Dog-Friendly Date Ideas
Courtesy of @livlovesleo

Jamie CuccinelliPet Lovers / Pet Parenting

11 Dog-Friendly Date Ideas for Dog Lovers and Their Pups

You and your significant other definitely aren’t the only couple who has gotten stuck in the “So, what do you want to do?” cycle. It can even be harder to make date night plans if you and your partner are dog parents who hate leaving your pup behind. Fortunately, though, you can make a date a true family outing by bringing your fur family members along. Thanks to these dog-friendly date ideas, all of you will be able to embark on a new adventure together.

Whether you’ve just started seeing your partner or have been married for years, it can be fun and exciting to mix things up with new date ideas that are perhaps a bit out of the ordinary for you and your partner. You’ll create new memories and have the opportunity to deepen the bond between you and your love—and even better if you can also bond with your puppy love while you’re at it! To accomplish both, we turned to Instagram’s famous pet parents to find out how they incorporate their four-legged lovebugs into their romantic outings. Their unique date ideas will have you exploring new areas of your city, enjoying the great outdoors and more, all with your partner and pup (or pups!) by your side.

Dog-Friendly Date Ideas

Courtesy of @sawna

1

Hiking

Sawna Guadarrama (of wanderlust-worthy @sawna) and Eamon Hughs (@eamon_tothat) have been together for two years. Based in Los Angeles, they share their outdoor adventures with 6-year-old Juniper, who Guadarrama has had since the rescue pup was just 3 months old.

“One of our first hikes together with Juniper was running around Griffith Park and the Hollywood sign,” Guadarrama remembers. “Juniper followed Eamon around everywhere; she was mesmerized almost as much as I was. I could tell immediately that he was a keeper!”

Nowadays, the adventurous trio regularly spend time hiking and enjoying nature together.

“Nature is a great way to bring people together to value what our Earth provides us,” Guadarrama says. “Juniper’s joy for the outdoors is contagious. Just seeing her big smile and jubilee to be running outside makes us want to spend all day, every day outside on trails!”

But it’s not just energetic doggos who can benefit from the time outside: “The time on the trails allows us to seek deeper into ourselves and discuss topics we wouldn’t normally talk about on a Friday date night,” Guadarrama explains. “We constantly motivate each other to reach our own goals physically ... This bonding time allows us to get to know each other on a deeper level, as well as our pup.”

Before you head out for a hike with your loves, Guadarrama recommends first downloading trail-friendly apps, like REI Hiking Project and AllTrails, to help you find dog-friendly trails in your area at a variety of intensity levels. She also encourages pet parents to take appropriate safety measures for both people and pups.

“Always bring more water than expected and be mindful of the temperature,” she says. “Dogs don’t sweat like we do. Heat effects them much harsher than it does us. Be mindful of the sun and how it may affect them.”

Find out what to pack for a dog hiking trip.

Local-Approved Pick:

Griffith Park
4730 Crystal Springs Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90027

 Griffith Park in Hollywood has endless trails and is very dog friendly,” Guadarrama says. On a clear day you can not only see the Hollywood sign and the Observatory, but also the ocean and the San Gabriel Mountain range. The views are endless. It makes you really appreciate Los Angeles.”

Dog-Friendly Date Ideas

Courtesy of @biffthesamoyed

2

Dog-Friendly Brewery

Morgan Michos and Mark Belio are the proud dog parents to Biff, the 2-year-old Samoyed of @biffthesamoyed and @keepingupwithbiff fame. Once the weekend rolls around, you can often catch the fluffy fam at a dog-friendly brewery in their home of New York City—a unique date idea activity they suggest to other pet parents.

“Let’s be honest: Dogs make everything more fun,” says Michos. “So why not combine our love for craft beer and dogs?”

A hit with both pups and people, dog-friendly breweries offer a lot even to those who prefer bones over brews.

“Biff likes to see the other dogs and customers there—especially ones who give pets or treats!—and Mark and I are able to enjoy a drink without worrying what Biff is getting into if we had left him at home,” Michos explains.

She recommends that pet parents bring along their dog’s favorite toy or treat before pouring their pints.

“I always bring something for Biff to do or chew on,” Michos says. “He loves having a bully stick or stuffed toy to hang out with while Mark and I are enjoying each other’s company.”

Biff tends to have no trouble making friends while they’re out and about, though!

“Biff is always approached by several customers asking to pet him,” Michos says of her sociable pup. “One time, a customer brought treats in their pocket in case he ran into any dogs at the brewery, and before he even offered them to Biff, Biff had already sniffed them out and dove into his pocket for the snacks! Whenever a place has dog-loving customers like that, it makes the experience so much better.”

