With the onset of cooler weather in the northeast, all of us at Petswelcome start thinking about great winter getaways for our pets. These getaways can either be a headlong run into snowy weather and winter activities, or a desperate retreat from them, trying to find a warm climate where there isn’t a snow shovel to be found for five hundred miles.
The choice between the two obviously depends on your own preferences and, to some extent, the type of pet you have. There are no hard and fast rules, but if you have chihuahua or a miniature dachshund, then dog sledding or skijoring are probably not in your future. On the other hand, if you have a lab or a German shepherd or Norwegian elkhound, or any breed with a thick coat, then you can feel comfortable that it will not have issues with the snow and colder temperatures.
Our list of great winter getaways for you and your pet focuses mostly on hotels, resorts and other lodgings that are located in great winter (or winter escape) destinations, ones that capture and or celebrate the essence of the season—or its total opposite. All of them are extremely pet friendly and many are surrounded by beautiful natural scenery and plenty of things to do with your favorite animal. We think winter is a great time for traveling with your pet and hope that you find joy, peace, serenity and, of course, a lot of fun–whether you’re in the middle of a Vermont snowstorm or sitting poolside happily thinking about those who are.
Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort, Lake Placid, NY
The Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort overlooks Lake Placid in the heart of the Adirondack mountains in New York State. The site of the 1932 and 1980 winter Olympics, Lake Placid is the perfect winter destination for you and your pet, offering plenty of natural beauty and outdoor activities. There is no shortage of hiking, cross-country and snow-shoeing trails, including Peninsula Nature Trails situated on 133 acres with great views of Lake Placid and White Face Mountain. The Heaven Hill trail system just outside of town is located on 940 acres and is a great spot to let your dogs run off leash (provided they’re well trained). There is also John Brown’s Farm, the historic home and gravesite of the noted abolitionist. An interconnected group of three trails are open all year and permit snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
The Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort has a host of wonderful amenities to enjoy after a day outside, including a pool, sauna, steam bath and two whirlpool tubs. You can also hit the happy hour from 3 pm to 7pm daily at Generations Tap & Grill. There is a $100 pet fee for up to seven nights. They accept dogs and cats. The Golden Arrow donates 10% of the pet fee to the local Humane Society or pet charity picked by a chosen guest that has visited the resort with their pet that year.
Fairbanks Inn, St. Johnsbury, VT
When we think of classic winter getaways, one of the first places that comes to mind is Vermont. The Fairbanks Inn is located in St. Johnsbury in the Green Mountains which offer beautiful scenery and plenty to do with your pet. The inn is located right near the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, which is New England’s Longest rail trail and a great place to get some great walks exercise with your dog. You can also explore Dog Mountain, the home of the Stephen Huneck Gallery and the world-famous Dog Chapel. Set on 150 acres of hiking trails and ponds, the grounds are open year-round and are a popular place to go snowshoeing in the winter months.
The Fairbanks Inn allows charges a $25 pet fee per pet night and allows up to four pets.
The Paw House Inn and Luxury Cottages, Rutland, VT
Another great Vermont winter destination is the Paw House Inn & Luxury Cottages in Rutland. Located next to some of the best skiing on the east coast, the Paw House has become the place to go for skiing dog owners. That’s because they have a custom built dog facility, Mario’s Playhouse, that is available exclusively to overnight guests who want to hit the slopes and know that their dogs will be taken care of in style. Each family gets a large indoor and climate controlled space that is big enough to comfortably accommodate three large dogs. Mario’s is open 24/7 and, from 10 am to 4 pm, the staff is happy to play with and walk your pet while you’re away. Also, each guest room has a custom dog bed and your pets are allowed at breakfast.
With regard to outdoor winter activities, there are tons. You can downhill ski at Killington Resort, Pico Mountain, or Okemo Mountain Resort. There is also cross country skiing at Mountain Meadows offering 30 kilometers of trails, Mountain Top Inn and Resort, with 60 kilometers of trails, and Catamount Cross Country Trails, a public access ski trail that spans the length of Vermont. All of the cross country trails allow dogs. You can also go Fat Biking on dog-friendly trails, as well as snowshoeing.
