Take a dog-cationPets are welcome on Amtrak Cascades

First published 11 January 2022

ON LONG DRIVES OR TRAIN RIDES, (YES, PETS ARE WELCOME ON AMTRAK CASCADES) they don't talk much. They don't judge us. In fact, they love to please. Good looks? Don't get me started. They're as comfortable in untouched wilderness as dining al fresco in a trendy part of town. They don't mind slumming it, but secretly love well-heeled accommodations.

Our dogs are the perfect travel companions, and most Americans, our families included, consider our dogs a member of the pack, and a contributing one at that. Increasingly, studies reveal that pets help humans reduce stress, lower blood pressure, recover from heart disease, give a good tail-lashing to hormones like cortisol, the demon behind depression and anxiety, and boost our oxytocin, linked to happiness and relaxation.

When it comes to taking a getaway, research shows we enjoy all of these same benefits, along with better sleep and productivity. Put the two together and getaways with dogs are a powerful cocktail. Served up in some of the Pacific Northwest's best spots, it's a worthy tonic.

Fortunately, many hotels and inns no longer simply tolerate our furry friends, they woo them with canine comforts, from fluffy beds and great food to warm showers and massages. We picked some for the region's most dog-friendly getaways---all sure to trigger a Pavlovian response.


With scenic parks, eclectic markets, eateries and even pools that welcome dogs, the Rose City is worth sniffing out.

Kick off the weekend with artisan coffee, pastries and perusing at Portland Saturday Market. With nearly 400 vendors, it's the largest arts-and-crafts fair in America. Every item is reviewed by a panel that assures it meets the market's standards of quality, and is being sold by the Oregonians and Washingtonians who handcrafted it. That includes the pet section, with handmade treats and accessories. Bonus--- live music.

This riverside market on Saturdays and Sundays at Waterfront Park and Ankeny Plaza in historic Old Town has been a tradition since 1974. It stays fresh, with about a dozen new craftspeople joining monthly, runs March through Christmas Eve, and it's free.

It's also the season to take a hint from your dog---life is better when you stop to sniff, particularly at a garden with 10,000 roses in bloom. May through September is the best time to make like your snouted friend, and inhale it all at the International Rose Test Garden. Take in views of downtown and Mount Hood from this respite, which is free and open daily.

Now it's time for a swim. Paw Aquatics' indoor swimming pool for dogs in Southeast Portland is a cozy 88 degrees---think creature comfort and fun while taking the dirt and risks out of river swimming. Dogs Gone Swimming in Southwest Portland also has an indoor, warm swimming pool for dogs, plus small-animal massage.

Refuel and unwind at eateries where wagging is almost as good as tipping, such as Lucky Lab's four pubs with patios. The White Owl Social Club on the Central Eastside embraces the four-legged spirit, with a spacious patio and fire pit. Indulge in craft cocktails.

More to bark about

  • Ace Hotel
  • The Benson Hotel
  • Hotel deLuxe
  • Hotel Lucia
  • Hotel Rose
  • Hotel Vintage
  • The Mark Spencer Hotel
  • McMenamins Kennedy School and McMenamins Crystal Hotel
  • River's Edge Hotel & Spa
  • RiverPlace Hotel
  • The Sentinel
  • Sheraton Portland Airport