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Dog-Friendly Asheville: The Ultimate Local Guide

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Is Asheville Dog Friendly?

Asheville is a town nestled in the mountains of North Carolina. Dog friendliness is one of Asheville’s main attractions, so much so that Asheville is also known as Dog City USA.

In the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville will delight all visitors. Not only are there plenty of things to do in Asheville itself, but the surrounding mountains and forests lend to tons of hikes and outdoor exploration. 

Year-round there are so many fun activities for dogs in Asheville. Luckily dogs are allowed inside many places throughout Asheville, there really is something for every type of dog and traveler. So now it’s time to pack up the car and bring the pup along for a fun stay in the dog-friendly city of Asheville.

Larry & Daphne have been traveling for many years. Before moving abroad with their dog, Coco, a fluffy husky mix, they lived in North Carolina.
Asheville is a super dog-friendly city which was one of the first places Coco visited on her many trips throughout the Carolinas.
Now they record all their fun adventures on OurFrenchTravels.com

Top Dog-Friendly Things to Do in Asheville, NC

Exterior of the store in downtown Asheville with a metal sign, "Dog Door"

Dog Welcome Center

Your first stop in Asheville should absolutely be the Dog Welcome Center. Dog-friendly Asheville has added a welcome center just for dogs. This Dog Welcome Center is the first of its kind in the world!

Here you’ll find indoor and outdoor seating, a doggy relief area, and water fountains. Your dog will get a free goody bag, dog ice cream, and of course, information on the top 100 dog-friendly attractions and restaurants in Asheville. 

The Welcome Center is found inside The Dog Door Behavior Center and Outfitters. It is in downtown Asheville across the street from the Grove Arace at 1 Battle Square. It is open Monday- Wednesday 9 am – 5 pm, Thursday-Saturday 9 am – 7 pm, and Sunday 11 am – 5 pm.

Walk Along the Urban Trail

This 1.7-mile walking tour through the streets of downtown Asheville is a great way to explore with your dog. If you love art and history, this is the walk for you! Asheville’s history is told through 30 stops along the Urban Trail.

This self-guided tour is perfect for history buffs, and architecture lovers, or as a fun twist on your dog’s daily walk. The Urban Trail highlights five distinct time periods that are marked by pink granite on the sidewalk.

It is our favorite way to enjoy the beautiful town’s skyline, streets, and sculptures. We enjoy grabbing breakfast to go while walking our dog through downtown Asheville. Plus, the 1.7-mile walk fully tires out our dog, so we can do non-dog-friendly activities later on.

Biltmore Estates (Grounds)

Another great place to take your pet for a walk is the Biltmore Estate. They must be kept on a leash at all times! Of course, pets are not allowed inside the Biltmore House or other Estate buildings. The beautiful Biltmore Estate Gardens are absolutely worth exploring, especially with the blooming flowers in spring and summer. 

Historic Trolley Tour (Dogs Under 25 pounds)

One of the things we enjoy doing in new places is taking a Hop-on/Hop-off type of tour. The Historic Trolley Tour in Asheville is the best hop-on/hop-off tour, AND it is dog-friendly. 

It is important to note that the dogs allowed on the trolley have to be less than 25 pounds and must stay on or near their adult human. Only one dog per human adult. Finally, you cannot get off at the Omni Park Hotel with your dog unless you are staying there. 

Along this 15-mile route, there are 10 different stops. While in the Trolley, you’ll get a fun and dynamic tour guide narrating an informative history of the dog-friendly Asheville. One loop lasts about 90 to 100 minutes, with a 15-minute stop at the visitors’ center. The best part? The trolley ticket starting at $37 allows you access to the trolley for two whole days.

Book your dog friendly trolly tour today

French Broad Outfitters Float Trips

Does your dog enjoy spending time on the water like ours? Well, then the French Broad Outfitters is for you! The store is super dog friendly, allowing you to bring your pup while you shop. But this is not where their dog-friendliness ends! If you have a well-behaved dog that knows/enjoys swimming, you can bring them with you onto the river.

