When the leaves start to fall and the air gets frosty, most RVers think about heading for warmer climates, and we’re no different! Like everyone else, we’re looking for lots of sunshine and comfortable temperatures, but we also want to make sure our dogs are happy. That means finding places where it’s easy to walk them, and there are nearby activities where they’re welcome.
With seven winters under our belts in the Meridian, we’ve had the opportunity to experience a few places, and these are five of our favorites:
Port St. Joe, Florida
Port St. Joe is perfect for visitors looking to avoid the hustle and bustle, and still enjoy some amenities. Known for it’s white beaches, gentle surf, and strikingly clear water, the city looks out on St. Joseph Bay, where Cape San Blas, a 17-mile long barrier peninsula extends out into the Gulf of Mexico.
Dog-friendly beaches stretch for miles, and kayak, canoe, paddle board, or bike rentals allow you to easily explore the breathtaking scenery. The paved Loggerhead Bike Trail runs the length of the Cape and is great for walking, jogging, or biking. There are several private RV parks to choose from in Port St. Joe and along Florida’s forgotten coast, and St. Joseph Peninsula State Park also has RV spaces with water and electric hook ups.
Winter weather in Austin can be iffy compared to some of our other favorite destinations, but the pet friendliness of this city completely makes up for any cold snaps or clouds you might encounter! Dogs are welcome almost everywhere in Austin, from outdoor seating areas at restaurants, to the botanical garden, and 350-acre Zilker Park!
If you love to walk or bike, the Butler Hike and Bike Trail is a gravel-covered, 10-mile loop around Ladybird Lake, and connects Zilker Park to the Rainey Street Historic District. Plan ahead to score a spot at Pecan Grove RV Park, where you’ll be walking distance to all the downtown attractions, or choose from several private parks within a few miles. For a more natural setting, consider McKinney Falls State Park’s RV sites with water and electric hook ups.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
At almost a million and a half pet-friendly acres, you could spend an entire winter at Lake Mead National Recreation Area and barely have time to scratch the surface! If you and your dog love hiking, enjoy the great outdoors, and find the desert beautiful – this could be the perfect spot for you!
The park features a fantastic selection of developed hiking trails. There is a 31-mile, paved River Mountains Loop Trail for bikers and walkers, or you can make your own route by selecting a wash and seeing where it leads. For a bit of civilization, the historic town of Boulder City is close at hand, and the Las Vegas Strip is a 40 minute drive. RV facilities here range the gamut, from boondocking, to campgrounds run by the park service, to a private RV park – there’s something to meet everyone’s needs.
Can dogs really be delighted with a winter stay in Phoenix? You bet they can … if you stay in one of the regional parks outside the city! Maricopa County operates 11 parks around Phoenix, eight of which have developed, semi-developed, or primitive camping available. Rather than staying in one of the many “snowbird parks” with little to explore, our dogs enjoy the perfect combination of scenery, hiking, and wide-open spaces. Even better, you have easy access to shopping, restaurants, and all Phoenix and its suburbs have to offer.
We’ve enjoyed McDowell Mountain, which covers nearly 22,000 acres, and is best known for it’s mountain biking and 65 miles of trails, and White Tank, which spreads over nearly 30,000 acres, and has 28 miles of trails to explore. From dry camping to water and electric hook ups, the facilities vary by park, and it’s best to make reservations well in advance of your stay.
Palm Springs, California
It’s hard to beat the weather in southern California, and Ty and Buster have found plenty to do around Palm Springs! Joshua Tree National Park is just over the hill and, while dogs aren’t allowed on the trails, they are welcome to walk the many dirt roads. There are some great hiking trails around the city as well, and an entertaining “walk of fame.” But for the more refined pup, the weekly Thursday evening street market provides an ideal shopping opportunity.
The variety of day trip excursions from Palm Springs will keep everyone entertained, from the massive outlet mall, to the eclectic sculpture garden in Borrego Springs, and the wintery mountaintop resort of Idyllwild. And locating an RV park to suit your taste is no problem – many in the area even have hot spring pools to relax in after a busy day keeping up with your pooch!
Wondering where we are now? Follow our adventures at GoPetFriendly.com!