We planned a road trip to go to Chincoteague and Assateague Islands. I grew up reading Misty of Chincoteague and the sequels over and over but I’d never been to the islands. Once we had decided on a driving vacation we decided to bring the dog with us. We found a pet-friendly place to stay on VRBO. I researched things to do with the dog and we were ready to go.

The day before we were going to leave we got the list of instructions from the place we were staying. Slid into the instructions was a line that said that we were not allowed to leave a dog unattended at the house. What? That was not what we had planned. We could never leave him alone?

Ready to go!

We figured out why when we got there. The description of the place was misleading. Instead of a house to ourself with a nice backyard it was an apartment above an occupied house. There was a fancy backyard but it was the backyard to the house so we didn’t feel like that was accessible to us.

The apartment was wonderful. But it was an apartment. There were people living underneath who made noise. Nemo would bark at the noises. We thought this wasn’t going to work at all the first night.

I relied a lot on bringfido.com to find dog-friendly things to do. It was great. Now that Nemo wasn’t going to be staying home for his afternoon nap, we changed our plans around.

We spent our mornings leisurely at home and then headed out for the day. First stop, lunch. Nemo became a restaurant dog! We were based out of Snow Hill MD to be halfway between Chincoteague to the south and the Maryland portions of Assateague to the north that are dog-friendly. Restaurants were super dog-friendly in this area. We never had any issues with any restaurant that had a patio. Our favorite was The Sterling Tavern in Berlin MD.

He did great at all the restaurants. He figured out that he had to lay down and chill while we ate. He never begged or bothered other people. Mostly he entertained himself by trying to catch flies.

Oaked 110 in Snow Hill MD
Lazy Lizard in Ocean City MD – Where a whole group of bikers wanted to pet him
A Cuban restaurant in Frederick MD

BringFido also let me know that there were boat tours that were dog friendly. We went to Daisey’s Island Cruises on Chincoteauge. We ended up seeing dolphins and eagles mostly. There were other birds but only one pony glimpsed in the distance. Nemo had a blast.


We also spent a lot of time in the Assateague National Seashore. That beach allows dogs on it year-round. I spent a lot of time thinking about how to keep him comfortable and not too hot. I ended up not bringing an umbrella just because it was awkward to get in my car. He solved the issue in 10 seconds. We set up our chairs and he hunkered underneath in the shade. I felt stupid for not thinking of that. I put a towel across the seat and let it hang down the sides and he had his own beach cabana. We used a fitted sheet as a base to keep most of the sand out of his fur. It was the perfect playpen for him.

He even showed that he completely understood the assignment by jumping off the sheet and into the sand when he had to pee and then jumping back in. Great problem solving!

He wasn’t a fan of the ocean. He didn’t like the water chasing him. We’d walk near the edge and sometimes his feet (or belly) got wet if he didn’t dance away in time. He liked naps on the beach though. I agree.

His only mishap came on day 2. We were walking and he screamed and fell over. I had to carry him home. I think he stepped on a fire ant. No wounds, no blood, he was convinced he was dying. He held his leg up and out 90 degrees from his body for hours – even when lying down. Eventually his pain meds kicked in and he went to sleep. By the middle of the night when he woke up to go pee (he was too gruesomely injured to go earlier, don’t you know?) he was all better. The next day on our walk I tripped and fell and skinned myself up. After that we decided to limit our walks for our own safety!

It wasn’t the trip we had planned but it turned out really fun. I’m proud of Nemo for trying a bunch of new things. Even though he was exhausted at night and sometimes acted like a cranky baby (growling to complain whenever anyone woke him up) he did really well.

Frederick MD – We were walking past and he planted himself on this step and refused to move. I had to carry him away.

Now I’m just dealing with the cats being super angry that we brought him back home with us!