Fido’s Summer Road Trip: Campgrounds Edition

Posted by Lauren Barker

We’re all excited to get back to traveling this summer, and what better way to see the U.S. than on a road trip with your furry friend? Whether you’re toting your own RV or camper, “ruffing” it in a tent, or glamping in style, these dog-friendly campgrounds and RV resorts are the perfect pit stops for your summer adventure.

Elkhart Campground

Elkhart, IN
“I hope they have 'pup-up' campers.” Photo by @munsonandthebear

Canine campers and RV enthusiasts will enjoy taking a detour off I-90 in northern Indiana to the RV Capital of the World in Elkhart. Park your motorhome at Elkhart Campground, where Fido can romp around the on-site dog park and humans can enjoy the heated swimming pool, miniature golf course and other recreational amenities. Full hook-up and pull-through sites are available. If you don’t have an RV, you can stay in one of their pet-friendly cabins. Dogs of any size are welcome for no additional fee at RV sites and for $10 per pet, per night in cabins.

Of course, a stop in the RV Capital wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the RV Motorhome Hall of Fame & Museum, featured in the latest edition of our book, Ruff Guide to the United States. The museum features a rotating assortment of vintage recreational vehicles from Airstream, Winnebago and other American makers. Stroll with Fido through the RV Founders Hall to explore vehicles and memorabilia dating back to the 1920’s. In the Exhibitor Hall, view displays illustrating the history and products of the manufactured housing industry. Before concluding your tour, be sure to check out the selection of shiny new motorhomes on showcase.

St Louis West Historic Route 66 KOA

Eureka, MO
“I was hoping we could roast hot dogs.” Photo by St. Louis West Historic Route 66 KOA

Is there a more iconic road trip than Route 66? As you make your way along the Mother Road across Missouri, set up camp at St Louis West Historic Route 66 KOA. Only a mile off the interstate, you’ll feel worlds away with picturesque scenery including shade trees and a babbling creek. Fido can run off-leash in the dog park while the kids play in the heated pool, take a barrel train ride, or mine for gems. In the evening, the whole family can enjoy an outdoor movie with drinks and snacks around the community fireplace. Dogs are welcome for no additional fee.

When you head out for the day, travel 15 minutes west on Interstate 44 to visit Purina Farms with your pup. Check in at the information desk to pick up a free visiting pet pack. Then, make your way to the Incredible Dog Arena to witness the high-flying action of the Purina Incredible Dog Team. Fido may learn a new trick or two as he watches professional canine athletes perform feats of skill and agility. When the show is over, stroll through the interactive exhibits, take your good boy on a wagon ride, and stop by the gift shop to pick up some Purina swag. If your pup prefers the city instead, head 30 minutes east from the KOA to visit Gateway Arch National Park in downtown St. Louis. Leashed pups can explore trails, relax on a grassy hillside overlooking the Mississippi River, and have their photo taken with the iconic monument.

Klamath’s Camper Corral

Klamath, CA
“On the lookout for Sasquatch.” Photo by Danielle

Plan a road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway and spend a few nights at Klamath's Camper Corral in the heart of Redwoods National Park. Situated on 50 riverfront acres, this dog-friendly campground is the perfect basecamp for exploring Northern California's scenic Wild Rivers Coast, including Klamath’s famous Tour-Thru Tree. In addition to easy access to the ocean and redwood forest, the Camper Corral also offers guests a swimming pool, playground and general store. RV and tent sites are available, and dogs are accepted at both for no additional fee.

Just up Highway 101, the Massive Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues stand guard outside the Trees of Mystery, one of Northern California’s most unique dog-friendly destinations. This museum and nature attraction has been welcoming guests to explore the mighty redwoods up close since 1946. Measuring up to 20 feet in diameter, the massive trees are impressive to behold. Walk among 2,000-year-old behemoths with majestic monikers like The Brotherhood, Cathedral, and Elephant. When you’re finished staring up at giants, soar above the towering forest canopy on a 10-minute ride on the SkyTrail Gondola. Fido is welcome to climb aboard to experience the bird’s-eye view.

