Animals are the best. We are so lucky to share this planet with so many different, varied, and unique creatures.
From pets like dogs and cats and horses to farm animals like pigs, cows, and sheep, from wild animals like wolves and flamingoes and elephants to undersea creatures like dolphins and octopi, there is so much beautiful and incredible diversity in the animal kingdom.
It’s no wonder that we are enamored with furry, feathered, and scaled critters from near and far! One of the most exciting parts of travel for those of us who love to travel the country and the globe is the opportunity to see different animals where they live.
There’s nothing quite like an up-close-and-personal encounter with a creature you’ve only seen in books or on television previously. Even if the animal in question is common or kept as a pet where you live, it’s great to spend time with or observe our animal friends in an environment different from the one that we are most used to.
If you love animals, it makes sense to combine your travels with an experience that is in some way related to them. There are lots of ways to accomplish this.
People choose to visit animal sanctuaries on their visits to other countries or states. Others might go out of their way to enjoy a trail ride in the mountains during their trip. Still, others make a point to go snorkeling or even scuba diving in places they know they’ll see a lot of undersea creatures.
These are all great ways to incorporate animals into your vacation – but there’s an even bigger and better option, too. Have you ever considered staying at a hotel or resort or other accommodation that offers memorable animal experiences right on-site? There are many hotels with animals.
Accommodations such as these are not super common, but there is still a wide variety to choose from around the nation and the world.
In addition to visiting an exciting new place, you can spend a portion of your vacation observing lions and giraffes, petting dogs and cats, or swimming with sharks and manta rays.
If you’re looking for a truly unforgettable, animal-focused vacation, read on. Our list of hotels that have animals onsite will excite you. Don’t be surprised if you book one or more of these adventures before this year is over.
Resorts & Hotels With Animals On-Site in The United States
There are a number of accommodations in the United States where you can wake up and enjoy animals right outside your window. The accommodations described below are very different from one another. But, there’s something for every animal-loving traveler among them.
1. Best Friends Animal Society – Kanab, UT
Most animal lovers have pets and most people who have pets adore their pets. This very special no-kill animal sanctuary in southern Utah will give you the opportunity to spend time with animals who are seeking homes.
It’s located on 3,700 acres in a breathtakingly beautiful canyon and is home to over 1,600 animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, potbellied pigs, livestock, and more. Guests can volunteer daily in an area of their choosing, or they can sit back and enjoy the animals and the property.
Accommodations include cottages and cabins and RV sites on-site. But, if you’d rather stay in the nearby town of Kanab, many local hotels will let you bring potential adoptees with you for a sleepover, if you’d like.
See Related: Best Weekend Getaways in Utah
2. Farm Sanctuary – Watkins Glen, NY
Farm Sanctuary was founded in 1986 as the United States’ first no-kill shelter for farmed animals.
Today, it is home to over 800 cows, chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys, pigs, goats, and sheep on three hundred acres in Watkins Glen (and they have a second farm in Acton, California as well). Farm Sanctuary is well-known for work in animal rights advocacy locally and nationwide.
Visitors can stay on-site in cozy cabins or cottages and will love observing and interacting with the animals. You’ll also get a free, private tour of the site during your stay.
See Related: Best All-Inclusive Resorts Without a Passport
3. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kissimmee, FL
Disney is well-known for its unique and over-the-top accommodations. With that said, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge may be its most exciting offering.
If you’ve ever wanted to travel to the African savanna but find a trip of that caliber to be out of reach, this 1,307 room hotel might be a more affordable substitute.
Guests can enjoy watching over twenty different types of African animals right outside their windows and in the hotel’s common areas. Animals on site include zebras, giraffes, impalas, gazelles, wildebeests, and more.
This resort also has pools, playgrounds, arcades, fitness centers, a spa, basketball and tennis courts, several bars and restaurants, and a busy activity schedule for families and children.
