Top 10 Pet-friendly Vacation Spots

Your pet may enjoy a day at the beach -- with a little shade and water. See more dog pictures.

For many people, pets have taken the place of children in our lives. For instance, the percentage of U.S. families with pets is double that of U.S. families with children, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. We pamper them, brag about them and look forward to being with them every day. When we travel, we don't want to leave our little fur balls behind and, increasingly, we're not.

Twenty-nine million Americans traveled with their pets in 2007. Many hotels and restaurants allow patrons to bring pets into their establishments -- or at least onto the premises. Travel guides and Web sites often indicate whether they're welcome at hotels, eateries, attractions and events. The travel and roadside assistance organization AAA and some publishers even produce guides specifically for people vacationing with dogs and cats.

Certain venues are a natural fit for people who want to explore and experience new places in the company of their animals. But pets present problems for some vacation experiences, such as cruise ships and art museums. So, while doors and attitudes are opening up in some places, they remain closed in others.

In this article, we'll look at loads of vacation themes and destinations that offer escape, excitement, new experiences and a warm welcome for both you and your cat, dog or even horse.