Labor Day weekend is upon us once again.
Although your idea of a fun late-summer holiday weekend might be drinking beer at a barbecue, consider planning an activity you can enjoy with your best friend.
Here are a few great dog-friendly activities you can both enjoy.
6 Labor Day Weekend Dog Activities
1. Head to the Beach
If you live near a lake, a river or the ocean, there might be a dog beach in the vicinity.
Where I live in California, we are blessed with lovely off-leash areas at Huntington Beach and Long Beach.
Your dog will have the chance to investigate all the ocean smells — and roll in a stinky pile of kelp or, perhaps, some seagull poop. If your dog doesn’t like water, they can sunbathe on a warm stretch of sand.
One word of caution, though, especially if you’re going to a lake or a pond: Be on the lookout for toxic algae.
2. Explore New Hiking Paths
If you and your dog hike regularly, make the weekend special by visiting a new area. And if you’ve never hiked with your pet, then Labor Day weekend with your dog is an excellent time to start.
Look for a trail that is only as challenging as one you’d normally hike.
For a few more ideas, check out our article “7 Beautiful, Dog-Friendly National Parks to Visit.”
3. Go Camping
Going camping with your dog is a nice way to enjoy the bond you share.
You’ll be (relatively) alone in the wilderness, with new sights, sounds and smells to check out. At night, you’ll sleep in a tent together, and during the day you’ll go on adventures.
Keep in mind, though, that you’ll be responsible for your dog 24/7, which can be a pain. They’ll need to be on a leash and in your sight at all times or crated in the tent or in the car for short periods of time.
Although not every campground allows dogs, a great many do. You should be able to find a dog-friendly campground in virtually any setting: forest, lake, mountains, beach or grasslands.
4. Host a Dog Party
If you have a large backyard, consider throwing a party for dogs. Short events that require little preparation, dog parties are the ideal way to get to know other dog lovers.
Invite the neighbors you run into again and again while you’re walking your dogs, the folks you talk to at the dog park, and your friends and family who have dogs.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to help, consider inviting your dog sitter or walker and encourage them to bring a few pet-industry friends who are looking for new business.
5. Stay at a Pet-Friendly Inn
Dog-friendly hotels are convenient for travelers, but if you’d like to enjoy a relaxing Labor Day weekend with your dog, consider a small property, like an inn or a bed-and-breakfast.
Here in California, the Cambria Shores Inn near Hearst’s Castle caters to people vacationing with their dogs, providing all kinds of nice amenities, like a guide to dog-friendly restaurants, resources for dog sitting and treats for your 4-legged friend.
To find a lovely spot, check out Trip Advisor and type in “dog friendly” into the search form for a list of properties near you.
6. Visit a Dog-Friendly Resort/Spa
If your idea of a vacation is languishing poolside after a massage, book a weekend at a pet-friendly resort/spa, where your pup will be pampered as much as you are. You can both visit the salon for cuts, color, curls and a nice blow-out, or perhaps a pedicure for 2?
Most of these properties provide pet sitting, so you can leave your dog in good hands while you enjoy a 5-star dinner. See this list of resorts near you.
Check out this quick video overview of fun, 100% dog-friendly summer activities:
Final Thoughts on Labor Day Weekend Dog Activities
If you’re too busy, lazy, disorganized and/or financially strapped to try one of the activities above, go ahead and enjoy your barbecue …
But, hey, at least throw a steak on the grill for your furfriend.