29 Fun Dog-Friendly Things to Do When RV Camping with Dogs

It can be a struggle to find dog-friendly things to do with your pups when you’re RVing.

But don’t worry, you’ve landed in the right place!

We’ve spent the last 5+ years RVing with our dogs, Cap & Marvel, and in this post, I’m going to share some fun activities that you can enjoy with your pups while you’re on the road.

Let’s get right to it!

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Outdoor Activities

1. Play frisbee together

A great outdoor activity that you can enjoy with your dog is frisbee. Not only is it a lot of fun, but it provides great exercise for both of you!

If you have a whole group of people, it’s even better. Our dogs love to play monkey-in-the-middle with us when we’re throwing a frisbee.

It’s always fun to see how often they can catch the frisbee before we can, haha!

Of course, it can also be a fun fetch game if it’s just you and your dog. Either way, have fun with it.

Cap and Marvel play tug-of-war with a green frisbee, standing on dirt ground near a vehicle.

2. Visit a dog-friendly state park

One of our favorite places to check out with our dogs during our RV travels has been state parks.

We’ve found that many state parks are more pet-friendly than their national park counterparts.

They usually have some pretty great hiking trails that can provide hours of outdoor adventures with your furry friends.

While every state varies, here are some of the states that are most reputable for dog-friendly state parks:

  • California
  • Utah
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • Colorado
  • Texas
  • Tennessee
  • Florida
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • Michigan
  • New York

It’s important to note that the pet rules can widely vary from park to park, so make sure to do your research in advance before planning an RV trip with your dogs to any of the state parks.

3. Go for a walk in a new neighborhood

Just like it can be fun for us humans to explore a new neighborhood, your dogs can enjoy it, too!

Take your four-legged friend with you the next time you’re going for a walk in new dog-friendly destinations.

You might be surprised how many small towns or neighborhoods have dog-friendly stores, patios, festivals, and activities.

Of course, it can help if you do research in advance, but you’ll be fine if you don’t mind skipping a few places that are not pet-friendly.

If you’re not a people person, then taking your dog out for a nature hike is another excellent option.

Tucker and Cap take a break on a forest path in Glacier National Park, with Tucker holding Cap's leash and both enjoying the shade.

4. Visit an off-leash dog park

If your dog is not aggressive and enjoys playing with other dogs, then off-leash dog parks can be a great place for them to burn some energy and make new friends.

We found no shortage of dog parks while we were RVing full-time, and it was always a highlight for our pups.

However, please be aware that there is always risk involved with dog parks.

Just because your pups are well-trained and not aggressive doesn’t mean that all dogs present will be the same way.

And likewise, please don’t be “that person” that takes an aggressive dog around other pups.

Not only is it dangerous and stressful, but it’s just downright irresponsible!

Some dog-friendly RV parks and pet-friendly campgrounds have their own dog parks, so if that’s something important to you, make sure to check when you’re booking your campground reservations.

Cap stands on a park pathway bordered by mulch and grass, wearing a red harness and looking excited.

5. Go for a picnic

Who doesn’t love a good picnic in the park?! This can be a really fun outing for you and your pup, and even friends, too.

Pack a dog-friendly picnic lunch full of both of your favorite goodies.

And of course, don’t forget treats! You could even stop at a doggy bakery on your way.

After you’ve enjoyed your mini picnic feast, your pup can enjoy playing with a stick nearby while you dive into a good book, or you could even take a nap together in the sunshine.

The possibilities are endless!

A puppy named Buddy has his head inside a picnic basket on a checkered blanket, with his curly tail in the air.

6. Go swimming in a dog-friendly lake or river

If your dog is a strong swimmer and enjoys the water, then a lake day can be a blast for them.

Obviously, you will need to make sure that your dog knows how to swim first, but some breeds thrive in the water.

Our dogs particularly love playing fetch with their favorite chuck-it balls on the edge of a lake.

Or if we don’t have a ball with us, sometimes we get creative and play fetch with sticks or rocks.

It always cracks me up when Cap puts his head under shallow water and comes back up with a rock that he’s convinced we threw in, lol!

Important note: Some water hazards can be extremely dangerous to dogs. Never let your dog drink or be around a stagnant body of water, as it may contain bacteria, diseases, or dangerous algae.

Please do your own research to learn what is and is not safe for your dogs, and always check local rules and regulations regarding any lakes in the area.

Janae kneels in shallow water with Cap at a lake, while people kayak and float in the background under a clear blue sky.

7. Enjoy a dog-friendly beach

Another place that can be a lot of fun to take your dogs is dog-friendly beaches.

Most dogs love running through the sand and playing on the edge of the water, although admittedly, it can be a disaster to clean them up afterward, haha!

