If you have children in college and are planning to visit, we want to offer you one piece of advice: Don’t show up without your pet. Of course, your kids will happy to see you (hmm…) but it’s the dog they really miss. So, if you don’t want to face WFS (Where’s Fluffy Syndrome), we suggest that before you leave for your visit, you do your homework to find pet friendly hotels near the school. And since you’re not going to leave your dog alone in the hotel all weekend (because your kids prefer his company to yours), you should also probably find pet friendly restaurants/cafes and maybe a few parks, too. Petswelcome’s Travel Guides to the Top 25 Colleges in the US will help you achieve those goals.
Of course, you don’t have to have someone in your family attending a school to visit a college town. We think they make great vacation destinations in their own right. Why? Because they have a lot going on and offer a diverse array of things to do, including theater, music, dance, art, lectures, readings and sports. They also have great coffee shops, bookstores and bars (many of which are pet friendly). And always at least one fine restaurant. We’ve also found them to be pet friendlier than many other places, probably because students don’t have any problems with pets like a lot of grumpy adults do. Colleges can have a small-town atmosphere like Ithaca, NY (Cornell) and Hamilton, NY (Colgate) or be part of a large metropolis like Nashville, TN (Vanderbilt), Philadelphia, PA (University of Pennsylvania), or New Haven, CT (Yale University). They also cater to all budgets because, let’s face it, students tend to be poor. And, speaking of students, they tend to be young, too, which adds a vitality and enthusiasm to the air that you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere else.
Our initial foray into colleges and their surrounding environs starts with the top 25 colleges which we picked somewhat randomly, though all are excellent schools when it comes to their academic qualifications and reputations. We also looked for interesting connections to animals. Did you know that Rice University’s Fondren Library is an official repository of cat videos? Or that MIT has Puppy Lab which trains local puppies to become therapy dogs and that students can chill out and hang with them on Furry First Fridays/ Or that Cornell has a Veterinary Biobank that contains DNA samples of 10,000 dogs around the world and Duke University has a Canine Cognition Center dedicated to dog psychology? We could go on and on.
In short, college towns have something for everyone. Whether you’re cosmopolitan or down to earth, a scholar or a townie, college towns will welcome you and your pet with open arms. They offer a diversity, sophistication, tolerance, and pet friendliness hard to match in other places. If you don’t need to visit someone at school, we suggest you find another excuse and visit a college town soon.