Obviously, this resort is adjacent to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and close to all of the exciting features of Walt Disney World. However, you may fall in love with this resort so much that you may have a hard time striking out to do other things
4. Lost Valley Ranch – Sedalia, CO
If you love horses and want to spend a lot of time riding them with the Rocky Mountains as your spectacular backdrop, then you’ll love Lost Valley Ranch. This all-inclusive dude ranch feels incredibly remote but it’s only about an hour from Colorado Springs and two hours from Denver.
It’s received AAA’s Four Diamond Award for forty-four consecutive years and it’s been serving guests since 1961.
Lost Valley Ranch has over one hundred and twenty horses and offers morning and afternoon rides every day for all skill levels. It’s also a working cattle ranch. Visitors can participate in Round-Up Week in the fall if they’d like to try an authentic Colorado ranching experience.
The ranch’s twenty-three cabins are all different and sleep from two to seven guests each. All food is included, but you won’t find televisions, phones, or internet here. Sit back, unplug, and enjoy your time with the horses instead
5. Katmai Wilderness Lodge – Katmai National Park, AK
Only twelve guests can stay at Katmai Wilderness Lodge in Katmai National Park in Alaska at one time, so you’ll have to book very far in advance if you’d like to stay there. This advance planning will be well worth it, though, when you get to watch bears fishing right outside your window.
Katmai National Park, which covers 4.2 million acres, is considered to be the world’s bear epicenter. It’s believed that over 2,200 brown bears live in the park!
As you might imagine, a stay at the Katmai Wilderness Lodge is not cheap, but your cost does include lodging, all meals, guided bear and wildlife viewing, and a flight on a floatplane to get there – there are no roads that lead to this accommodation, so you’ll have to fly.
6. Plantation on Crystal River – Crystal River, FL
Plantation on Crystal River was an eco-friendly resort before eco-friendly resorts were cool. This resort has been open for over fifty years and is on 232 acres in the northern part of Florida’s west coast.
This luxury resort offers fine dining, a spa, fishing, boating, pools, hot tubs, bike rentals, a fitness center, sports, games, and live entertainment, but the biggest draw here is the manatees.
Plantation at Crystal River is located on King Bay, a shallow area where the Crystal River slowly trickles out to the Gulf of Mexico.
This area is home to up to four hundred West Indian manatees at any given time. This species is protected, so you are not allowed to touch or disturb the manatees, but you are allowed to swim above them and observe them as you do.
7. Jules Undersea Lodge – Key Largo, FL
As you can see, Florida has a number of accommodation options that include animals; one more to consider in this southern state is Jules Undersea Lodge in Key Largo.
It’s the only underwater hotel in the United States and guests must scuba dive to get to their rooms which are located thirty feet below the ocean’s surface.
This hotel’s underwater rooms give guests the opportunity to view marine life outside their windows.
Each underwater bedroom is stocked with water, soda, tea, and snacks, and the staff will deliver a pizza to your room at dinnertime. If you’re not scuba certified, Jules Undersea Lodge also offers instructional packages to help you get down there safely.
See Related: What is the Cheapest Way to Travel Across the US?
Resorts & Hotels With Animals On-Site in Europe
Europe is generally one of the last continents that people think of when they are thinking about wild animals, but there are actually many rural areas throughout this part of the world that are just teeming with local wildlife.
Further, Europe is well-known for its love of horses, so you’ll easily find a wide variety of accommodations that cater to equestrians. Check out these great animal hotels in Europe although there are many others to consider as well
8. Jarvzoo Wolf Hotel – Jarvso, Sweden
In central Sweden, visitors can check out one of the most interesting and unique zoos in the world.
Jarvzoo is home to red and arctic foxes, musk ox, lynxes, wolves, moose, deer, bears, owls, eagles, and more. It has vast enclosures for each of these types of animals and they work hard to make sure they mimic the animals’ natural environments.
