The rain and gray skies during the winter months tend to keep most visitors away from the Pacific Northwest, which is exactly why it’s a great time to visit and plan a winter vacation with your dog. Where most who come this way in the winter head to ski resorts, it leaves plenty of other opportunities to explore. I’ve put together this list of some of my favorite dog-friendly winter destinations in Washington and Oregon, as well as a few I’ve been wanting to try out.
Dog-Friendly Things to do in Washington in Winter
A few years ago, we were invited to stay at Suncadia Lodge in Roslyn, WA. Just over Snoqualmie Pass, it means that the chance of sunshine is greater than it is on the west side of the pass along the Puget Sound.
Suncadia Lodge is a resort village where you can stay, play, and dine. There’s a huge dog park on the premise, several trails for snowshoeing, and during quieter months, it may be possible to cross country ski with your pup along the golf course. The resort includes a gear rental shop for those in need.
Hut to Hut Cross Country Skiing in Methow Valley
Finding places to cross country ski with dogs always poses a challenge. Groomed trails rarely allow dogs and places that do are generally shared with snow mobiles, which can be a bit nerve-wracking.
Fortunately, the Methow Valley has over 40km of groomed trails that allow dogs, including several huts for those looking for a European mountain experience. Dogs must carry a pass on their body to use the trail system ($50 season/$10 day) and can be off leash, as long as they are under voice control.
Where to Stay
Book directly at Rendezvous Huts in Winthrop, WA.
One of the greatest luxuries for dog owners in the Seattle area are the number of breweries that allow dogs inside. Throughout the city and surrounding suburbs, there are several breweries that cater to dogs.
These pup-loving watering holes skirt health code rules by simply not having a kitchen on site. Many host food carts on site, while others allow you to order food from neighboring restaurants or even bring your own.
I put together a list of my favorite dog-friendly breweries in Seattle that welcome your dog all year round.
Dog-Friendly Things to do in Oregon in Winter
Winter is hands down my favorite time of year to visit the Oregon Coast. Where the blustery and wet days keep others away, I love watching storms hit the beach from a cozy living room next to a fire.
When the weather breaks, we hit the beach. Since no one else is around, it’s a great place to allow dogs to run free, especially those who don’t often have the opportunity for off-leash adventures. The Oregon Coast also has countless trails along in the Coastal Range ranging from short hikes to longer routes for trail running.
My favorite town is Yachats (pronounced ya-hots). Located in the Central Oregon Coast, due west of Eugene, Yachats is home to Cape Perpetua, the Devil’s Churn, and my favorite coffee shop in all of Oregon, the Green Salmon.
If you’re there during Whale Watch week (December 27th-31st), head to Depot Bay, known as the whale watching capital of the coast. Some 20,000 gray whales migrate offshore this week, and can easily be viewed from a number of spots along the coast. No boat required.
Sick of the rain and gray skies? Just head east! Bend boasts the highest number of sunny days in the state at 158, with an additional 105 that are mostly sunny. Full days of rain are rare and in the winter, gray skies often mean snow in the mountains.
Bend is well known as an outdoor paradise with hundreds of miles of trails for hiking and running, backcountry skiing opportunities, snow shoeing, and pretty much anything else you might want to do outdoors.
As a bonus to all that sun, several restaurants and breweries have heated outdoor spaces, which means dog-friendly meals year-round, often with live music for entertainment.
This dog-friendly guide to Bend, is summer-focused, however many activities can be amended for the winter with some additional gear.
Oregon Wine Country
A few years ago, I learned, to my delight how dog-friendly wineries are! I had always struggled to find indoor activities to do with my dogs during the rainy winter months, and then I discovered wineries.
Many wineries love dogs and since they don’t serve food, they allow dogs indoors, and often even provide treats for furry visitors. Some wineries even have clubs for dogs. The Willamette Valley is known for its world class Pinot Noirs and fertile soil that produces some of the best food in the nation.
Check out the itinerary we followed on our dog-friendly tour of the Willamette Valley.
Want a super unique experience in the wilderness? Rent a fire tower. In the west, quite a few towers are available to rent throughout the year. While most close for the winter, there are a handful that remain open.
The key to staying in a fire tower is that you have to book as soon as they become available. They are incredibly popular and book fast. For best bets on reservation, pick a few fire towers you want to visit ahead of time and note the availability release date. Many reserve six months in advance.
Check out these options for winter rentals in Oregon:
- Clear Lake Cabin Lookout
- Fivemile Butte Lookout
- Hagar Mountain Lookout
- Pickett Butte Lookout
- Warner Mountain Lookout
Book at recreation.gov.
Where are some of your favorite dog-friendly winter destinations?