We got back to the trailhead just as the sun was ducking behind the mountains to the west.
“We live in a pretty cool spot in the world, don’t we?” I said to my clients.
“Yeah, we do!,” she said. “I post about it all the time!”
On the one hand, I’m hesitant to let the world know why Spokane and the Inland Northwest are the ideal dog-friendly vacation destination. I don’t really want the trails packed with people like they are on the West Side.
On the other hand, I can’t help but share all the epic places I get to take dogs and their humans for adventures in the Inland Northwest.
Why make Spokane your dog-friendly vacation destination
I recall freelancing for a marketing agency that was outsourced by one of the local tourism huts several years ago and they were pitching the city as an access point for the great outdoors.
It’s not a lie!
We have a natural beauty with the shrub steppe to the west, an interesting downtown in both Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, epic views from Mt. Spokane State Park, and some wicked, still-pristine glacial lakes in North Idaho, like Revett, Blossom and Stevens.
We are minutes away from incredible hiking, fishing, mountain biking, camping and more. I often wonder if Spokane should come up with a tagline similar to British Columbia: Super, Natural.
And dogs are welcome.
Spokane is a very dog-forward community and access to activities for your dog is right at the doorstep of your Airbnb.
Here are seven reasons why Spokane is a great dog-friendly vacation destination for your next road trip:
1. Walk or hike with your dog
We have an extensive network of walking or hiking trails. Centennial Trail is 64 miles of paved track, stretching from Nine Mile Falls to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and features access points all through downtown and Spokane Valley.
Riverside and Mt. Spokane are the two biggest state parks. Hike the Quartz Lookout, Kit Carson or Day Mountain trails at Mt. Spokane and drink in the exquisite views that drift into infinity. (Bella has done them all!)
2. Chill at the park
We have around 140 parks and conservation areas throughout Spokane, Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake. Manito Park is a lush oasis of 90 acres with field areas, beautifully manicured gardens, meandering paths and, of course, the recently restored Mirror Pond. It’s a great spot for a leisurely stroll. And most Sundays, you’ll find our friends at Fetch Barkery, hanging out in Doty the Treat Trailer. Grab some snacks for your best fur friend and a coffee for yourself at the Bench Café.
3. Grab a beer
Spokane is home to a thriving craft beer scene and I freakin’ love that. Some breweries are even breaking away from – gasp! — the cliché IPA of the Pacific Northwest and dipping into pilseners and lagers. They’re the next big trend. Most of the breweries have patios for summer sipping and I’d bet dollars to donuts they’re all dog-friendly too. Our favorites:
- Brick West
- Iron Goat
- Four-Eye Guys
- YaYa (I have a 4-pack of Fluffy Puffy and Angel in the fridge right meow!)
- Snow Eater
- Post Falls Brewing
- Daft Badger
- Vantage Point
P.S. I like beer.
We just checked out Snow Eater for the first time on Wednesday. Great hazy IPA! We left Bella at home because she had just finished a session at physical therapy.
They have a special menu for your canine companion:
4. Fun in the water
I see people kayaking and paddleboarding with their dogs and I get kind of jealous. There is no way in hell Bella would ever. She would throw out her bag of nopes, flash me her eff off eyes and lay down on the rocks.
If you have a pup that loves to be on the water with you, Medical, Liberty, Fish, Hauser and Pend Oreille lakes are all great spots and within a short driving distance from downtown Spokane.
If you didn’t strap your gear to the roof of your SUV, check out Fun Unlimited, Mountain Gear, Northwest Paddleboarding and Water Sports West for rentals.
Bella is more a “wade in the water and drink it” kind of girl. The Centennial Trail runs along the Spokane River and there are many access points to the water, especially in the Valley.
5. Rest your head
Finding dog-friendly places to stay can be challenging. Been there, done that, pretty sure I tossed out the T-shirt a long time ago.
The Airbnb market that allows dogs has exploded in the last several years and it’s really the only way we road trip now. No more motels for us. I love the freedom of being able to leave Bella at the Airbnb, while we go have a relaxing dinner (and beer) somewhere. That’s not to say you shouldn’t opt for a motel or hotel.
If you want upscale, check out the Davenport Tower or the Historic Davenport (the Davenport Grand does not allow dogs). We have all of the usual suspects around here, too, like Holiday Inn Express and Best Western.
We look for La Quinta when we’re on extended road trips with one-night stops and our area has three: downtown Spokane, Spokane Valley and Coeur d’Alene.
6. Head to the center
I know, I know. I said “parks” already but Spokane has a special gem in the heart of downtown: Riverfront Park. (Calm down, Coeur d’Alene. I’ll mention McEuen Park in your special blog post about why you’re a dog-friendly vacation destination.) Riverfront spans over 100 acres along the Spokane River.
Stroll for a while, grab lunch at one of the food trucks and pop a squat with your pup on the lawn beneath the historic Clocktower, check out the rush of the Spokane Falls at Huntington.
It is a busy spot in the summer so watch out for renegades on Lime scooters, dogs on extend-a-leash, harried parents and children who haven’t been taught how to approach dogs.
7. Catch a game with your BFF
Your best fur friend can tag along to a professional baseball game. The minor-league Spokane Indians, who sit third in a very tight single-A Northwest League race, host Bark in the Park promotional nights several times a year.
For an extra $5, your dog can join the fun while you both sit in a special section and participate in a Pooch Parade on the field when the game is over. Proceeds from the night go to local shelters.
All around the circle
Visit Spokane with your dog and start exploring the super-natural (sorry, B.C.!) wonders that await you. From urban parks and experiences to enjoying the great outdoors, a road trip to the Inland Northwest has everything a dog-friendly vacation destination needs to have.
And while you’re here:
1. Keep your dog on leash where required (which is pretty much everywhere)
2. Pick up your BFF’s poop
3. Book a portrait session with me to freeze this moment in time with epic artwork on your walls that say “I did that with my dog!”
In the meantime, my friends in the pet photography blog circle are throwing a spotlight on their locations this week.
Click the link at the bottom of Sharon’s post to continue through the circle. When you find yourself back here, wondering if Spokane is the right destination for your next road trip with your dog, get ready to pack your bags and gas up the vehicle (or you know … charge up the Tesla).
And if you want a little more information about some great dog-friendly hikes that are nearby: