Asheville is one of the most dog-friendly places in the United States, which is why so many pet owners move here. It’s not uncommon to come across happy dogs joining their owners on a trot down a hiking trail, a jog down around the park, or a brewery-hopping adventure downtown.
If you’re new in town, it can be tough to figure out where you’re in the clear with your pup, so we’ve put together a couple different options for how you can spend a sunny day in Asheville with your four-legged friend.
Downtown Dog Stops
Like we said, Downtown Asheville is a great place for dogs. There are stations with doggie bags on almost every block, lots of green space, and almost everywhere welcomes dogs. Unlike some other towns, most local businesses allow pets (so long as they’re well-behaved) as an implied rule. The boutiques and galleries that would prefer your pet stay outside usually have a sign in the window. Other than that, your pup can join you from shop to shop as you browse hand-crafted goods and local art—and if you’re not sure if your dog is welcome, just ask!
Restaurants are typically a bit of a challenge for dog owners, but that’s generally not the case here. So long as there’s a patio, you’re probably in the clear. Places like Twisted Laurel, Laughing Seed, and Carmel’s have enough room for you and your pooch to relax and enjoy a nice lunch. North Carolina Health Codes mandate that only service animals are permitted to dine with you inside, so you’re out of luck if the weather turns.
Breweries and Cocktails
Breweries and cocktail bars are where things get a little fuzzy. Depending on the food situation, your dog may or may not be able to join you inside at one of Asheville’s many breweries and bars. You’re in the clear at some South Slope spots like Green Man Brewing, Burial Brewing, and Urban Orchard. You can also head to the River Arts District for a stop at Wedge at Foundation as well.
One of the most popular dog-friendly places is Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar, where you can relax with a nice cup of coffee or wine nestled in rows and rows of books. They’re known to have musicians situated near the front door when the weather is nice, making it a quiet, cool place to hang out after a day of exploring the city.
The vast majority of hiking trails in Western North Carolina are dog-friendly. Some of them can be a little tough to navigate on four legs, though, so be sure to avoid spots with steep inclines and scrambles across rocks. Black Balsam Knob, Craggy Pinnacle, and Graveyard Fields are great places to start—not too tough, and the trails are usually pretty wide.
A few tips before you go: make sure you bring lots of water, doggie bags, and a good harness! You’re required by law to clean up after your dog, even way out in the woods. Even if it wasn’t the law, though— it’s just being kind and decent to your fellow travelers and all the other creatures that live out in our lush forests! You’ll also want to keep your buddy on a short leash in a cozy harness for their own safety. It’s easy to get lost out there, and you don’t want to risk your dog running off chasing a squirrel and getting into trouble.
You’ll see someone skirt the rules from time to time, but you’re supposed to have your dog on a leash everywhere you go. It’s good manners and keeps your pet safe, especially when there’s a lot of traffic or other animal around.
If you want to let your little guy or girl run around a bit, you have two options in town: French Broad River Dog Park or Azalea Park Dog Park. Both are runs situated within larger parks, so you’ll have to do a little walking around to find them. French Broad has a large dog and small dog area. Both of them are a little tight, so stay alert! They also tend to get a little muddy after rain storms, so bring a towel if your dog likes to play dirty.
Western North Carolina’s Most Dog-Friendly City
Asheville is a great place to live, especially if you’re attached at the hip to your pets. It’s a welcoming community of fellow animal lovers, and most people here will be friendly and respectful of your dog’s space. These are by no means the only options for dog owners. You’re bound to find more and more of them as you get to know this beautiful city, so get out there and enjoy yourselves!
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