Local-Approved Pick:

GRIMM Ales
990 Metropolitan Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 112119

“We love GRIMM Ales,” says Michos. “They are truly dog-friendly and never make us feel like Biff is a hassle or in the way of customers."

“Since Biff is a 60-pound dog, he sleeps on the floor mostly when we’re sipping beer, and nobody minds or complains if he sniffs a customer’s feet!” she continues. “It sounds silly, but these things make a difference and you never want your dog to feel like he’s inconveniencing others.”

Dog-Friendly Date Ideas

Courtesy of @joyful_jax

3

Indoor Rock Climbing

After 12 years together and one year of marriage, Alissa and Dave Martin are still up for an adventure—especially if their Golden Retrievers, 3-year-old Jax and 2-year-old Jasper of @joyful_jax, are there for the fun!

“We love getting outdoors with our dogs as much as possible, but sometimes during the cold winter days, it’s just nice to do something inside with your dogs,” Alissa says.

To stay active during the Maine winters, this family hits up a local indoor rock-climbing gym that opens their doors to both the two and four-legged.

“You can spend anywhere from an hour to all day climbing, and it challenges you in a fun and exciting way!” Alissa says. “And because of how physical rock climbing is, being able to take breaks to recharge and snuggle with your dogs and partner helps rebuild your strength and encourages you to try again.”

Besides providing support, Alissa’s pups also provide plenty of laughs: “The first time we brought the dogs there with us, my husband was sitting with the dogs as I started my first climb of the day, and when I got a little ways up the wall, our youngest golden, Jasper—mama’s boy—barked at me because I was too far away!”

During a typical day at the gym, the couple takes turns climbing and staying on solid ground with the dogs. “It doesn't take long before we are both tired and need to rest with the pups,” says Alissa.

“When we are not planning our next climb, we will use a toy to play with the pups, or practice their training and rewarding them with treats which keeps them entertained and happy,” she explains. “The pups love being there with us, especially because they attract a lot of attention, so they get to meet new people and practice their manners.”

If you want to turn your dog into a regular gym goer, Alissa suggests pet parents do a quick Google search for dog-friendly fitness centers in their area.

“There are quite a few dog-friendly indoor rock-climbing places in the U.S,” she says. “If there isn't one near you, you could always go on hikes with your dogs, any time of year. It's another fun adventure that you can all do together and it keeps you active!”

(Be sure to check out @sawna’s hiking tips above!)

Local-Approved Pick:

Salt Pump Climbing Co.
36 Haigis Parkway
Scarborough, ME 04074

Our favorite rock-climbing gym is the Salt Pump Climbing Co. in Southern Maine,” says Alissa. “The bright and colorful Salt Pump has many awesome features including a cafe, a large deck overlooking a beautiful pond, friendly staff as well as climbing, yoga and fitness classes. They have so many different climbing walls and levels to choose from that people of all ages can enjoy.”

Dog-Friendly Date Ideas

Courtesy of @lovemicorazon

4

Boating

When they’re not planning their wedding, the engaged Cora Kim (of @lovemicorazon) and David Ju (of @speaqwithdavid) can often be found exploring the waters surrounding their Long Beach, California, home—naturally, with their darling doggos by their side. Kim and Ju are the pet parents of three rescue dogs, 5-year-old Poke, 3-year-old Namu and 10-month-old Kona, who all make up the too-cute crew on the duffy boats, a type of electric boat, the family frequents.

“My fiancé David took me ... for our first Valentine’s date, and ever since then we’ve been going back,” Kim says. “We then found out that dogs are welcome onto the duffy boats and it became a great escape for our whole family. Our pups love to relax, and smell and feel the Long Beach ocean breeze. 

“It’s a great confidence builder for the pups,” Kim adds. “We love taking the boat out before the sun goes down and enjoy the beautiful sunset.”

Before setting sail, Kim recommends pet parents pick up a dog life jacket for their fur baby, especially if you’ve never taken them on the water before or they have a case of shaky sea legs, like her youngest pup, Kona.

It was fun to take out Kona for her very first time,” says Kim. “At first, she was so nervous because everything was so new. But after some time, she relaxed and enjoyed the breeze. She even popped her head out the boat to enjoy the sunset view, too!

Local-Approved Pick:

London Boat Rentals
186 N Marina Dr #4601
Long Beach, CA 90803 

We rent duffy boats from London Boat Rentals, located in the Naples Canal of Long Beach,” Kim says. “It’s a great water escape for us and every time we go, it is always a different experience. There’s so much to see, from sailors to beautiful homes and of course the beautiful sunset.” 