Grand Ole RV Resort

Goodlettsville, TN
"We wanna hear Hound Dog!” Photo by BringFido

Load up your favorite road trip playlist and make your way to Music City USA in Nashville! At the Grand Ole RV Resort just off Interstate 65 in nearby Goodlettsville, you’ll hear music every night during the summer. Best of all, Fido is welcome to join you for a listen. Bring the whole family along and cast a line at two creekside fishing docks, let the kids burn energy at the playground, and be sure to pick up a home-cooked breakfast or dinner from the on-site restaurant. Camping supplies and souvenirs can be purchased at the resort’s general store, but you’re also just minutes away from all the fun of Nashville. Pets are permitted at all RV sites for no additional fee.

During your visit, take your pup on a tour with Walkin’ Nashville. GRAMMY-nominated music journalist Bill DeMain takes visitors on a two-hour stroll through downtown Nashville on his Music City Legends Tour, which includes stops at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, Castle Recording Studio, and Sho-Bud Steel Guitar Company. Fans of Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, and Johnny Cash will hear fascinating stories about their favorite music stars’ careers as they walk through the heart of Music City.

Distant Drums RV Resort

Camp Verde, AZ
“It’s doggone beautiful out here.” Photo by @scout_tails_all

Road tripping through the Grand Canyon State? Travel along Interstate 17 between Flagstaff and Phoenix, with a relaxing stop at Distant Drums RV Resort in the heart of the Verde Valley. The resort's creature comforts include a heated pool, whirlpool tub, exercise room and library, along with a country store so you can stock up on your camp essentials. You’ll also enjoy breathtaking southwestern sunset views. Fido will appreciate the fenced dog run and spacious RV sites where he can stretch his legs. Pets of any size are welcome at all RV sites for no additional fee.

Distant Drums’ central location provides easy access to many pet-friendly national parks and attractions. Take Fido to see the 5-story ancient cliff dwelling at Montezuma Castle National Monument or the ancient puebloan village at Tuzigoot National Monument. Then, experience life through the eyes of a frontier soldier at Fort Verde State Historic Park, where you can catch a living history program or wander among the historic buildings of the late 1800s. If you still have time on your Arizona road trip, head north to Sedona to explore canyons and red rocks with A Day in the West Jeep Tours.

Hart Ranch Camping Resort

Rapid City, SD
“Don’t I look 'fetching?'” Photo by @bolt.elkins

Roll through the Black Hills of South Dakota on a summer road trip and pitch your tent, park your camper, or reserve a pet-friendly cabin at Hart Ranch Camping Resort. The campground’s many amenities include a BMX racetrack, Olympic-size pool, pasture golf, miniature golf and disc golf courses, hot tub, shuffleboard, and kiddie train rides, as well as basketball, volleyball, pickleball and tennis courts. Four-legged campers will enjoy the dog run and many hiking trails. There’s truly something for everyone. Membership to the resort is required, and there are many options to choose from, but dogs are always permitted for no additional fee.

Plan an extended stay at Hart Ranch to enjoy the area’s many dog-friendly activities. Start your adventure with a visit to Reptile Gardens, the world’s largest reptile zoo, where you can observe 225 species of snakes, crocodiles, frogs, lizards, tortoises and other reptiles. Catch a glimpse of the rare Komodo dragon before visiting the menagerie of cold-blooded creatures in the Sky Dome. Afterwards, head to nearby Bear Country USA, a drive-thru wildlife park where you’ll see dozens of bears, wolves, sheep and elk. Then, take a drive through nearby Custer State Park to spot one of the nation’s largest free-roaming bison herds.

