By Tina Coleman, Southern Delaware Tourism

Southern Delaware’s seasonal marketing campaigns focus on a variety of niches including outdoor adventures, our Culinary Coast™, accommodations, history, arts and entertainment, festivals, etc., and they all perform very well, but regardless of the year, the season, or pandemic status, one niche that performs exceptionally well and receives a great deal of engagement across platforms and time frames is our pet friendly campaign. 

More and more travelers, including visitors to Southern Delaware, are traveling with their pets. In fact, according to the American Pet Products Association’s 2021/2022 National Pet Owners Survey, 70 percent – about 90 million families – own pets. About 37 percent of families travel with their pets, which is up about 19 percent over the last decade, and the trend is destined to continue as many families acquired pets during the pandemic. 

As the number of travelers requiring pet friendly accommodations and services grows, so does their demand for destinations that make traveling with their furry friends fun and easy. Southern Delaware hospitality businesses are – and have been for some time – stepping up to meet and exceed that demand, making Sussex County a magnet for pet owning families. 

Many of our local businesses, parks, and accommodations not only welcome pets, but encourage people to visit with their canine companions. And it’s not just a matter of pet friendly hotel rooms, although we certainly have lots of those and the number is growing every year. It’s dining establishments allowing pets on their patios. It’s local businesses catering specifically to pets and their families. It’s our reasonable rules allowing pets in our parks and on our beaches and boardwalks. It’s the numerous and very popular pet-centric events taking place throughout the year in different local communities. It’s downtown shops putting out bowls of water and offering treats to four legged visitors. 

This is why we work hard to get the word out about just how pet friendly and accommodating our destination is. Potential visitors need to know that Sussex County is more than just a welcoming, friendly community; they need to know we are a welcoming, friendly – and actively pet friendly – community. 

In addition to our marketing campaigns, both our website and our Visitors Guide contain information for pet parents, including pet friendly accommodations, transportation, beach and state park rules, restaurants that welcome pets, pet centric events and lots more. The website link to our pet friendly page is If you know of a business or tourism event that should be added, email the information to