Dog-Friendly Date Ideas

Courtesy of @dantesdivinewoof

5

Camping

Four-year-old Dante and 2-year-old Antaeus, of @dantesdivinewoof fame, love joining their dog mom and dad, Arianne Pandini and David Lopez, on their dates in the great outdoors. The Cary, North Carolina, fiancés often take their cute canines on camping excursions for some furry family bonding.

“When you camp, you need to be OK sharing a smaller-than-usual sleeping area and all cuddled up through the night, not only with your partner, but also the dogs,” explains Pandini. “Some nights it can get windy or rainy ... You can run into problems lighting up the fire or get eaten alive by mosquitoes. You need to be comfortable with and trust the ones you're camping with to get through the experience. You usually come out of a weekend trusting your pups and your partner a lot more!”

If you’ve never pitched a tent or roasted a marshmallow before, Pandini recommends that you ease into the adventure and plan ahead.

“Start easy and be prepared,” she says. “Do a night stay at a state park nearby, or checkout some websites where you can book privately owned lands to camp at. Don't overwhelm yourself too much, or it won't be fun!”

Before you head outside with the leashes and your love, be sure to grab extra water, plenty of food and snacks (both for people and dogs), lanterns, and both a human and canine first aid kit, Kurgo’s 49-piece RSG Dog First Aid Kit. With a little prep, your whole family can enjoy the great outdoors, just like @dantesdivinewoof and co.

“My favorite part [of camping] is when, after a long day of setting everything up and exploring, we get back to camp and make s'mores and hot dogs and hang out by the fire, while the dogs nap. It just feels very peaceful, watching the night come on that way,” Pandini says. “There is no better way to enjoy it than being out there with my best friends!”

Local-Approved Pick:

Mars Hill, North Carolina
Browse privately owned and available for rent Mars Hill campgrounds here. 

One of this family’s favorite camping spots is a privately owned campground in Mars Hill, North Carolina. “Hands down a little piece of heaven with incredible views and privacy,” says Arianne.

Alt Text For Image

Courtesy of @livlovesleo

6

A Downtown Stroll

If you’re looking for an inexpensive dog-friendly date idea or simple afternoon activity, take a page out of Olivia and Nick Schmidt’s playbook: These newlyweds love to take Leo, their 2-year-old Samoyed of @livlovesleo, on long strolls in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan.

I find that my husband and I have the most heart-to-heart conversations while going on walks with Leo,” says Olivia. She recommends that couples break away from their daily dog-walking routes and make their time together more special by heading into nearby downtown areas and business districts.

“Taking walks downtown is a nice change of scenery from our everyday walks and makes for an awesome, cheap date,” Olivia explains.

It’s a near-effortless way to fill an afternoon with some seriously paw-sitive benefits: “This date is a perfect example of quality time as couple,” says this dog mom. “It also helps us bond with Leo as others stop us to meet him and give us an opportunity to talk about our beloved dog.”

This canine-centric date idea can also double as a confidence-building training tactic in young pups. “This is a great way to help you dog be comfortable in a city setting,” says Olivia. “If your dog is young or not fully socialized, definitely bring treats along for others to give your dog if they approach you.”

Be sure you’re well-versed in reading your dog’s body language, and consider consulting a behaviorist before hitting the busy streets.

Local-Approved Pick:

Main Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

The @livlovesleo trio enjoys exploring the friendly streets surrounding their home in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “During the warmer months, we love to end our walks with a meal on a restaurant patio or at a cute ice creams shop,” Olivia says.

Try playing tourist in your own hometown. Set out to explore a new street, and be sure to stop at that new pet-friendly restaurant or café you’ve been meaning to try!

Dog-Friendly Date Ideas

Courtesy of @minidoodlebentley

7

A Baseball Game

This home run of a dog-friendly date idea comes courtesy of Kelly and Brandon Madsen, the Maryland-based puppy parents of @minidoodlebentley’s 2-year-old Bentley.

“My husband and I are huge sports fans,” says Kelly. “We spend several days a week watching sporting events on TV with Bentley on the couch with us, but when we found out Bentley could come WITH us to a game, it was the greatest discovery.”

“For us, it solidifies that he is part of the family,” Kelly adds. “He sits with us in the stands (usually on our lap) and gets to spend a lot of time with us.”

Many baseball teams promote “Pups in the Park” events, where fans are encouraged to bring their dog along to the stadium and partake in some dog-friendly attractions in addition to the game.

“Of course, baseball games give you, the humans, an opportunity to have a few beers and have some fun,” Kelly says. “But these special events also have [activities] for the dogs, like plenty of other dogs to play with and special dog baseball jerseys on sale.”

