Donald Trump is the first president in more than a century without a “First Dog” keeping him company in the White House. A whole pack of dog-loving Democrats are hoping to bring a FDOTUS back to the Presidential “Paw-lace” in 2020, but only one of them can take the leash. The party’s candidate will be decided in February’s state primary and caucus events, and the first four are arguably the most important: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Naturally, these events attract thousands of voters and supporters, many of whom don’t want to leave Fido behind on such an important occasion. Luckily, there’s plenty to keep four-legged visitors to these states busy between rallies. See if your dog can sniff out the best candidate on the campaign “tail” in 2020.
Posted by Billy Francis
The first votes of the primary will be cast on February 3 in Iowa. Winning the Hawkeye State builds momentum and attention from donors and the media. Learn more about this key state on a road trip with your pooch.
Des Moines is the capital city of Iowa and the host city for many campaigning events, like Bernie's Big New Year's Bash. Start your pup’s tour at the popular rural playground, Raccoon River Dog Park. This fenced-in park spans 12 acres of countryside around a lake, which you can explore on wooded trails. Purchase a $5 day pass here. After campaigning for more playtime, your dog can fill her belly at Bone-A-Patreat. Buy all the supplies she’ll need on the road and let her taste a few samples. Relax and refuel at Residence Inn Des Moines Downtown before hitting the road again. Nightly rates start at $129.
Head east from Des Moines to Iowa City on the next leg of your adventure. Visiting and local pups are welcome at Big Grove Brewery & Taproom. This hip spot even has an Instagram account dedicated to the dogs who visit. After sampling a local brew, spend the night at Graduate Iowa City. Four-legged guests get the presidential treatment, receiving a BarkBox upon arrival. Nightly rates start at $99.
The official nickname of Cedar Rapids is the “City of Five Seasons.” The fifth season is said to be the “time to enjoy the other four.” Locals, however, affectionately call their city the “City of Five Smells,” because of the number of processing plants in the city. Fido will love identifying the different odors on a walk around downtown. Pick up a bouquet for your favorite candidate at the pet-friendly Pierson’s Flower Shop and Greenhouses, and then let your pup discover the sights and smells at Indian Creek Nature Center. Stop in at the front desk of this former farm to grab a trail map and explore more than 4 miles of nature trails through 210 acres of wetlands, riparian forests, maple sugarbush, tallgrass prairies and oak savannas. The pet-friendly La Quinta Inn & Suites Cedar Rapids is an ideal place to rest after a day on the campaign trail. Nightly rates start at $67.
New Hampshire is a small state that plays a large role in the primaries. The second group to vote after Iowa, its primary takes place on February 11. As well as being politically important, The Granite State is a dream destination for outdoor hounds.
There aren’t many cities where you can eat lunch with your pooch or take a stroll together and run into a presidential candidate. But this happens all the time in Concord, New Hampshire’s state capital since 1808. For example, True Brew Barista recently held a meet-and-greet with Andrew Yang. Sit on a pet-friendly patio table and see if you can spot Democratic frontrunners like Elizabeth Warren with her dog, Bailey. Whether your pup loves city life or rural adventures, VRBO Concord has a fine selection of pet-friendly vacation rentals ranging from lakeside cabins to historic homes.
More people live in Manchester than anywhere else in northern New England. Your hound can start his own presidential run at Derryfield Park, which spans 76 acres and includes a trail to the Weston Observatory. Built in 1897, the granite tower was a gift from James A. Weston, a Manchester native and former New Hampshire governor. After working up an appetite hiking in the country air, treat Fido to a water bowl and a snack at Firefly American Bistro & Bar. And for a comfortable stay, spend the night at TownePlace Suites Manchester. The pet-friendly rooms come equipped with a full kitchen.
Nashua’s delightful downtown district is a good place to start the next leg of the campaign “tail.” Named after the river that runs through it, the city is in touch with its natural side. Spend an afternoon exploring Mine Falls Park with your pooch. This beautiful recreation area covers 325 acres, including waterfalls and a number of pet-friendly trails. After your visit, treat Fido to a meal at Martha's Exchange Restaurant & Brewing Co. The spacious outdoor area on Main Street is a prime location to spot candidates shaking hands and bidding for votes. Nashua is home to several pet-friendly Airbnbs. This 3 Room Suite at The Hobbit House has a log fire and plenty of rustic touches throughout. Nightly rates start at $60.
