Most and least pet-friendly US vacation cities ranked

The 50 most and least pet friendly cities in the US have been ranked with Asheville, North Caroline taking the top spot, according to a study from Upgraded Points.

The research showed that Asheville topped the list of pet-friendly vacation spots in the US with a total city score of 47.5 out of 50, more than 5 points higher than the next location on the list Santa Fe, New Mexico.

To determine the most pet-friendly vacation spots for pet owners, the study compared 50 of the most popular vacation spots in the US across eight key criteria.

  1. Number of dog parks per 100K population
  2. Number of pet stores
  3. Number of pet-friendly hotels
  4. Number of vacation rentals that will accommodate pets
  5. Number/extent of pet-friendly restaurants
  6. Availability of veterinarians per 100K population
  7. Total miles of hiking trails available
  8. Total number of hiking trails per 100K persons

The eight criteria, when summed, gave each location a possible maximum value of 50. Each city rated was then ranked numerically according to their calculated score.

Asheville received top scores for six out of the eight factors, including the two factors carrying the most weight in the rankings — the number of pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals relative to the population. Asheville’s large number of pet-friendly accommodations provide plenty of places for pet owners to stay and hang out with their furry pals. The city’s abundance of hiking trails is a great activity to unwind and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

The #2 city, Santa Fe, also received top marks for its pet-friendly accommodations and had the second-highest number of both pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals relative to the population of any city.

(Upgraded Points)

Meanwhile the #5 city, Key West, FL, is home to both the highest number of pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals per 100k people, so if you’re looking for plenty of options for lodging, Key West may be the answer for you and your pet.

If dog parks are a must for you and your pet’s vacation, you should take a closer look at visiting Charleston, SC. Charleston has the highest number of dog parks per 100k people with 9.54.

Rounding out the top 15 most pet-friendly vacation spots were:

  1. Asheville, NC
  2. Santa Fe, NM
  3. Orlando, FL
  4. Savannah, GA
  5. Key West, FL
  6. Newport, RI
  7. Scottsdale, AZ
  8. Charleston, SC
  9. Portland, ME
  10. Greenville, SC
  11. New Orleans, LA
  12. Salt Lake City, UT
  13. Austin, TX
  14. Portland, OR
  15. Boise, ID

Moving on to locations that pet owners may want to avoid. The city with the lowest score was Maui, Hawaii, which scored a 2.3 rating out of 50 possible points. It received 0 points for any of the factors related to pet-friendly accommodations or activities. The 2.3 points it did receive came from the city’s hiking options.

The major US cities with poor pet-friendliness ratings were Los Angeles (ranked 14th out of 15), Chicago (ranked 11th), New York City (ranked 2nd poorest) and Philadelphia (ranked 8th out of 15).

What these cities have in common is their low numbers of pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals relative to the cities’ populations. Additionally, these urban areas offer less in terms of outdoor activities and availability of hiking trails for walks and all four cities also scored low for their number of dog parks. It might be best to leave your pet at home when you go to take in the sights of these sprawling metropolises.

Alex Miller, founder of Upgraded Points, said, “A big surprise to us was to find the shocking number of major metropolitan US cities that did not score well at all. A number of these cities have very few pet-friendly hotels and vacation rentals for their population size, which is a big drawback for those traveling with pets, and most struggle to provide enough — or any — amenities like dog parks and hiking trails. Until this situation changes, we would strongly recommend that travelers avoid traveling to those cites with their pets.”

Rounding out the top 15 least pet-friendly vacation spots were:

  1. Maui, HI
  2. New York, NY
  3. Milwaukee, WI
  4. Brooklyn, NY
  5. Detroit, MI
  6. Anaheim, CA
  7. Memphis, TN
  8. Philadelphia, PA
  9. Buffalo, NY
  10. Rochester, NY
  11. Chicago, IL
  12. San Antonio, TX
  13. Kansas City, MO
  14. Louisville, KY
  15. Los Angeles, CA

Straight from the dog’s mouth

“I found it quite shocking that New York was ranked as one of the cities that pet travelers might want to avoid,” Rocky the Traveller said. “Though I’ve never been there I imagined that it would be similar to London in terms of the number of pet friendly options including parks, hotels, bars and restaurants. But it looks like these cities have plenty to do before they become anywhere near as pet friendly as London.”

“If you ever end up having to go one of the least pet-friendly spots, you should do plenty of research ahead of time into what places allow pets and stick to an area close to pet parks and nature walks, if possible,” Rocky said.

“It’s exciting to see cities like Asheville, Santa Fe and Orlando taking the lead when it comes to pet friendliness,” Rocky added. “The world is becoming more pet friendly and these cities area already on the ball or ahead of the curve. I look forward to visiting the top pet friendly cities in my travels ahead in the US.”

For the full list click here.

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