Hot stuffLeave NYC but stay in New York: 10 spots to take your breath away See photos of Central Perk
3 dog-friendly destinations for you and your pooch
From canine cruises to hotel dog walkers, pet travel has never been more accommodating.
"I think since pets are more like family members, bringing them along on trips has become a natural evolution," says Patrick Horstmann, general manager at the W New York -- Downtown, which offers a weekend package for guests and their pets called "PAW" ("Pets Are Welcome") at all 45 of its hotels and retreats worldwide that includes room amenities such as a pet bed and turn-down treats as well as a pass for a 60-minute walk.
Hotel packages like the W's have become the norm, allowing dog lovers to bring their four-legged friend with them on vacation.
"There's such a feeling of comfort," says Kelly E. Carter, author of the new book "The Dog Lover's Guide to Travel" and editor of the blog The Jet Set Pets. "I travel quite a bit, but it always feels like home when I hear my dog's charms in the middle of the night to get water and the pitter-patter of her feet."
Carter has traveled with her 13-year-old long-haired Chihuahua, Lucy, to more than 10 countries (and more than 30 on her own). If you're thinking of bringing your pooch on the road, these are some of the writer's favorite places for pooches:
"Carmel-By-The-Sea is my favorite dog destination," says Carter, who wrote her guidebook near the European-style village to get inspired by the "canine culture" there.
One of Carter's go-tos is the Cypress Inn, a historic inn partly owned by Doris Day. Pets are not just allowed in the rooms, where bowls, blankets and beach towels are provided for four-legged guests, but also the indoor restaurant.
"Most of the guests have at least one dog, some three," says Carter. "You really have to love dogs to stay in this hotel."
Other highlights of the town, which is about 120 miles south of San Francisco, include Carmel Beach, where dogs can roam off-leash, and restaurants such as the Carmel Bakery & Coffee Co., which makes baked treats for pooches. Dogs are welcome at a majority of Carmel-By-The-Sea's restaurants, too.
For an urban destination that will cater to both your inner foodie and your pet's needs, consider Chicago.
"The culinary scene is pretty hot there right now," says Carter.
Many of the city's restaurants allow pets to dine al fresco, including the seasonal Cyrano's Café & Wine Bar on the Chicago River. Dog owners should also be on the lookout for Fido to Go, a doggie food truck with "gourtmutt" treats that can often be found at local coffee bars and dog parks.
Speaking of dog parks, your pooch can go off-leash at Wiggly Field and Montrose Dog Beach. Other pet-friendly destinations include the Mercury Canine Cruise, which offers a 90-minute lake and river tour for leashed canines.
To stay, consider Kimpton Hotels, which has multiple locations around the city that provide dog treats, bowls and a bed for your pooch at no extra fee, unlike most dog-friendly hotels.
For an outdoorsy trip with your adventure-loving pooch, consider Lake Placid in upstate New York in the northern Adirondacks.
"It's a great place to go whether in the winter or summer," says Carter. "It's super dog-friendly."
There aren't any dog parks in Lake Placid, but that's likely because pups do have the Adirondack State Park to explore, with more than 2,000 miles of dog-friendly hiking trails close by, including Henry's Woods, notes Carter in her book.
When not off hiking or kayaking with Fido on Mirror Lake, where you can find pet-friendly rentals, dogs are welcome at several area resorts and hotels, including Lake Placid Lodge, located on the shores of Lake Placid. In addition to providing your pooch with a bed and treats from the hotel's kitchen, the hotel can also arrange "dogsitting" with the front desk for when you decide to go off on non-pet-friendly activities, such as skiing, notes Carter.