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Most Friendly and Unfriendly U.S. Cities for Pets

by Angelique Platas

Feb 26, 2020

Photo: Eva Blanco | Dreamstime.com

Travel Tips

According to a recent study from Upgraded Points, pet-friendliness is not created equal throughout 50 of the most popular vacation destinations in the United States.


The study determined a city’s pet-friendliness by measuring eight criteria: number of dog parks (all numerical data based on per 100,000 population/persons); number of pet stores; number of pet-friendly hotels; number of pet-friendly vacation rentals; pet-friendly restaurants; availability and number of veterinarians; total miles of hiking trails available; and total number of hiking trails.


Asheville, North Carolina, came out on top as the most pet-friendly city in the study. With a total score of 47.5 of the 50 available points, Asheville received maximum positive ratings for six of the eight determined criteria. The city’s many hiking trails, pet-friendly vacation rentals and hotels skyrocketed Asheville to first place.


Coming in second, Santa Fe, New Mexico, also received high marks for pet-friendly accommodations, including pet-friendly vacation rentals and hotels — a key factor in vacation planning, but not necessarily relevant for residents.


On the (way) lower end of the study, Maui, Hawai’i, came in last place with just 2.3/50 possible points. According to the study, besides Maui’s many hiking trails, the city is severely lacking in pet-friendly accommodations and activities, including animal-friendly dining options and recreational locations.


Little dog in the big city. Photo: Svetlanais | Dreamstime.com


“A big surprise to us was to find the shocking number of major metropolitan U.S. cities that did not score well at all. A number of these cities have very few pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals for their population size, which is a big drawback for those traveling with pets, and most struggle to provide enough — or any — amenities like dog parks and hiking trails. Until this situation changes, we would strongly recommend that travelers avoid traveling to those cites with their pets,” said Alex Miller, founder, Upgraded Points.


Other cities that fell short in the rankings include Los Angeles, ranking 14 out of the top 15; Chicago in 11th place; Philadelphia in eighth; and New York City as second poorest on the list.


See where your next destination falls on the list with the full report here. Planning a pet-friendly trip this winter? Use the report to plan and check out our other tips and tricks for traveling with pets.


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