If you don’t mind cleaning up your furry sand monster, then a beach trip can be a blast.

Not all beaches are dog-friendly, so make sure to check online in advance to find the best beach for you and your dogs in the area near your RV campsite.

8. Go for a jog together

Another great way to enjoy the outdoors together while also getting exercise is by going for a jog together.

For some dog breeds with a lot of energy, this can be a great way to help them burn it off.

Other dogs are more couch potatoes who don’t even enjoy walks, let alone running, haha!

Either way, you know your pet best, and if this is something they would enjoy doing with you, you can find pet-friendly jogging locations on your travels.

Janae and Cap pose on a rocky hiking trail surrounded by trees and mountains, with Janae kneeling beside Cap.

Adventurous Activities

9. Go for a boat ride

As fun as it can be to enjoy a lake day in the water, it can also be a blast to enjoy a lake day on the water with your dogs!

Take in the beautiful scenery around you with your pup, and if you’re lucky, you might even get to do some wildlife watching together from the boat.

You can also pair a boat ride with other fun activities like a picnic on the beach or a short hike to break things up.

If your dog is not a strong swimmer, you can purchase a doggy life jacket for extra peace of mind should they unexpectedly jump out of the boat.

Cap, wearing a red harness, explores the shoreline with gentle waves lapping at the sandy beach.

10. Try out stand-up paddleboarding with your dog

I’ll be honest: this one is not for me because I have horrible balance, haha!

But, some people are far more lucky than I am in that department.

If you enjoy paddleboarding, consider taking your dog with you the next time you go out.

I know quite a few RVers who enjoy paddleboarding with their pups. If I could, I would, too.

And if you’re like me and don’t have the upright balance for paddleboards, kayaking with your dogs can be another fun option.

A small white terrier named Scout wears an orange life jacket while standing on a paddleboard on a serene lake.

11. Go to a sporting game

If your dog thrives on social interaction and doesn’t mind noisy crowds, it can be a lot of fun to take them to a ball game or a sporting event.

Obviously, there are a lot of sporting events that don’t allow dogs, but smaller, local games are usually more lax.

When I was a teenager, I loved taking my dogs to our high school basketball games.

Although, now, I’m pretty sure Cap and Marvel would get so excited that they would want to join in and play the game too, haha!

Tucker and Janae pose with Cap in front of a striking red rock formation, smiling for the camera.

12. Visit a dog-friendly national park

National parks have a bad rap in general for not being very dog friendly. And to be fair, most of them are not.

However, we’ve found that there are some national parks that are great for dogs.

And even some of the ones that don’t allow dogs in most places will often have one or two dog-friendly trails.

You can check the NPS website to see the rules about pets for each individual park, but here are a few that at least have some dog-friendly parts.

  • Acadia National Park (Maine)
  • Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park (Colorado)
  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)
  • Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)
  • Yosemite National Park (California)
  • North Cascades National Park (Washington)
  • Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky)
  • White Sands National Park (New Mexico)
  • Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)

You can find our full list of the best dog-friendly national parks here.

Janae holds a young Cap in her arms with a scenic mountain range in the background.

13. Go swimming in the ocean

A truly bucket list experience is swimming in the ocean with your pups.

Of course, for those who live on a coast, this is probably a common occurrence and not a big deal at all.

But I grew up in a landlocked state over 800 miles away from the nearest ocean, so of course, it was a much bigger deal for me, haha!

My dogs were a bit unsure of the deeper water, but they enjoyed playing in the smaller waves, and we had a blast.

Tucker and Janae hold Marvel in the ocean while Cap paddles nearby, all enjoying a day at the beach.

Relaxing Things to Do When You’re Camping with Your Dogs

14. Watch a movie outside together

If your dog is extra snuggly, then a movie night together under the stars can be a lot of fun during your camping trip!

Of course, indoor movie nights are always fun, too, but there’s something extra special about watching a favorite movie outside (when the bugs aren’t too bad, lol).

You can set up a portable screen and use a projector, or you can hang a sheet on the side of your RV to project onto.

Some travel trailer RVs are even bright enough to use as a screen.

Grab some cozy pillows and blankets, and snuggle up together for a relaxing movie night with your favorite snacks. So fun!

Janae wearing a white knit headband hugs Marvel, who has a happy expression, sitting outside in a camping chair by the fire.

15. Enjoy a cozy fire together

Not into movies? Another cozy thing you can do at the campsite is enjoy a nice fire together.

We like to cook dinner over the fire and then sit around chatting for hours as we watch it die down.

Our dogs usually start by exploring the campsite, but then they’re quickly ready to snuggle up with one of us in our favorite camping chairs.

