BringFido’s Ruff Guide to Virginia

Posted by Jason Halliburton

Thinking of bonding with your Bulldog on a trip to Virginia? If so, he’s one lucky dog. The editors at BringFido have dedicated themselves to digging up the dog-friendliest things to do in The Old Dominion State, as well as the rest of the country. And we've assembled it all in the 2021 edition of our book, Ruff Guide to the United States.

Now in its second edition, the book features over 365 of the best places to stay and play with your dog in all 50 states. Order your copy today and save 50% off the retail price when you use the discount code VIRGINIA.

For a preview of the book, here are a few of our editors' top picks for dog-friendly things to do in Virginia:

Explore Virginia Wine Country

Blue eyes and blue skies. Photo by @australiantothemax

Spend a weekend exploring some of Virginia’s finest and most dog-friendly wineries with a trio of stops in Delaplane. Begin your tour at Barrel Oak Winery & Farm Taphouse. Reserve a hillside picnic table, play Frisbee with Fido, and schedule a tasting to sample their delicious ‘Chocolate Lab’ dessert wine. Outside seating with wine bottle service is available daily. Next, head over to Three Fox Vineyards. Find a cozy spot on the heated patio or at a creekside picnic table to enjoy the winery’s offerings. Your pooch might even be crowned ‘Dog of the Month’ and have his picture featured on the winery’s website. Finally, make your way to Aspen Dale Winery at the Barn to savor food pairings with a wine flight. Dogs are welcome inside the tasting room located in a converted 200-year-old barn. Explore the 50-acre property with your pup and meet the resident miniature horses, thoroughbreds, and goats.

Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg is the perfect place to kick up your paws after a day of wine tasting in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. You and your pup will enjoy exploring this beautiful 340-acre country estate. Dog-friendly rooms are located on the terrace level for easy access to the grounds, and all furry guests receive a pet amenity kit at check-in.

Check Out Historic Mount Vernon

Partying like it's 1776. Photo by BringFido/Melissa Halliburton

During George Washington’s lifetime, many beloved dogs lived with him and Martha at Mount Vernon in Alexandria. While your pooch is not able to venture inside the historic mansion today, there is still plenty to keep both of you busy on this 50-acre estate. Spend time in the gardens, visit George Washington’s tomb, and enjoy breathtaking views of the Potomac River from the piazza. On select Saturdays in the spring and fall, bring your dog for the All the President's Pups Tour. This 1.25-mile walking tour explores canine life at the estate. Along the way, learn about George Washington's love for man’s best friend and his efforts to improve the quality of his hunting dogs through breeding.

Make the short drive north from Mount Vernon to the Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa. Located in the heart of Old Town Alexandria, this elegant property prides itself on pampering guests of both the two- and four-legged variety. Your pup will be provided a plush dog bed, food and water bowls, and mats for use during his visit. Relax alongside Fido with a glass of Chardonnay at the nightly hosted wine hour.

See Wild Ponies With Assateague Explorer

"Do you see that giant dog?" Photo by BringFido/Samantha Gromoll

You and your pup can discover hidden Assateague on a Pony Express Nature Cruise with Assateague Explorer. Departing from the Assateague Nature Centre on Chincoteague Island, Captain Mark will welcome you aboard the Misty and take you on a two-hour boat tour offering a glimpse of Virginia’s wild pony population. Along the way, you’ll also have the chance to see dolphins, bald eagles, and other wildlife. Want to really immerse yourself in this wonderful ecosystem? Bring your pup’s life jacket and opt for the three-hour guided kayak tour to get eye to eye with even more of the animals inhabiting these beautiful islands.

You and your four-legged friend can look forward to incredible waterfront vistas and spectacular sunsets during your stay at Snug Harbor Marina on Chincoteague Island. Relax in the beach chairs outside your cottage, plan a family cookout, or take Fido for a stroll down to the beachfront Tiki Bar. You can even rent a skiff or pontoon boat to explore more of the island together.

Ready for a Road Trip?

Photo by Linda Segerfeldt


If this Ruff Guide to Virginia preview left your dog drooling for more, we hope you check out our new book - Ruff Guide to the United States. Remember to use discount code VIRGINIA to save 50% on your copy. Happy Travels!

Have you been to dog-friendly Virginia? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

BringFido is committed to providing authentic dog-friendly content that our readers will love. We may at times receive compensation from our partners or use affiliate links to promote products and services featured on our blog. Banner photo by Anne Gavin.