I-5 Dog-Friendly Travel Guide

This is the story of a dog. A dog with wanderlust. A dog who has big dreams of traveling Interstate 5, from Puget Sound to the Hollywood Hills.

This is the story of an owner. An owner who wants to fulfill their dog’s every wish. An owner who wants to travel Interstate 5 with their dog, but doesn’t know where to start. This is the story of an owner who has come to exactly the right place.

This guide will help you discover all the best dog-friendly hotels and attractions for your special trip across I-5. North to south or south to north, it doesn’t matter—we’ve got you covered. You can follow our suggested itinerary or take what you like and leave the rest. It’s your vacation—focus on having fun and leave the hard work to us.

And if you’re looking for more to see, DogFriendly.com has information on thousands more hotels, parks, tourist attractions, and restaurants.

An Overview

I-5 starts on the Washington-Canada border and meanders down the west coast until it ends at the California-Mexico border. The interstate passes through dozens of cities, but the most notable are Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Ride the Interstate 5, and your dog can see the forests of Olympia or the Hollywood Hills.

Washington

I-5 in Washington state begins at the Canadian border, just outside of Vancouver, Canada, and runs south for 277 miles, ending in Vancouver, Washington. The interstate offers unmatched views of the pacific northwest, but you’ll have to cross your fingers for some sunshine—here it rains almost half the year.

Bellingham

21 miles south of I-5’s start is the town of Bellingham. Downtown is the place to be, at the Hotel Bellingham, a dog-friendly and one-of-a-kind hotel with a mascot named Bella Bellwether! Closer to the highway, you’ll find a La Quinta Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and a Motel 6. 

The go-to recreation spot in Bellingham is Whatcom Falls Park, which is east of town and has a view from an old stone bridge of the eponymous Whatcom Falls.   

For pups that need some of that Pacific breeze, take Chuckanut Drive, a road that begins in Fairview Village south of Bellingham. Check out the red-brick Victorian architecture in the village, then hit the road and watch the sea. Chuckanut Drive ends on I-5 at exit 231, just north of Burlington and Mount Vernon.

Mount Vernon

In Mount Vernon, your pup can stretch their legs at Bakerview Park, which includes an off-leash area, and then enjoy some patio dining at Skagit River Brewery. The Tulip Inn is local, budget-friendly, and just off the highway. The Hampton Suites and Candlewood Suites are also conveniently located just off exit 229. 

Seattle

Past Mount Vernon is Puget Sound proper and the many suburbs of Seattle, including Everett, Shoreline, and Tacoma. The city has no shortage of dog-friendly experiences both in the city and far off the beaten path.

For travelers looking to stick to I-5 along Seattle, the Hilton Garden Inn Lynnwood, Hampton Inn Northgate, and Evergreen Inn and Suites Federal Way are convenient, dog-friendly accommodations. Unfortunately, hotels in Seattle can get pricey, especially close to downtown. Those looking to keep costs low should look at Days Inn and Motel Puyallup in Tacoma, or drive on to Olympia. But if you’re looking for that downtown Seattle vibe, the Hotel Sorrento is close to the city center, and doesn’t have a pet fee.

Hands down, the best park in Seattle is Washington Park, a Botanical Garden maintained by the University of Washington. And it’s totally free! If you’re looking to explore, hitch a ferry across the bay and explore one of the many parks and nature preserves, like Old Mill Park. Mountaineers can venture to Glacier Peak Wilderness, and hike in sight of a volcano. And if you just need an off-leash area, Denny Park is clean and close to downtown.

Pups looking for something more aerial can check out a flightseeing tour at Kenmore Air. That’s right—dog-friendly planes. Finally, while you’re in the birthplace of Starbucks, head over to your nearest store and grab a puppuccino for your precious pup!

Olympia

Often overshadowed by its northern neighbor, the city of Olympia is not far south of Seattle and is best known as Washington’s state capital. The beautiful waterfall Tumwater Falls sits in the heart of Olympia, and is just off the interstate. On the west side, there’s trails along the beach at Evergreen State College, and 10 miles south of town is Millersylvania State Park, where old-growth cedar and fir trees call home.

To stay, there is a Hilton Garden Inn, two La Quinta Inns, and a Super 8, all close to the highway and dog-friendly.

Longview

Longview, a town so pretty the band Green Day named their debut single after it, marks the last stop for Interstate-5 in Washington. Run free at the Gearhart Garden Dog Park or discover tasty, organic treats at the Farm Dog Bakery in downtown Longview.

Comfort Inn & Suites is right off the highway. In town, you’ll find Quality Inn and a Best Western.

Oregon

After Washington comes 308 miles of the Beaver State. I-5 in Oregon starts in Portland and ends south of Medford. 

Portland

Just over the Columbia River is Portland, a city best known for its unofficial slogan “Keep Portland Weird.” Officially, the city is the “City of Roses,” as the climate is perfect for growing roses. If your dog is feeling particularly rosy, check out the International Rose Test Garden just west of town.

Avante garde dogs might take a self-guided tour through Portland’s street art scene. For some culinary weirdness, check out Voodoo Doughnut. Dogs can’t go inside but they may enjoyed a bone-shaped donut on the patio. Weekend visitors can enjoy farm-fresh produce at the Portland Saturday Market, which also runs on Sundays. Pups looking for a romp in the park can check out Council Crest Park, which includes an off-leash area, or the trails at Wildwood Park.

