15 Best Dog-Friendly Vacation Destinations in Pennsylvania

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dogs is feeling happy near the lake in a dog friendly vacation in pennsylvania

Located in the northeastern United States, Pennsylvania spans the Great Lakes, Appalachian, and Mid-Atlantic regions of the country. It is surrounded by Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Ohio, New York, and New Jersey. With over 13 million residents, it is also one of the most populated cities in the US. 

With the Appalachian, Pocono, and Allegheny Mountains around the state, it is one of the top places for skiing as well as other snow activities. Other fun activities found in Pennsylvania include casino gambling, boating, fishing, swimming, waterskiing, biking, hiking, and climbing. You will also find numerous art galleries, museums, theaters, and gardens here.

Pennsylvania also has some of the best rivers including Susquehanna, Schuylkill, Ohio, Genesee, Delaware, and Allegheny Rivers. The state was founded in 1681 and named after the first owner, William Penn. And with 2.1 million fur babies in residence, you know there are plenty of dog-friendly activities and places, including more than 5,000 vacation rentals, 2,300 restaurants, 130+ dog parks, several dog beaches, and over 60 pet-friendly stores. 


As the most populated city in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia has more than 1.6 million residents, making it the city with the most dogs as well. The city was the capital of the United States until 1800, is the home of the Liberty Bell, and is where the Declaration of Independence was signed. But it is also the home of an estimated 257,000 fur babies. Also, it is the perfect summer getaway.

With almost 300 vacation rentals, you will easily be able to find the perfect place for you and your pooch. The Windsor Suites is a stunning hotel with a pool, two restaurants, a gym, a bar, and room service. The Sonesta Rittenhouse Square also has a pool, restaurant, and gym as well as its own art gallery. Speaking of art, it is also near the Magic Gardens, where pups are welcome on a leash. 

Make sure you stop at the Bark Social Dog Park, where your canine companion can play with other pups while you have a beer with other pup parents. 


Want to do a little skiing? Somerset has some of the largest ski resorts in the state including Hidden Valley, Seven Springs, and Laurel Mountain. Seven Springs is the biggest with 33 slopes and trails, seven parks, and 10 lifts. The slopes are known as the best in the east according to locals. While most ski resorts do not allow dogs, Slopeside Hotel by Seven Springs welcomes your fur baby. 

Other hotels nearby that allow pups include Days Inn, Wingate, Quality Inn, Budget Hotel, and Knights Inn. In fact, there are dozens of pet-friendly hotels, motels, and other rentals in the area. After skiing, take your cuddly companion to Jager and Friends Dog Park behind Georgian Place. It has a small dog area, a large dog area, and a special section for agility training. 

If you are still looking for something to do, take Fido to the PWS Trail System where you can explore up to 36 miles of trails. It runs from Lynn Run State Park to Forbes State Forest. 


Hiking or walking trails with your little buddy is a wonderful way to get some exercise for both of you as well as bonding with each other. Although Pittsburgh is a big city with over 302,000 residents, it surprisingly has quite a few trails that you and your fur pup can explore together. And with more than 50,000 dogs in town, you will probably see some on your hike.

Montour Woods Conservation Area has several awesome trails including the easy 1.8-mile Meeks Run and Oil Well Trail Loop. Another easy trail that is a bit longer, the Nike Trail, is almost three miles. Also, try some of the trails in Riding Meadow Park like the 1.7-mile Lockhart Trail or the 3.3-mile Eliza Fox Trail which is a little more difficult. 

You and your pooch can also take a walk through the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden or Settlers Cabin Park. To let him run around without a leash, take him to the Southside Works Dog Park on Water Street. It even has a mobile taproom with beer!

Allegheny National Forest

If you like to camp, pack up your tent, food, water, and doggie bags and head for Allegheny National Forest. It has approximately 515,000 acres of woods, water, and fun in the northwestern section of the state. With 15 campgrounds offering over 1,000 campsites, you are certain to find the perfect spot to stay with your pooch. They range from primitive with no amenities to full-service RV sites with showers, restrooms, and more. 

Many of the sites run along the Allegheny River so you and your fluffy pup can swim, fish, and boat right outside your tent. Others run along some of the 600 miles of trails or in one of the parks in the forest. Kinzua Bridge State Park has over 300 acres with camping, hiking, and the Kinzua Viaduct. Some campsites are only accessible by boat so keep that in mind.

Let your canine companion run off the leash at Woofington Dog Park while you are in the area. He needs to be able to get rid of that excess energy he has from being leashed all the time. 


In the northeastern corner of Pennsylvania, you can find Scranton, a city of approximately 76,000 humans and 12,000 fur babies. Save money without scrimping on the amenities at Econo Lodge where rooms start at $95 and the pet fee is only $20. You even get free breakfast. Also, you are just a few minutes from the Nay Aug Park Gorge and Waterfall, which is completely free. The incredible place was created over 11,500 years ago during the last ice age.

