Pet-Friendly Ports in the US and Canada

Bring Fido Along for the Ride

By
Jeanne
Craig

Planning a cruise with canine crew? These destinations are just right for you and your furry best friend.

San Francisco, California

Few other cities can match San Francisco's charms, even the obvious ones such as cable cars and Alcatraz tours. San Francisco loves animals, too; there's even a service (National Cab Company) that will transport you and your pup around the city. A good place to tie up and is pet-friendly, full-service Pier 39 Marina (415-705-5436) near Fisherman's Wharf. It boasts 300 slips, transient dockage for boasts up to 85 feet and a big sea lion population that draws visitors from all around. If you want to take Fido for a long walk, San Francisco has more than 50 dog parks to choose from. Crissy Field is popular with boaters because it offers sand, surf, doggie water fountains and a washing station, or check out Baker Beach, an off-leash beach just one mile south of the Golden Gate Bridge. Show off Fido's amazing abilities or paint a pet portrait on August 23rd, at Strut Your Mutt on Treasure Island.

Key West, Florida

This laid-back locale with a fun and funky culture all its own is one of the most popular cruising destinations in the country, and a great place to bring your four-legged companions. At the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Gardens, you can enjoy trails while Fido (on a leash) sniffs around butterflies, birds, flowers and a freshwater pond. For a romp in a traditional dog park, there's Higgs Beach, where your dog can run free and enjoy awesome water views. There are some two dozen restaurants in Key West that welcome dogs at their outdoor tables: Blue Heaven is a go-to place for breakfast; lunch and dinner are good at Salute on the beach; hang with the big dogs for drinks at Schooner Wharf Bar; next to Louie's Backyard there's a beach just for dogs. When searching for a marina, consider Stock Island Marina Village (305-294-2288), which has its own dog park. And don't forget souvenirs. There are many pet-friendly shops in this town, including Dog 30 on White Street.

Fernandina Beach, Florida

Located on unspoiled, pirate-favored, this city in northernmost Florida harkens back to the Sunshine State's bygone days. Surrounded by moss-draped oak trees, the Victorian village on this 18-mile-long barrier isle is filled with charming restaurants and B&Bs and is close to 13 miles of beach, some of which is pet friendly. For a run off-leash, take your pup to the Nassua Humane Society Dog Park. There are dining options for cruisers traveling with pets, including Happy Tomato (deli sandwiches and BBQ served on an outdoor patio) and Café Karibo, an eatery with international influences that includes an outdoor seating area for peeps and pets. If you're cruising through the area in late August, check out the Great Southern Tailgate Cookoff at Main Beach, a BBQ competition that welcomes pets. Top marina options are Fernandina Harbour Marina (904-310-3300), located on the ICW, and Amelia Island Yacht Basin (904-277-4615), which boasts a fullservice marine center and ship store.

Portland, Maine

For crews with a passion for the great outdoors, there's Portland. Located in Casco Bay, it's a great starting point for a Down East cruise. Pet-friendly berthing facilities include DiMillos Old Port Marina (207-773-7632) with transient slips for vessels up to 250 feet and a great location in the heart of the city's Old Port. From DiMillos, it's a short walk to town. About a dozen restaurants welcome dogs, including the Portland Lobster Company (fresh seafood, entertainment and killer views) and El Rayo Taqueria, which has outdoor seating for pets and fabulous homemade salsa. For a fun excursion, book space for you and your pet on the Casco Bay Mailboat, a working boat that makes deliveries to nearby islands. For exercise, head to Quarry Run Dog Park, which features seven acres of fenced-in play space for canines. Commemorate your vacation with a portrait of your pup at sit.stay.snap, which specializes in creative pet photography.

Nantucket, Massachusetts

This historic island and former whaling port is relatively small, but it boasts some of the best beaches in the Northeast. And many of them welcome pups on leash, including charming Jetties Beach just outside of town. You can also bring your pet out to Madaket Beach for a romp in the sand and for a gaze at one the prettiest sunsets in New England. A number of hiking and walking trails offering views to windswept moors, salt marshes and coastal dunes that are open to dogs. When you're ready to berth for the night, head to the Nantucket Boat Basin (508-325-1350), which welcomes pets. Fido is instantly greeted with a freshly filled water bowl, dog treats and toys. The marina is located just steps from Swain's Wharf, a dog friendly park along with boutiques, galleries and some of the best dining in the country including Cisco Brewers that welcomes dogs.

Boston, Massachusetts

One of the best waterfront cities in the Northeast is also a great destination for pets, who get access to some ofBoston's most delightful sites. When planning a visit, consider tying up at Constitution Marina (617-241-9640) on Boston Harbor, as pets are welcome. The marina can accommodate yachts up to 150feet, and it's located on the Freedom Trail in the Charles-town neighborhood of Boston. Pets are welcome on the trail provided they're on leash. Boston Yacht Haven (617-367-5050) is another pet-friendly facility with transient slips, a launch service and access to hotel amenities. It's located in Boston's historic North End on Commercial Wharf, near to famed Quincy Market, the New England Aquarium, Boston's theater and financial districts, and downtown. When out shopping, you can bring your pet to some fun shops, including the Pawsh Dog Boutique and Polka Dog Bakery. There are up to 12 off-leash parks in the city including Charlesgate Dog Run adjacent to the Harvard Bridge along with a few dog-friendly beaches like Castle Island Recreation Area.

Charleston, South Carolina

It's one of the Atlantic Coast's most charming waterfront waterfront ports, and it welcomes boaters traveling with pets. When planning a stay, consider the award-winning Charleston City Marina (843-723-5098) located on the ICW and deep in the heart of historic downtown Charleston. This facility spans about 40 acres, and it boasts the longest freestanding floating fuel dock in the southeast. We like the deep-draft slips and floating bathhouse with laundry facilities; pet owners like the complimentary downtown van service, as the driver will allow pets if there's room. Shuttle your pooch into town for a walk to one of several dog parks in the city. Among them is Magnolia Plantation. There are beautiful gardens to explore, yes, but even more fun are tram tours that permit dogs. There's plenty of good shopping in Charleston, too; head for King Street, as many shops allow pets to browse with you.

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Halifax is a blend of the past and present. (18th century architecture, alongside ultra-modern towers of glass and steel) with its entertaining waterfront, draws curious cruisers to this historic port year after year. That includes boatowners with canine crew. There are pet-friendly marinas here, such as Queen's Wharf Marina (902-456-2433) with berths on several wharves and services such as chandlery, maintenance and repair. In Halifax, you can take your pet on a few cultural adventures. The Halifax Citadel National Historic Site, for instance, allows dogs on the grounds. Over on the Queen's Wharf, dogs on leash are allowed to board the Tall Ship Silva, a restored vessel originally built in Karlstad, Sweden. A nearby boardwalk is open to well-mannered pups. For a fun land-based exploration, head to Point Pleasant Park, the largest forested park on the Halifax peninsula. It offers fine views of the Atlantic Ocean and is one of a half-dozen off-leash parks for dogs.

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