Dog-Friendly Asheville, North Carolina
How pet friendly is Asheville? So pet friendly that you'll need to sit down and prioritize which of the many attractions you'll have time to visit during your vacation.
Luckily, the Dog City, USA welcome center at The Dog Door (1 Battle Square) offers the perfect place to do just that! With fresh water, a dog exercise area, and information about local, pet-friendly restaurants, accommodations and activities, you should make the welcome center your first stop.
While you're there, you can shop for toys and accessories, including tools (no-pull harnesses, anxiety treatments, etc.) to make vacations with your pet more enjoyable for both of you.
Of course, the Dog Door isn't the only place to spoil your pet. In fact, you may start to wonder if Asheville has more stores selling goods for pets than for people! Check out Asheville Pet Supply (1451 N Merrimon Avenue), The Tail Gait Market (328 New Leicester Hwy), and Three Dog Bakery (21 Battery Park), just for starters.
Once your pup is rocking his new collar or bandana, it's time to do a little shopping for yourself. The Asheville Outlets (800 Brevard Road) allow pets to stroll the outdoor shopping area with their people, and there is a pet relief station behind the West Elm outlet store.
The Outlets are only a few miles from the area's best-known attraction, the Biltmore Estate (1 Approach Road)--a 250-room, French-inspired chateau built for George Vanderbilt II.
The largest privately owned home in the country, Biltmore has impressive grounds designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (who also planned New York's Central Park and San Francisco's Golden Gate Park). The gardens and grounds cover 8,000 acres and are pet friendly, though only service animals are allowed inside the house. If your dog doesn't object, Biltmore offers a limited number of outdoor kennels where your pet can wait while you tour the mansion.
Another can't-miss destination is the North Carolina Arboretum (100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way). Only service dogs are allowed inside the buildings and the Bonsai Exhibition Garden, but with 10 miles of trails to explore, you won't run out of beauty to admire with your pet.
If you and your pooch prefer less-manicured scenery, check out the trails off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Leashed pets are welcome, and the Craggy Gardens section in particular has many unusual plant species. But you can also find other trails that suit you and your dog by downloading maps from the visitor website.
If you like cold beer and your pup is happy to tag along, stop by the Sierra Nevada Brewery. Start out on the mile-long hiking trail, and then head to the back patio, which offers a variety of seating areas, lawn games (like corn hole and bocce), and live music -- in addition to food and beer.
Townie pets will enjoy the Asheville Urban Trail (Pack Place), a short, self-guided tour of downtown historic sites. This tour will take you by The Grove Arcade (1 Page Avenue). Pets are not allowed inside the arcade, but you'll find pet-friendly outdoor seating at Carmel's Restaurant and Bar. The Arcade is also where you'll find the Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar, where dogs eat and drink for free at the Espresso Dog Bar!
It might take less time to list restaurants that do not allow pets on their patio than those that do. If you see outdoor seating, it's worth stopping in to ask if your pet is welcome to join you there. For a small city, Asheville has options to suit anyone's tastes - from vegan fare at Plant (165 Merrimon Avenue), to barbecue at 12 Bones Smokehouse (5 Foundy Street). There's no excuse to go hungry!
By now, you probably realize that you'll need a long weekend or more to get the most out of your Asheville vacation. Two RV parks, Asheville Bear Creek RV Park (81 S Bear Creek Road) and Taps RV Park (1325 Tunnel Road), let you stay close to everything. Or take a break from your rig at one of Asheville's many pet-friendly hotels or inns. For example, 1900 Inn on Montford (296 Montford Avenue) has pet-friendly rooms in their carriage house with access to their own private gardens, and many of the chain hotels and motels offer pet-friendly lodging.
Did we miss anything? Leave your suggestions for pet-friendly things to do and see in Asheville below!