Marvel and Cap sit on camping chairs outside an RV, with Marvel looking directly at the camera and Cap looking off to the side.

16. Do a photoshoot

Is there anything cuter than a dog photoshoot?! I think not, lol!

You can have a lot of fun with this if you want to. Here are some options:

  • Have your dog play dress up in different costumes
  • Get some epic action shots with them playing fetch or doing agility
  • Hold their favorite toy behind the camera and get their reaction
  • Get in on the pictures yourself and hire someone to capture memories of you and your dog together

Not only will this be a fun activity to do together, but you will cherish the photos that you take forever.

Marvel and Cap stand in a lush green field, both looking at the camera with happy expressions.

Dog Training Activities

17. Take an obedience class

Whether or not your dog struggles with obedience, it can be great to take a refresher course.

Sometimes, you’ll learn new things yourself that will help you connect with your dogs even more.

Of course, another great benefit is socializing with other dogs and their owners, all in a safe and controlled environment.

If you’re going to be staying in one community for a few weeks or months, join some Facebook groups and look for short-term classes you can join.

Janae sits on the steps of an RV with Cap beside her.

18. Teach your dog a new trick

As dog owners, there’s a lot of pride in getting our dogs to show off with the latest tricks they’ve learned, haha!

Cap is our little trickster and I get frequent high-fives throughout my day. I love it!

If you’re looking for some new trick ideas, here are a few you could teach your dog:

  • Bow: Teach your dog to bow on command by lowering its front legs while keeping its rear end up, like a play bow. Use a treat to lure your dog into the bow position and add a verbal cue like “Bow” once they understand the motion.
  • Spin: Teach your dog to spin in a circle on command. Hold a treat near your dog’s nose and guide them in a circle. Once they complete the spin, reward them and use the verbal cue “Spin.”
  • Play Dead: Teach your dog to lie on their side and remain still as if playing dead. Use a verbal cue like “Bang” or “Play Dead” while guiding your dog into a lying position with a treat.
  • Weave Between Your Legs: Teach your dog to weave in and out between your legs as you walk. Start with your dog in a standing position and use a treat to lure them through your legs. Practice slowly and add the verbal cue “Weave.”
  • Crawl: Teach your dog to crawl along the ground on its belly. Have your dog lie down and use a treat to lure them forward while keeping their belly on the ground. Use the verbal cue “Crawl.”
  • Balance a Treat: Teach your dog to balance a treat on their nose until given the command to eat it. Start by having your dog sit still. Place a treat on their nose and use a command like “Wait.” Reward them with the treat once they stay still.

You and your dog will both have fun showing off their new tricks at the campground!

Janae and Marvel peek out from a cozy pet crate, both smiling and looking content inside an RV.

19. Take an agility class

If your dog shows athletic tendencies, then they may benefit from/enjoy taking an agility class.

Honestly, this is something that I’ve always wanted to do with Marvel, and I’m determined to do it someday!

Once your dog has learned how to do agility, you can take them to agility competitions all over the country as you RV travel.

Not sure if this is something you would enjoy? Take your dog to observe a competition and see how they react!

A Labrador puppy named Max runs through a colorful tunnel on the grass, looking playful and energetic.

Community Activities to Enjoy with Your Dog

20. Visit a nursing home

Nursing homes are commonly filled with elderly people who are quite lonely, so a visit from a fur baby can be a huge boost of happiness for them!

If your dog is calm and well-behaved enough, consider calling a nursing home in your area and asking if it would be alright for you to bring your dog for a visit.

Sadly, my dogs are a bit too energetic for this, but I hope that when they are older and more mellowed out, I will be able to take them on a regular basis.

Janae smiles while holding Cap, a blue merle dog, on her lap inside a vehicle.

21. Attend a dog show

Dog shows are typically very competitive events that celebrate the beauty and diversity of dog breeds.

Even if you don’t have any interest in entering your dog into a competition like this, it can still be really enjoyable to attend if you happen to be near one.

Cap looks out the driver's side window of a black truck, as if ready to drive.

22. Set up a doggie play date

It can be great for your dogs to socialize, but living on the road, it can be hard to find ways to safely do that sometimes.

If you know that another RVer with dogs is going to be in the same area that you’re heading to, reach out and see if they would be interested in setting up a doggie play date!

Really, any of the activities on this list would be fun to meet up and do together.

This was important to us when we were learning how to raise a puppy in an RV.

Marvel, with a pink collar, meets a corgi named Butters inside an RV, with toys scattered on the floor around them.

23. Visit a plant center

Did you know that a lot of garden/plant centers are dog-friendly? This is a win-win for me because I love getting more RV plants, haha!

Additionally, some home improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot also have plant centers, and they allow dogs.