You and Fido can also take a walk along the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail for free. The 18-mile rail trail runs from D&H Rail Trail to Depot Street. Then, stop at the Connell Dog Park, which also has no fee. The large, fully fenced play area allows your pet to romp around off the leash with other pups.

After working up an appetite, take your canine compadre to Five Guys Burgers, where you can get burgers, fries, and shakes for a super low price. 


Take your sweetheart to the most luxurious hotel in Pennsylvania. The Nemacolin in Farmington has special suites and townhomes for pup parents in the Grand Lodge, The Homes, and The Chateau. Although your pup is not allowed in some areas, the Nemacolin has dog sitting service! There are 2,200 acres to explore, whether you come for the summer or winter. They even have snow tubing, skiing, sledding, and ice skating. It even has a bowling alley, paintball, axe-throwing, and a couples’ spa day.

If you can tear yourself away from the awesome hotel, a romantic picnic by a gorgeous waterfall would be perfect. At Swallow Falls State Park, your leashed canine companion can join you but remember the doggie bags. Then, let your pooch run around with other fur babies leashless at Tails on the Trail. The fenced park has a small and large dog space, agility equipment, and a mister for the summer. 

Refuel at Fuel Coffee Works where they have outdoor seating so you can all relax with a cup of something delicious. 


Spend a weekend with your pooch in historic Lancaster, one of the oldest cities in the country. It has a population of about 60,000 people with a little over 9,000 dogs so you will find plenty to do here. You and your pup can visit Kitchen Kettle Village where they have more than 40 boutique shops in an outdoor mall. Just keep him on a leash and ask before entering. Paw Prints is one place where your fur baby can shop with you for dog treats, toys, and food.

For even more fun, head over to Beau’s Dream Dog Park at Buchanan Park. It has a tennis ball tree that throws the ball for you, a small dog section, a tunnel, and splash pads during the summer. It truly is a dream dog park!

For a unique experience, you and your honey can take a romantic tour at The Amish Farm and House. Your pooch is welcome as long as he is on a leash. 

Worlds End State Park

Worlds End State Park has 780 acres in Sullivan County surrounded by the Loyalsock State Forest. And it is totally pet-friendly as long as your pupster is on a leash. Nobody knows why the name was chosen or what it means, but it has been called Worlds End since 1872. Some think it was called Whirl’s Glen or End because of the whirlpool in Loyalsock Creek. You can find a few whirlpools and waterfalls if you explore the 20 miles of trails along the creek.

Camping and hiking are both pup popular activities at Worlds End, with 70 campsites and 19 cabins. Only certain cabins allow dogs so you will have to ask when booking your site and the campground has 12 dog-friendly campsites. Also, there are seven main trails, with the longest and most difficult being the 59.3-mile Loyalsock Trail to the short and easy 1.1-mile HIgh Rock Trail where you will see a great waterfall.

You and your cuddle buddy can also go fishing, swimming, and boating along Loyalsock Creek. You can even find some whitewater rafting here.


Take the whole family, including your furry four-footed pup to Hershey, where Hershey chocolate bars were born. The Hershey Company was founded in 1903, right along with the town so the workers would have a place to live. The main place everyone loves to go here is Hershey’s Chocolate World, which used to be the Hershey Plant.

But the place the kids all want to visit is Hersheypark Theme Park. It has over 120 acres with 75 attractions that include 14 roller coasters and 10 water rides. Some of the most popular are the Candymonium Coaster, Breakers Edge Water Coaster, and Pony Plant Carousel. The park also has shows including an aqua theatre, over a dozen eateries, and a zoo with 200 animals. Unfortunately, you have to leave Fido at the hotel for these activities. 

But after, you can let your lucky pup run amok at Canine Meadows in John Rudy Park. It has three fenced sections for different-sized dogs and lots of space to run. 


The site of the 1863 Gettysburg Address and Gettysburg National Battlefield and Cemetery, this small town has a lot of history in it even if it does not have a lot of people. At last check, there were 7,106 people and an estimated 1,233 dogs living here. The Battle of Gettysburg was mostly fought in the Gettysburg National Military Park so make sure you get a chance to visit there. It is dog-friendly for leashed dogs.

If you like history and ghostly tales, take Fido on one of the haunted Gettysburg tours or the Civil War Ghosts Tour. They are all pet-friendly and a lot of fun. The Ghost Walk is one of my favorites. Gettysburg Foundation Tours are also fun for those who are not into ghosts.

Let your fur baby off the leash at Bubba’s Happy Tails Dog Park at Shippensburg Township Park. It is sectioned for different-sized dogs, has room to play fetch, and lots of seating for pup parents. 


