Plan a Merrimack Vacation with Your Dog

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Vacations are great, but there’s always that sense of dread and guilt when you have to leave your dog behind. Sure, you know that they’re probably having a great time with whichever friend you’ve entrusted them to or boarder you’ve booked them a stay with. However, it’s hard to fully enjoy yourself when you know your best friend is waiting for you at home.

The solution? Take your dog with you! The Merrimack Valley has no shortage of dog-friendly parks, hotels, and restaurants. You might think it’ll be hard to find pet-friendly accommodations, but we’ve done much of the legwork for you to get your started on your dream weekend with your pup.

Places to Sit, Stay, and Lay Down

The first step in any planned vacation with your dog is finding pet-friendly accommodations. The Greater Merrimack Valley has an abundance of hotels with a wide range of price points. This means you’ll surely find the perfect place for you both to rest your heads.

Special mention has to go to Chateau Merrimack Resort & Spa, as they don’t settle for just accommodating dogs – they accommodate horses, too! For dogs and other smaller pets, they require a $150 fee per pet per stay for deep cleaning purposes. For equine guests, the horse & rider rooms range from $300 to $550, depending on the day and type of room.

Dine with Your Dog

The next step to planning a great vacation with your dog is finding out where to eat. A lot of restaurants in Massachusetts don’t allow pets besides service dogs for health and safety reasons, so it’s important to do your research. Otherwise you’ll be ordering takeout and room service a lot.

The warmer months, like spring and summer, are generally the best times to plan your dog-friendly outing simply because more restaurants will have opened their patio seating.

Brew’d Awakening

What’s better than a morning cup of joe? Morning coffee with your dog! At Brew’d Awakening you can not only relax and sip on a cup of single-roast coffee, but there are specialty items on the menu for your dog.

For your dog, there are delicious homemade peanut butter treats that will have them drooling. There’s also the Pupuccino, which is peanut butter whipped cream on top of water, so don’t worry about leaving with a caffeinated dog. As for you, there’s a wide variety of coffees, teas, sandwiches, baked goods, and more that you can choose from. 

pup at brew'd awakening enjoying a peanut butter treat
Source: Brew’d Awakening Facebook Page

Heritage Farm

If you and your dog love ice cream, then Heritage Farm should absolutely be on your list of places to eat. Order at the window and sit at the outdoor seating. Get your pup a kid-sized bowl of vanilla ice cream to enjoy while you pick from any of the long list of flavors, like moose tracks, chocolate overload, rum raisin, and cookies & cream. Not a fan of ice cream? Consider getting hot dogs for you and your dog!

Once you both have had your fill, work off the calories with a scenic stroll along the Merrimack River right across the street.

Kimball Farm

Another cool spot to share a sweet treat with your pup is Kimball Farm. Leashed dogs are welcome through most of the park, though they are not allowed in designated eating areas or tents. However, you can still order a pup cup for your best friend to enjoy while you snack on one of the 40 flavors of ice cream available.

Besides ice cream, Kimball Farm is a great place to spend the day with your dog, as you can enjoy mini-golf, batting cages, and just walking around. Just remember to always leash your dog and clean up after them. The staff can even supply dog bags if you need them.

dog eating ice cream

Navigation Brewing

Over at Western Avenue | Studios & Lofts you’ll find the dog-friendly Navigation Brewing. This taproom allows leashed dogs as you sip on beers and IPAs. You can also share a snack with your pooch from one of the rotating food trucks that come to visit. Remember, your dog doesn’t have to be 21+ in dog years, but they do need to stay with you under your supervision.

Walk the Dog

What else is there to do with your dog while in the Merrimack Valley? Well, there’s tons of great places to walk and explore! You and your dog will have a great time together as you check out the amazing pet-friendly attractions in the county.

deCordova Sculpture Park

Do you love art? Take your dog for a walk in the deCordova Sculpture Park. The largest park of its kind in New England, this park is constantly changing with new outdoor sculptures and art pieces being rotated throughout the year. Maybe your dog won’t fully appreciate the artwork, but they will enjoy the beautiful landscape and fresh air. Remember to clean up after your dog and keep them on a leash.

Western Avenue | Studios & Lofts

The Western Avenue | Studios & Lofts is the largest artist community in the US, with 350+ artists of every medium sharing their creative process with each other. You know what it also is? Pet friendly! That’s right, the artists bring their dogs and you’re welcome to bring yours too. Stroll through the converted mill to see the incredible studios and galleries with your pup by your side. Have a chat with the artists while your dogs socialize. It’ll be a great experience for all.

Acton Arboretum

For an unforgettable nature walk, take your dog to Acton Arboretum. This 56 acre property housed an apple orchard in the 1900s but was turned into an arboretum in the 1980s, and yes, it’s dog friendly. Keep your dog on a leash and ensure they aren’t bothering other visitors and you’ll have a grand time exploring the trails and landscape. Stop and smell the flowers and be sure to take lots of photos of you and your pup enjoying the beautiful landscape.

Taking a vacation with your four-legged friend should be fun and stress-free, so planning out hotels, restaurants, and activities is a must. This will ensure you both have a great time and create a memorable experience.

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