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Top Pet-Friendly Resorts

Area resorts are going to the dogs – literally. With many of us becoming so attached to our pets that we can't bear to leave them behind during family vacations, more resorts and hotels are getting into the spirit of catering to canines; at least one resort within a few hours of the Philadelphia area even offers room service for pampered pups! Here's where you can find resort relaxation with a pet by your side. - Jay Lloyd

300 Camelback Rd.
Tannersville, PA 18372

On the eastern end of the Pocono Mountains, the Chateau Resort occupies a commanding spot within walking distance of bustling Camelback Mountain. There's a world-class water park in the summer, and some of Pennsylvania's most popular ski trails in winter. Whether dipping in a wave pool or flipping in a snow-covered terrain park, your pet can be as close as your hotel room--the Chateau has earmarked some of its Mountainview and Gardenside rooms for families arriving with pets. This is mountain country, with tree shaded paths, streams and laurel glades to provide plenty of options for long walks with your best friend.

What it costs: $25 per pet/per night plus tax

Getting there: From Philadelphia, follow I-76 West to I-276 West to the Northeast Extension (I-476) I-80 East to exit 299 (Tannersville). Turn right off the exit onto Route 715 North and head to the first traffic light. Turn left onto Sullivan Trail. Follow Sullivan Trail approximately 1 mile to Camelback Road (on the corner will be Barley Creek Brew Pub), and turn left. Follow Camelback Road 1.5 miles to the Chateau on the left.

2300 Lincoln Highway East
Lancaster, PA 17602

I've always found the Lancaster Host to be the ideal base for exploring Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Just east of Lancaster, it's a land of carefully tilled fields tended by the Amish, who still use horse and mule power. Horse-drawn buggies are a common sight on the country roads that form a spider web network off busy Route 30. And as a nod to the rural nature of the surrounding area, the Host also welcomes guests' pets. However, here (as with many pet friendly resorts) there are some restrictions, and it's important to call ahead to determine if yours makes the cut.

As with any rural area, there are plenty of opportunities for exploring pristine country paths alongside ready-for-harvest farm fields with your pet. And just for humans, there is a championship 18 hole golf course, a spacious outdoor pool, a pair of restaurants, a lively bar and a comedy club.

Getting there: From Philadelphia, take the Schuylkill Expressway West to Route 202 South. Follow 202 to Route 30 West. Travel 35 miles on Route 30. The Lancaster Host will be on your left.

501 Beach Avenue
Cape May, NJ 08204

Not too many shore-goers remember when the prominently located Marquis de Lafayette was a stately 19th century wood frame hotel with a wraparound porch, crammed with squeaking rocking chairs. Women wore dresses on the boardwalk, and men wouldn't think about strolling without a jacket and tie.

That was then though, and the hotel is now much more modern. Amenity-loaded rooms and suites with stunning ocean views are the hallmarks of the new Marquis, and the reincarnation is also decidedly pet friendly. Rooms on the first floor with ceramic tile floors have been set aside so that guests and their pets have easy access to a stroll.

However, remember that arrangements for pet accommodations cannot be made online. Instead, prospective hotel guests must call 1-800-257-0432. Also, since Cape May is a city, normal dog walking courtesies are expected. While dogs may be walked on the city streets, they are not permitted on the boardwalk or beach during the season. However, some of the Delaware Bay beaches in nearby Lower Township are still pet-friendly.

For human guests, one of my favorite views from the hotel arrives at dusk, when the dolphins come out to frolic just offshore. The show is riveting.

Pet cost: $25 per night per pet

Getting there: From Philadelphia, take the Walt Whitman Bridge to Route 42 South to the Atlantic City Expressway East to (exit 7S) Garden State Parkway South. Take the Garden State Parkway to its end on Cape May. From Route 109 South, cross the Cape May Bridge (no toll) and remain on Lafayette Street into the center of town. Make a left at the light at Ocean Street, and follow Ocean Street to Beach Avenue. Turn right and you're there.

100 Heron Blvd. (Route 50)
Cambridge, MD 21613

Joe Albertson and his wife Michelle arrived from Berks County and took a seat poolside, overlooking the Choptank River, with "the girls," their Irish setter and English Setter.

The Albertsons wouldn't dream of leaving the dogs home, so twice a year, they make the sprawling Chesapeake Bay Resort—the ultimate in pet-friendly—their destination. Here, pets can walk to the edge of the manicured 18 hole golf course, be pampered in the spa, or even order up a few treats from room service. And your best friends can stay with you in special rooms in a pet-oriented wing of the hotel.

At the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay, the treatment for owners is no less indulgent. The restaurants here offer up traditional and local fare in settings that incorporate the pristine river and distant bay. The on-site marina has rental boats and charter fishing trips. There are massages and relaxing treatments at the spa, plus a riverside outdoor pool and eatery. It is a total resort.

Pet cost: $50 per night per pet

Getting there: From Philadelphia, follow I-95 South through Wilmington, Del., and exit onto 896 South. Follow DE 896 South as it turns into 301 South. Follow 301 South to MD 213 South (Wye Mills/Centreville). Turn left on US 50 East, and follow 50 through Cambridge. At the fifth traffic signal for Church Creek Rd. (with Wal-Mart on right), turn left into the resort entrance on Heron Blvd.

220 S. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Theater tickets, a candlelight dinner for two and a casual stroll with your favorite dog through Philadelphia's iconic Rittenhouse Square make for the perfect night in Center City. The venerable Radisson Plaza – Warwick, one of the few remaining old-line Philadelphia hotels, is just blocks from the square and has a pet-friendly floor dedicated to visitors with canine companions. Of all of the pet-friendly hotels and resorts I researched, the Warwick posts the most modest fees – just $10 a night per pet. Plus, the location is ideal for shopping and for proximity to restaurants and the Avenue of the Arts, which is just three blocks to the east. Unfortunately, I have a hard time getting past the lobby when a craving strikes for The Prime Rib, both the name of the Warwick's signature restaurant and the bit of roast that burnished its reputation. Of course, if you can't finish that 32-ounce prime rib, they'll gladly pack a doggie bag for your canine friend upstairs.

A few thoughts: When traveling with the pets, carry everything you'll need, from food to a favorite bed. Don't forget a beloved toy or baggies and a leash. And always call the resort to make reservations and go over the details of any pet restrictions and security deposits; it makes the arrival surprise-free.

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