Nestled in the Carolina mountains along Interstate 40 is Asheville, North Carolina. This town boomed in the early 20th century as a resort town. Known as a health food Mecca, Asheville is known as one of the centers of oranic and natural foods. Asheville has 70,000 residents and is also known as the hometown of author Thomas Wolfe. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a a very scenic two lane highway which runs over 400 miles from Virginia to North Carolina through the Blue Ridge Mountains. It ends at the entrance to Smoky Mountain National Park. The Blue Ridge Parkway is usually the National Park Services most popular destination with over 20 millon visitors annually. Asheville is very dog-friendly and has much to do with your dog on a vacation here. Getting here or leaving using the Blue Ridge Parkway will provide both you and your dog a very scenic trip as well.
For a town of its size, Asheville has lots of dog-friendly lodging. You can find hotels representing all of the major chains here as well as some nice independent venues. From high end properties such as the Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park, Hotel Indigo or the Crowne Plaza Resort to quality stays at Red Roof Inn, Rodeway, Pet-friendly Motel 6 or Comfort Inn. There is a pet-friendly Residence Inn and Extended Stay America if you are going to be in town a while and want more space for you and your dog. Many people who head to the North Carolina mountains will want to stay in vacation rentals. The Spring Pond Cabin and Carolina Mornings/Asheville Cabins offer cabins for visitors. There are also many other local vacation home rentals that are dog-friendly.
Camping in tents as well as travelers with RVs are very common in the area. For families with kids, there is a dog-friendly Jellystone Park in nearby Fletcher. There is a KOA in Candler. The Bear Creek RV Park is in Asheville and tent camping can be had in the Pisgah National Forest which allows leashed pets on most trails or at Creekside Mountain Camping. There is plentiful camping at many stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
There are a number of pet-friendly shopping venues for those who desire to shop with their dogs. The dog will insist on a stop at Three Dog Bakery. Tractor Supply and, of course, Petsmart are dog-friendly. For a dog-friendly shopping center try the Biltmore Village or the Grove Arcade Public Market. Both of these shopping centers allow dogs in the common areas and a large percentage of stores will allow them inside. They also have dog-friendly patio dining at each of the centers. There is a lot of dog-friendly outdoor dining in town with menus ranging from Pizza to health food to specialties from all parts of the globe. Dining with your dog at a patio restaurant will not be too difficult in Asheville.
What to do with your dog while in town? Take them on the dog-friendly Asheville Historic Trolley Tour. George Vanderbilt's famous Biltmore Estate covers 4 acres and a working farm. Dogs are welcome in all outdoor areas of the estate. They are also allowed in many of the stores at the Biltmore Estate. There is a pet-friendly ghost tour, the North Carolina Arboretum and take in the Shakespeare in the Park Shakespearean Festival if your dog is a fan of the famous British play writer.
The Blue Ridge Parkway was the nation's first rural parkway that connects Virginia near Shenandoah National Park (which is very dog-friendly) and Charlottesville with the Smoky Mountain National Park (not so dog-friendly). This is a 400 mile beautiful drive. Asheville is near the southern end of the Parkway. Dogs are allowed at the camping areas on the parkway and on most trails on the parkway as long as they are leashed. There are a number of campgrounds along the length of the Parkway including a KOA at Boone, Rivercamp USA in Piney Creek and Linville Falls Campground in Linville Falls. You can hike with a leashed dog in the Pisgah National Forest which spreads throughout the Carolina mountains. In Cashiers North Carolina, be sure to see Whitewater Falls, at 411 feet high, these are the highest waterfalls east of the Rockies. Yes, that makes them higher than Niagara.
There are a number of dog-friendly attractions along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Grandfather Mountain is very dog-friendly. This rugged mountain is filled with hiking trails and natural beauty. At an altitude of 4000 feet there is a swinging bridge. We did take our dog across this bridge on our visit to Grandfather Mountain but you should decide if it's appropriate for your dog. It can be windy at this elevation. Grandfather Mountain is in Linville North Carolina. Dogs are not allowed to ride the Tweetsie Railroad but they are allowed on the premises where there is entertainment and special events. Dogs may be allowed on some of the rafting trips by Wahoo's Adventures in Boone. Dogs are also allowed throughout the Emerald Village Mining Museum in Little Switzerland, NC.