The first state to vote in the West, Nevada is home to a vast desert, glorious canyons and unique cities to explore with your pooch.
Sin City is top of the agenda for Democratic candidates in Nevada. By far the state’s most populous city, winning the hearts and minds of Las Vegans is a must for any viable presidential candidate. Your dog will cast his vote for a trip to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Located 30 minutes away from the Strip, it couldn’t feel farther from the bright lights. Visitors can enjoy sweeping canyon views and brisk hikes on pet-friendly trails. And who knows, you might bump into Mayor Pete and his rescue dog, Buddy, while you’re there. Four-legged high-rollers can stay at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Decked out with two dog runs, this casino hotel is designed to keep pet owners staying and playing. Humans aren’t the only ones to receive Vegas perks here. Upon arrival, canine guests receive a box from PupJoy containing organic and natural treats, toys and potty pads. Nightly rates start at $206.
The second-largest city in Nevada is Henderson. Located just a short drive away from the capital, it's a more laid back destination than its neighbor. Go shopping with your pooch at the District Shopping Center and pick out a new suit for the campaign trail. For more active pups, Lake Las Vegas Water Sports welcomes dogs for a paddle on the water. Also located on Lake Las Vegas, Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa greets canine visitors with treats, beds and a dog bandana. Nightly rates start at $99.
Biden and Warren are just a couple of the Democratic contenders who have visited Reno in recent months. It might not be Vegas, but the “Biggest Little City in the World” still holds a lot of pull in the runup to the election. Get a feel for Reno and its pups at one of its four dog parks. The views from Link Piazzo Dog Park at Hidden Valley Regional Park make it a popular choice for locals. After a game of fetch, sample something from the eclectic menu on the pet-friendly patio at Squeeze In. Humans can tackle an indoor climbing gym at Whitney Peak Hotel, and furry guests can make “paw-litical” alliances in the adjacent dog park. Dogs will be given toys, bowls and treats to enjoy during their stay.
A short drive from Reno is the dog-friendly historic mining town of Virginia City. This time of year, when the weather is more mild, is ideal for a day trip to this unique town straight out of the Old West. Also less than an hour from Reno is the year-round vacation destination, Lake Tahoe. In winter, beach crowds have dispersed and the area becomes a peaceful snow-capped wonderland. Drive the Lake Tahoe National Scenic Byway to see the brilliant blue alpine lake surrounded by the dramatic Sierra Nevada mountains, or enjoy outdoor winter activities like snowshoeing or cross country skiing with your snow-dog.
South Carolina is the fourth state to hold primaries and the final one before Super Tuesday. Visit the Palmetto State and see for yourself why BringFido is headquartered in this beautiful state.
If there’s one place in South Carolina where you’re almost guaranteed to see every Democratic candidate during the primaries, it’s Columbia. Between rallies, take Fido on a trip to Memorial Park and stop by the South Carolina War Dog Memorial, which features a bronze statue of a German Shepherd and his handler from the Vietnam War. The pet-friendly Aloft Columbia Downtown is conveniently located for visiting pups to access the city’s highlights. Nightly rates start at $119.
Charleston is a popular tourist destination year-round. Cobbled streets and brightly colored buildings await visitors to the historic East Coast city. Start with a walk down King Street, where pet-friendly shops leave water bowls outside for thirsty pooches. Your furry foodie can sample delicious treats from Woof Gang Bakery Charleston before joining you at Poogan's Porch, which is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of a former canine resident. Fido can imitate the “First Dog” with a night in a big white house in Charleston. Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston is a 4-star, central hotel within walking distance of Charleston City Market.
Greenville is one of the fastest-growing cities in South Carolina. It’s also home to BringFido’s headquarters. With more than 50 events on the calendar, Democrats have also recognized the importance of this former mill town. Wander along the Swamp Rabbit Trail with your tail-wagger. This popular pathway runs more than 20 miles long and connects different neighborhoods to the charming downtown. Once you make it to the revitalized city center, stop for a pint at Brewery 85. After a long day on the trails, spend the night at Homewood Suites by Hilton Greenville. Nightly rates start at $97.