Pride season is upon us, and not just any pride season. It’s the 50th anniversary of the very first parade, which took place in New York City in 1969, making it time to get out on the road to any of the hundreds of celebrations from Houston to Chicago, San Francisco to Portland, Oregon.
Rather than leave your furry friend behind, why not bring him along this year? After all, studies show that dogs not only are loyal companions but actually improve your social life. That hottie in the park you’d like to meet? Who better to serve as the ice-breaker than your adorable four-legged pal.
So you’ve packed the pink-rimmed sunglasses and cute rainbow harnesses for yourself and rainbow doggie leash and bandana for your pup.
And don’t forget that your dog will need good nutrition for his trip, so pack Nulo’s high-meat, low-carb, probiotic dog food, which is perfect—even for finicky eaters.
Now all you need is a queer and pet-friendly hotel plus a nearby park or two where Spot can frolic with other puppies. But where should you go?
We’ve found five destinations perfect for traveling with your pooch and your pals.
Pride weekend, June 29 and 30, is expected to draw close to a million revelers this year. Beyond the throngs of fellow dog-walkers in the parade, there’s plenty for you and your proud pup to enjoy.
Check into Noe’s Nest, a cozy bed & breakfast established in an eight-bedroom Victorian home, complete with an outdoor garden. For a $75 fee, it will accept any pet below 75 pounds.
After you and your furry better half get some rest — and some Nulo kibble made from natural ingredients like chicken and sweet potato — it’s just a seven-block walk to Dolores Park dog park, the iconic and very gay hillside park, just a few blocks from SF’s Castro District.
Dolores Park, in turn, is just a meandering 20-minute walk to Bernal Heights Dog Park, a hilly 39-acres dog-friendly expanse where you are rewarded for the climb with stunning panoramic views of the city.
This bustling metropolis is not only America’s third-largest city. It’s also a cosmopolitan delight and barely an hour away from Texas’ hidden beachside gem, Galveston, where dogs frolic in the surf.
Though the city is vast, your best bet is to stay at the Hyatt Place Houston Katy. Not only will it accept domesticated animals below 75-pounds for $75, it’s also just a 15-minute drive to Bill Archer Bark Park, a 20-acre public oasis with large swimming ponds, separate areas for dogs large and small–including obstacle courses–and even showering facilities for cleaning your pooch after a busy day of play.
You can pick up some delicious tacos at the nearby Taquerias Arandas and treat your dog to a protein-rich lunch from Nulo to provide energy and replenishment: the freeze-dried food and protein snacks make an easy-to-carry meal.
And if you’re around town on June 22, you can also enjoy Houston Pride. This year’s theme is “Summer of ’69,” and organizers expect over 700,000 attendees. The main stage performers include Todrick Hall, Rocabye, MC Krazzy Kris and DJ Annalyze.
Portland boasts a June 16 Pride extravaganza with a riverside community fair alongside its main parade, making it one of the largest Pride events on the west coast. For the big weekend, you and your pup can enjoy the city with a stay at the inexpensive Jupiter boutique hotel, which allows well-trained canine guests for $35.
Portland’s delicious June weather is especially pleasant in the mornings and early afternoons. Pack a sandwich for yourself and a Nulo pate for the pup, and head off for hiking around scenic Mt. Tabor park. It contains a four-acre off-leash area with a water fountain and inclines for dogs to race around. A little further away is the Sellwood Riverfront Park right on the Willamette River with spots to picnic and a big main lawn perfect for roaming.
Sunny days, white powder beaches and Art Deco hotels make Miami one of the best places in the world for vacationing with Fido. There are plenty of dog-friendly hotels up and down the beach that are extremely human-friendly as well.
Enjoy pre-dinner playtime with your pooch at the nearby South Pointe Park, showing off a breathtaking view of the ocean and skyline and a grassy area where dogs can play off leash weekdays from 6 to 9 pm. You can also take a short trip to one of Miami’s best gay beaches, Haulover, which includes a small but cute dog play area, cute dog park and a bark beach located directly on the sand with access to the water. It’s open 8 am. to 3 pm.
Everyone knows Chicago summers, like Chicago Pride, are glorious.
If you and your bark buddy are in the city June 30 for Pride, you’ll have plenty of places to explore. The city has lots of dog-friendly parks on its east side, and the Hotel Allegro accepts all breeds and sizes at no extra charge. They offer plush pet-beds, clean-up bags, and a concierge to help suggest other pet-friendly restaurants and services. The hotel even offers mats, water bowls, and food dishes so you can serve Nulo’s health-enriching bone broth and high-meat kibble with probiotics for digestive and immune health.
Once you check in, walk to Skinner Bark Park, the Grant Bark Park or Fred Anderson Dog Park. They feature doggy fountains, lots of room for playing fetch and shade aplenty for panting breaks and water bowl recharges. If you feel like traveling a bit, hit up Belmont Harbor Beach and Montrose Beach, two waterside dog parks for barking beach fun.
Ah, a pup’s life.