BringFido's Guide to Appalachia

Posted by Billy Francis

The Appalachian Mountain range sprawls across 13 states in the Eastern U.S., and the heart of this beautiful region, known as Appalachia, is a special place to spend time with your pooch. With its epic outdoor adventures, spectacular vistas and charming small towns perfect for four-legged vacationers, the name “A-paw-lachia” might be more appropriate.

Things to Do

“Who’s a pretty boy? Me, of course.” Photo by BringFido/Tammy

Surround yourself with nature, go rafting or paddleboarding together and take a walk down memory lane in this luscious region.

Play in Pigeon Forge

Surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge was once home to hunters, trappers, traders and an early iron forge. This Eastern Tennessee city has since become one of the most popular pet-friendly vacation destinations in Appalachia. Bring Fido along to The Island in Pigeon Forge, a dog-friendly amusement park that welcomes leashed pups in outdoor areas. Once inside, dogs are welcome to join you at stores like The Island Trading Post. Afterward, let your pooch loose at the popular play area, PetSafe Unleashed Dog Park. Then, head to Parrot Mountain and Garden of Eden where Fido can meet a talkative, feathered resident. Finish off with a tasting at the Old Forge Distillery and a chance to see the Old Mill, one of the oldest operating grist mills in the country.

Kentucky's Gateway to Appalachia

Campton is known as “Kentucky’s Gateway to Appalachia,” and when you visit with your pooch you’ll understand why. Situated on the doorstep of Red River Gorge, this scenic spot is a magnet for outdoor lovers thanks to pretty trails like Rock Bridge Hike Trail and the opportunity to sup with your pup nearby at SUP Kentucky and Mill Creek Lake Kayak & SUP Rentals. See the gorge and the Cumberland Plateau on the Red River Gorge Scenic Drive through Daniel Boone National Forest, which includes pet-friendly stops like the gorgeous overlook at Chimney Top Trail and an impressive rock bridge on the Sky Bridge Trail.

“Big bridges and Endless Walls!” Photo by BringFido/Lauren Barker

West Virginia’s National Park

New River Gorge National Park in Glen Jean, WV is an Appalachian adventure for all Alsatians to enjoy. Dogs are welcome on all 28 hiking trails, which range from easy strolls on flat surfaces to longer hikes on challenging terrain. Begin your trek on the boardwalk at Canyon Rim Visitor Center and get your first glimpse of the iconic New River Gorge Bridge from the observation decks. Then, see the spectacular New River carve its way through the Appalachian surroundings from the epic Endless Wall Trail. If you want a different “pawspective,” cruise underneath the New River Gorge Bridge with New River Jet Boats.

Scenic Drives of Appalachia

Not only is Appalachia home to one of the most dog-friendly national parks on the East Coast, the Blue Ridge Parkway, but you can also see sights on the Cherohala Skyway from Robbinsville, NC to Tellico Plains, TN. Stop along the way at scenic overlooks like Brushy Ridge and Lake View for incredible Appalachian Mountain views. If you’re traveling through the Bluegrass State, see the hills and hollers that inspired some of country music’s biggest stars like Dwight Yoakam and Loretta Lynn on Eastern Kentucky’s Country Music Highway.

“If I fall in, I’m taking all of you with me!” Photo by BringFido/Sara

Make Waves in Bryson City

Bryson City in Western North Carolina’s stretch of Appalachia is a gem for all good boys and girls who enjoy making a splash. Go whitewater rafting with your dog on the Nantahala River with the Rolling Thunder River Company. Afterward, Fido can get his land legs back at the Nantahala Outdoor Center where he can join you for a walk on the nature trails. For a different pace, rent a pet-friendly pontoon from Almond Boat & RV Park Boat Rental and trundle around Fontana Lake before exploring more than 40 miles of pet-friendly trails that surround the water.

Get Spooked in Shepherdstown

Settled for the first time in 1730, Shepherdstown, WV is the Mountain State’s oldest town. Join a historically costumed guide on an atmospheric stroll through the streets by candlelight with Shepherdstown Mystery Walks. This pet-friendly tour will take you and your pooch from one historic and haunted location to the next, teaching you about early Appalachian life along the way. The next morning, set off bright and early to walk further down memory lane on the 12-mile C&O Canal Hike 13 to nearby historic Harpers Ferry. Here, you’ll cross the Potomac River and can explore a popular pet-friendly section of the Appalachian Trail. Or, take another spooky tour after dark to learn about the Harpers Ferry Raid and more with Ghost Tours of Harpers Ferry.