Dog-friendly hotels include the Ace Hotel and Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel, which are both downtown and do not have a pet fee. South of downtown and just off the highway, there is Studio 6, a Comfort Inn, and a Hampton Inn.

Salem

Though not the Salem of witch trial fame, Salem, Oregon is a city with a storied history. Named after Salem, Massachusetts, this city is Oregon’s state capital. The current capitol building is actually the third, as the other two burnt down in 1855 and again in 1935. The building today is in an impending art deco style, and the Capitol Mall is walkable. The Minto-Brown Island Park is a best place in town to go for a stroll.

Dog-friendly lodgings include the Comfort Inn & Suites, Holiday Inn, and a Motel 6. Downtown, The Grand Hotel is by the river and highly-rated.

Eugene

Halfway down I-5 Oregon lies the city of Eugene, known as the “Emerald City.” It’s like visiting Oz, minus the tornado.

While you’re in town, don’t miss the famed Spencer Butte, where you can see Eugene in all its glory (A butte is essentially a steep hill, FYI). Vintners will love Saginaw Vineyard south of Eugene. You can pick berries together then enjoy a glass of berry wine—but your furry friend will have to drink something else.

For accommodations, check out the Candlewood Suites or Motel 6. Or for a boutique experience, there’s the Inn at the 5th, which brings the Mediterranean to Eugene. 

Roseburg

Those passing along I-5 in Oregon will eventually end up in the city of Roseburg, dubbed the “Timber Capital of the Nation.” Run wild at Happy Tails Dog Park and then unwind with some patio dining at the Two-Shy brewery.

Hotels in the area include Holiday Inn Express, Riverfront Inn, and Super 8.

Medford

The final stop along I-5 Oregon is the city of Medford. Check out Bear Creek park, which includes a dog park or take to the trail at Hummingbird Meadows.

Looking to stay in Medford? Try the TownePlace Suites or Comfort Inn for some dog-friendly lodging.

California

As the coniferous forests slowly turn to arid shrubland, Oregon fades away and sunny California comes to stay. I-5 in California spans 797 miles from NorCal all the way to the United States-Mexico border.

Redding

After meandering through the Klamath mountains, I-5 leads to the former gold rush boom town of Redding, California. The iconic Sundial Bridge has a glass walkway that allows you to glimpse the rapids of Sacramento River below. Near the bridge is the huge Turtle Bay park. And for the history buffs, you can take a step back in time at Shasta State Historical Park and experience the pioneer lifestyle.

For overnight visits, the TownePlace Suites and Fairfield Inn are dog-friendly establishments. You and your pup can also stay at the La Quinta Inn or the Motel 6, which has no pet fee.

Sacramento

Sacramento lies two hours and 160 miles south of Redding. This state capital is known for being a diverse education hub. In addition, the city boasts about its many local farmers’ markets, where you and your pup can sniff the organic produce. Hungry pups can also head to the Paws and the Palette Dog Bakery for some gourmet treats.

Like Redding, Sacramento also played a key role in California’s gold rush. The gold is no more, but the gold rush-era buildings remain in Old Sacramento. The historic neighborhood has many preserved 19th century buildings, including the Evangeline Costume Mansion, which is happy to welcome pups through its doors.

For a place to lay your head, the Kimpton Sawyer Hotel welcomes pets for no additional fee and is just off I-5. Other nearby dog-friendly options include the Econo Lodge, Homewood Suites, and Hyatt Regency.

Los Angeles

Where better to take your little angel than the City of Angels? The biggest challenge of this city is not finding something to do—rather, the challenge is just getting there! Traffic in LA can be rough, but there’s plenty to see and do just off of I-5.

Get your steps in and see the Hollywood sign at Mount Hollywood Trail, off of I-5. The Arts District Dog Park is, as the name suggests, in the Arts District and down the street from I-5.

Elsewhere, there is the Hollywood Walk of Fame Griffith Park and Observatory, which frequently features in film and television. And dogs looking to catch a wave should head to Long Beach, which includes a 3 acre off-leash area for dogs to enjoy the dunes unleashed.

Of course, there’s many, many dog-friendly hotels in L.A. Those looking to spend experience some old-fashioned Hollywood glamor The Sofitel at Beverly Hills or the Chateau Marmont Hotel. Along I-5, the Candlewood Suites and Hampton Inn in Anaheim.

San Diego

At long last, journey’s end. Or for those northbound travelers, journey’s beginning. Either way, San Diego is a city your pup will remember

Balboa Park has over 1000 acres of parkland in the heart of San Diego. In the park is the Spanish Village Art Center where you can check out artists and other talented artisans and even converse with them about their craft. 

Those looking for a mountain adventure can travel to the town of Julian and visit Cuyamaca Rancho State Park or William Heise County Park.

Hotel Solamar and Hotel Indigo are both downtown and do not have pet fees. Otherwise, the La Quinta Inn Mission Bay and Extended Stay America at Hotel Circle are convenient lodging choices.

Past San Diego, Interstate 5 continues into Tijuana, Mexico, but loses its Interstate moniker once you cross the border. 

In Conclusion

Traveling with your dog can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. I-5 is full of dog-friendly lodging and has something to see no matter where you’re headed. And if you’re interested in seeing more of what’s along the journey, be sure to check out our city guides for more information on wherever you end up going. The memories of a lifetime await!

Tyler Kupcho
Author: Tyler Kupcho

Animal lover, proud husky parent. Writing Intern at DogFriendly.com

Leave a Comment