July welcomes National Parks Month, and with the National Park Service turning 100 this year, there’s no better time to celebrate the parks’ beauties.

Exploring the National Parks with Dog

If you’re pondering what to do with your dog, consider taking him or her along. There are a number of pet-friendly national parks. Here are a few you might consider:

Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona). Pets aren’t allowed below the rim, but there are plenty of pet-friendly trails above the rim for leashed pets (including the South Rim Trail) that offer breathtaking vistas. And if you’re still dying to descend into the canyon, there are dog kennels available.

Acadia National Park (Maine). This sprawling park along the coast of Maine is one of the most pet compatible. You’ll find 100 miles of dog-friendly hiking trails here.

Shenandoah National Park (Virginia). Nearly all of the 500 miles of hiking trails here are available to pets. Don’t miss the views from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio). The Cuyahoga features verdant forests and a 20-mile trail following the path of the historic Ohio and Erie Canal. Dogs are allowed throughout the park, including in the picnic areas.

Before visiting, call ahead to confirm the park’s pet policy for trails, campgrounds, leashing, etc. Balance your options. Leaving a pet behind may be stressful for your pet and also expensive for you (for kenneling, pet sitting, etc.) Some dogs may not travel well, but for those that do, the parks often create a perfect environment where you can explore and your pet can get the stimulation and exercise they love and need.