Northeast US Dog-Friendly Road Trip
Updated: Apr 14
Beautiful Northeastern National Parks: A Road Trip with Dogs
Are you looking for scenic dog-friendly trips? Lucky for you, some U.S. National Parks are dog friendly and have some of the best landscapes and scenic views we have ever seen. Plan your own dog-friendly road trip with our itinerary below!
This multi-day road trip is through New River Gorge National Park and Preserve (WV), Shenandoah National Park (VA), Allegheny National Forest (PA), and Cuyahoga Valley National Park (OH).
If you're looking for ways to stay active with your dogs, hiking is one of the best ways to do so, and you can get a LOT of hiking in on this trip! We recommend spending roughly 2 days and 3 nights at each national park; you can explore them quite well within this time limit.
On this road trip with dogs, you'll see great views, beautiful hikes, and dog-friendly campsites! We chose these four parks (and highly recommend this route) because they are all reasonably close to each other. Check out the detailed itinerary below.
Scenic Road Trip with Dogs: Northeastern US
To start your trip, head to West Virginia by car, or fly into Yeager Airport in Charleston, WV and rent a car. From the airport you'll drive about 70 miles to New River Gorge National Park. Below are our recommendations for campsites. However, you can still enjoy this dog-friendly trip by staying at hotels or Airbnbs in each location.
New River Gorge National Park, West Virginia
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
New River Gorge National Park
The perfect place to start your trip, New River Gorge National Park! Here you can find tons of hiking trails, camping, and incredible views. This national park is a quick 5-minute drive to Fayetteville, WV, which has everything you might need to pick up while on the road. This would be a great place to look for a hotel as it is a decently sized town. We stocked up on groceries here and had ice cream at The Stache after a long hike.
While staying here, we hiked the Endless Wall Trail, Canyon Rim Overlook Boardwalk, and the Kaymoor Miner’s Trail. There is so much to see and do here, we highly recommend this national park for all hiking abilities, all ages, and all kinds of adventurers! All the hiking trails at this national park are dog-friendly.
Hiking Trails in New River Gorge
Endless Wall Trail - 2.3 miles, point-to-point, very limited parking
Canyon Rim Overlook Boardwalk - 0.6 miles to the New River Gorge Bridge, trailhead is right by the visitor center, steep stairs
Kaymoor Miner’s Trail - 1.6 miles, shorter hike, but is more strenuous as it is straight downhill to the end and uphill back
Where to Stay in New River Gorge National Park
There are many campsites available here, most of which are book-in-advance. We stayed at Chestnut Creek Campground (304-574-3136), which we highly recommend for everyone: solo campers, couples, families, and especially those of you with dogs. The campsites are fairly secluded, there are bathrooms and showers on-site, and it’s only about a 5-minute drive to the New River Gorge Bridge.
You have to call to book a spot, there is no online booking. But the process is very simple, and so is check-in. We also love this campsite because you get to pick what spot you want when you arrive. You can drive around until you find the perfect one!
You can also get a hotel in Fayetteville, WV, if you'd rather. There are several dog-friendly hotels here, and it is only a 5-minute drive from the New River Gorge Bridge and National Park Visitor Center. You'll have access to the Canyon Rim Overlook Boardwalk here, and other trails are only a quick drive away.
Campsite - we recommend Chestnut Creek Campground (304-574-3136)
Hotel - we recommend looking at Wolf Creek Studio Apartments
Airbnb - Lansing or Fayetteville, WV
4-hour drive to...
Shenandoah National Park
Time to hit the road! After a 4-hour drive you'll reach Shenandoah National Park! We left New River Gorge around lunchtime and arrived in Shenandoah in the evening; the sun hadn’t quite set, so we were able to set up our rooftop tent and throw together a yummy meal. Here you can hike as much as you please and stargaze to your heart's content!
We stayed at Big Meadows Campground which we highly recommend. There are five campgrounds in total located in this national park. Something to keep in mind when visiting Shenandoah: it is a very long national park, so be prepared to drive quite a bit to different trailheads if you want to get out of your campsite area.
With that being said, we stayed within the Big Meadows area, and there was plenty to see and do. Below are our favorite trails and more on camping!
Hiking in Shenandoah National Park
Lewis Springs Falls Trail - 3.5-mile loop, pretty waterfall view
Appalachian National Scenic Trail - about a 1-mile portion of the Appalachian Trail with beautiful views from the Big Meadows Campground
Skyline Drive - 105-mile-long drive; driving just a portion of it is beautiful
Where to Stay in Shenandoah NP
We stayed at Big Meadows Campground. This is the largest campground in Shenandoah National Park, but it is also very centrally located. This is perfect if you want to drive to various trailheads. If you're visiting on the weekend, prepare for it to be busy.
Keep in mind that campsites go quickly in Shenandoah, so make sure you plan ahead and book well in advance; it costs $30 per night. We visited at the end of September, and we were still very lucky to get a campsite. So prepare in advance if you can!
Another pet-friendly option here is to stay in one of the lodges or cabins inside the park. The closest town is a 54-minute drive, so you can look at hotels in Harrison, VA, if you don't mind driving an hour every day to get to the park. Keep in mind that Shenandoah is not a free national park, so we highly recommend getting a national park pass!
Campsite - we recommend Big Meadows Campground. It is located in the national park, has its own camp store, and is popular with dog owners
Lodging - Skyland and Big Meadows Lodge offer pet-friendly rooms and cabins to stay in at Shenandoah NP; check out more on Shenandoah lodging options here
Hotel - closest town is Harrison, VA, an hour's drive away, or check out nearby pet-friendly Airbnb options
6.5-hour drive to…
Allegheny National Forest
Next stop: Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania. Here we stayed at Buckaloons Campground; more on this below. Overall, this was a nice place to regroup after a busy five days of driving and lots of hiking.
Our dog, JoJo, loved this campsite because the hiking trail surrounding it has access to a river at multiple points. If your dog is also a fan of water, they'll love this campground! Check out our favorite hiking trails below.
Hiking in Allegheny National Forest
Buckaloons Scenic Trail - 1.1-mile loop, goes around the campground
Rimrock Overlook Trail - 2.6 miles out-and-back, views of the reservoir
Heart's Content Trail - 1.1-mile loop with beautiful forest views
Where to Stay in Allegheny National Forest
Here we stayed at Buckaloons Campground. The campsites here are quite secluded as well, which makes for a peaceful stay. The only downside of this location is the proximity to hiking trails. There is really only one short hiking trail around the campgrounds, which is definitely worth going on, but all the other trails are at least a 15-minute drive away.
If you don't want to camp here, Warren, Pennsylvania, has a few dog-friendly hotels and is a 16-minute drive from the Buckaloons entrance to the forest and a 25-minute drive from the Heart's Content Trailhead and the Rimrock Overlook Trailhead.
Campsite - Buckaloons Campground and Recreation area
Hotel - there are dog-friendly hotels in Warren, PA, 15 minutes from Buckaloons
Airbnb - check out Airbnbs in Warren, PA, you might find a better location this way
3-hour drive to…
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
After about a 3-hour drive, you will be at your next stop: Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This park is situated near Cleveland, Ohio, a 30-minute drive, and Akron, OH, a 15-minute drive. There’s a lot to see in the national park and the surrounding areas. It is also closer to grocery stores and such. You can easily refill your food, water, and gas supply in nearby towns, like Stow or Akron. We also hiked, camped, and enjoyed the Stow, OH area (closest to our campsite at Silver Springs Campground).
Hiking Trails in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Brandywine Gorge Trail - 1.4-mile loop, waterfall (also accessible without hiking the entire trail)
Ledges Trail - 2.3-mile loop, beautiful rock formations
Kendall Lake Loop Trail - 4.3-mile loop, pretty pond view
Where to Stay in Cuyahoga Valley NP
We stayed at Silver Springs Campground, about a 10 to 20-minute drive to many Cuyahoga trailheads, including the trail above. This campground is fairly wooded, and there are some pretty, easy hiking trails here. Bonus: there is also a dog park, Bow Wow Beach, located at this campground!
There is no camping available within Cuyahoga Valley National Park, so we highly recommend this campground. It’s close to Stow, OH, which has everything you might need for groceries and supplies. And it's close to Akron and Cleveland if you want to add those stops to your road trip!
Campsite - Silver Springs Campground in Stow, Ohio
Hotel - We recommend looking in Stow or Macedonia, OH for a hotel, two nearby towns; there is also an inn that offers lodging in the park
Airbnb - there are lots of Airbnbs in the surrounding towns of Cuyahoga Valley NP as well
We loved this dog-friendly road trip and these national parks became some of our favorites, so we wanted to share it with you! It really makes for a great first road trip with dogs.
Be prepared to meet other dogs on this trip, as it is VERY dog-friendly. Below is a breakdown of our route and how long it took to drive between the national parks. Not bad for hitting four parks and four states in 8 to 10 days!
New River Gorge National Park - 2 days
Drive 4 hours to Virginia
Shenandoah National Park - 2 days
Drive 6.5 hours to Pennsylvania
Allegheny National Forest - 2 days
Drive 3 hours to Ohio
Cuyahoga Valley National Park - 2 days
If you’re looking for a dog-friendly trip in the U.S., start planning here! This was a great road-tripping route with all dog-friendly national parks conveniently located fairly close to each other. We chose these four places because of their locations, hiking trails, and the fact that they all welcome dogs. If you need recommendations for what to pack when camping and hiking with dogs, we've got you covered!
We highly recommend this trip for anyone looking to explore nature in the northeastern US. You can always take this route in reverse if you’re coming from the North, but whichever direction you go, these 4 locations make for a great adventure.
Read Also: 21 Car Camping Essentials
Start planning, grab your gear, gather your dog, and hit the road. Happy adventuring!
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