Cherry Hill Park

College Park, MD
“Let’s walk in the steps of our 'pawfathers.'” Photo by @cherryhillpark

Enjoy a road trip to the nation’s capital and check in at Cherry Hill Park, just 11 miles north of Washington DC. Human guests can enjoy the pool, sauna and hot tub, get competitive in the game room, basketball court, miniature golf course or gaga pit, and even take a tractor ride or mine for gems. Fido will love running in the off-leash dog park, strolling the 1.3-mile loop trail, or exploring 40+ miles of off-road trails that lead straight to DC. The park even provides dog-walking services. Pets are welcome at RV sites for no additional fee and in select glamping pods and premium cabins for an additional fee of $50 per pet, per stay. They are not permitted at tent sites.

When you're ready to explore the nation’s capital, start by taking your pup on a tour of the National Mall, walking the 2-mile Tidal Basin Loop to see sites like the FDR Memorial. If you’re not up for walking, ride with Adventure DC Tricycle Tours or Discover DC Pedicab Tours, and let your guide do the work. You can also view the city from the water by renting a dog-friendly kayak or paddleboard from Key Bridge Boathouse, or hopping on board one of Potomac Riverboat Company’s Canine Cruises for a 45-minute sail around Alexandria Seaport.

Goulding's Campground

Monument Valley, UT
“This view is 'in-tents.'" Photo by Brooke

Picture a road trip to the southwest and you’ll likely imagine a drive through Monument Valley. Pack up the family and head to Goulding's Campground, surrounded by the iconic towering sandstone buttes and red rock for which the area is famous. During your stay, grab dinner on site at the Stagecoach Restaurant or pick up camp essentials at Goulding's Grocery Store. Back at camp, catch a John Wayne flick in the Earth Spirit Theater and gather around the campfire to stargaze. Take a dip in the indoor swimming pool, or schedule a tour of your incredible surroundings. Dogs are welcome at tent and RV sites as well as in cozy camping cabins for no additional fee.

Monument Valley is a central location to many epic attractions in southern Utah and northern Arizona. Travel north of the valley to take Fido on a tour of Natural Bridges National Monument, stopping at several viewpoints to observe the water and wind-formed bridges, or venture west on your road trip and visit Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Stop for a photo op at Horseshoe Bend before hiking the Rim Trail. If time allows, head out on beautiful Lake Powell with Lake Powell Paddleboards and Kayaks, or a rent a pontoon boat from Wahweap Marina.

Moose River Campground

St. Johnsbury, VT
“Did someone say there’s a pig roast?” Photo by @chiefcalabri_vizsla

Vermont’s maple country is a sweet summer road trip destination for you and your four-legged camper, and Moose River Campground is the “pawfect” spot to pitch your tent. Located just off Interstate 93, Moose River welcomes children but caters to adult campers. While there is no pool or playground, you’ll have plenty to do during the event-packed weekends, which often include live music, bonfires, pig roasts and bingo. Throughout the summer they also host paint n’ sip events and a chili cookoff. The spacious and shaded RV and tent sites are nestled along the Moose River. Pets are welcome for no additional fee, however there is a $25 fee if you’re caught not picking up after your pup.

Dog lovers come from all around the world to Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury to celebrate and remember their beloved canine companions who have crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. Just a three-minute drive from Moose River, this 150-acre doggy paradise welcomes dogs to run, play, and swim off leash wherever they’d like. The only rule is to leave your leash at the door! Don't miss a visit to the Dog Chapel, where you can sit in a hand-carved pew surrounded by photos of passed dogs and handwritten messages their families tacked onto the walls in memoriam. Dog Mountain was the creation of the late Stephen Huneck, a talented artist whose love for furry friends is obvious in his works on display in the on-site gallery.

Ready for a Road Trip?

Photo by Linda Segerfeldt

The editors at BringFido have dedicated themselves to digging up the best dog-friendly things to do across the country. And we've assembled it all in our new 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 CAMP.

Have you gone camping with your dog? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

Banner photo by christoph wesi on Unsplash.