Camping with dogs

This is how to do pet-friendly camping right

I’m a woman who just can’t bear to leave her babies behind on holiday. (And by babies, I mean the four-legged, wagging tail type.)

The memories of my own family holidays growing dustier by the year (remembering when my five-year-old brother fell off a three-storey bunk bed still makes me cry with laughter), I decided it was high time to make some family holiday memories of our own.

And our family includes our two dogs.

Camping with dogs? How hard could it be!

Hank | Pet-friendly camping in Queensland

That’s Hank.

He’s three and a half, handsome as all get-up, and will have you wrapped around his big puppy paw in minutes.

Holly | Pet-friendly camping in QueenslandThis is Holly.

She’s 18 months old, completely deaf, and will have you in stitches with the funny things she does.

The challenge was on to ensure that we had a safe, memorable and relaxing camping holiday…. so here are some pointers that may just help.

Challenge accepted

Camping at Rainbow Beach | A local's guide to the Sunshine Coast

Rainbow Beach was the perfect spot for our first family getaway. Calling ahead and having a chat with the management was our first port of call.  

They gave us some great pointers (which I’ve included below!) and welcomed us with open arms upon arrival.

We had a beautiful spot, near the water and out of the main campground, which was perfect. The dogs had space on their ground spikes to run around and play, and stretch out.

Camping prep

Before you leave for your camping adventure, follow this checklist to ensure you all have a safe and relaxed time.

– Scout out local off-leash dog areas/parks/beaches

– Call ahead to check that the camping site will accept your pups (some have weight and size limits)

– The phone number and address of the local 24-hour vet’s surgery where you’re staying

– Ensure you have a secure collar with a name tag that includes current phone numbers

– Registration with your council + microchipping

– Any pup medication and a copy of your latest vaccination certificate (some campsites require this)

– Dog First Aid App (from the app store)

Don’t forget to pack:

Camping with dogs

Photo by @thiswildidea featured on @campingwithdogs

– Doggy sunscreen

– Blankets and towels

– Your dog’s bed (preferably above the ground in case it’s cold or damp)

– Water and food bowls

– Bottled water

– Food + extra (just in case you stay a few extra nights or break down)

– Saline dog eye wash (GREAT for getting out dirt and sand)

– A doggy playpen if you’ve got a smaller dog

– A corkscrew ground spike and a long lead (fantastic for bigger dogs)

– A handy tick remover (you should be checking your dog’s daily in the warmer months, and this handy little gadget will help you remove them in)

– Doggy poo bags

– Your dog’s favourite toys and balls

On location

Camping with dogs

Photo by @goprogirl featured on @campingwithdogs

Being aware of your surroundings is not just for you – it’s for other campers and dogs as well. Your dog may be the friendliest little guy going around, but it doesn’t mean all dogs are.

Approaching with caution, and preferably asking for permission to approach is respectful and smart.

If your dog is loud, do try and keep them quiet. All dogs bark –some more than others – but barking early in the morning or late at night can be aggravating for many.

Picking up after your pooch is a no-brainer for most of us, but keeping a watchful eye and a quick hand will ensure that no one ends up stepping in droppings!

Places to go:

Camping with dogs

Photo by @captain_shark featured on @campingwithdogs

There are dog-friendly campgrounds, holiday parks and national parks all over Queensland, but here are few ideas to get you started on your pet-friendly camping holiday plans:

– Mudjimba Beach Holiday Park, Sunshine Coast

Amamoor State Forest, near Gympie

– Lake Redbrook Holiday Retreat, Childers

– Cania Gorge Retreat, North Burnett

– Captain Cook Holiday Village, Seventeen Seventy

Bucasia Beachfront Caravan Park, Mackay

– Palm Cove Holiday Park, Tropical North Queensland

Click here for a full list of pet-friendly camping options in Queensland.

Do you take your dogs whenever you go camping? Where are some of your favourite spots?


This post was originally published in 2015 and updated on the 13th December 2017.