Dog-Friendly Activities in North Carolina

Posted by Mary Whitten Warner on Friday, January 17th, 2020 at 2:25pm


We are now in 2020—and we think this might be the decade of the dog! Little by little, dog-friendly amenities are becoming the driving force behind many consumers’ decisions to buy or rent a home. Landmark Realty Group is a pet-friendly company and dogs are welcome in our offices and in many of our vacation rentals. We completely understand your desire to bring your pup with you on all of your adventures. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of dog-friendly activities in North Carolina so you know exactly what you can do with your pet while you visit.

Dog-Friendly Restaurants and Bars in North Carolina

One of our favorite dog-friendly activities in North Carolina is enjoying a good meal with our favorite pup. It’s tricky to find pet-friendly restaurants where you can eat with the furriest member of your family, as dogs typically aren’t allowed inside places that serve food. However, the restaurants below either have beautiful patios or other alternative eating options that give you the ability to bring your dog along.

The Ugly Dog - Cashiers, NC

It’s in the name. This restaurant is dog-themed! The Ugly Dog Pub serves what they’ve coined as “elevated pub food” and it’s true. At this local favorite, you’ll find unique spins on burgers, appetizers, salads and more. There are two locations. The one in Highlands has a much smaller outside sitting area on the sidewalk for dogs. If you have your furry friend with you, it’s ideal to make the quick drive down the road to the Cashiers location so you can take advantage of the full patio where dogs are welcome.

High Dive - Highlands, NC

If you want to stay in Highlands, The High Dive serves beer, wine and cocktails. The High Dive also has a food truck that is parked right outside the door, so guests can eat and drink and let their dog hang out inside.

Mica’s - Sapphire, NC

Located in the heart of Sapphire, Mica’s is a staple in the community. This eatery features American dishes with an upscale-tavern feel. During warmer months, dogs are allowed to accompany their owners during dinner on the outdoor deck. There is live music every Thursday night, so you can enjoy your three favorite things: Dinner, drinks and dogs. The local music groups are an added bonus. Dining out isn’t typically considered a dog-friendly activity in North Carolina at most places, but these are just a few places that will accept your furry friend. If you want to know if a restaurant is dog-friendly, it’s always a good idea to call ahead and ask.

Dog-Friendly Hikes in North Carolina


Another thing we love is getting to enjoy the great outdoors with our furry family members. It’s one of the most popular dog-friendly activities in North Carolina. Pair hiking and breathtaking scenery with spending quality time with Fido and you’re well on your way to a memorable day in the Western North Carolina mountains.

Secret Falls - Highlands, NC

Highlands is already a very dog-friendly city in North Carolina, but if you and your family pet are feeling adventurous, there are a handful of hikes and waterfalls to bring your pup on that are sure to wear them out for the day. Secret Falls is our favorite hike. True to the name, it’s not one of the most well-known hikes, but the “secret” is starting to get out. The hiking trail is a 1.4-mile roundtrip, and the bottom of the hike features a beautiful swimming hole and waterfall that you can typically have all to yourself. If your pooch loves swimming, this is the perfect hike for them.

Panthertown Valley - Cashiers, NC

Panthertown is a great place to bring your dogs for one reason: diversity! You can find trails that accommodate any dog’s activity level. Pet parents of puppies all the way to seniors can appreciate the outdoors with trails as short as .31 miles, or trails up to 5.52 miles. For the very adventurous campers (and their furry, four-legged friends) you can hop on and off trails with ease and turn the trip into an overnight hike. Panthertown Valley has a hike for everyone and every dog.

Blue Ridge Parkway (Hikes)

We saved one of the most popular hikes for last. The Blue Ridge Parkway is known for some gorgeous scenery. If you’re staying in Highlands, Cashiers or Sapphire, the Blue Ridge Parkway is roughly a 2-2.5-hour drive, depending on where you get onto the Parkway, making this more of a dog-friendly day trip in NC than a one-stop activity. All dogs can enjoy the many beautiful overlooks that the Blue Ridge Parkway offers, but your dog should be in good health and have a reasonable amount of stamina before taking on any Parkway hikes. If your dog enjoys being out in the middle of nature, or they are good riding shotgun on winding mountain roads, they’ll enjoy these outdoor dog-friendly activities in North Carolina.

Other Dog-Friendly Activities in North Carolina


If you are looking for other miscellaneous activities to do with your dog, there are plenty in North Carolina.

Woof Gang’s Dog Bakery & Grooming

If you are staying in Western North Carolina, you’re in luck! There are three locations of Woof Gang’s Dog Bakery & Grooming near you. If you aren’t familiar with this franchise, you’ll recognize it by the bright pink color scheme, and the artisan dog treats that greet you as you walk through the door. If your dog requires some grooming, this is the perfect place to go. Make sure you call ahead and see if they can get you in. However, even if you don’t need your dog groomed, the people here love pampering your pooch with pets and treats. Take your dog on a shopping spree and spoil them.

Noah’s Playground & Noah’s Play & Train

Just down the road, in Franklin, NC is Noah’s Playground. Noah’s Playground is a doggy daycare that provides supervised play by trained professionals for social dogs, of any breed and any age. The playground separates dogs by play style, so your dog will be in a fenced area with plenty of toys and like-minded pooches. During the warmer months, a bone-shaped, in-ground swimming pool is opened to furry guests who love the water for a supervised swim. If you are in town and you want to drop your dog off for a play day that is sure to wear them out, a little preparation is required. Noah’s Playground requires vaccination records to make sure your pup is up-to-date with the necessary vaccinations to play. They also like to do a brief “interview” with potential players to make sure they are socialized enough for the playground. After that, you are good to go. Go explore Franklin’s Main Street, and enjoy a coffee or brew at Lazy Hiker Brewery while your dog plays just a half mile down the road with new friends.

In January 2020, Noah’s Play and Train will be open for business, just a few doors down from the Playground. This facility will be more suited for dogs that prefer calmer environments, enjoy agility courses and learning new tricks. All in all, Noah’s facilities are some of the most fun places to take dogs in Western North Carolina.

Where to stay with your pups in North Carolina?


At Landmark Realty Group, we are proud to be a sister company to The Park on Main hotel in Highlands, NC. The Park on Main is a pet-friendly, boutique hotel in Western North Carolina that welcomes your dogs warmly, with open arms, because they believe they are just as important as the rest of their guests. Your furry friend will be welcomed at check-in with a goody bag made for them. The hotel even has its own small dog park down the road for your pooch to run around in and enjoy. Besides the dog park, there are a variety of dog-friendly activities in North Carolina for you and your pup to enjoy. If you have any questions, our Landmark real estate agents and Park on Main staff are happy to help The best part about The Park on Main hotel is that it doesn’t sacrifice cleanliness for pet-friendliness. The hotel is spotless and maintains the amenities of a luxury hotel while still embracing its guests’ furriest family members. The Park on Main is also right on Main Street in Highlands, which is a hot spot for fine dining and shopping, so you are in walking distance to many town highlights.

Let us know if you’re interested in staying at our popular dog-friendly hotel. We’re happy to help arrange accommodations for you and your furry loved one. If you prefer to stay in another city or in a larger vacation rental home, many of Landmark Vacation Rentals’ properties are pet-friendly. And if you’re looking for your next forever home, we have plenty of options with big backyards for Fido to enjoy. Whether you’re buying, selling or renting a property, we are here for you and your pet every step of the way.

Written by: Kaitlyn Cochran

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