plenty to catch there. If you did not bring your gear, you can get some at the Flipside Bait Shop. Be sure to get a fishing license, though. The lakes are open all year long and offer boating and swimming opportunities, too. But no gas motors are allowed to keep the water clean. 

One important thing this park has that most state parks do not is the dog park. The fenced area is perfect for off-leash fun. 

Dauphin Island 

Dauphin Island is the perfect getaway for you and your cuddle buddy no matter whether you are staying for one night or a week. Being an island, there are miles of waterfront to enjoy including beaches for swimming, boat launches, and fishing areas. Dauphin Island Beach welcomed fur babies between the old fishing pier and the Red School House with two miles of sand and sea. They are not allowed at the western end of the island on West End Beach.

Also on Dauphin Island, Fort Gaines is a historic site where the phrase, “Damn the torpedos! Full speed ahead” was shouted to the troops during the Battle of Mobile Bay by Admiral Farragut. You and Fido can get some cool selfies by the cannons and blacksmith shop. If you want to go out to Fort Morgan, you and your leashed pooch are welcome on the Mobile Bay Ferry. 

Do not forget to visit Indian Shell Mound Park. There is a prehistoric monument created by Native Americans with 11 acres of trails and nature. 


The capital and one of the most populated cities in Alabama, Montgomery has just over 200,000 residents and an estimated 30,000 canine companions. It is also one of the least expensive vacation spots in the state, with over a dozen hotels offering dog-friendly rooms for under $100. What’s more, Quality Inn, Stay Inn, Sonesta Suites, and La Quinta also have pools and fitness centers.

After checking in, take Fido to one of the local dog parks. Ridling Bark Park at Blount Cultural Park is fully fenced and has a separate space for small dogs as well as seating for pet parents. There is even a dog washing station in case your pup gets dirty. Put his leash back on, and your canine compadre can join you on the trails in the rest of the park, too. 

For more hiking fun, take your pupster to the Lagoon Park Trails. There are five trails, including the 1.2-mile Single Track Trail, one-mile Creek Trail, and one-third-mile Vita Course Trail.

Gulf State Park 

Located at the southwestern tip of Alabama with 6,150 acres in Baldwin, Gulf State Park has some awesome camping spots on the Gulf of Mexico and Shelby Lakes. Gulf State Park Main Campground has over 500 sites with picnic tables, fire rings, 11 bathhouses, a store, a pool, tennis, pickleball, horseshoe, and volleyball. For more primitive camping, try the Outpost Campsites along the Branyon Backcountry Trail. There are three military tents with four cots each.

Another place you and Fido can camp is at the RV Luxury Resort nearby. They have 97 sites to choose from with electricity, water, and cable. There are also cottages and a lodge, but you have to call first to see if they allow pets. All of the sites are within walking distance of the water on the Gulf as well as Shelby Lakes. 

However, if you plan to swim in the lakes, watch for alligators. Fishing here is good too with large bass and catfish caught often. Also, bring plenty of doggie bags for cleanup.


If you are looking for an adults-only romantic vacation with your honey and your cuddle buddy, check out Heritage House Inn in Opelika. The quaint bed and breakfast has five rooms, a few with garden views, others with terraces, and they all have cozy robes and slippers, hardwood floors, and TV with cable. A gourmet breakfast is served every day free of charge, and they even offer champagne or wine.

One thing that will make your fur baby happy is the nearby dog park. Opelika Dog Park has agility ramps, tunnels, weave poles, and jumps for Fido to enjoy, along with plenty of open space for a game of fetch or frisbee. There is also a separate small dog area for pups with big dog anxiety. The rest of the park allows pups, too, but he has to be on a leash. 

Afterward, take everyone to the Irish Bred Pub to get some delicious food and cold beer. Your pup is welcome on the patio and they serve some delicious burgers, sandwiches, and shrimp.


No matter what time of year you visit Foley, you have a place to enjoy waterslides, amusement rides, and games. The Tropic Falls at OWA has 520 acres and is the largest indoor water park in the area. There are 23 carnival rides, including a wave pool, lazy river, several roller coasters, thrill rides, and scary waterslides. Although dogs are not allowed on the rides, your pup is welcome at the RV Park where they have 190 campsites. 

Leave Fido with a dog sitter and take the kiddos to the Foley Railroad Museum and Model Trail Exhibit. You can even ride on the Charles Ebert Express Train. Then, you can all enjoy a visit to Pirates Cove on the waterfront. Your pup can join you all at the beach or in the water as long as he is on a leash.

Finally, stop at Foley Dog Park to let your cuddly canine off the leash. They have two sections, one for small dogs only, lots of benches and picnic tables, shade structures and trees, waste stations with poop baggies, and water fountains for all. 

The Final Woof

Whether you have a huge hound or a tiny terrier, you hate leaving them behind when you go on vacation. It is good to know about all the dog-friendly activities and places wherever you go. Alabama has more than 3,000 pet-friendly vacation rentals, including over 400 hotels, several bed and breakfasts, and 50+ dog-friendly campgrounds. They also have 850 popular pup restaurants, over 60 off-leash dog parks, and five dog beaches. If you are on a tight budget, Birmingham and Montgomery have more than 20 dog-friendly hotels under $100 between them, and some of them have pools. For a family trip, go to Foley, which has the largest indoor water park in the state. You can even ski in Alabama if you go to Cloudmont Ski Resort in Mentone during the winter. 

Photo of author
Patty Oelze is a freelance writer who is also in the process of getting her PhD in Psychology. She has been writing about dogs and other critters for about 10 years and has a plethora of animals at her home including several cats, some chipmunks, a dozen raccoons, two foxes, one coyote, and herds of deer. She and her husband have been living in the Missouri Ozarks for years where she enjoys taking care of wildlife, fishing, photography, boating, and of course, writing.

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