Jenn Baxter is an accomplished author, speaker, and freelance writer in Charlotte, North Carolina. She has been published in numerous print and online publications and appears nationwide at tiny house festivals, healthy living festivals, and private engagements. She is an expert on downsizing, minimalism, clean eating, healthy living, and spiritual health.
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If your best friend has four legs and a lot of hair, you probably don’t like to go anywhere without your dog. And the good news is, if you’re traveling to or through North Carolina, there are plenty of great places you can enjoy with the company of your trusty old friend. From nature hikes to bars that cater specifically to dogs and their owners, you’ll find lots of great ways to hang out with Fido.
If you and your pup are an adventurous duo, you will have a blast together at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte. Although your furry friend can’t join you in whitewater rafting, they can do a bunch of other activities with you including hiking, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and just chilling on the beautiful grounds to watch all the action. Dogs are also allowed at the outdoor restaurant and at special events like the Center’s weekly music event, River Jam.
Although many people may not know this, the Biltmore Estate in Asheville is actually pet-friendly! Dogs obviously can’t go in the house itself, but they are allowed to explore the over 250 acres of grounds and manicured gardens. And when you’re ready to take a break and sit down for some food, there are several pet-friendly restaurants in Biltmore’s Antler Hill Village too, so your dog can join you while you dine.
With a name like The Dog Bar, it’s not hard to figure out what this place is all about – it’s a bar where you can hang out with your dog. In addition to being able to roam free, off-leash in the climate-controlled indoor bar area, your dog can also run and play outdoors on the Astroturf, while you relax on the covered patio. There’s a full bar with liquor, beer and wine, as well as live music to enjoy. And although you can’t order food on the premises, you can bring in take-out from one of the many restaurants in the area.
Although North Carolina has several beaches that are dog-friendly, the beach in Topsail is one of only a few in the state that allow your dog to roam off-leash. During the off-season from October 1st to May 14th, your dog can frolic and play in the sand and the water as much as he or she wants, as long as they respond to your voice command and you pick up after them. And since the weather in this region stays nice late into the fall and early in the spring, you should be able to catch some rays together!
The North Carolina Arboretum, located in Asheville, NC, is a nature lover’s dream. Spread across a total of 434 acres, the Arboretum is home to 65 acres of gorgeous gardens, as well as ten miles of hiking and biking trails. Although your dog cannot go into any of the buildings on the grounds, they are allowed to go on all of the trails with you, which range in difficulty from easy to difficult, as long as they remained leashed. There are also several spots along the trails where your dog can cool off in the stream if they’re getting too hot!
After your furry friend works up an appetite exploring the Arboretum, head into downtown Asheville, where you can visit the home of the popular treat brand, Three Dog Bakery. Of course, the store is dog-friendly and you can choose from a wide variety of fresh-baked, human-quality dog treats that contain only natural ingredients and no salt, sugar, chemicals or animal fats. They also carry a large selection of other pet products like toys, leashes, collars, bowls and more.
You can get your coffee fix and spend some quality time with your fur baby at K9s and Coffee. This quaint coffee shop located in the beautiful coastal town of Emerald Isle, is also a pet boutique that sells organic treats, toys, leashes, collars and more. Dogs are welcome to relax with their owners at one of the indoor tables or if it’s a nice day outside, you can enjoy the rocking chairs on the front porch. Make sure to also ask for a “pup cup” for your dog to enjoy too while you sip your brew!
Lucky Dog Bark & Brew is another dog-friendly bar where your pup can run around off-leash with his friends, while you enjoy a cold one with yours. There is a climate-controlled indoor area that has a separate bar area for humans and an enclosed off-leash area with picnic tables for the dogs, as well as a large, open off-leash area outside that also features picnic tables and an open patio area.