Heathman Hotel, Portland, OR
Opened in 1927, the Heathman Hotel is one of Portland’s premiere historic landmarks. It has been named one of the best 500 hotels in the world. It also garnered 4 Diamonds by the AAA for twenty six consecutive years. Staying at the Heathman is all about sophistication, luxury and history and is a wonderful way to take the bite out winter. It has a great pet friendly package that includes a dog bed, treat bag and dog bowl with the Heathman logo. You can also get two tickets to the Oregon Historical Society which features an exhibit called Pioneering Compassion: 150 Years at the Oregon Humane Society, which highlights the Society’s work in helping animals find families and fighting pet overpopulation. One of our favorite hotel amenities is a huge lending library that contains thousands of volumes, many written by local writers who stayed at the hotel. And, if you’re heading there over the holidays, you will definitely want to experience their Spirit of Christmas Package that includes a copy of A Christmas Carol, as well as holiday themed cocktails, including the Bee’s Knees, Portland Mule and Ginger Snap Cookie. The Heathman welcome dogs up to 50 lbs, as well as cats (Yay!), and charges a pet fee of $45.
For outdoor activities, you can visit Forest Park in Portland, the nation’s largest forested park which spans more than 5,000 acres and 80 miles of pet friendly trails and forest roads. It stretches along the eastern slope of the Tualatin Mountains a provides great views of northwest Portland where the Columbia and Willemette rivers converge. It’s a great way to experience a true northwest forest experience without ever leaving the city.
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Farmington, PA
Located 70 miles southeast of Pittsburg, the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort is located on 2,000 acres in the Laurel Highlands of southwestern Pennsylvania. They offer many types of luxury accommodations including the Chateau Lafayette, the Lodge at Nemacolin Woods Resort, and Falling Rock, named one of the world’s most luxurious hotels by Forbes Travel Guide. The resort’s pet friendly options are comprised of two-bedroom townhomes with yards that make a great outdoor area for your pet. If you choose to stay at one of the hotels or luxury vacation homes, or have plans to head out for a day of skiing, the resort has got you covered. Your pet can stay the Nemacolin Wooflands Pet Resort & Spa which offers luxury daycare, boarding and spa services, as well as veterinary clinic next door. The resort charges a $225 fee and welcomes 2 dogs up to 50 lbs.
If you want to go skiing or snowboarding, you can hit Mystic Mountain which boasts 25 acres of downhill skiing on six slopes. The Resort also has facilities to go snow tubing and cross country skiing. And, if you’re looking for a unique way to experience the invigorating winter landscape, Nemacolin also offers Jamaican Dog Sledding. Enjoy a brisk ride throughout the property on a wheeled cart pulled by their own dog sled team. The ride last forty-five minutes and includes a kennel tour.
The Old Town Manor, Key West, FL
Finally, if you’re one of those people who enjoys winter by getting away from winter, then we can think of no better getaway than heading to Key West, specifically the Old Town Manor. Built in 1886, the Old Town is a historic bed and breakfast that offers fourteen beautiful rooms—ten in the main mansion and four in the converted carriage house–that capture the essence and splendor old Key West. Six rooms offer private balconies/decks which are a great place to sit and ponder the miserable weather you have so brilliantly escaped. The Manor accepts all breeds and sizes of pets and provide large dog beds, pick-up bags, water and food bowls. There is a one-time fee of $50 for the first dog and $25 for each additional dog.
Located only a half block from Duval Street, they are centrally located and offer access to great pet friendly eateries, including Azur, a Mediterranean restaurant, the Boathouse Bar & Grill, Salute on the Beach, and Sunset Pier. They are also walking distance from the Historic Seaport, Shooner Wharf and Hemingway’s House. If your perfect winter getaway is focused on truly getting away from winter, you can do no better than the Old Town Manor.