Traveling without your best pet friend can be depressing. And while no other creature can really replace the furry, scaly, or winged member of your family, travel opportunities abound for pet-lovers looking for a little bit of that magic out on the road. And we don't mean exotic safaris or whale watches (unless, of course, you keep ibexes and humpbacks for pets).
Dog-Sledding in Alaska
Alaska may be known for its droves of wildlife, but for something a little less ferocious, book a trip with a few of man's best friends for a tour only pooches can provide. Hook up with Ididaride Sled Dog Tours out of Seward; the Seavey family has sent generations of mushers and dogs to the Iditarod, and offers tours in both summer and winter, so no matter when you go, you'll be in good paws, er, hands.
Saving Sea Turtles in Costa Rica
Sea turtles have it rough. Between beach erosion and human poaching, they have earned their spot on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In Costa Rica, you can help conserve and protect these graceful (and super cute!) reptiles through volunteer NGO programs like Tropical Adventures. Help create a safe beach environment for nesting mothers, and help injured turtles recuperate through their various programs in Costa Rica.
Horseback Riding in Glacier National Park
There are few things we've experienced that have been as moving as spending time with the beautiful horses of Montana. Make the most of your trip to Glacier National Park with a horseback tour by Swan Mountain Outfitters. Quietly connect with one of nature's most beautiful creatures on trail rides that range from one hour to multi-day packing trips.
Swimming with Pigs in the Exuma Cays
What? You haven't swum with pigs before? Well, then, prepare to have your mind blown with cuteness. On Big Major's Cay, part of the Exuma Cays of the Bahamas, a colony of pigs waits around for tourists to come by with food scraps. Hop in the crystal clear surf and watch as the little oinkers come out to greet you (and snag a snack).
Visiting Rabbit Island
Nothing cuter than a fuzzy bunny, right? How about a whole island filled with fuzzy bunnies? The tiny island of Okunoshima, Japan, has become a hotspot for tourists in recent years who come to squeal over (and cuddle and feed) the island's exploding rabbit population. Once a manufacturing site for poison gas (bummer) Okunoshima features a museum chronicling the history of the island, as well as hotels, and you know, hundreds of aww-inducing bunnies that have grown accustomed to feedings by tourists.
Photo credits: Dog-Sledding in Alaska courtesy of Ididaride Sled Dog Tours; Sea Turtles in Costa Rica via Shutterstock; Horses in Glacier National Park via Shutterstock; Pig in Exuma Cays via Shutterstock; Rabbit Island courtesy of Flickr/gacha223