Bonjour, Fido! 7 American Stand-Ins For Europe This Summer

Posted by Billy Francis

“Paris is always a good idea,” but sometimes it’s just not possible, Audrey. This summer, most Americans are staying on home soil. Fortunately, there are cities from coast to coast that have been inspired by the most iconic European destinations. Whether they were created in tribute to settlers’ homelands or have gradually taken on traditions and traits over the years, these pet-friendly places will scratch your itch for international travel. It’s not goodbye to Europe, Fido. It’s just au revoir!

1. Solvang, CA

“I guess I’m not the only thing that produces wind.” Photo by @chanelprettyinpink

Bring your Great Dane to this great Danish-inspired village in Santa Barbara, CA. Solvang is “a slice of Denmark in Southern California” that was founded by Danish immigrants in 1911. The Nordic settlers brought with them thatched roofs, windmills and recognizable architecture from their homeland. Stick with tradition and explore downtown with your pooch on “The Honen,” also known as the Solvang Trolley & Carriage Co. “Paw-sengers” board at Copenhagen Street and embark on a tour of downtown in a replica 19th-century Danish streetcar pulled by horses. Despite its Danish roots, Solvang keeps up with the rest of Santa Barbara by producing and distributing a fantastic array of wine. Pay a visit to Carivintas Winery to sample the grape while Fido enjoys treats, water and comfortable dog pillows to lounge on.

Located just minutes from Solvang’s center, this charming bungalow fits right in with the spirit of the area. The pretty courtyard is decorated with twinkling lights and makes an ideal place for Fido to hang out off-leash.

2. Boston, MA

“This place reminds me of the land of my fur-fathers!” Photo by BringFido

When “Paw-ritan” colonists arrived from England to Boston in 1630, it became the political center of the New England region. Thanks to the traditional pubs and buildings sprinkled around Beantown, walking through the streets of the city feels a lot like being in a British town. That, and the fact that it’s famous for baked beans and has a cricket club. Fido will be pleased to hear it’s also one of America’s most pet-friendly cities. If the sun makes an appearance, grab a plant-based ice cream for your pooch from FoMu and hop on the Freedom Trail to better understand Boston’s British heritage. When they arrived on boats across the Atlantic, the English had no idea what their new lives would be like. Get a better understanding of the coast they saw while approaching on a pet-friendly canoe trip with Charles River Canoe & Kayak.

Boston Harbor is one of the city’s most talked-about spots. During your visit, stay on the water in this classy houseboat.

3. New Orleans, LA

“What do you mean, French ‘Quarter?’ It all looks French to me!” Photo by David Yasuda

French settlers claimed Louisiana in 1682, and 17 years later founded the city of New Orleans on the Mississippi River. You don’t need to wait for Mardi Gras to visit this colorful destination. From the exquisite cuisine to the language spoken by many residents, the French influence on NOLA can still be felt today. But it’s not just the French who left their mark. Between 1763-1803, the city fell under Spanish control after it was handed over to pay a war debt. Despite the name, the French Quarter’s architecture is actually more Spanish. Learn about this intriguing neighborhood’s lively history on a pet-friendly tour with NOLA Ghosts. New Orleans is perhaps most famous for its deliciously unique creole cuisine, which personifies the melting pot of cultures that give the city its identity. Get a taste for it on the pet-friendly patio at New Orleans Creole Cookery.

Located in the French Quarter, this affordable condominium is the ideal place for French Bulldogs to grab a dognap before exploring more.

4. Helen, GA

“This one’s for all the German Shepherds out there!” Photo by Lori

It’s time to trade the Alps for the Appalachians with a trip to Helen, GA. The city fell on hard times when the lumber industry in the area started to decline. To turn their fortunes around and attract tourists, leaders decided to reinvent it as a pseudo-Bavarian vacation destination in 1969. With more than 3 million visitors to the town every year, this bold decision had the desired effect. Take a stroll around the picturesque 2-square-mile town and swing by Hofbrauhaus Restaurant. Fido can get a taste for Germany with his free bratwurst while you sample traditional beers next to the Chattahoochee River. If you want to get a closer look at the water, enjoy a great American tubing adventure with Cool River Tubing.

Staying at home while the rest of the pack goes tubing? Watch Fido float past from your private deck at this dog-friendly condo.

5. Vail, CO

“Wait, you’re telling me we’re not in Switzerland??” Photo by @chelletraveled

From the Austrian architecture to the delicious pretzels, Vail is another American town that pays homage to the European Alps. The opportunities for world-class skiing are nearly as good as the vast and enticing mountain range across the Atlantic. Even during the summer months, outdoor lovers will relish the rolling hills and gorgeous hiking opportunities in the area. Bighorn Park Off Leash Dog Park is a huge open space surrounded by mountains with a pond in the middle for swimming. Dogs who love water will also enjoy a guided tour of one of the longest rivers in America with Colorado River Runs.

When it’s time for Fido’s evening walk, stroll down by the water behind Vail Mountain Lodge. This slick retreat on Gore Creek keeps the European après-ski vibe alive.

6. Saint Augustine, FL

“One thing I’ve learned, do not use a cannon to kill a mosquito!” Photo by @thefloridatravelgirl

Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, Saint Augustine is the oldest European settlement in America. Pay a visit to Fort Matanzas National Monument, which defended the town after its completion in 1742. Visit the fortified coquina watchtower and explore the many trails covering over 300 acres of protected land with your pup. Afterwards, discover the medical techniques used by colonial settlers at the Spanish Military Hospital Museum, which features live-action reenactments and relics from the past. Learn about other historical anecdotes and landmarks on a Scenic Cruise Of St. Augustine and at the Colonial Quarter. Complete your Spanish tour with an authentic dish at Taberna del Caballo.

Daydream about the Mediterranean on the front porch at Little House by the Sea.

7. Frankenmuth

Frankenmuth, MI
"Frankenmuth is Wunderbar!” Photo by Lauren

German settlers established themselves in this part of Michigan back in 1845, bringing with them aspects of Bavarian culture, architecture and tradition. Although the small town is a wonderful place to visit around Christmastime, it’s got a lot to offer Europhiles year-round. Hop aboard the Bavarian Belle Riverboat for an old-fashioned tour of the Cass River. The historic vessel will make your furry first mate feel like she’s floated all the way across the Atlantic and back in time. The inhabitants of the little town love dogs nearly as much as their heritage, hosting the Frankenmuth Dog Bowl every year. The event includes a canine cruise on the Bavarian Belle, DockDogs Competitions, Wiener Dog Races and a variety of vendors for pups. After the festivities, stroll around the Frankenmuth River Place Shops and take your furry Fräulein to Hund Platz Dog Park in Memorial Park to meet the local German Shepherds.

Say gute nacht after a long deutsche day at Frankenmuth Harmonie Haus. Play fun lawn games in the backyard, before walking the short distance back into town to explore some more.

Is Europe on Fido’s mind? Which Euro-lite destination will he visit first? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!