Pet friendly hotels are cropping up in all shapes and sizes. They offer lodgers accommodations in the traditional sense and you get to bring your four-legged friends with you during your stay. That's pet friendly.

But animal friendly hotels with a twist supply guests with amazing opportunities to interact with animals, both domesticated and wild, on site. These unique inns and lodges provide environments where the animals are part of the overall theme or experience.

If this is something that appeals to you, then you'll probably enjoy reading about these two animal friendly resorts located right here in the United States where animals and animal interaction feature prominently.


Gunflint Lodge — Grand Marais, MN

Dog Sledding: Animal friendly hotels like the Gunflint Lodge offer dog sledding adventuresDog Sledding: Animal friendly hotels like the Gunflint Lodge offer dog sledding adventures


Are cold weather, playing in the snow and dogs three of your favorite things? Then Gunflint Lodge in Minnesota's Northwoods mid-December to mid-March is the place to be. Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and — not surprisingly — Gunflint Lodge sits on one of them. In the colder months, the area is transformed into a pristine winter wonderland and the best way to get around is by dog sled. That's right, dog sledding. If you've ever watched the Iditarod and uttered the words "How cool would that be?!" then now's your chance to get a taste of it.

Whether you just want to snuggle down under a stack of warm blankets and go for a ride, or actually interact hands-on with the Malamutes and huskies that pull the sleds by learning how to handle, harness and give commands, you have that option at this animal friendly vacation destination.

Besides the dog teams to enjoy, guests are encouraged to sprinkle kernels of corn outside their cabins in the early evening hours for a little deer watching as they forage for the tasty treats. The wood cabins come complete with fireplaces and most feature kitchens, saunas and laundry facilities. In addition to all of that, there are plenty of opportunities for exercise with nature hikes via cross-country skiing or snowshoeing as well, so you're not likely to get bored — or flabby.

All in all, this is a stellar chance for animal lovers to experience the great outdoors in the depths of winter with animals that were born to it. The best part of this animal friendly hotel with a twist is that it's pet friendly too, so you don't have to leave your own fury friends at home.


Starlight Llama B&B — Florence, MA

Animal Friendly with a Twist, the Starlight Llama B&B: Photo courtesy of Jarred ClappAnimal Friendly with a Twist, the Starlight Llama B&B: Photo courtesy of Jarred Clapp


Continuing with a focus on animal friendly lodging with a "Northern" exposure, the Starlight Llama B&B is an animal and eco-friendly hotel situated on 65 acres of conservation-protected land in Massachusetts where guests can go off the grid and be surrounded by animals. It's unique in that it's a bed and breakfast and a working farm, both of which are powered by the sun.

The owners chose to go solar in order to make a positive difference on the environment. Their decision to go off the grid is actually the reason why they opened the B&B: they wanted to share what they learned about going green so people could see for themselves how easy solar living can be.

The farm, on the other hand, has been in their family for generations. The animals include llamas, goats, peacocks, emus, chickens, guinea fowl and a miniature donkey, among others. While personal pets are not allowed, visitors are welcome to help bring in the hay, shear a llama or even weed a garden, depending on the time of year.

The surrounding area is rife with wildlife such as rabbits, deer, beaver, foxes, ducks and assorted water fowl, various birds of prey, otters and even bears and bobcats, but you're more likely to see their tracks than actually run across the latter two in person. Hiking, bird watching and other naturific activities are abundant at the Starlight Llama B&B, and they are highly encouraged.

The inn itself offers three very clean modestly-decorated rooms that come with farm-fresh breakfasts made with ingredients straight from the garden. If you're looking for someplace to get away from it all without dropping off the face of the Earth, this just might be it.

Interestingly, the owners have been kicking around the idea of "WOOFING," as they put it. This is where people work on the farm or in the woods in trade for, presumably, a room. While it may not be everybody's cup of tea, it's an excellent idea for others.

More Animal Friendly Destinations

For more ideas on pet and animal friendly hotels, motels, lodges and destinations with a twist, follow my articles on PetsLady.