Find dog-friendly camping and caravan holidays
Your dog wants us to tell you there's no need to leave him at home when you go off camping or caravanning. There are National Parks, beaches and areas of open countryside near thousands of sites, so staying in a dog-friendly campsite, caravan or lodge is simples. You get to bring the pooch along, he gets to sniff out new surroundings and get some exercise dragging you along behind him on the lead...it's the ideal holiday. And think of the kennel costs you'll save too, which you can then spend on your perfect pooch-friendly pitch.
Pitchup.com lists over 3,300 campsites and caravan parks that allow dogs, including many dog-friendly caravans and lodges. Many of our campsites feature dedicated dog exercise areas and staff are happy to advise on local dog-friendly beaches, tracks, forests and parks.
Visit family-friendly holiday parks and campsites with dogs or take your pet to an adult-only site. You can also find dog-friendly holidays near a National Park, or go glamping at a luxury park that welcomes dogs along too.
Here are a few of our favourite dog-friendly sites:
- Buzzards Bridge in Cornwall is a quiet site without phone signal where all you'll hear is Bargos the resident buzzard and the crackling of your campfire. There are spacious tent pitches here as well as bell tents available to hire.
- Cardigan Caravan and Camping Site in West Wales has tent, tourer and motorhome pitches next to a working farm - look out for the Welsh cobs and the regal-looking white peacocks.
- King's Lynn Caravan and Camping Park in Norfolk is open all year round, allows campfires and has pitches for tents, tourers and motorhomes on the outskirts of King's Lynn.
- Loch Tay Highland Lodges in Perthshire has wooden wigwams and tepees for hire where the family friend can bunk in too, and is open all year round.
- Woodland Park Camping Huts, Shropshire is where you and your dog can go and hide in the woods, with four, seven and nine-berth camping huts. Campfires are allowed too.
- Crows Nest Caravan Park in Scarborough allows pets in its two-bedroom luxury heated caravans, which also come complete with freeview TV, double glazing, and electricity/gas included in the price.
To get the most out of the trip for both two-legged and four-legged campers, here are some top tips on caravanning and camping with dogs:
- Do a health check - make sure that your dog's vaccinations are up-to-date, and don't forget your dog when packing first aid. It's also worth checking that your dog's been wormed recently. Take your dog's veterinary records just in case.
- Train your dog to come back - before leaving, make sure your dog isn't going to disappear into the wilderness once you let him off the lead. Have training sessions beforehand using a whistle and treats so that your dog knows to come back when called.
- Do a dummy run - if your dog's never been out into open countryside, try a few walks in a nearby park or forest to make sure he's fit, and socialise him to the sights, sounds and smells of nature.
- Pack toys - balls and rubber toys will help with a long car journey, and keep mouths away from sticks and other hazards.
- Put a collar on - ensure your dog has a collar showing your name, address and mobile-phone number.
- Pack bedding and towels - allocate a sleeping area for your dog with suitable bedding...and separate towels for outdoors and washing, natch.
- Be aware of dangers - sure, you both want to come back looking tanned and relaxed, but think about any dogs-only risks in the area you're going to. Watch out for poisonous fungus, guy ropes, cooking equipment and amphibians especially, and ensure adequate shade and water at all times.
- Secure your dog at night - dogs make great watchmen in remote locations, but you don't want them chasing after every stir in the night, so keep them safe while you're sleeping.
- Keep the peace - canvas, tin and wooden walls don't resist barking too well, so keep an eye on noise levels.
- Keep your dog under control - remember that not everyone appreciates dogs as much as you do. Some may be upset by a feisty dog demonstrating what you might think of as friendliness and affection, especially livestock. By law, farmers are entitled to destroy a dog that injures or worries their livestock, so be warned!
- Use a lead - if you're taking advantage of the rights of access guidelines*, you must use a fixed lead no more than 2m (6ft) long from 1 March to 31 July (the ground-nesting bird season), and always near livestock.
- Check local restrictions - even on access land, there may be local restrictions excluding dogs, for example during the lambing and grouse-shooting seasons. Call the Open Access Centre on 0845 100 3298 if you have any doubts.
- Check before taking your dog to the beach - dogs are banned from many beaches during the main summer season or even all the year round. Find out about any restrictions before taking your dog onto a beach: local council sites should have all the info you need before leaving for your holiday.
- Clean up after your dog - just because you're in the countryside, don't forget to scoop the poop. People are more likely to be bare-footed and dog mess contains some nasty infections. You can be fined on the spot or prosecuted through the courts to a maximum fine of £1000 for not cleaning up after your dog.
- Rights of way - dogs can be walked on public rights of way (such as public footpaths, bridleways and byways) in England and Wales but must be kept under close control, especially near livestock. On paths which aren't rights of way, check any restrictions beforehand. In Scotland, dogs must be kept under proper control, especially near livestock, and you should only cross fields where there are young animals or vegetable or fruit crops via a clear path. Avoid disturbing breeding birds by keeping dogs on a short lead between April and July in areas such as moorland, forest, grassland, loch shores and the seashore. For more information see the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
That's the boring stuff out of the way...most importantly, take a new adventure to a campsite, lodge or holiday park with your dog and you'll both come back refreshed, healthier and best of friends. Who knows, you may even end up buying your dog his own tent...
More information on holidays with dogs
If you often take your dog on holiday, check out the Kennel Club's Good Citizen Dog Training scheme. Natural England's booklet You and your dog in the countryside is a useful read to prepare for any rural holiday with your dog. And remember, always follow the Countryside Code.
*In England and Wales, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 grants the right to walk freely on mapped areas of mountain, moor, heath, downland and registered common land without having to stick to paths.