Before you take your partner and your pooch out to the ball game, Kelly recommends that pet parents carefully evaluate how their dog behaves in and reacts to crowds and noise. “The best advice is to only bring your dog if they do well with many others around them, because there are hundreds there!” she says.

If you deem your pooch to be fit for the team, then check out the schedules of your local teams. “When your home team releases their schedule, you can check for ‘Pups in the Park’ dates to put on your calendar,” says Kelly. “Due to the necessity of having your vet records and liability forms signed ahead of time, you cannot just [bring your dog to any game].”

Local-Approved Pick:

Oriole Park at Camden Yards
333 W Camden St.
Baltimore, MD 21201

“I prefer the [Baltimore] Orioles games,” says Kelly. “They have [many] activities for the dogs, including a food truck for dog hamburgers and hot dogs.”

Dog-Friendly Date Ideas

Courtesy of @the_doggie_days

8

Dog-Friendly Restaurant

A romantic dinner is a tried-and-true date idea that you can easily alter to include your fur family by simply choosing an eatery that allows pup patrons.

“We are a foodie family of four,” says Gauri Sikka of her partner Tapan Tailor and two Malteses: @the_doggie_days’s 11-year-old Dior and 3-year-old Obi-Wan. “Nothing makes us happier than seeing our pups out and about, playing with other dogs and enjoying their treats.”

In their home base of New York City, Sikka and Tailor have found that most restaurants with outdoor seating welcome dogs.

“When in doubt, I will highly recommend the pet parents to call and confirm with the restaurant ahead of time,” Sikka says.

Some pet-friendly eateries even offer menu options specifically for dogs—although occasionally, some dogs might steal the chance to snag the occasional, not-so-healthy bite of people food! Sikka fondly remembers one of her and Tailor’s dinner dates in Rome, Italy, where they brought their jet-setting dogs along. “Our server was so taken with the pups that he seated Obi on a child’s highchair and attempted to feed him spaghetti!”

Local-Approved Pick:

Shake Shack in Madison Square Park
Near Madison Avenue and East 23rd St.
New York, NY 10010

“We hit Shake Shack for our burgers and ‘Pooch-ini,’ [a dog-friendly peanut-butter custard dessert] for Dior and Obi—yes they have a dog menu, too!” Sikka says.

Dog-Friendly-Date Ideas

Courtesy of @husketeers

9

Dog Sledding

Is your pup up for an adventure? Well then steal some inspiration from Katlin and Jonathan Longfield of Madison, Wisconsin, who enjoy dog sledding with their two huskies, 9-year-old Nika and 7-year-old Kira of @2husketeers.

“We both love our dogs immensely, and seeing the joy on Nika and Kira's face when they do what they were bred to do just puts a smile on both our faces,” Katlin says. “It takes teamwork and communication to keep a relationship strong, and so does dog sledding. It just seemed like a natural fit—not to mention, it's a lot of fun!”

The @2husketeers family got their start in the sport when looking for a way to pass the time during the chilly winter season.

“Winters in Wisconsin can be quite cold and snowy and, let's be honest, we tend to stick inside where it's warm and cozy,” Katlin explains. “That doesn't jive well with Husky energy though, so we were looking for ways for us all to enjoy the outdoors, while taming that Husky energy.”

After learning the standard dog sled commands and some off-sled practice, the couple went ahead and purchased dog sledding gear from a local shop. Then it was time to hit the snow.

“The first time we went, the dogs tried to pull in different directions, and the lines kept getting tangled as they would jump over the line,” Katlin says. “We quickly figured out that they loved coming to find us, so one of us would run up ahead while the other held the dogs back with the sled.”

After some practice, Kaitlin and Jonathan’s smart pups got the idea.

“It just clicked after that for them, and we've had fun as a couple dog sledding ever since!” she says.

If this sounds like a bucket-list date for you and your partner, Kaitlin recommends spending some time researching gear, harnesses and training techniques.

“Work on teaching your dogs the basic commands—‘gee’ for right, ‘haw’ for left, ‘hike’ for go and ‘woah’ to stop—while out on walks or runs, and see if your dog shows interest in pulling you,” says Katlin. “We worked with Nika for a while on roller blades with an X-back harness.”

Practice makes perfect!

“[When] you are ready to try dog sledding, you'll need a sled, gangline, tuglines, necklines and harnesses,” instructs Kaitlin. “We have a Canadian kicksled that is meant for a one- to two-dog sled team and is also collapsible which allows us to fit into the car.”

Don’t be intimidated by the training and prep-work that goes into this daring date—it’s all part of the fun!

