Mountain Strollin: Dog City USA Is a Pupper’s Paradise in the Blue Ridge Mountains
“Nothing gets your tail waggin more than walking into a welcome center designed specifically for a doggo like me – and you. From the moment you set one paw into Asheville, you’ll see how it got the title of Dog City USA. With all the fun places to stay, play and nom nom – your hooman might not want to leave.”
– Mo, North Carolina’s
dog travel agent
COME & STAY
1 4 Paws Kingdom Campground + Dog Retreat
1 4 Paws Kingdom Campground + Dog RetreatRutherfordtonSee on map
Find new frens and a bunch more here! You can get your daily wags in at the dog park, splish and splash in the giant water bowl (your hoomans might call it a pond) and then close out your day with a run through the agility park at 100zph (zoomies per hour).
2 Aloft Asheville Downtown
2 Aloft Asheville DowntownAshevilleSee on map
Never handled hotel selection for your hooman? Just let them know you prefer to avoid ruffing it, and stay at the Aloft Asheville Downtown, where you’ll start off with treatos and snugs at the front desk. Explore the city by paw, then come back to sploot in your own dog bed. Aloft even hosts Charlie’s Angels Animal Rescue foster doggos, available for adoption (and boops) by guests. Maybe you’ll leave with a new fren in your family!
3 Dog Welcome Center
3 Dog Welcome CenterAshevilleSee on map
Remember that welcome center giving us the happs? It’s the country’s first official dog welcome center. Learn about breweries, restaurants and shops in town that welcome pupperinos. Then snag a free goody bag, and chow down on a floofer-friendly frozen treat. You can even join a tour with other doggos and their best frens to sniff out the best spots for friendly ear scratches and tasty (under)table crumbs around town.
4 Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park
4 Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State ParkChimney RockSee on map
If you’ve never splished and splashed in a natural pool, you’re not taking your hooman out enough. After hiking up the chimney for one of the prettiest views (and selfies) in the state, head back down to the natural pool at the bottom of Hickory Nut Falls. Or do you a hike or swim at nearby Lake James State Park or a South Mountains State Park. You’ll snoozle the whole drive home.
5 Tryon International Equestrian Center
5 Tryon International Equestrian CenterMill SpringSee on map
Why do horses work so hard for treats? Those are some strange puppers. Most doggos have never been to a horse show, and neither have their hoomans. But Saturday nights from spring through early fall, families and their doggos can come for free parties. The main event is the Grand Prix jumping show, where you can cheer on the horses while learning a few new tricks. Bonus: Visit on select weekends in the summer to watch pro doggos fly through the air and do big splashes and tricks in their very own show!
6 Lake Lure Adventure Company
6 Lake Lure Adventure CompanyLake LureSee on map
Grab your doggles and your float coats, fellow puppers. This is a playground on the water. Rent boats, kayaks and paddleboards to explore picturesque Lake Lure and its sandy beaches. Whinnie, staff pupper, will welcome you to the lake, and then you’re off with your hoomans to do you an adventure.
7 Sky Top Orchard
7 Sky Top OrchardFlat RockSee on map
Sniff out more than 20 varieties of apples in this pick-your-own orchard atop McAlpine Mountain. Hop on a tractor for a hayride, go for walkies through a bamboo forest or around a pond, or just soak in your hoomans’ happiness as they enjoy panoramic mountain views. Remember to be a good pupper, and you just might get the ultimate treato – freshly made apple cider doughnuts. Mlem!
8 Ghost Hunters of Asheville
8 Ghost Hunters of AshevilleMultiple locations
And you thought the mailman and the evil vacuum cleaner were scary! Use your supersonic doggo hearing to protect your hooman from the mysterious unknown on these doggo-friendly ghost tours, plus get in a nighttime adventure with plenty of stop-n-sniffs.
DOGGOS GOTTA EAT
9 PosanaAshevilleSee on map
A menu? Just for you? That’s a first worthy of all the tippy taps. Posana, a contemporary American restaurant in downtown Asheville, offers a mlem-worthy selection of doggo-only dishes, like local bison burgers, chicken breast and homemade biscuits. Good boys and girls just might get dessert, too – bacon soy doggie ice cream. Drool!
10 Sanctuary Brewing
10 Sanctuary BrewingHendersonvilleSee on map
The mission here is one we can all bork about – craft beer and rescues. (Awoo for rescues!) Sanctuary’s profits support local animal advocacy groups, including the brewery’s own Sweet Bear Rescue Farm, home to 40 animals like pig-frens, chicken-frens and goat-frens. Sanctuary is just one of the many doggo-friendly breweries around the Asheville area, where puppers and pints are a natural pairing.
11 Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar
11 Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne BarAshevilleSee on map
Boops and bubbly, puppers and paperbacks. Curl up near a couch with your best fren in the bar area or find your hooman a comfy armchair tucked into the stacks. Either way, it’ll be the first time your hoomans’ selfie includes books, champagne and you licking their faces. Battery Park is part wine bar, part used bookstore, all dog-friendly.