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Fly the Friendly Skies

What if you and your dog could get to the San Juan Islands in 45 minutes? Or, Victoria, BC in under an hour? Well, you can—when you fly the dog friendly skies with Kenmore Air!
Written by Brandie Ahlgren | Photography by Tushna Lehman
With flights from Seattle, a getaway to Washington’s San Juan Islands or Canada’s Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast is super easy and super fun, because when you fly with Kenmore Air, Fido can come along. Yes, you can drive to these destinations, but after the long car ride, ferry lines and waiting at the border, doesn’t hopping aboard a seaplane and arriving at your destination in under an hour sound so much better? We think so. To start planning your getaway, below are a few of the destinations serviced by Kenmore Air and the pet-friendly places to sit, stay and play.

Victoria, British Columbia
Kenmore Air offers several daily seaplane flights between Seattle and British Columbia’s capital, Victoria. Located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, this beautiful city has much to offer two- and four-legged alike.

Stay. Located in the heart of Victoria, the ultra modern Oswego Hotel pampers your pooch with his own custom-sized bed, designer food and water bowls and locally-made, organic treats. The renowned Fairmont Empress offers several amenities for Fido including his own bed, food and water dishes, bottled water plus complimentary treats baked locally by Scruffy Dog Barkery. One of the few hotels located on Victoria’s Inner Harbour, the Hotel Grand Pacific offers the usual doggie amenities (beds, bowls and treats), but with the added bonus of a Doggy Delight room service menu.

Eat. Located in the heart of Cook Street Village, Bubby’s Kitchen welcomes you and your pooch, whether you are looking for a full meal, a snack or a great dessert accompanied by a cup of locally roasted coffee. Grab one of the two doggie designated tables located outside, with water bowls nearby.

The outdoor patio at Fernwood Inn is the place to be with your pooch to enjoy locally-sourced organic products, wild seafood and Victoria’s best microbrews. On weekends, power up for a walk along the waterfront with brunch. With items like Danier’s Famous Breakfast Sandwich (two eggs, crisp bacon and English smoke cheddar on ciabatta bread, topped with paprika aioli, roasted tomatoes and fresh avocado), how could you go wrong?

Pets are also welcome on the patio at Café Brio, where the menu features many items made in-house including salumi, salt-cured sardines caught from local waters, pickled vegetables, mustards, olives, breads and cheese. If not made in-house, then items are sourced locally; produce is sourced from BC farms, seafood is ordered fresh daily, with fish only hours out of the water, and the beef comes from Alberta.

For two- and four-legged foodies alike, here’s something really special. Local culinary tour company, Feast Concierge, offers interpretive tasting tours for those traveling with dogs. This guided dog walk follows a culinary trail around the Inner Harbour with stops at some of Victoria’s pet-friendliest places including Dogs in the Bakery, mentioned below. The tour provides tasty treats for dogs and gourmet tastings for owners at each stop plus the story of Victoria’s thriving food and drink scene. Tours are available on request or ask about their upcoming fundraiser for the Victoria Humane Society. With three dedicated tours in 2015, the cost is $45 per person and $25 per dog, with $25 donated to Victoria Humane. For more information, visit

Shop. Be sure to swing by Paws on Cook to stock up on healthy food and treats as well as find unique apparel, toys and supplies. The shop makes every effort to be eco-friendly and feature products found as close to home as possible like Canadian-made Glowdoggie LED collars ( and Chilly Dogs outdoor gear (

Play. Victoria has 12 off-leash parks for plenty of play time. Just blocks from downtown, the pup-ular Dallas Road Park offers a trail and beach for your dog to run, with a backdrop of stunning ocean and moutanin views for you to enjoy. Another local hot spot, Clover Point, is a great place to walk with Fido—on clear days, you can catch spectacular views of Mount Baker. And, a favorite is Shonghees Hilltop, where you can watch seaplanes come and go from Victoria’s Inner Harbour, while Rover romps off-leash.

Nanaimo, British Columbia
Located along the east coast of south-central Vancouver Island, Nanaimo sits perched above a lovely harbor bustling with activity from boaters to kayakers, scuba divers to dog lovers...yes, dog lovers.

Stay. Located just minutes from Nanaimo, Inn of the Sea Vacations’ pet-friendly condominiums sit on 3.5 acres of stunning waterfront property and feature all the creature comforts you could want for relaxing with Rover. Located in the heart of downtown Nanaimo, the recently renovated Coast Bastion Inn offers guests panoramic ocean views and a bright, modern décor. They also cater to canines, with a comfy dog bed, doggie dishware and treats for your companion.