The zoo’s accommodation – which also hosts conferences, if you’re interested in having one there – is a hotel in a converted barn that is located adjacent to the wolf enclosure.
Guests can watch the wolves from the comfort of their rooms and can hear them howling at night. A sauna that looks out into the enclosure can be reserved as well.
All guests have free access to Jarvzoo twenty-four hours a day and can explore it at night or in the early morning when the animals are most active – before and after it’s open to the public.
9. Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort – Saariselka, Finland
Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort is famous for a lot of things. People flock from all over the world to watch the northern lights from its glass igloo-style rooms.
However, many people don’t realize until they get there that this special resort is also home to many interesting animals.
In addition to watching the night sky and trying to stay warm, Kaksluttanen Arctic Resort offers many activities that include animals including dog sled excursions, safaris on sleds pulled by reindeer, horseback riding, and sleigh rides.
10. Stable Stays Horse Hotel – Cumbria, United Kingdom
Have you ever wanted to have a sleepover with a horse?
Stable Stays Horse Hotel operates with the belief that a lot of people want exactly that – hanging with horsies! This unique accommodation has put beds, kitchenettes, dining areas, and bathrooms in their barn adjacent to horse stalls.
A transparent divider will allow you to separate yourself from your horsey roommate when you desire, but you can also let them right into your room to share the space with you.
You can brush and feed the horses at your leisure; if you find them to be too noisy at night, you can get earplugs from the front desk.
See related: 18 Things to Know as an American Driving in the UK
Resorts & Hotels With Animals On-Site in Africa
People come from all over the world to see the animals of Africa – typically on safari. No matter where you grew up, you’ve been hearing and reading about elephants, giraffes, rhinos, leopards, and hippos your entire life. Only some people get the opportunity to see these creatures in their natural habitats.
If you do go to Africa to see these animals, you might as well make the most of your time there by staying in a hotel that will allow you to enjoy observing them at all hours.
Check out these animal hotels on this intriguing continent.
11. Giraffe Manor – Nairobi, Kenya
If you’ve ever seen photos of Giraffe Manor in Kenya then you’ll likely remember them forever. Images of people eating breakfast in a posh, high-end resort with giraffes leaning in the windows and over their shoulders are not something you’ll soon forget.
Giraffe Manor is a twelve-room boutique hotel in a suburb of Nairobi. It’s located in a 1930s mansion that is beautiful even without the giraffes, but they are quite a bonus indeed.
If you can get a reservation – they’re increasingly hard to get – you’ll have the opportunity to watch the giraffes, but since they are wild creatures, there’s no guarantee they’ll show up.
While you wait, you can enjoy spa treatments, horseback riding excursions nearby, and trips into Nairobi for shopping and museums.
12. The Manta Resort – Pemba Island, Tanzania
The Manta Resort is one of the world’s most famous underwater hotels. Pemba Island is off the coast of Tanzania in the Indian Ocean. Although this resort also has rooms that are on land and above water, its underwater rooms are its most popular.
To access these rooms, you’ll be dropped off on a platform by a boat; a ladder will allow you to descend to the hotel room below.
From there, you can lie in bed and watch the underwater life around you day and night through large windows that surround you on all sides. During the day, you can relax and sun yourself on the deck or dive in and swim with the fish you see.
Resorts & Hotels With Animals On-Site in Central & South America
Central and South America are also popular destinations for animal lovers. Both of these areas are mostly jungle and as a result, animals of all kinds thrive. If you want to see animals in the wild, the central and southern portions of the Western Hemisphere are pretty surefire bets
13. Lapa Rios Eco Lodge – Puerto Jiminez,
Lapa Rios Eco Lodge is located in one of the most remote parts of Costa Rica – the Osa Peninsula. It takes quite a bit of time to get to this resort, but you’ll find the trip to be well worth it. It’s located in a 1000 acre private nature preserve, and you’ll be amazed at all the wildlife that surrounds you here.
