As summer’s heat and humidity give way to the cooler, crisper days of autumn, our thoughts turn to this “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” We anticipate the pleasures of fall: kicking through colorful fallen leaves, harvest festivals, and spending quality time with dogs. If you’re considering some dog friendly fall activities, we’ve got ideas for you close to home–and on the road!
During the hottest months of the summer, our dog travel gets curtailed and limited to swimming–and enjoying our air-conditioning–but when the weather turns cool, we love heading out!
Close to Home
The calendar may not officially say fall yet, but soon (hopefully!) we’ll start to feel autumn crispness here in Texas. While I love summer, by this time of year I’m ready (really, really ready) for some cooler weather–and starting to compile a list of our favorite dog-friendly day trip ideas.
Visit a Pumpkin Patch
We’re already planning a fall trip down to Elgin Christmas Tree Farm, a dog-friendly getaway near Austin that also has a huge pumpkin patch, Halloween-related activities, and rural grounds for a family picnic.
You might get lucky and even find a pumpkin patch that offers dog-friendly hayrides, like ours does!
Participate in a Dog Festival
The Halloween-themed festivals and dog parades start early so start making your costume plans now!
Every weekend from now through Halloween features festivals that aren’t just dog-friendly but are dog-centric with costume contests, parades, agility demonstrations, and much more.
Find a Dog-Friendly Maze
Autumn is synonymous with mazes so check your local area for dog-friendly mazes. We enjoyed two fun mazes!
Enjoy a Drive-In Movie
This is on our to-do list for this fall. Austin has a funky dog-friendly drive in movie theater we’ve been wanting to try called Blue Starlite (now with locations in Colorado and Florida, too). We can’t wait to give it a try when the evenings get nice and crisp!
Shop a Local Farmers’ Market
Many farmers’ markets–typically held outdoors–welcome four-legged shoppers! No farmers’ market in your area? Enjoy some fall shopping in a dog-friendly store!
Do Some Leaf Peeping
Texas might not come to mind when you think of leaf peeping–but we have some pretty fall color in October and November AND it’s usually still plenty warm for some dog wading, too!
One of our favorite places to check out the changing fall foliage is Guadalupe River State Park, just outside of San Antonio.
Gather Around a Campfire
Even if you’re not camping overnight, look for campfire opportunities, whether that means an early dinner around the fire or just the chance to enjoy the fire, as we did on our visit to Canyon of the Eagles.
Visit a Dog-Friendly Winery
With their expansive grounds, many wineries welcome woofers to outdoor areas. Across the country, you and your dog will find an increasing number of dog-friendly wineries (like Becker Vineyards, above, in Fredericksburg, Texas), perfect for a taste of the vines, a memorable picnic, and a great chance to capture the fun in photos.
Enjoy the Spirit of Oktoberfest
Whether you call it a Biergarten or a beer garden, these outdoor eateries and gathering places are the perfect place to get into the Oktoberfest spirit.
We love Auslander biergarten in Fredericksburg, Texas; it’s dog-friendly and specializes in German food that’s perfect for an autumn getaway lunch.
Enjoy Some Beach Combing
If you just think of beach getaways with your dog during the summer months, you’re missing some of the best times for sandy fun!
We love taking the dogs to the beach in October when temperatures are lower and the crowds are lighter. The sand is cooler on sensitive paws, too, so we get in long, long beach walks. And it’s a sure sign of autumn when those sand castles turn to sand pumpkins!
On the Road
For a true taste of fall in the Northeast region, visit an orchard to pick apples.
Well-behaved dogs on leash can enjoy the shade as you pluck McIntosh, Golden Delicious or Empire apples at Drew Farm in Westford, Massachusetts.
Twenty-five varieties of apples are ready to be picked in Lee, New Hampshire at DeMeritt Hill Farm, where pet parents can rent or buy a leash for their dog, and at Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton, Massachusetts, dogs are allowed in the orchard’s public area as well as the picnic grounds.
Haunted Hotel Stay
Wonder if your dog would bark at a ghost? You just might have the chance to find out at one of the many dog-friendly Mid-Atlantic inns that are also reputedly home to some otherworldly residents.
The welcome mat is always out for both Fidos and phantoms at Battlefield Bed & Breakfast Inn. The farmhouse, built in 1809 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, has become a frequent haunt of Civil War re-enactors and the specters of the soldiers they portray.
