Labor Day weekend is almost upon us. 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 6 Labor Day weekend dog activities:
1. Visit the Dog Beach
If you live near a lake, a river or the ocean, there might be a dog beach in the vicinity. 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 he likes to swim, he’ll be in heaven. If he doesn’t like water, he can sunbathe on a warm stretch of sand. See this list of dog beaches in your area.
2. 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 dog walker and encourage her to bring a few pet-industry friends who are looking for new business. After the dogs leave, you can sit down and enjoy that beer.
3. Explore New Hiking Paths
If you and your dog hike regularly, make the weekend special by visiting a new area. If you’ve never hiked with your dog, it’s an excellent time to start. Hike With Your Dog seems like a great resource for finding new trails. Look for a trail that is only as challenging as one you’d normally hike. (You are encouraged to be lazy on holiday weekends.)
4. 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. He must 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. You won’t be able to go anywhere without him, which might limit your options for fun. If he has any behavior issues, they’ll be amplified by the excitement, and he’ll be more prone to acting out.
Although not every campground allows dogs, a great many do. Visit ReserveAmerica for information about state parks and Recreation.gov for national parks. You should be able to find campgrounds in virtually any setting: forest, lake, mountains, beach and grasslands.
5. Stay at a Pet-Friendly Inn
Dog-friendly hotels are convenient for travelers, but if you’d like to enjoy a relaxing weekend with your buddy, consider a small property, like an inn or bed and breakfast.
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 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?
This type of adventure will be incredibly expensive, but aren’t you and Fifi worth it? Most of these properties provide pet sitting, so you can leave your pup in good hands while you enjoy a 5-star dinner. See this list of resorts near you.
If you’re too busy, lazy, disorganized and/or financially strapped to try one of these activities, go ahead and enjoy your barbecue — but at least throw a steak on the grill for your best friend.