Luxury accommodations await you at Lapa Rios Eco Lodge. The resort’s seventeen bungalows have huge decks for relaxing and animal watching.
The staff will lead you on birdwatching hikes, interpretive walks, and sustainability tours and will teach you all about the massive biodiversity found in Costa Rica and on the Osa Peninsula in particular.
14. JW Marriott El Convento Cusco – Cusco, Peru
This Marriott property is a luxury boutique hotel in a building that served as a convent in the 16th century. Today, it’s a great option for accommodations in the historic city of Cusco. If the 11,000-foot elevation gets to you, tell the front desk; they’ll pump extra oxygen into your room.
Once you catch your breath, step on out into the courtyard and meet the resident baby llama that lives there. He or she will love your pets and will gladly participate in your photoshoots. If that one llama isn’t enough for you, you can visit the nearby Awana Kancha Alpaca Farm nearby for hands-on enjoyment of many more similar creatures.
Resorts & Hotels With Animals On-Site in Asia
Asia is known for being the land of elephants, tigers, pandas, and more.
You’ll see much wildlife when you visit this part of the world, but you can see even more if you pre-arrange your accommodations and stay at an animal-focused hotel.
15. Elephant Nature Park – Chiang Mai, Thailand
There are many places in Thailand where you can see elephants in captivity, but unfortunately, many of them are not good homes for these gentle beasts.
Fortunately, there are also a number of sanctuaries and rescue centers throughout the nation that care for these animals and treat them well. It’s crucial that you do your research to make sure you visit the right ones.
One of the consistently best-rated sanctuaries for elephants in Thailand is Elephant Nature Park. Most visitors stop here for a day to visit with and learn about the elephants.
However, there is also the option to stay overnight for up to a week to volunteer with elephant care. Guests stay in traditional bamboo huts; mosquito netting is provided.
16. Sunderban Mangrove Retreat – Jamespore, India
This eco-friendly resort is in the far eastern corner of India. This part of the country is covered with swampy, mangrove forest as a result of being the place where two rivers – the Ganges and the Brahmaputra – meet.
Because of this, this area supports much wildlife, including hundreds of bird species and dozens of types of mammals and reptiles. Most people come here to pursue one type of animal, though – the Bengal tiger. This area is believed to be the home of the world’s largest surviving wild tiger population.
You may not see a tiger when you visit this resort, but you’ll be sure to see lots of animals during your stay. Between animal sightings, you can relax in the hotel’s rooms, cottages, and huts and enjoy its highly rated cuisine.
Resorts & Hotels With Animals On-Site in Australia
Australia is world-renowned for having an abundance of wildlife – many say that it’s the most dangerous continent when it comes to wild animals.
Still, many people live in and visit Australia and survive, so it’s likely that you’ll be just fine. Check out these great resorts that will let you get close to the wildlife – if you dare.
17. Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat – Flinders Chase, SA
This small resort offers thirty-one rooms just a ten-minute walk from Flinders Chase National Park. Kangaroo Island is an aptly named island off the coast of southern Australia and it’s full of wildlife.
Guests will have the opportunity to hike around the property to view creates like wallabies, koalas, kangaroos, sea lions, local birds, and more. The on-site restaurant is spectacular, especially considering how remote this place is.
18. The Wildlife Retreat Taronga Hotel – Mosman, NSW
Just across the water from Sydney is the world-famous Taronga Zoo; it opened in 1916 and today is home to over 5,000 animals. The Wildlife Retreat Taronga Hotel gives guests a chance to experience and enjoy the natural beauty of the bushland and the animals that live there.
Each room or suite reservation includes breakfast and dinner, guided wildlife tours, and complimentary access to the zoo, and you can sign up for one-on-one animal encounters for an extra fee.
Even if you choose against spending the extra money, you can observe Australian animals in the courtyard twenty-four hours a day. It’s currently rated as the #2 hotel in all of Sydney on TripAdvisor.
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