Play. For off-leash fun, check out the dog park at Beban Park. Also, Westwood Lake, located at the foot of Mount Benson, is a popular hiking area with locals (as is hiking to the top of Mount Benson). The road running under the powerlines on the south side of the lake, is leash-free. Tucked away in central Nanaimo, Beaufort Dog Park is a partially fenced area with plenty of space for dogs to run and play. And, Colliery Dam Park, with two lakes and miles of walking trails, features an off-leash area (unfenced).

Pets are also allowed on the “Pickle Boats” (passenger ferries) for the short trip across the harbor to Newcastle Island. This 756-acre provincial marine park offers you and Fido a quiet retreat to explore the island’s 14 miles of trails. It takes two to three hours to walk the island and it’s well worth it. Watch for wildlife, keep an eye out for First Nations totems and simply enjoy the stunning views (

Eat & Drink. At Millstone Winery, Daisy, the resident golden Lab, happily entertains four-legged patrons, while wine enthusiasts enjoy a tasting flight on the pooch-friendly patio. Another favorite, Javawocky Coffee House, located along Nanaimo’s waterfront walkway, provides dog treats and a water bowl on the patio, where pet owners can enjoy coffee with their pooch. And, conveniently located next door to Woofles (see below), Bocca Café has a covered, pet friendly patio.

Shop. Located in Nanaimo’s historic Old City Quarter, Woofles Barking Boutique offers organic treats and snacks like dried duck feet (ew!) and Bark & Fitz, a boutique pet store on Metral Drive, offers healthy food and treats plus stylish toys, gear and gifts for the most discerning dogs.

Sunshine Coast, BC
British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast is one of the most beautiful places on the planet and with an average 231 days of sunshine per year, this 110-mile stretch of BC mainland coastline has certainly earned its name. Between May and September, Kenmore Air offers scheduled service to several dog-friendly Sunshine Coast destinations.

Stay. In Gibsons, BC, Marian’s On the Coast offers the perfect getaway for you and your pooch. The dog-friendly Waters Edge Suite is located just steps from the beach, and features its own private entrance, ocean views from every window, an oceanside hot tub, plush robes and slippers, complimentary tea, coffee, snacks and welcome breakfast basket plus an optional additional bedroom for families. And best of all, there is no extra charge for your furry friend—that’s what we call truly dog friendly!

At Sunshine Coast Resort, Hotel & Marina, dogs are welcome in all accommodations, from the executive penthouse to an oceanfront cottage. The resort also features a large off-leash area, where you can take your dog for a dip in the ocean. Or, rent a motorboat and take Fido for a cruise. Besides car or boat, this gorgeous resort is accessible only by charter flight on Kenmore Air, but the setting makes it oh so worth it.

Pender Harbour is a regularly scheduled seaplane destination for Kenmore Air and Pender Harbour Resort & Marina is happy to accommodate you and your pooch in one of its cottages or yurts. Yes, yurts! Also located near Pender Harbour, Fisherman’s Resort has been a favorite for visitors—two- and four-legged alike—since 1961. Their quaint and cozy waterfront cottages enjoy beautiful views of Hospital Bay.

San Juan Island, Washington
With 247 days of sunshine and half the rain of Seattle, the San Juan Islands are the perfect year-round getaway for you and your pooch--especially with daily service on Kenmore Air. The most inhabited and accommodating of these isles, San Juan, offers a veritable smorgasbord of Northwest scenery, history, craft and culture. Whether you yearn for the slow pace of island time or the excitement of new experiences, this Washington gem delivers—especially for dog lovers.

Stay. One such dog-friendly oasis is Lakedale Resort, set on 82 acres, surrounded by three freshwater lakes and nestled between Roche Harbor and Friday Harbor. There are six canine-friendly cabins, each featuring two bedrooms, two full baths, dining nook, fireplace and large cedar deck. It’s the perfect place to retreat to after exploring the island and as you will discover, the island has much to explore.

Play. A good place to start is the Sculpture Park, located on Westcott Bay. The 20-acre park features more than 100 pieces of art by noted artists from the Pacific Northwest including Georgia Gerber (known for her iconic Pike Place Market bronze-sculpted pig).