French Broad Outfitters rents out a variety of different things, including canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddle boards. The kayaks and canoes are the dog-friendly ones. Additionally, you can rent camping equipment and head out to the Blue Ridge Mountains to camp with your dog. French Broad River in Asheville. 

Shopping with Your Dog

Asheville has many shops and outlets both downtown and on the outskirts of town. One of the best parts about dog-friendly Asheville is how dog-friendly the shops are as well. If you’re looking for outlets, the Asheville Outlets have over 75 stores, and they’re very dog-friendly. You’ll find many dog bowls and seating areas.

Downtown Asheville has wonderful local shops that are dog-friendly. They are entertaining for humans and pets alike. Some of our favorites include Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar, Mast General Store, and the Antique Tobacco Barn

Throughout Downtown Asheville, you’ll see lots of stores with dog bowls outside their doors. There are, of course, a variety of pet stores as well (which offer many treats). Plus, the people in Asheville are dog friendly as well, asking to pet your dog or stopping to chat about dogs. 

Best Dog-Friendly Hikes Near Asheville

A scenic overview of the dog-friendly Blue Ridge Mountains

Craggy Gardens

The Craggy Pinnacle Trail at Craggy Gardens ends with a breathtaking view! This trail is an out-and-back, and your dog must remain leashed at all times. The hike takes about 40 minutes, and it’s about 1.2 miles in total. Definitely worth the views at the end! 

Graveyard Fields Loop

The North Carolina mountains have plenty of waterfalls, and they are all worth visiting. While there may be too many to visit on one trip, Graveyard Fields Loop offers two waterfalls to see. Our dog loves to swim, so being able to take her on a hike that includes a swim is a win-win for us! 

Chimney Rock State Park

25 miles southeast of Asheville is Chimney Rock State Park at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s a must-visit due to the Chimney Rock, which offers 360-degree views of the mountains.

While there is an elevator to take you to the top, dogs are not allowed and are required to climb up the 500-step stairs. It is truly a workout worth doing, and don’t forget to bring plenty of water. Additionally, there are other paths in the park where you can walk your dog if the stairs are too daunting.

Blue Ridge Mountains

Since dog-friendly Asheville is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, you must go visit them. There are many different hikes and trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway all of which are dog (on leash) friendly.

They are closed in winter, so keep that in mind! We love summiting Mount Mitchell with our dog. And on days when it’s not foggy, the views are incredible.

Another great place to check out the Blue Ridge Mountains is in dog-friendly Blue Ridge, Georgia. Check out all their pet focused activities on another weekend getaway.

Best Places to Eat or Drink with A Pet

Downtown Asheville showing traffic and brick facade buildings

Dog-Friendly Restaurants in Asheville, NC

One of the most important things for us when we travel someplace new is the food. Asheville does not disappoint. There are several Beard Award-winning restaurants in Asheville. Additionally, most restaurants have outdoor patios that are dog-friendly! Now that’s what I call Dog City, USA! 

However, we do have some favorites. Twisted Laurel tops the list because it is particularly dog-friendly. They feature their very own Dog Menu. So while you’re enjoying Medditerran comfort foods, your dog gets their very own special meal. 

In the heart of downtown is Posana, this farm-to-table restaurant also features a dog menu with homemade dog treats! Not only can your dog have dog treats, but they also offer a special bacon-soy ice cream to cool off on a warm summer night.

Finally, there is the White Duck Taco. While they may not have a dog menu, their human menu is downright delicious and an Asheville favorite. They have a large outdoor patio that is very dog-friendly. 

Dog-Friendly Breweries Asheville, NC

North Carolina is the land of the Breweries. When we lived in Boston, we incorrectly thought we lived in the land of beer, boy were we wrong. If you want a brewery, you can essentially find one on every street in Asheville. Nearly all the outdoor patios and beer gardens are dog-friendly. 

Hi-Wire Brewing’s building is colorful and high energy, just like the people inside. You’ll find a great patio to sit with your dog and enjoy some locally brewed IPAs. Additionally, they have plenty of fun events like the “Cupid is Stupid” car-smashing event. They really enjoy keeping the whole town on its toes, and if your dog loves the high energy of the people, they’ll love this patio.