“It takes teamwork and communication to dog sled, so it creates a fun way to work on those skills and our relationship,” says Katlin. “Huskies and humans are both stubborn so when we are all doing what we love, it’s easier to learn to listen to each other and cope with any frustrations that may come up.”

Local-Approved Pick: 

Devil's Lake State Park
S5975 Park Rd,
Baraboo, WI 53913

Kaitlin and Jonathan take their dog sledding team to Devil's Lake State Park, as they permit dogs on their cross-country ski trails. “It’s tough to find trails that allow dogs in the winter,” Katlin admits, so she recommends that interested pet parents consider beginning the sport at their local dog park after a snowfall. “We go to our favorite dog park [Token Creek Dog Park in Token Creek, WI] really early in the morning, just as the sun is rising, to avoid other dogs. It has several acres of fenced in land and a nice trail loop.”

Dog-Friendly Date Ideaas

Courtesy of @wtfrenchie

10

A Staycation

Indulge in a romantic getaway without actually getting away. L.A.-based couple Nikki and Jon will often take their fabulous Frenchies, 9-year-old Weston and 4-year-old Fira of @wtfrenchie, on staycations in local hotels.

“We just look up last-minute, local hotel deals, pack a bag, grab the pups and go—anywhere that has a pool, room service and doggy beds!” Nikki says. “It’s a nice way to feel pampered.”

Since the worst part of traveling with a dog is, well, traveling with a dog, this date idea offers pet parents the opportunity to indulge in a mini vacation without the stress of transportation—or the steep cost—usually associated with such a retreat.

“For us, it’s such a perfect way to ‘get away,’ unplug and really relax together,” says Nikki, who notes that a local staycation can be just as restorative for dogs as it is for people. “The pups get to have long walks around the grounds and we take them wherever we go, whether it’s to dinner or browsing the shops. Some hotels even offer a doggy room service menu or have their own doggy area, which is always a nice touch!”

Although many dog-friendly hotels are already outfitted with food and water bowls for their canine guests, Nikki recommends packing your pup their own luggage with some other essentials.

“I always have their little travel bag ready to go,” she says. “It always has extra poo bags, wipes, water bowl, nose butter and a lint roller. We can just throw their food and toy bones in and we’re ready to go.”

Bon voyage, pups!

Local-Approved Pick:

Ojai Valley Inn
905 Country Club Road
Ojai, CA 93023

We love Ojai Valley Inn,” says Nikki. “The grounds are just stunning against the Topa Topa mountains. Weston and Fira can run for hours on the rolling hills and fields. There’s also an enclosed area with parrots, which really excites the dogs!”

Dog-Friendly Date Ideas

Courtesy of @mochthecorgi

11

Picnic at a Dog Beach

Together for almost 10 years, the newly engaged Micki Le and Kenneth Manas, currently based in Portland, Oregon, are pretty much pros when it comes to dog-friendly date ideas. One of their favorite ways to spend time with one another and with their Corgis—3-year-old Mochi and 1-year-old Taro of @mochthecorgi fame—is a day at the beach, complete with a picnic.

“The boys just love swimming and, while my partner and I want to enjoy each other’s company, it is just as important to us that the dogs have a great time as well,” explains Le. “We often work opposite schedules and long hours, so we don’t get to spend as much quality time together as we would like. This also means that the dogs, unfortunately, don’t get to play with us all the time. Going out on dates [to the beach] allows the dogs to do their favorite thing: FRAP-ing around [Frenetic Random Activity Periods] and swimming.”

Clearly a day spent at a dog-friendly beach has a ton to offer both of the @mochthecorgi pups, as well as their mom and dad.

“After the boys have their fun playing in the water, we typically end the trip by taking in the scenery,” says Le. “With our insanely busy lives, it’s rare we get time to sit down and have deep conversations... [The dogs] get to have fun, while my partner and I get some time alone.”

Before you hit the beach, “Make sure you pack lots of freshwater for your pup especially if you’ll be near saltwater,” Le advises. “We always have to pack the essentials for the pups: tennis balls, water, and towels ... It’s important to keep a close eye on your pups at all times in case there are waves, boats or they wander too far. Safety is always our No. 1 priority when out with our dogs.”

Local-Approved Pick:

Short Sand Beach
Oswald West State Park
Arch Cape, OR 97102 

“A dog-friendly beach we absolutely love in Oregon is Short Sand Beach,” says Le. “It’s a perfect little beach with plenty of open space for the pups to roam. Accessing this beach requires a small hike, so it is a great way for the dogs to get some exercise in and for us enjoy a nice walk.”

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