Lucky Vacation Spots (for your dog): Missoula, big sky and a big heart

That’s about right.

MISSOULA, SOME SUMMER EVENING — There are plenty of good reasons to visit Montana. The mountains. The sky. The air. You know all this. Usually when it comes to vacationing with pets it’s easier to simply use a Campervan Finder to find a campervan or motorhome, as so many hotels are not pet friendly, however, it’s a different situation altogether in the great West. I had luck in lots of places during RoadTrip2017 in terms of them being dog-friendly, but Missoula gets extra credit for that lovely sign above. It’s also becoming a little different in other parts of the world, with more travel destinations opting for pet-friendly accommodation for their guests, such as these cottage rentals with pets as one of the many examples.

(This is an ongoing series about fun vacation spots that are genuinely dog friendly. Here’s the front page, with plenty of suggestions.)

Plenty of hotels in Missoula are dog-friendly. This time, I stayed in Ruby’s Inn & Convention Center, which was lovely and charged a very fair $10 for my pet. You won’t have trouble finding other dog-friendly places. In summer, you *might* have trouble finding rooms, however. Missoula is a really popular place to beat the heat, and a traditional stopover for road-trippers headed to Glacier National Monument. Naturally, football weekends are tough too. The city also enjoys a surprisingly solid music scene — Paul Simon had just played there the week of my visit — so book early.

Missoula has a great strip of bars and restaurants downtown, just a few minutes off I-90. Regular readers know that I love stopping at Break Espresso downtown. There are plenty more places to get great bread (Le Petite Outre) or coffee and cinnamon toast (Black Coffee Roasting Company). All those places are pretty dog friendly, too.

But the action is on and around Higgins Avenue, near the old train station. I’ve had luck at the Flathead Lake Brewing Company before. It has a small patio where dogs are welcome that provides excellent people watching space. It was packed on my visit, however, so I headed to the old classic, Iron Horse Bar and Grill, right at the end of the strip. Rusty was more than welcome in the ample outside seating there, and from our vantage point, we could watch the whole town come to life as the sun went down over the mountains.

On an otherwise hot trip across the country, the cool mountains of Missoula and a smoke-free, pet friendly patio are just about the perfect place to take a rest.

About Bob Sullivan 1403 Articles
BOB SULLIVAN is a veteran journalist and the author of four books, including the 2008 New York Times Best-Seller, Gotcha Capitalism, and the 2010 New York Times Best Seller, Stop Getting Ripped Off! His latest, The Plateau Effect, was published in 2013, and as a paperback, called Getting Unstuck in 2014. He has won the Society of Professional Journalists prestigious Public Service award, a Peabody award, and The Consumer Federation of America Betty Furness award, and been given Consumer Action’s Consumer Excellence Award.

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