From wineries to breweries and mountain climbs to waterfalls, here are five dog-friendly day trips from NYC that you and your pup will love!
New York City has more than its fair share of day trip possibilities; in two hours you could find yourself at the foot of a mountain or with your toes in the sea. I’ve explored plenty of these places because, well, #wanderlust, but I’m often missing my four-legged adventure partner, Harry.
When you go from zero to dog mom, it’s crazy how quickly a pup can change your life – and in this case, my adventures. I’m always on the hunt for a unique getaway, but add the element of “dog-friendly” to the list and you better believe I’m there in a heartbeat.
After talking with dog parent after dog parent, I know I’m not alone. That’s why today I’m bringing you five of the most easily accessible – and dog-friendly – day trips from New York City. Each destination has been tried, tested and approved by me, and more importantly Harry (AKA Mr. H, AKA Munchkin, AKA … just kidding. On with the show.)
1. The Catskills | 2 hours from NYC
There’s a reason I write about the Catskills all the time; it’s just such a magical place. You and your pup can climb mountains, walk trails and visit breweries as a pack. A few of my favorite dog-friendly Catskills spots include:
- Kaaterskill Falls: This relatively easy hike is about 3 miles out and back. While there are some steep stairs that can get muddy and slippery after rain, it’s very doable for anyone in mild to good shape. (Oh, and Harry loved his visit – particularly his romps in the mud!) Here is a link to the trail guide.
- Windham Path: For a peaceful, scenic stroll, stop by Windham Path in the northern part of the Catskills. This 1.5 mile dog-friendly path winds through a field with flowers, covered bridges and streams. Here is a link to the path information.
- Catskill Brewery: I always love a good brewery – but if dogs can join in the fun? I’m even more sold. The Catskill Brewery has a laid-back tasting room where humans can try the beer and dogs can lounge and relax. In a nutshell, this is my heaven.
2. Cape May, NJ | 2 hours 45 minutes from NYC
Like most wild and crazy 30-year-olds, I decided to celebrate my big 3-0 in a quaint little cottage with four close friends and, obviously, my dog. The six of us enjoyed a relaxing and very dog-friendly weekend full of wineries, dining, sunsets and shopping. Here are a few of my favorite dog-friendly establishments in Cape May, New Jersey:
- The Rusty Nail: The birthday festivities started at The Rusty Nail, a relaxed beachside restaurant and bar with one of the best outdoor dining setups I’ve ever seen – think Adirondack chairs in the sand and dogs basically everywhere. Even better? They have a (Harry-approved) dog-friendly menu!
- Cape May Winery: Yes, this is a winery and YES it’s dog-friendly. I’ll let that sink in for a second. (Dog. Winery. #LifeisGood.) The Cape May Winery is a bit out of the way from downtown, but we took a quick 10 to 15-minute Uber with Harry and, once on site, posted up at the bar-side picnic table for hours.
- Cape May Peanut Butter Co.: While the inside isn’t technically dog-friendly, Harry hearts peanut butter … and even more so, the Cape May Peanut Butter Co. He’s visited the shop before when my parents took him down to Cape May – and he definitely remembered it. He waited patiently with my friends outside while I went in to grab him a free scoop of peanut butter in celebration of his birthday. (Oh wait, it was my birthday but… we forgot and focused on celebrating Harry instead.)
3. Hoboken, NJ | 10 minutes from NYC
I’d be remiss not to mention my own hometown that feels almost a world away from NYC – Hoboken! Getting off the ferry in Hoboken (I highly recommend the small dog-friendly ferry; here are their rules) will present you with the best views of NYC.
Walk along the water less than one minute toward downtown and you’ll find yourself at Pier 13, a dog-friendly bar and food truck stop that overlooks Midtown Manhattan. And from there, the puppy possibilities only continue. After living in Hoboken for more than three years, here are a few of Harry and my faves:
- Cork City Pub: This dog-friendly bar in downtown Hoboken has dozens of unique craft beer options and (usually) enough seating for everyone. It does get crowded after work and during the weekend, though, so be ready to stake out a seat.
- Steven’s Institute of Technology: This lesser-known campus (yes, there’s a university in Hoboken!) has some of the best views of New York City. From one side you’re looking out from Midtown past the GW Bridge, and from the other end of campus you have unobstructed, widespread views of FiDi. To visit, turn up 8th Street – away from Washington Street – toward the Hudson. (Here’s a link if my directions aren’t helpful!)
- Pier A Park: Hoboken has numerous waterfront parks your pups can enjoy, but my particular favorite is Pier A in downtown Hoboken. This massive park overlooks Lower Manhattan and is one of the most photographed spots in Hoboken. It’s also a great spot to post up for the day and relax. (Be careful, though, many of Hoboken’s parks have limited dog access – slightly annoying – so just pay attention to the signs indicating where your pup can and cannot be.)
4. Poughkeepsie, NY | 2 hours from NYC
This cute little town has a number of fun spots to visit, but my favorite of all is the Walkway over the Hudson. The 1.28-mile walkway can be accessed via elevator or from the street near the intersection of Dutchess Avenue and Albany Street.
Once you and your pup complete the route, you can also stop by the dog-friendly Walkway Over the Hudson State Park, or one of the dog-friendly restaurants like Cosimo’s Trattoria and Ice House on the Hudson. (Disclaimer: Harry and I did not try these restaurants, as we’d already eaten, so please call ahead to ensure they are in fact dog-friendly!)
5. Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park, NJ | 1 hour from NYC
Here’s a little-known fact about New Jersey: There’s a national historic park in Paterson! OK, maybe you knew that, but I *definitely* did not, and was blown away by the beauty and peacefulness at the Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park. My family and I stopped by on a Saturday morning with Harry and had the waterfalls almost entirely to ourselves. The park is very dog-friendly, and it’s easily accessible for dog walkers of all abilities.
Once you’ve finished Paterson Great Falls, stop by another dog-friendly (and adorable) little New Jersey town, Montclair. They have dozens of dog-friendly restaurants and cafes (Bring Fido lists 26!), so you and your pup can fuel up after a morning chasing waterfalls.
Again, a disclaimer – it’s always best to call the restaurants before showing up as Bring Fido may not have the most updated policy information.
Of course, this roundup only scratches the surface of dog-friendly destinations close to New York City. If you’re looking for a bigger trip — perhaps a quick weekend getaway with your pup — I cannot recommend Portland, Maine, enough. Here is my dog-friendly road trip guide to Portland, Maine, if you and your pup would like to explore this beautiful spot for yourself!
For reference, the travel times in this post are measured by car since that’s Harry and my preferred method of transport (hence, the road trip travel blog…)