• Culture

The Best Vacation Spots for Animal Lovers

List RulesUpvote the most adorable destinations you want to visit.

Are you crazy for the animal kingdom, a fur-ball fanatic, or an undersea adventurer? If you love animals, but hate that the only ones you generally see on vacation are limited to guys dressed like Mickey and Pluto at Disneyland, then you're about to get some good news. This list features all of the best vacation spots for animal lovers from all over the world! Whether you want to cuddle with cows in California or volunteer with elephants in Africa, we’ve got you covered with the coolest animal islands, fur-ball-loving festivals, and four-legged fun the planet’s got to offer.

Toss out those theme park pamphlets and scroll down to learn how you can spend your next vacation meeting little known creatures or even volunteering with some of the most gorgeous endangered species on the planet. Whether you’d love to swim with sharks or work hands on with giant pandas in China, there are plenty of fellow animal lovers in the world that would love to help you do it and we’re here to help you get you in touch with them. Here you’ll find not only fun and festive annual events that honor the furry, but some incredible non-profit organizations around the world who always welcome volunteers to give love to the animals they work so hard to save.

So why not consider making your next vacation one you’ll remember for a lifetime? Whether these animal islands, critter getaways, and vacation spots for animal lovers lead you to a place where you can make friends with monkeys or make a difference in the life of a cheetah, one thing’s for sure: they’ll all leave you with memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime.
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    Bond with Elephant's at Thailand's Elephant Nature Park

    Photo: shazinova / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
    If you've always dreamed of making a big difference, you can make one for some of the biggest boys around at Thailand's Elephant Nature Park. The park provides a sanctuary for elephants, many of which have been injured, orphaned, blinded, or abused as working animals. They even offer hands-on volunteer opportunities, where you can sign up to help bring joy to some of the biggest buddies you'll ever have.
    Is this worth the trek?
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    Swim with the Coolest Swine in the Bahamas at Pig Beach

    Photo: cdorobek / flickr / CC-BY 2.0
    Though you'll quite possibly never eat bacon again, a trip to Pig Beach in the Bahamas is without a doubt the coolest place to go hog wild in the Bahamas. In short, its exactly what you hope it is: a beach where whole communities of adorable local, swimming pigs love hitting the waves and interacting with tourists!
    Is this worth the trek?
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    Chill with a Cheetah at South Africa's Cheetah Outreach

    Photo: Mycatkins / flickr / CC-BY-ND 2.0
    If you like kitties of the larger variety, check out the volunteer program at Cheetah Outreach in South Africa. The organization works to increase awareness and promote the survival of the gorgeous endangered cats in their huge outreach center, where they even occasionally breed more of the beautiful animals. Not only is it a great place to visit, the center also welcomes volunteers from all over the world, who are invited to work with and enrich the lives of the big kitties who live at the facility.
    Is this worth the trek?
  • Photo: Arctic Wolf Pictures / flickr / CC-BY-ND 2.0

    If you can't get enough of polar bears then you won't be disappointed if you bring it on up to Manitoba, Canada this fall! Each year, during the fall migration, the area ends up hosting the largest unofficial polar bear convention in the world.

    Wanna get up close and personal without becoming a tasty snack? Just book your stay aboard the Tundra Lodge, a huge rolling hotel which constantly repositions to give you the best possible view of your new polar pals.
    Is this worth the trek?