A Dog’s Life, Seattle-Style

Walking the beach at Iron Springs Resort.

by Tracey Wickersham

I did something this past spring that changed my lifestyle pretty substantially: I got a dog. Adopted from the Seattle Humane Society, our 12-year-old but still spunky Blue Heeler has quickly assumed a prominent role in both our household and our hearts.

Suddenly I find myself asking questions I never had before. Does that park allow dogs? What about that beach?  What hotels are pet friendly? What excursions would be fun for humans and canine?

A walk at Alki Beach in Seattle.

This past spring and summer we’ve been paws-out exploring and some of our favorite Seattle outdoor places to walk and play with our buddy have been Discovery Park, Lincoln Park, Golden Gardens, Kubota Garden, Green Lake, Alki Beach and Seward Park.  Unless it’s a designated off-leash area, Seattle laws mandate that all dogs must be leashed, and they are not allowed on City of Seattle public beaches. As we venture further outside the city limits, it’s great to know that leashed dogs are welcome in all Washington State Parks, and the mostly uncrowded beaches on the Washington coast are, for the most part, extremely dog-friendly.

Within Seattle, the Kimpton hotels roll out the pet welcome mat. In fact, Micky has been whining a bit about wanting to go play hotel guest in our own city, so he can get the royal treatment. At check in, pets are added to the VIP (Very Important Pet) register, provided treats, bowls, water and the all-important doggie bags of the clean-up variety! If you need grooming or walking services, they’ll set you up. Want a personalized dog-friendly itinerary? Bark once for yes.

Lincoln Park.

We loved taking our pal with us for a long weekend break to a serene spot on the Washington coast, basking in the completely remodeled and extremely pet-friendly Iron Springs Resort. Each of the cozy cabins offers toasty fireplaces or wood stoves, sweeping views, and nearby access to a long stretch of uncrowded beach.  Before our very eyes, Micky became a youngster again as he romped in the salt air, chasing tennis balls and Frisbees, only to be washed off and dried with his very own paw-embroidered ISR towels before sacking out in front of the fire.

Back in Seattle, it seems almost every weekend offers a dog friendly event to explore.  A recent example: the Northwest Cider Summit, featuring 60+ premium hard cider producers from Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, California, England, France and Spain, at the South Lake Union Discovery Center lawn.  We didn’t have to leave Micky behind, and we say cheers to that!

Fetch more ideas:

Micky naps.








About the Author

Tracey Wickersham

Tracey Wickersham is the Senior Director of Cultural Tourism at Visit Seattle. A volunteer dj & host of a long running music program on KBCS 91.3 FM, she spent 6 years on the board of 4Culture, supporting arts, heritage, public art and historic preservation in King County. You'll often find her at the Tractor Tavern enjoying great bands, exploring one of the region's beautiful parks with her spunky blue heeler mix, or in one of Seattle's many live theater venues.

More Posts By Tracey Wickersham



  1. This post is really instructive. Because there are many different types of information given and there are many information to know about.

  2. Another great site for pet friendly hotels is http://www.petswelcome.com and they have a great “search by route” feature that allows you to show hotels on your route while driving. That’s my favorite part of the site.

  3. I LOVE that you adopted a 12-year-old Heeler! My friend”s Heeler lived until 18, which is pretty incredible 🙂

    Wanted to let you know I added a link to this story on the “Stories We Love” tab on my website http://www.DogGoneSeattle.com. As a mom to two dogs that love to get out and about, I created the website to feature dog-friendly establishments and activities in the greater Seattle area. Hope you like it!

    • Thanks Jenny! You made me very happy with the thought that our sweet Micky might only be “middle-aged!” We are awfully fond of him. Heelers are great dogs, although, as we”re learning, not for the weak-willed.

      Thanks so much for letting us know about your website — looks like you have lots of great info for dog families to explore. Glad to know about it!

      • you should think about adding comment notifications to your site, i happened back here looking at blog stats and just now saw your response… anywhoodles.. yes, heelers have a lot of personality! so healthy, too. i hope to have on some day.

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