A dog’s life is not always easy. Your pooch not only has the responsibility of protecting hearth and home, but he eats the same food 137 days in a row and has to be well behaved and whatnot. In this dog-eat-dog world, you and your favorite furry friend need time to take a breather, bond together and enjoy a little playtime. Luckily, the Philadelphia area is the place to be for a host of heavenly doggy day trips.
Loews Philadelphia Hotel
1200 Market St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Price: from $199 per night/$25 per stay for pets
You don’t have to travel far for a pet-friendly mother lode of pampering. As soon as guests walk into the lobby of the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, a doggy bag of gifts, including a pet tag, bowl, poop bags, treats and microdry pet mat, is presented to your canine. Creature comforts, such as pooper scoopers, leashes, collars and dog beds are available for Fido as well. Paw through the gourmet room service menus for yourself and your darling doggy. Take advantage of the pet-sitting service while enjoying a day at the on-site spa or reveling in live entertainment and great food at the hotel’s SoleFood Lounge. If your pooch feels under the weather, Loews’ guests also receive a 15 percent discount with Banfield Pet Hospital. While staying at Loews, just make sure your pet has current vaccinations, is leashed and attended to at all times.
Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway
2 Lehigh Ave.
Jim Thorpe, PA
Price: $12 adult/$9 child/free children younger than 3
Ride the old 1920s diesel-powered locomotive into the breathtaking Lehigh Gorge State Park. Located in Jim Thorpe, about 90 minutes from Philadelphia, the train trip lasts approximately one hour. As the narrated, 16-mile route winds along the Lehigh River, it passes Glen Onoko and Ox-Bow Curve before reaching Old Penn Haven. Obedient dogs ride free, but bring water for your pooch, as the passenger cars are not air conditioned.
Olde Layfayette Village
75 Route 15
Layfayette, NJ 07848
Old Lafayette Village in Lafayette, N.J., is well worth the two-hour drive from Philadelphia. Outlet shops, boutiques and eateries are scattered throughout a park-like setting with dog-friendly pathways, duck ponds and picnic tables. Off leash dogs may run and socialize with other dogs or enjoy ice cream with the family at Frosty Paws. Most of the stores allow dogs inside and sell both people and pup-related products. Owners may drop off their pooches for a massaging bath while perusing the antique shops or grabbing a meal. Poop bag dispensers and water bowls are available throughout the village at no charge.
799 Sunset Blvd.
Cape May, NJ 08212
If you and your furry friend just want a chill, relaxing day together, Sunset Beach near Cape May Point, N.J., is the best bet. About a two-hour drive from Philadelphia, unleashed canines may splash and play at this pretty stretch of sand on the Delaware Bay. Although swimming is not permitted, master and hound may sniff out Cape May diamonds, nuggets of quartz that glint in the sun, and view the hulking remains of the concrete ship SS Atlantus. For food, the Sunset Beach Grill offers outdoor, pet-friendly dining with delicious homemade crab cakes and refreshing Polish water ices. Pick up a Frisbee at Sunset Beach Gift Shop for a game of catch with Fido on the sand.
Cape May Whale Watcher
2nd Avenue & Wilson Drive
Cape May, New Jersey 08204
Price: $30 adult/$20 child age 7 to 12/free for children younger than 6
Four-legged friends with sea legs may find a trip aboard the 110-foot air-conditioned Spirit of Cape May ideal for a dog day afternoon. Sailor dogs and their captains ship out from the Miss Chris Marina Dock in Cape May. Whale and dolphin tours welcome canines for no additional fee, but they must behave, and the owner must keep their pet under control at all times. The three-hour tour offers a marine mammal sighting guarantee; so, if by chance, whales, dolphins or porpoises are shy that day, you and your pooch receive a free pass for a future trip.
1213 Ocean Ave.
Asbury Park, NJ 07712
No, the Wonder Park in Asbury Park, N.J., hasn’t gone to the dogs. The canine-friendly establishment just converted its back deck into a gated dog run. While the pups play, doggie owners enjoy live music, good food and drink specials at the oceanfront nightclub’s Yappy Hour, held Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Located an hour and a half from Philadelphia, Asbury Park also offers a designated dog beach at 8th Avenue and Ocean Boulevard. During the summer, romp and play with your pooch in the mornings. In the off seasons, let your furry friend run wild anywhere, anytime.
Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey’s “Cape May County Herald” for more than a decade. A writer for numerous online publications, Susan has covered health, fitness, beauty and travel, all subjects that are near and dear to her as a married mother of seven children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.