We all get excited when we are packing up our suitcases and heading out the door for vacation. But if you are like me, you hate the look your dog gives you every time you leave the house. So why not take them with you on your next weekend adventure? Luckily in the DC area and surrounding suburbs, there are many dog friendly spots, including several that are part of the national park system. So take a hike, a cruise on the Potomac River, have a picnic or just spend some time outdoors enjoying nature with your furry friend. Here are 4 adventures that have been dog tested for fun! And don't forget to bring lots of water and extra treats!
Hike on Theodore Roosevelt Island. Continue celebrating the 100th birthday of our National Park Service by hiking with your dog at Theodore Roosevelt Island. This lesser known memorial on the Potomac River just off the George Washington Memorial Parkway, pays tribute to our 26th president. Leashed pets are allowed on the trails, but know that you won’t be able to take your pet on any ranger-led programs. Take the 1 ½ mile Swamp Trail which circles around the island, or the shorter Upland Trail, which is less than 1 mile long. Check out the park website, where you can find directions for getting there either by car, bike or on foot. Before you go, download one or all of the 4 Track Trail adventures for kids, which include a Scavenger Hunt and an Animal Athletes Adventure. Kids can also participate in the Junior Ranger program.
Cruise on the Potomac River in Old Town Alexandria. The Potomac Riverboat Company offers an hour long Canine Cruise once a month from May to September. We finally had a chance to do this with my dog and she loved it! I was honestly surprised at the number of different sized dogs on the boat and the fact that they were all getting along so well. If your dog is social, it’s a great way to hang out with other dog lovers while cruising up and down the Potomac River from the waterfront in Old Town. Surprisingly, all the dogs on our cruise seemed to get along well, and Captain John spent time prior to departure taking photos with all the dogs. There is still time to set sail on the September or October cruise. And the best part is that dogs ride FREE! When you are done, head over to Dolci Gelati for some of their award winning gelato, including dog favorite Peanut Butter.
Visit Wineries and Breweries in Loudoun County. Spend the day in beautiful Loudoun County, Virginia, where dogs are welcomed at many of the local wineries and breweries (in fact you will plenty of furry mascots greeting you upon your arrival). Pack a picnic, grab the kids and head out for an adventure. Check out the Pints with Pups Trail, where they’ve already mapped out a trail with breweries that allow dogs inside. With over 30 dog friendly wineries, and plenty of breweries that allow dogs, there is no excuse not to take your pet along for some fun in the sun!
Spend the Afternoon at Great Falls Park. Visit Great Falls after a rain storm to truly experience the thundering falls. Leashed pets are welcomed in all the areas of the park, including trails and overlooks. There are 15 miles of hiking trails, but not all may be suitable for pets. Every time we have gone there have been plenty of four-legged companions on the trails. One of my favorite trails runs along the river from the Great Falls Visitor Center to the nearby Riverbend Park Visitor Center. Great Falls also has a Junior Ranger Program, so it's a great way to get the kids outside as well.