Here’s a fun idea: Take your dog to a plant center and let them help you choose a new plant.

Then, put two or three fun plant names on sticks and let them choose their favorite.

Now, you’ve got a new plant with a name your doggo picked for it, and you’ll have a fun memory to look back on every time you see it!

Verdant pothos plant in a decorative pot on a two-tiered shelf in an RV, accompanied by essential oils and a diffuser.

Special Treats for Your Dog

24. Dine at a pet-friendly restaurant

Treat your pup to a meal out with you. Did you know that some restaurants even have a secret menu exclusively for dogs?!

While not all dining establishments are able to accommodate dogs inside the restaurant, many restaurants do allow dogs in their patio seating area.

Obviously, this is something you would only be able to do if your dog was well-behaved, or it could turn into a nightmare situation for you and all of the other dining guests in a hurry, haha!

Marvel, a fluffy black, white, and tan puppy, lies next to a metal water bowl on a wooden floor.

25. Bake dog treats

You may have seen some viral reels or TikTok videos showing dogs that appear to be making treats with their pawrents.

And while, sure, a lot of the ingredients get devoured during the process, why not let them in on the fun?!

There are lots of different homemade dog treat recipes that you can try to find what your pup likes best.

A hand holding a dog treat shaped like a bear head, with Cap eagerly looking up at the treat from the floor.

26. Get a puppuccino

Next time you’re out and about with your pup, consider dropping by someplace like Starbucks or Dunkin for a quick pup cup!

Did you know that there are actually quite a few fast-food restaurants that have treats for your furry baby to enjoy, too?

A few others include Chick-fil-A, Dairy Queen, and Sonic. Next time you’re ordering at a drive-through, just ask if they have anything for dogs, too.

You can also make your own homemade puppuccinos, and they’re really easy.

Cap, an Australian Shepherd, sits on rocks in front of a cascading waterfall, wearing a red harness.

27. Make a doggie puzzle

If your dog gets bored easily, consider getting them some doggie puzzles, or better yet, make your own.

There are endless possibilities, but here are a few quick ideas:

  • Place treats in a few of the muffin tin cups. Cover all the cups with tennis balls, and then let your dog figure out how to remove the balls to get to the treats.
  • Lay a towel flat and place treats along one edge. Roll the towel up with the treats inside, and then let your dog unroll the towel to find the treats.
  • Nest smaller boxes inside larger ones, placing treats in some of the boxes. Close the boxes and let your dog figure out how to open them to get the treats.

Make sure that all materials you use are safe for dogs and free from sharp edges or small parts that could be swallowed.

Also, if your dog is new to puzzles, start with easier ones and gradually increase the difficulty.

Of course, you should always supervise your dog when giving it new puzzles to ensure they are used safely and appropriately.

Cap, an Australian Shepherd, lies on his back on the floor next to a brown couch, looking up with one blue and one brown eye.

28. Cook a special meal for your dog

If eating out with your dog is not a good option for you, consider making a special meal for your dog at home in the RV!

Make sure that everything you make is safe for dog consumption, and of course, you can always consult with your vet in advance to see what foods your dog might need to avoid.

You don’t have to make anything over-the-top….but your dog is going to be thrilled to have something new and exciting to enjoy with you!

Marvel, a black and white Australian Shepherd sits on a kitchen floor, looking directly at the camera.

29. Let your dog pick out a new toy

Another special treat for your dog is letting them pick out a new toy. It’s always so sweet to see how happy they get!

Simply head to a local pet store (that allows dogs inside) and take them to the toy aisle.

Let them sniff around until they find the new toy that makes them the happiest, and then they get to take it home!

Of course, please control your dog’s behavior and do not let them make a mess of things for the store employees to have to clean up after you’re gone.

I’ve got a pretty good idea of what my dog’s favorite types of toys are, but sometimes, they surprise me with what they pick.

Cap, a blue merle puppy, sits on the floor inside an RV, happily posing with a plush toy in front of him.

In Closing: 29 Fun Dog-Friendly Things to Do for RVers

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this list of dog-friendly activities for RVers.

Which one do you plan to try first?

Happy adventures to you and your pup!

Much Love, Janae xoxo
Photo of author
Janae, alongside her husband, Tucker, has turned the world into her playground. Having lived and traveled in an RV for over four years, she has trekked through 22 US national parks, ventured across 28 states, and explored the natural beauty of 12 countries. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been when she witnessed Iceland's shimmering Northern Lights, explored the rugged terrains of Southern Utah, and traveled across Ireland for almost two months. A lover of adventure and couple travel, Janae's writings have been featured in notable travel websites and magazines, and she has collected an online community of over 30,000 passionate fellow travelers.