The beauty and splendor of the North Carolina mountains entice visitors from all over the state and beyond! With scenic surroundings and spectacular views, majestic waterfalls, and an abundance of outdoor activities, many pet parents flock to western North Carolina with their furry sidekicks for much-needed getaways. Many of these destinations welcome pet parents and their dogs with open arms, and they offer plenty of dog friendly accommodations and activities that appeal to everyone.
We surveyed pet parents to determine what they look for when visiting a mountain destination. The top picks are primarily based on the availability of nearby pet friendly activities and accommodations, and the overall pet friendliness of the specific mountain destination. Here are the top picks for the best North Carolina mountain getaways for people and their pups.
Often referred to as the “Land of the Sky” and “America’s Happiest City,” it’s no surprise that Asheville ranks at the top of the list. Widely known for its variety of outdoor activities, attractions and unique atmosphere, Asheville offers something for every pet parent and dog alike. The many dog friendly things to do include hiking and even waterfall-watching expeditions! There are plenty of dog parks in the area, such as Azalea Road Dog Park and French Broad River Dog Park, just to name a few. For those water dogs out there, the French Broad River is the perfect place for paddleboarding and kayaking with their humans. Also, while many visitors have already heard of the famous Biltmore Estate, they are even more pleased to discover the expansive grounds are a perfect place to walk with their dogs.
Taking a break from the outdoor activities leads to wonderful downtown Asheville. Here people will find many restaurants, breweries and coffee shops that welcome dogs to their outdoor seating areas. Additional excursions include Haunted Asheville Ghost Tours, as well as museums and galleries for pet parents and their furkids to explore.
When if comes to dog friendly lodging, the options in Asheville range from comfortable and quaint, to luxurious and expansive, with everything in between. The main connection for all are the wonderful views and convenient location to the surrounding Great Smoky Mountains! On top of that, many accommodations offer pet perks that go above and beyond to welcome pooches. Asheville Swiss Chalets is a great example, with pet amenities that include doggy treats, pet towels and blankets, fenced-in yards and an on-site dog walking area in the woods. Other top dog friendly accommodation options include Carolina Mornings Vacation Rentals and 1900 Inn on Montford, which have pet policies and amenities aimed to please travelers and their furry family members.
Located right at the entrance to the Pisgah National Forest, Brevard offers plenty of outdoor adventures for people and their furkids. Known as the “Land of Waterfalls,” there are hundreds of waterfalls with breathtaking scenic views located throughout the area. One of the most popular is Whitewater Falls, which hails as the highest falls east of the Rocky Mountains with its 400-foot drop! There are also plenty of walking and hiking trails, such as Coontree Loop Trail with creekside, mountainside and ridgetop surroundings.
When taking a break from the many nature trails, picnic spots and dog parks, visitors can check-out the pup friendly restaurants with outdoor patios and covered areas. There are also sidewalk cafes, bars, coffee shops and local eateries that welcome visitors and their furry family members. Brevard is also just a short 45-minute drive from Asheville, for those who want to venture out to a nearby larger city.
The dog friendly accommodations in Brevard include a variety of places offering extra pet amenities to make dogs feel like VIPs (Very Important Pooches)! A favorite among pet parents and their pups is Dogwoods Retreat, which is the “perfect private luxury dog and owner vacation.” All dogs are welcome with no pet fees for 2 dogs or less, and each cabin offers huge fenced yards on one-acre lots, along with dog beds, bowls and towels. There are nearby rivers to swim in, trails to hike and wildlife to chase on or near the property. It is clearly evident that this "doggie heaven" was designed with dogs in mind!
The small and unique town of Boone is located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It's a place where people and their dogs find new areas to explore and new adventures to experience, together. There are plenty of excursions, such as wandering through local vineyards on the Boone Area Wine Trail, and playing fetch at the Watauga Dog Park. Other activities include walking and hiking trails, taking a break at a dog friendly brewery, and shopping at the classic Mast General Store.
Choosing a great dog friendly accommodation in Boone is easy, since there are so many vacation homes, resort condos and cabins where dogs and their humans can stay. One great option is to book a place through Foscoe Rentals, where dogs of all types are welcome in the dog friendly rentals, any time of the year. They have lodging options with spectacular views of Grandfather Mountain, one- and two-level homes with plenty of space to spread out, extra amenities like covered decks and porches, as well as plenty of hiking trails in the area for sniffing and exploring.
4. Bryson City
For those looking for a truly dog friendly vacation, Bryson City welcomes pet parents and their pups. There are loads of outdoor activities, such as paddleboarding on the Tuckasegee River, pontooning on Fontana Lake, and enjoying a picnic at Island Park. There are also live entertainment events, restaurants with outdoor seating, and breweries such as Nantahala Brewing Company. Many local businesses even offer water bowls outside their doors to thirsty, four-legged passers-by.
There are many accommodations in Bryson City that welcome your pet, and Nantahala River Lodge is a great example! This unique riverfront cabin offers dog friendly amenities such as pet placemats, pet towels and dog biscuits. It is close to the 2-mile Nantahala River Walking/Biking Trail and the Bartram Trail, both of which provide great opportunities for dogs and their people to hike and explore in the area. Then, relax with your pooch by an evening campfire as a perfect end to a fun-filled day of exploring Bryson City.
Waynesville is home to many dog friendly activities and excursions. These range from unique experiences like elk watching, wandering around waterfalls, and sniffing around beaver dams and mountain bogs. There are also the more traditional outdoor options like hiking, fishing and camping. For elk watching, the Cataloochee Valley is home to reintroduced elk, and they can be seen at dawn and dusk. The valley is one of the remote parts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, filled with rich history and beautiful scenery. Another great option for early risers is to visit the Tuckasegee River at dawn for prime fishing. Then, after making that “big catch,” visitors can choose to tube, float and canoe down the river along with their dogs.
A great dog friendly place to stay in Waynesville is Buffalo Creek Vacations, which is considered a private, 72-acre, little piece of heaven tucked away in the mountains. People and their furkids can wake up to watching the sunrise over the Smoky Mountain peaks, and even set their sights on the herd of buffalo that stop nearby for their morning oats. Their log cabins have large back decks for lounging, and visitors can enjoy long hikes on the property and fishing spots within walking distance.
The North Carolina mountains provide endless choices for activities, adventures and accommodations for pet parents and their pooches. Our choices for top mountain getaways highlight just a few of the many wonderful destinations. When pet parents are looking for great lodging options during their vacations with their dogs, as well as a chance to get back to nature and the great outdoors, they know they can’t go wrong with any of the top North Carolina mountain getaways on our list!