During a stroll along the 30-acre property, your four-pawed pal might sense the presence of one of the many casualties who was cared for in the establishment’s 1820s barn, which was converted into a field hospital during the three days of combat that turned the tide in the War Between the States.
In New York, it’s been rumored that the spirits of the legendary Algonquin Round Table may still hold court at The Algonquin Hotel, and while you may not stumble across the spirit of Dorothy Parker during your stay, you and your pet might meet the hotel’s resident Directfurr of Guest Relations, a rescued cat named Hamlet.
If you’re looking to scare up a little Howl-o-ween fun with your four-legged friend in the East North Central region of the U.S., head to the Chicago Botanic Garden for the Spooky Pooch Parade and join the line of costumed tail-waggers who will promenade and possibly win prizes.
In Ohio, fashion forward Fidos can don disguises at the Crocker Park Halloween celebration during the annual Pet Costume Contest, which will raise people’s spirits while raising funds for the Cleveland Animal Protection League.
Costume-clad canines will also take center stage at Wisconsin Humane Society’s Ozaukee campus during the organization’s annual Halloween Howl, complete with a bone dig, tricks for treats, bobbing for hot dogs and much more.
Frolic with your dog in the fall foliage as you watch Mother Nature’s palette transform from green into gold and red during a hike on a walking trail in the West North Central region.
Songbirds will tweet a welcome as you embark on the Luce Line State Trail in St. Paul, Minnesota, while the rush of water will applaud your arrival when you take a trail that leads to Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis.
Many busy beaches in the South Atlantic region that restrict dogs to off-hours during peak summer season welcome four-legged visitors in the fall.
Romp together in the surf at the Dog Beach at Hollywood Beach in Hollywood, Florida, leave paw prints in the sand at two beaches on Seabrook Island in South Carolina, and doggie paddle at Jekyll Island Beach at Jekyll Island, Georgia.
Flea Market Shopping
If you want to take your dog shopping in the East South Central region, you can mull over the merchandise on display at more than 1,000 vendor booths at the Great Smokies Flea Market in Kodak, Tennessee or Flea Traders Paradise Flea Market and Mall in Sevierville, Tennessee.
Your barking buddy can help you sniff out bargains at more than 550 vendor booths at the Derby Park Flea Market in Louisville, Kentucky.
Like Shaggy and Scooby-Doo, you can get into the ‘spirit’ of the season by going on a ghost tour with your four-pawed pal in the West South Central region–definitely one of the most memorable dog friendly fall activities!
Dogs will enjoy ‘digging up’ the mysteries of the past on a Sisters Grimm nightly ghost walk, with costumed tour guides taking budding ghostbusters on a candlelight stroll past sites where specters lurk in the city of San Antonio, Texas.
In New Orleans, you can visit the resting places of the dearly departed whose spirits may still be earthbound during Bloody Mary’s cemetery walking tour.
You and your dog can get goosebumps in the city known as the Valley of the Vapors as the veil lifts between this world and the next during the Haunted Hot Springs Tour in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Nothing says autumn more than an evening around a campfire.
The Mountain region boasts some of the most beautiful and iconic parks in the country, and the fall months mean prime canine camping season here.
Although the national parks are generally restrictive in terms of trail access, facilities like Grand Canyon’s Mather Campground welcome woofers. National forests typically are more dog friendly with trail access as well as camping options to enjoy the beauties of this region.
Raise your glass in a toast to your tail-wagging chum as you and your four-pawed pal drink in the beauty of autumn in the Pacific region during a visit to a dog-friendly winery.
Among the many establishments that cater to both connoisseurs of the grape and their canine companions in California is Mutt Lynch Winery in Windsor, which often shows its dogged devotion to paws causes by hosting events benefiting animal charities.
Spoiled Dog Winery on Whidbey Island in Washington, where Australian Shepherds Blue and Sami greet guests.
Westport Winery in Aberdeen, Washington, where pups can play in an off-leash winery dog park while their pet parent partakes of the grape inside the winery, or enjoy an on-leash stroll with their human in the botanical gardens.
Autumn is the prime season for viewing thanks to shorter days and pleasant temperatures. If you and your four-legged travel companion can get away from the city lights, look to the autumn sky and try to pick out Sirius, the dog star.
To dog lovers everywhere, it is no surprise that this star is the brightest in the night sky—a celestial tribute to our autumn travel companions.