As those of us who live in the Pacific Northwest know, the San Juan Islands are prime whale watching waters and Lime Kiln Point State Park is an ideal overlook to keep an eye out for these amazing creatures. With 2,550 feet of waterfront, Lime Kiln Point is considered one of the best places in the world to view whales from land, especially in peak whale-watching months from May through September. To find solitude and nature, even at the peak of summer, visit American Camp National Historical Park. Whether you’re on the prairies, rocky hilltops, deep forest or saltwater shoreline, there is plenty to explore with your pooch.

Shop. Not too far from the park is Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm. While Krystal Acres is not dog friendly, for animal lovers it is still worth a visit. The farm sits on 80 acres, with an ever-growing herd of more than 50 alpacas. Stroll around the farm, pet an alpaca or two then browse through the extraordinary selection of super-soft alpaca sweaters, coats, yarn and cuddly alpaca toys in the Country Store. Next, head to Pelindaba Lavender Farm. It’s a short distance from Krystal Acres, and it’s dog friendly for the most part. Dogs can wander the grounds with you, they just can’t be in the organically-certified lavender fields, where Pelindaba cultivates the flowers. However, there is plenty to explore with your pooch including the on-site distillery where the essential oils are extracted from the flowers to create a wide range of delicious smelling products.

A visit to San Juan Island would not be complete without exploring Friday Harbor. Friday Harbor might be small in population at 2,260, but it’s big on charm. This quaint seaside hamlet boasts a multitude of restaurants offering the finest in dining, from lovely open-air bistros to delicious ice cream parlors plus shops galore, offering everything from clothing and jewelry to paintings and sculptures—all hand-crafted by local artists. Most of the shops are dog friendly, particularly Brown’s Home Center, where your pooch will be warmly welcomed with treats. And, just up the street a bit, pay a visit to Edgar & Friends dog park where your Rover can run free.

With Kenmore Air offering so many options for you and Fido to fly the dog-friendly skies, a trip to the San Juan Islands and/or British Columbia is a must-do with your dog. Keep in mind when planning your getaway, pet immunization records and a health certificate are required on international routes and advance reservations are required, regardless of your dog’s size or weight. Speaking of weight, Fido’s airfare on Kenmore Air is based on weight—25 lbs or less, he flies for free; 26 lbs and up, fares start at $75 each way.

And, depending on your destination, flights depart Seattle from Lake Union and Boeing Field as well as from the city of Kenmore on Lake Washington. In Kenmore, if you have some time to kill before your flight, grab a cold one with your canine at 192 Brewing’s Lake Trail Taproom. At any given time, they offer up to 18 delicious beers and ciders on tap. The taproom is dog friendly inside and out. Inside, you can watch the big games on large screen TVs, play pool and listen to live music. Outside, the large garden area is situated directly off the Burke-Gilman Trail, where you can relax with Rover, while enjoying live music, refreshments and a bite to eat.

For more information about Kenmore Air including flight schedules, destinations and special offers, visit

More Information
Oswego Hotel
500 Oswego Street, Victoria, BC
Fairmont Empress 
21 Government Street, Victoria, BC
Bubby’s Kitchen
55 Cook Street, Victoria, BC; 250.590.8915 
Fernwood Inn 
1302 Gladstone Ave, Victoria, BC 250.412.2001
Café Brio 
944 Fort Street, Victoria, BC; 250.383.0009
Paws on Cook 
359 Cook Street, Victoria, BC 
Inn of the Sea Vacations 
3600 Yellow Pt Rd, Cowichan Valley, BC
Coast Bastion Inn  
11 Bastion Street, Nanaimo, BC 
Millstone Winery
2300 E Wellington Road, Nanaimo, BC
Javawocky Coffee House
90 Front Street, Nanaimo, BC; 250.753.1688
Bocca Café
427 Fitzwilliam St, Nanaimo, BC; 250.753.1797
Woofles Barking Boutique 
427 Fitzwilliam St, Nanaimo, BC; 250.591.1013
Bark & Fitz
6338 Metral Dr, Nanaimo, BC; 250.933.2222
Marian’s on the Coast
1990 Thornbrough Road, Gibsons, BC 
Pender Harbour Resort & Marina 
4686 Sinclair Bay Road, Garden Bay, BC
Fisherman’s Resort & Marina
4890 Pool Rd, Garden Bay, BC
Lakedale Resort
4313 Roche Harbor Rd, Friday Harbor, WA
192 Brewing & Lake Trail Taproom
7324 NE 175th Street Ste. F Kenmore, WA
(425) 424-2337;
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