Take Your Dog for a Day Trip

Posted by Beth Hamill

At WalkOn, we’re not only your local NoVA dog walkers – we’re NoVa dog owners and dog lovers. We’ve discovered some great doggy day trip destinations for you and your best friend.

If you’ve never taken your dog out beyond the neighborhood, this is the best time of the year to start. A warm-weather outing is a wonderful way to spend fun time with your pet.  It definitely adds another dimension to your dog’s life with you.

Another great thing about these nearby day trips — they don’t require a lot of advance planning or special stuff. You can simply get up and go.

Just remember to bring water and some way for your dog to drink it. You can get a portable, collapsible bowl for less than 10 bucks at any pet store, but any unbreakable bowl will do, along with a bottle or two of water. Poo bags — definitely bring.

To leash, or not to leash? This one’s easy. Yes leash, for your dog’s safety and the safety and peace of mind of everyone and every dog you meet. I’ve known otherwise well-behaved dogs to just take off after other dogs or unexpected wildlife when they’re off-leash in an open setting. You definitely don’t want your pal running off when you’re in an unfamiliar location.

For me, the only exception to leashing is a trip to an enclosed or familiar dog park where people are expecting dogs to be off leash.

Destinations — I have two personal favorites. The first, the Upperville Horse Show is a no brainer for me given that I love horses and dogs.  Where there are horse people there are always dogs. But you don’t have to be a horse person to enjoy this historic horse show with your dog.

It’s held in a beautiful, shady spot, on Route 50 past Middleburg, and it lasts a whole week (June 3 – 9 this year) with multiple events every day. It’s a very dog-friendly destination. “Upperville” is also the oldest horse show in the United States and is quite special. The shopping isn’t bad either!

My other favorite day-trip destination is Manassas National Battlefield Park. So close to home, but a world apart — NoVA as it was 150 years ago! The visitor center is off Sudley Road, between I-66 and Route 29, but you can park at multiple spots throughout the park and head out for a hike. With woods and wide open spaces, it’s great for walking, hiking and running. What to bring: tick repellant for you and your dog.

For other ideas, check out the Visit Fairfax website. They’ve put together a list of pet-friendly destinations for day trips with your dog here in northern Virginia, ranging from Great Falls Park and Frying Pan Farm Park to even Mount Vernon.

Better yet, their list includes a dog-friendly winery in Clifton, a brew-pub in Lorton that welcomes pets, and a dog-friendly beer garden in Tysons – so your healthy hike can ease right into happy hour! (Better bring an extra bottle of water.)

So strap on some doggles and enjoy your dog’s day out!

Have a favorite day trip destination for your dog? Let me hear from you!