Highland Brewing is a locally women-owned brewery with lots of fun events going on. They offer a spacious garden and taproom at their brewery that is pet friendly.

Finally, DSSOLVR is on our list of fun pet-friendly breweries (although it is by no means the last option -there are 43 dog-friendly options in Asheville). 

Dog-Friendly Hotels in Asheville, NC

Ashville is so dog-friendly that you have 60 hotels to choose from, and that’s just hotels. There are 23 cottages/cabins, 12 beds and breakfasts, and countless campgrounds that are also dog-friendly. That’s not even including AirBnB or VRBO! Below we’ve narrowed it down to a couple of different price points of hotels we’ve really enjoyed.

Aloft Hotel – Found right downtown, Aloft is perfectly located to reach all the best spots in Asheville. Additionally, it has its own bar, a snack bar, and a lounge. The rooms start from $159 and have wifi and very comfortable beds.
Finally, dogs are allowed (make sure you let them know when you book) without a pet fee!

Omni Grove Park Inn – This is a beautiful and relaxing hotel with incredible views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It has many amenities, including golf, canoeing, a spa, and a pool. Definitely a hotel that doesn’t require you to go far. Additionally, it is on the Historical Trolley tour.
There is a pet fee for having a dog at the Omni Grove Park Inn. 

Princess Anne Boutique Hotel & Breakfast – Perfect for a winter getaway to the mountains! With rooms that have their own fireplace and patios for warmer months, this B & B is a beautiful place to stay. The hotel has lovely board games and puzzles for a cozy lobby and a spa on site.
Pets are allowed with an additional charge. 

Worth Leaving Fido Behind

Lazy River Floating

One of our favorite things to do in Asheville is to do a Lazy River float. Many different spots will rent you a tube and drive you upriver to your floating spot. Usually about 3 hours, you and your group can float down the river to the endpoint. Many places offer “paddle sticks” to help you ensure you don’t crash into things. They also have straps to connect tubes if you have multiple people in your group. Plus if you bring a cooler (like we did), you can rent a cooler raft in order to enjoy snacks or lunch on the water.

Important to remember that the rivers will be cold! So ensure to bring a long sleeve or something else to keep warm. Also, bring plenty of sunscreen.

Biltmore Estate & Village

You can visit the Biltmore Garden with your dog, but you cannot visit the village or the estate. However, the estate and village are TOTALLY worth it. It is such a magnificent house. There is so much to see and explore in Biltmore Village.

Additionally, throughout the year, they have many events to check out. The most beautiful being Christmastime. 

Food Tour

Asheville is known for its incredible food! They have many award-winning chefs and restaurants. Of course, it’s hard to go to all the places or to eat everything, so a food tour is worthwhile! Pups, however, are not usually invited on food tours since you’ll be going in and out of different restaurants. 

If a food tour isn’t your speed, there are cheese tours and farm tours as well. Another super cool food-related activity is the Foraging Tour which allows you to try the wild mushrooms and plants of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

Chocolate Factory Tour

While Asheville offers many outdoor winter activities, sometimes it’s nice to get out of the cold. What better way than by getting chocolate?

Asheville has several locally made chocolate shops. The French Broad Chocolate offers Tours of the Factory several times during the week and Wine & Chocolate tasting on the weekends. You’ll get to see how the chocolate is made and taste it in all its stages. At the end, there is even a drinking chocolate tasting which will warm you right up in winter. 

The Adventure Center

For a full day of outdoor adventuring, head to the Adventure Center in Asheville. While Charlotte’s Adventure Center is dog-friendly, Asheville’s is not. Which is okay, after many walks, your dog will likely enjoy some downtime while you head to the treetops for some ziplining.

If heights aren’t your thing, there is also mountain biking. It is also a great place to bring your kids if you’re traveling as a family. 

Shoji Spa: Japanese Spa

A truly unique spa experience nestled in the mountainside. Take a break from everything in the tranquil spa with a traditional Japanese bathing and soaking experience.

You’ll have a completely private room with an outdoor salt tub and spa shower. All the products used are locally sourced in the mountain area. It is truly the ideal place to relax after all the hikes and outdoor activities. 

