How To Find a Beautiful Pet-Friendly Campsite Near You

Photo: Stocksy/Julie Meme
With autumn just around the corner, now's the best time of year to get out on a camping trip. Between the cooler temps and the stunning fall foliage, it's the perfect season for sleeping beneath the stars. And when you choose the right pet-friendly national parks, you can bring your furry best friend along for the adventures, too.

While dogs are allowed in most national parks, they're typically not allowed everywhere within the park. In order to protect the wildlife—as well as keep pets safe from predators—some parks prohibit pets from entering certain areas. Which—while totally necessary and understandable—can be a real bummer if you wanted to hike a certain trail or see a certain sight on your bucket list only to realize it's not pet-friendly. (Yellowstone National Park, for example, only allows dogs in the campground areas—not on the boardwalks around Old Faithful.)

While there are restrictions, many places make it really easy to camp and explore with your pet. Here are some of the best pet-friendly national parks to start with.

Pet-friendly national parks with camping

1. Shenandoah National Park

Photo: Getty Images/Karen Bleier

Location: Virginia

Your dog and you can camp happily at Shenandoah National Park. The National Park Service (NPS) says pets are allowed at the campgrounds, and it's "one of the few national parks that allow pets on trails." The only rule is when you're hiking, your dog must be on a leash at all times. But even with this park being as pet-friendly as it is, there are still some trails pets are prohibited on, so keep that in mind when planning your route.

2. Yosemite National Park

pet-friendly national parks
Photo: Getty Images/Ezra Shaw

Location: California

Pets are allowed in all campgrounds (except walk-in campgrounds and group campsites) at Yosemite National Park. You'll also get plenty of sight-seeing action in together, too. According to the NPS, leashed pets are allowed on roads, sidewalks, and bicycle paths unless otherwise stated. While dogs aren't allowed on trails, they are able to join you on the Wawona Meadow Loop—a beautiful 3.5-mile hike that takes about two hours to complete.

3. Zion National Park

Photo: Getty Images/George Frey

Location: Utah

As long as you keep your dog leashed, it's allowed in the developed campgrounds and picnic areas at Zion National Park. As for trails, there's only one your pup is allowed on—the Pa'rus Trail, a 3.4-mile trail that has amazing scenic views of the peaks and temples in the lower canyon. But with sights this stunning, you'll definitely get your dose of nature.

4. Grand Canyon National Park

Photo: Getty Images/Daniel Slim

Location: Arizona

Your pets will get quite the view at the Grand Canyon Nation Park. On the South Rim, leashed pets are allowed on all trails above the rim as well as Mather Campground, Desert View Campground, Trailer Village, and any developed areas. There's even an in-park lodge, Yavapai Lodge, that has pet-friendly rooms. If you want to see the North Rim, there's only a couple places leashed pets are allowed.

5. Redwood National Park

pet-friendly national parks
Photo: Getty Images/

Location: California

Yep, even the famous Redwood National Park is pretty dog-friendly. The NPS says pets are allowed in developed campgrounds, on beaches, at picnic areas, and on roads. You can also bring a leashed pet to some scenic view points—including Klamath River Overlook and Redwood Creek Overlook—as well as a few different beaches.

6. Hot Springs National Park

pet-friendly national parks
Photo: National Park Service

Location: Arkansas

Get ready for a long hike: Dogs can come along on all 26 miles of the Hot Springs National Park trails. Within the park are amazing mountain views, ancient thermal springs, and beautiful forests. When you're ready to wind down, make your way back to Gulpha Gorge Campground.

For more dog-friendly national parks, check out the National Park Service's map.

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