On the southern banks of Lake Erie, you can find Erie, Pennsylvania, a place for families to have fun. The city has quite a few family activities including Waldameer Water World, the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum, and the Erie Zoo. What’s more, there are several great hotels right outside the gates that allow dogs. Rodeway Inn and Lake Erie Lodge are within walking distance of the waterpark.

Although your pup cannot join you, there are two incredible doggie daycares in town. The Paws N Claws Pet Resort offers play care, lodging, and grooming, and Peninsula Pups Doggie Daycare has over 10 years of experience. But, after you and the kids hit all the parks, pick up your pooch and take him to Larry R. Fabrizi Dog Park at McClelland Park. This off-leash park has play equipment, a special small-dog enclosure, and water fountains.

One place you can take the whole family, including Fido, is Shaefer’s Auto Art. There are some incredible sculptures made from auto parts, including a dinosaur, a rocket, a spider, and a bumblebee.

Presque Isle State Park

You can enjoy both summer and winter lake activities at Presque Isle State Park, and your cuddly canine compadre is welcome to join you on most of them as long as he is leashed. During the summer, there are the typical swimming, boating, fishing, and even some waterskiing going on. There are more than 30 miles of trails, 13 swimming beaches, and some incredible lighthouses to see. 

During the winter, the park becomes a snowy wonderland that includes cross-country skiing, ice skating, ice fishing, and sledding as well as ice snowing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. It can get really cold though so make sure your pooch is protected from the weather. Since fishing can be done all year long, it is the most popular with a variety of fish including smelt, crappie, northern pike, muskie, trout, bass, and walleye.

If you enjoy surfing or just watching, Presque Isle is the only place in Pennsylvania where you can surf. 


With a population of 8,330 dogs and their 50,000 humans, you will most likely see some fur babies out and about in Harrisburg, especially at the parks and beaches. It is found on the banks of the Susquehanna River in southeastern Pennsylvania and makes a great weekend getaway for anyone. And you will not have to break the bank because many of the hotel rooms are under $100. In fact, Candlewood Suites even has an indoor pool!

The city is known for its annual events like the Pennsylvania Farm Show in January, the Great American Outdoor Show in February, the Pride Festival in July, and the Kipona Festival on Labor Day weekends. Speaking of the outdoors, take Fido to the Boyd Big Tree Conservation Area to explore the 1,000+ acres or Wildwood Park, where you can see ducks and geese.

Stop by Happy Tails Dog Park to let your pooch run around with other off-leash pups where he can get rid of the zoomies.


With eight popular hotels under $100, Allentown is the perfect place to stay with your fur puppy if you are watching your budget. The Parkview Inn rooms start at $64, and the place even has a pool, bar, and restaurant. Motel 6 does not have a pool or restaurant, but they also do not charge a pet fee, and rooms start at $63. Both offer free breakfast as well. 

Do something unique with your fur baby while you are in Allentown. Go to PaintSome Pottery where you and your pup can make him a new water bowl, food bowl, or a paw print plaque. No reservations are needed and you can choose your own price of medium you want to use. 

Then take your favorite furry friend to dinner at Ringer’s Roost where they have a covered outdoor patio and delicious mac n cheese or The Bell Hall, which has 18 different kinds of burgers. After, you can grab a treat from Ice Cream World.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

If you like mountains and waterfalls, pack your bags for Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The 70,000-acre park is spread from northeastern Pennsylvania to northwest New Jersey and has 40 miles of the Delaware River. What makes it so famous is that the river forms what they call a water gap, which is a mountain pass between Kittatinny Mountain and Blue Mountain. 

You are welcome to bring your fur baby with you as you explore the Worthington State Forest and part of the Appalachian Trail. You can also include some swimming, fishing, rafting, and boating during the summer or cross-country skiing and fat biking during the winter. There are lots of stunning waterfalls in the park, too, including those at the Dingman’s Falls site.

Other incredible things to see at the park include Raymondskill Falls, Marie Zimmerman Farm, Schoonover Mountain House, Nyce Farm, the Metz Ice Plant, and Brau Kettle. Just make sure you bring lots of doggie bags and water. 

The Final Woof

When you take your pooch on vacation with you, it is essential to know which places have the best dog-friendly activities and places. You do not want to go visit a place where your dog has to sit in the hotel room the whole time you are there. We chose our top 15 choices to help you out. If you are bringing the rest of the family, Hershey has a huge theme park and Erie has Waldameer Water World and the Erie Zoo. For a romantic trip, check out what Farmington and Lancaster have to offer. If you want to camp, try Allegheny National Forest or Worlds End State Park. And for a winter vacation, you can ski in Farmington, Presque Isle State Park, and Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

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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