Every family with a tail wagging member faces the big dilemma when planning the annual vacation. What will we do with the dog? The wagging tail droops as all eyes focus on the subject. Then the head lowers and those sad, pitiful eyes begin to make contact with everyone around the room landing on the pack leader with a sorrowful, questioning, expression. Yes, it can rip your heart out.
Making any attempt to justify kenneling such as: “He’ll have his own vacation. He’ll make new friends!” will be countered by, “He’ll get fleas! He’ll be caged all day!” This followed by a whining, tearful “Can’t he come too?” usually choked out by one of the younger members... Sigh.
A wise pack leader will give this last suggestion some serious consideration. Yes, traveling with Fido can be stressful, but so can the ramifications of leaving him behind and being reminded of it every day. Isn’t the family vacation for the relaxation and enjoyment of all members of the family? Sad expressions will fade with an, “Okay, let’s figure this out."
Don’t look at this as a problem at all. Keep reading to learn about our very dog-friendly Lake Champlain Region where there are sites and activities to please all family members. Here you will have some tips specifically designed to keep that tail wagging and everyone happy. Bringing the dog along is no problem at all.
Where to Stay
If your family is geared for camping you have multiple options. Campgrounds abound in the Lake Champlain Region. Many have specific dog walk or exercise areas. Some offer cabins or lean-tos if you are without tent or RV. Note that most require your dog be on a leash and never left unattended, but leaving a dog alone in a strange environment is more unthinkable than kenneling, right? Those campgrounds that offer beaches generally restrict canine usage, but many have waterfront sites. Do your homework and plan early to ensure you have reservations locked in.
Some of our lodging and rental properties will consider a dog-guest on a case by case basis, with certain restrictions of course. Scroll through our searchable database for pet-friendly, or "pets allowed with restrictions" to find a good fit for your family. If a lodging property looks appealing, don’t hesitate to contact them directly and ask.
Dog Friendly at Long Pond
Long Pond Cabins sits on its own 10-acre park in Willsboro and gets high ratings from regular guests that always bring their dog. One family writes: “It’s unthinkable for us not to bring our dog to Long Pond Cabins for “her” vacation. The drive into the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain Region to our cabin on Long Pond is nearly over, we are almost there. We know this of course because our GPS and the exit signs tell us. But we also know it because our dog, who has been coming with us for many years, is also letting us know. Somehow she always knows when we are close to her favorite vacation spot.”
Long Pond Cabins offers numerous 2 and 3 bedroom cabins and cottages to choose from. All have a view of the 2 mile Long Pond; many are right on the water. One is bound to be perfect for your vacation “home away from home.” Their recreation hall is directly across the road from the Rattlesnake Mountain Trail; easy access to a great hike. The property sits adjacent to the 1812 Homestead Museum offering additional nature trails.
More Nature Hikes
Speaking of hiking, I highly recommend picking up a Champlain Area Trails map when in the region, or download one from the CATS website. Dozens of trails with a variety of lengths and degrees of difficulty are just waiting for your family’s exploration. Pick one to suit all family members. Many offer phenomenal views of the Champlain Valley, but all will offer nature’s sights, sounds and smells that are particularly appealing to canines. This region is a Disney World to any dog.
Acres to Explore
Another dog-friendly site, the Crown Point State Historic Site, has several hundred acres for exploration. It also offers a museum, two historic forts, a picnic pavilion, miles of trails, and some non-beach water access - all fine with the four-legged family members. This is directly across the road from the NYS DEC Campground at Crown Point. The Lake Champlain Bridge Interpretive Trail passes under the bridge and connects the two sites. The bridge has pedestrian sidewalks on both sides and a great Champ Viewing Platform under the arch.
For a little canine socialization, consider the Ticonderoga Dog Park. Located on Lord Howe Street along the LaChute River, this two-acre park is completely fenced allowing for some leash-free romping. There is plenty of grass for sniffing and shade trees if it happens to be a hot day. At the end of Lord Howe Street you can pick up the LaChute River Walk Trail. This easy trail extends about 3 miles into the downtown area of Ticonderoga and ends at the Ticonderoga Heritage Museum and Bicentennial Park. The trail is multi-surfaced: packed gravel, some pavement, some ledge rock, and offers terrific views of the mighty LaChute River. Interpretive signage along the way will tell you about the history of this river, though you might have to read that to your dog. Note that Bicentennial Park, at the end of the trail, is off limits to dogs however. :-(
One of my top picks for dog-friendly fun is what is referred to locally as the Port Henry Dog Beach. This is a long strip of sandy beach located on the north side of Port Henry’s fishing pier at Powerhouse Park. Find it by the boat launch. It is adjacent to the Village of Port Henry Campground which contains Champ Beach reserved for people swimming only.
The dog beach is the perfect spot for all kinds of canine water adventures. It is quite shallow for a considerable distance into the water, though water levels do vary throughout the season. The beach actually begins at the mouth of Mill Brook. Years of sediment washing down the brook have deposited a great stretch of sandy beach. Some years the sediment creates sand bars extending into the water. Because it is rather shallow it is a great place to introduce a young pup to the water or for an older dog who may be a bit water-shy. You may only be up to your knees, but your companion can gain confidence about learning to paddle as you walk beside. Water shoes are recommended as this is not a groomed beach area. Usually, a few sticks that have washed down the brook will be lying about ready for a great game of water retrieval. Often a flock of gulls will be on this beach in a holding pattern, waiting to be coaxed into take-off; one of my boy’s favorite games. On a hot summer’s day, you can find many dogs here all having fun while cooling off.
The region is loaded with roadside stands offering soft ice cream. We all know this is every dog’s favorite summer treat. Heading out of Powerhouse Park everyone can enjoy a snack, burger or soft ice-cream treat from Boyea’s Lakeside take-out window. Pooch can happily join you at one of the outside picnic tables.
Here’s hoping you have a great family vacation that naturally includes the tail wagging member. Remember to “Leave No Trace” throughout your travels. Stuff your pockets with doggy waste bags. You will want to come back! Then, you may find dogs are welcome everywhere!