5 Summer Budget-Friendly Road Trips with Pets

5 Budget-Friendly Summer Road Trips with Pets

When summer arrives, it's the perfect time to embark on an unforgettable road trip with your furry friend. A road trip allows you to explore new destinations, bask in the beauty of nature, and create lifelong memories. Here are five budget-friendly summer road trips that you and your pet will love.

1. Pacific Coast Highway, California

The Pacific Coast Highway, also known as Highway 1, offers some of the most stunning coastal views in the world. From the rugged cliffs of Big Sur to the scenic beaches of Malibu, this route is perfect for a laid-back summer trip. Pets will enjoy the fresh sea air and the many pet-friendly beaches where they can frolic in the surf. Pet-friendly accommodations are abundant, so you and your pet can rest comfortably after a day of adventures.

Prevention Tips: The California coast can be cool and breezy, so bring a warm blanket or coat for your pet. Additionally, pack plenty of water to keep them hydrated during the trip, and ensure they have a comfortable spot in the car where they can rest during long stretches of driving.

2. Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina and Virginia

Stretching 469 miles from the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, the Blue Ridge Parkway is famous for its vibrant scenery. During the summer months, the road is lined with lush greenery and blooming wildflowers. Pets will love hiking the many trails in Pisgah National Forest or taking in the views from the overlooks. The Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park offers opportunities to spot wildlife, which can be exciting for your furry friend.

Prevention Tips: The Blue Ridge Parkway has many steep areas and overlooks, so always keep your pet on a leash to prevent accidents. Watch out for ticks and wildlife that could pose a danger to your pet. Also, pack a first-aid kit that includes tick removal tools and be sure to check your pet for ticks after hiking.

3. Route 66, Illinois to California

Known as the "Main Street of America," Route 66 offers a nostalgic journey through small towns, roadside attractions, and historic landmarks. The route spans from Chicago to Santa Monica, covering nearly 2,500 miles. Pets will enjoy the quirky roadside attractions like the Blue Whale of Catoosa in Oklahoma and the wigwam motels in Arizona. Plus, there are plenty of dog parks and pet-friendly cafes along the way where you can take a break.

Prevention Tips: Since much of Route 66 crosses through the desert, it is essential to bring plenty of water for your pet. Avoid walking your pet on hot pavement and sand to prevent burns on their paws. Travel during the cooler parts of the day to avoid heat exhaustion.

4. Great River Road, Mississippi River

Running parallel to the Mississippi River, the Great River Road offers a scenic journey through America's heartland. Stretching from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, this road trip passes through 10 states and offers diverse landscapes, historic towns, and charming riverfront communities. The abundance of pet-friendly accommodations and parks makes it a budget-friendly and pet-friendly road trip option. Pets will love exploring the riverbanks and walking through historic towns like Dubuque, Iowa, and Natchez, Mississippi. There are also many nature preserves along the way where your pet can enjoy some off-leash time.

Prevention Tips: The Midwest can be humid in the summer, so ensure your pet has access to shade and water at all times. Watch out for mosquitoes, and apply a pet-safe insect repellent to protect them from bites. Avoid stagnant water sources to prevent illnesses like leptospirosis.

5. Florida Keys, Florida

If you're seeking sun, sand, and sea, a road trip through the Florida Keys is the perfect choice. Pets will love playing in the warm waters of pet-friendly beaches like Anne's Beach in Islamorada and Higgs Beach Dog Park in Key West. After a day of sun and sand, pet-friendly restaurants and accommodations are plentiful in the Keys.

Prevention Tips: The Florida Keys can get very hot in summer, so provide plenty of shade and water for your pet. Rinse off the salt water from their coat to prevent skin irritation, and apply sunscreen to areas with less fur, like the nose and ears, to protect against sunburn.

Tips for a Successful Road Trip with Your Pet 

  1. Pack Essentials: Bring enough food, water, and medications for the trip. Don't forget your pet's favorite toys, bedding, and a leash for walks.

  2. Plan Pet-Friendly Stops: Research pet-friendly parks, restaurants, and accommodations along your route to ensure your pet is welcome.

  3. Safety First: Secure your pet in a travel crate or seatbelt harness while driving. Never leave them alone in a parked car, especially during warm weather. With a pet temperature monitor, you can monitor the car's interior conditions and avoid exposing your pet to extreme heat.

  4. Regular Breaks: Schedule regular stops for your pet to stretch, relieve themselves, and hydrate.

  5. Veterinary Records: Carry a copy of your pet's health records in case of emergencies and make sure their ID tag is up to date.

A road trip with your pet can be a fantastic adventure when you plan ahead and ensure their comfort. With these five budget-friendly routes, you and your furry friend can enjoy the beauty and excitement of a summer road trip.