North Carolina Dog-Friendly Travel Guide

golden retriever looking out a car window in a field

Traveling with your dog can be a fun bonding experience for you both. But, it can also be stressful, especially if you don’t plan ahead. There are plenty of places that are dog-friendly, but even more that are not. You don’t want to be caught out on a trip with your pup without a place to stay, or eat, or have anything to do because everywhere you try to go doesn’t allow pets. Starting your research early and using a dog-friendly travel guide can help take the stress out of traveling and ensure you and your dog will be welcomed with open arms. If you’re headed to the “Tar Heel State”, use this North Carolina dog-friendly travel guide to plan an adventure you both will enjoy:

5 Dog-Friendly Activities in North Carolina

A big part of the fun of traveling is exploring new places, having new experiences, and going on fun adventures. You may be welcome in almost every attraction, but your dog won’t be. But, if you fill your trip itinerary with dog-friendly attractions, then you know your pup will be welcome to join you on whatever you decide to do. Here are a few dog-friendly activities to help you plan in some extra fun:

1. Gold City Gem Mine

If your travels take you into Franklin, consider a visit to the Gold City Gem Mine. You can pan for gold and mine for gems with the Smoky Mountains as your background. Anything you find can be inspected and mounted on-site for you to take home. Plus, your dog is welcome to join you as long as they are leashed and well-behaved.

2. Biltmore Estate

The Biltmore Estate is one of the largest homes in the United States. It’s located in Asheville and your dog an join you as you explore over 250 acres of gorgeously landscaped gardens and grounds. Your dog must remain leashed and well-behaved at all times. Unfortunately, your dog is not allowed inside.

However, there is a kennel on-site where your dog can rest while you tour the inside, the rooftop, and the winery of the Biltmore. Plus, you can stop by the nearby Antler Hill Village afterward for some food where several of the restaurants allow dogs in their outdoor seating sections.

3. Freeman Park

Located in Carolina Beach is Freeman Park, which is one of the most dog-friendly beaches along the North Carolina coast. Seagrasses, dunes, and gorgeous vistas await at Freeman Park and the best part is that your dog is welcome to join you for a day on the beach.

Your dog has to be leashed if you’re visiting April through September. But, they’re permitted to be off-leash October through March, as long as they have mastered basic voice commands.

4. North Carolina Museum of Art Park

If your travels bring you close to Raleigh, set aside some time to explore the North Carolina Museum of Art Park. The park sprawls across 160 acres.

You and your leashed dog can explore woodlands, fields, and creeks along with modern art projects. There are plenty of sculptures to see, including a forest of chairs and a cloud chamber, along with beautiful views and nature trails.

5. Carolina History & Haunts

Located in Charlotte, Carolina History & Haunts will take you on a candlelight-guided tour of the streets and famous landmarks. For about an hour and a half, you’ll hear stories from local history, including ghost stories and haunts, as you explore the town with your guide. They are open all year and your dog is welcome to join you as long as they are leashed and well-behaved.

3 Dog-Friendly Hotels in North Carolina

After a busy day full of adventure, you and your dog will want a comfortable place to stay. Start your research with these dog-friendly hotels:

1. Atlantis Lodge

This hotel is located in Atlantic Beach. It’s an oceanfront option in the center of North Carolina’s Crystal Coast and is part of Pine Knoll Shores. Not only is the Atlantis Lodge a dog-friendly hotel, but it also frequently tops USA Today’s pet-friendly accommodations list.

There are a ton of amenities including a fenced-in dog park on the property in addition to a pet-washing station. Plus, your pup will receive a treat upon check-in. Additionally, your dog is welcome to join you on the beach as long as they are leashed.

2. Nacho Mama’s The Chalets

If you’ll be staying overnight in Asheville, consider staying at Nacho Mama’s The Chalets. Located just above Asheville, this collection of historic tiny homes is a great place to stay and is dog-friendly.

You’ll have everything you need and your dog can join you for an additional $39 per stay as a pet fee. Big dogs are allowed and you can bring more than one with you.

3. Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham Charlotte/Executive Park

Should you be planning to stay overnight in Charlotte, the Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham Charlotte/Executive Park is one option to consider. Located near the airport, businesses, and attractions in Charlotte, this hotel offers several amenities to help soothe the weary traveler.

Plus, it’s dog-friendly! Two dogs are welcome to join you, but there is an 80-pound weight limit. There is an additional pet fee, which is $15 per night, per pet on the first night. If you stay for additional nights after that, the pet fee is reduced to $10 per dog, per night.

3 Dog-Friendly Restaurants in North Carolina

While you and your dog are adventuring, you’ll need to make some time to rest, relax, and rejuvenate with some food. Convenience stores and fast food will get old fast, especially since you’ll miss out on the local flavor if you only visit those. Take a look at these dog-friendly restaurants and see if anything fits your tastes:

1. Battery Park Exchange & Champagne Bar

The Battery Park Exchange & Champagne Bar is located in Asheville. Although it’s more about books than food, your dog is welcome to join you as you peruse their collection of over 22,000 new and used books.

Then, you both can head to the Champagne Bar where you can grab a drink and some snacks or dessert. Plus, your dog is welcome to join you inside and they eat and drink for free.

2. The Flying Saucer

Located in Charlotte and in Raleigh, The Flying Saucer is a dog-friendly restaurant with some local flavor. It’s a great place for some brews and delicious food. Whether you’re a “Beerknurd” or not, the varied menu means everyone will find something they love.

Plus, there is a large outdoor patio where your dog is welcome to join you. Fresh water is provided for your dog and there may be some handmade treats available for you to purchase for them as well.

3. Plates Neighborhood Kitchen

If you find yourself hungry in Raleigh, consider stopping by the Plates Neighborhood Kitchen for a bite to eat. Their menu features international dishes with a Southern flair and they use local ingredients for a fresh local flavor.

There is a spacious outdoor patio that is partially covered where your dog is welcome. Fresh water is provided for your dog and sometimes also dog treats and even dehydrated fish skins.

With this North Carolina dog-friendly travel guide in hand, you’re on your way to an exciting and fun trip you and your dog will be able to enjoy together stress-free.

If you’re headed to another state, take a look at the other dog-friendly travel guides available and we’ll see you on the road. Here’s to plenty of safe travels, happy trails, and wagging tails no matter where you go!