When is the Best Time to Visit Asheville, NC?

Husky playing in the snow in a forest outside of Asheville


Fall is my favorite time of year to visit dog-friendly Asheville. The mountains have the most vibrant and beautiful fall foliage. I know people always want to go to Vermont, but North Carolina will also take your breath away in the Fall.

Most importantly, the weather in the Fall is the best for spending time outside. It is not too hot, it is not too cold, and you won’t get rained on. It’s the perfect weather for a warm mug of coffee and walks outside while avoiding the hot North Carolina summer sun. Excellent for a slow relaxing vacation with your dog.


Summer is a great time to visit Asheville. My main warning is that North Carolina gets very hot in the summer, so you want to be careful with your dog. It’s important to bring enough water when you’re going on a hike or spending extended time outside. Also, be careful with the hot sidewalks and streets.

Of the many fun summer-specific activities in Asheville, some of our favorites include the outdoor amphitheater performances (yes, dog-friendly!), chasing waterfalls, and going to the salt spa and caves. There really are so many fun summer Asheville activities to check out.


North Carolina spring is cold and rainy. It’s really not my favorite time of year. While there are still plenty of things to do in Asheville, I would recommend late Spring to really enjoy it.

One of the biggest wins is that there will be significantly fewer people visiting Asheville in the springtime. You’ll truly get the place to yourself


Winter in Asheville is a great time for very unique activities and dogs that enjoy the snow. Our dog loves the snow, so heading to the mountains is a great activity for her. More things are closed in Asheville during winter, and while there is skiing, it is not that close. I’d suggest Beech Mountain (but your dog cannot go skiing). 

One of the best things to do in winter is to go chasing frozen waterfalls. It is truly an amazing sight. Finally, you can also go to the Linville Caverns, which are the only ones open in winter! While your dog cannot go into the caverns, you can definitely bring your dog on the hike up to the caverns. 

Getting to Asheville With a Dog and How to Get Around

There is a small, regional airport in Asheville that has many flights a day. Delta flies to this airport. If you have a dog that can fly in the cabin, then this is a great way to get to the mountains. 

If you have a larger dog, it can be harder to travel as there are some more temperature and cargo restrictions. Given that it is a small airport, they can’t be as accommodating as they don’t have as many resources. 

We have always driven to Asheville. Unless you are staying in downtown Asheville (where it is very walkable), you will need a car to get around. There isn’t robust public transportation. You’ll need a car to go to the Biltmore and any of the hikes. 

By the Numbers: Why Asheville is rated one of the most dog-friendly cities

Asheville, North Carolina, is a haven for dog owners, as it’s considered one of the most dog-friendly cities in America. In fact, it has consistently been named as one of the 12 friendliest large cities in the US, which is a testament to its welcoming vibe.

Asheville has claimed the top spot as for pet-friendly vacation spots due to high numbers of pet friendly accommodation. It also far outranked any other US city for access to dog welcoming hiking trails. Finally, it is a top contender for the highest volume of pet-friendly restaurants. Seems like Asheville is hitting the dog-friendly trifecta.

The Top 12 Dog-friendly Cities in the United States

I looked into what the data said and I surveyed people who regularly travel with their dogs to come up with the most dog-friendly cities in the US.

A Norwich terrier is happily running in a dog-friendly park

Best Dog-friendly cities on the East Coast

Best Dog-friendly cities on the West Coast

Best Dog-friendly cities in the Southwest

  • Austin, Texas
  • The Greater Pheonix area including Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Santa Fe including Taos, New Mexico
  • Denver, Colorado

If you have been to one of the places on my list or if you have a suggestion of another fabulous pet destination, I’d love to hear your story on our review page for the United States.

Final Thoughts: Is Asheville, NC a Good Place to Take a Pet?

ABSOLUTELY! Asheville is an incredibly dog-friendly city. They are actively working on becoming even more dog-friendly. There are countless activities to do with your dog and so many places to take your dog to. From bookstores to dog ice cream shops to countless hikes, Asheville is definitely the place to bring your pet for a fun vacation. Hopefully, Asheville can show you how fun traveling with your pet can really be. 

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