Places to Stay

“Enjoy sunsets at Sundogs.” Photo by

Romp around miles of private pet-friendly trails, play off leash in a fenced backyard with mountain views and lounge in a built-in hammock net with Fido at these Appalachian properties.

Pups Preferred!

After your mysterious walk through Shepherdstown, cuddle up with your pup at Sundogs Bed and Breakfast. This dog-friendly country retreat prefers it when people bring their furry family along to stay. At check-in, four-legged guests receive bowls and beds to use during their stay and can join their humans for dinner inside the dining or living room, and outside on the patio or porches. Outdoors, there are 46 acres of private hiking trails, fields and woodlands to explore together.

Wine and Relax

River’s Bend is a welcoming waterfront vacation rental in Southwestern Virginia. From the back porch, you can watch the Upper James River flow by. People and pups who want to paddle on the water are free to use the cabin’s complimentary kayaks and canoes to explore. On doggy date night, take your furry best friend to nearby Blue Ridge Vineyard to soak up the views while you sip on local wine.

Cheap and Cheerful

For an affordable stay in Pigeon Forge, book a pet-friendly room at Twin Mountain Inn & Suites. Visitors only have to walk a block to reach the Parkway, but the hotel is far enough from the main thoroughfare to give you and your pooch a welcome break from the hustle and bustle. All of the rooms have balconies that overlook the Pigeon River and leashed dogs are welcome to join their owners in the fire pit area, too.

Photo by Airbnb

Cabin by the Cliff

Turn Your Eyes Cliffside Cabin in Pine Ridge, KY promises a relaxing getaway for pups and humans alike. Located near Red River Gorge, Natural Bridge State Park and Daniel Boone National Forest, this beautiful cabin is a great place to unwind after a busy day. The property overlooks Mill Creek Canyon and has plenty of space on the porch to enjoy the views. Cuddle up with Fido in the built-in hammock net or soak in the hot tub while he curls up next to the outdoor fireplace. Inside, there are hardwood floors and another fireplace to stoke on chilly nights.

Calling All Misty Mountain Mutts

The Stonewall Cottage is a picturesque Airbnb in Beckley, WV. With New River Gorge National Park just around the corner, this gorgeous spot is an ideal place to untie your hiking boots and hang up Fido’s leash at the end of a busy day of exploration. Fido can enjoy playing off leash in the fenced backyard with stunning views of mountains in the distance, while you relax in the hammock or around the fire pit.

Glamp in the Sky

Sky Ridge Yurts in The Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina extends a warm welcome to four-legged guests visiting Bryson City. Fido can snooze on his own dog bed with a removable cover, while humans can choose between a queen- or king-size bed. When night falls, gather around the campfire and toast marshmallows by moonlight at this pet-friendly yurt property.

Dog-Friendly Restaurants

Green dogs welcome! Photo by

Fido can dig into dishes from a menu just for him, enjoy dinner with a view and more at these Appalachian eateries.

Honoring a Beloved Dog

Named after the owner’s beloved pup who passed away, Lilah Restaurant spoils Spaniels who come for dinner in Shepherdstown, WV. Dogs are welcome to join their owners inside and out to sample items from the eclectic Lilah Furbaby Menu. While you enjoy a handheld or salad, Fido can order his own burger, snack on the Pupcuterie Board, devour a Doggy Donut, or choose from a variety of other desserts and treats.

Kentucky Cookin’

After hiking through the Appalachian wilderness in Kentucky, Fido will have worked up an appetite. Stop for a delicious meal of smoked meats and homemade sides on the covered patio at Thatcher Barbeque Company in Slade. Make sure your pooch gets a bite of pulled pork and a fresh bowl of water and order yourself a cold draft beer from local favorite, Country Boy Brewing.

“Do I smell crab?” Photo by

Eat Appalachian

Experience a “contemporary Southern Appalachian dining experience” in Sevierville, TN at The Appalachian. This pet-friendly farm-to-table restaurant proudly dishes up Appalachian-inspired seasonal dishes like blue crab spoon fritters and beer-battered okra with a healthy serving of Southern hospitality, too. Pups are welcome to join their owners on the patio for dinner.

Enjoy a Feast on Lookout Mountain

Spend a delightful day with your dog on Georgia’s Lookout Mountain, where you can explore the Enchanted Trail at Rock City and dine in the pet section of Cafe 7. People and pups can share panoramic views of seven states from the top of this attraction, then both enjoy a big meal together. Treat yourself to Southern-inspired dishes like buffalo frog legs, fried green tomatoes and rainbow trout, and treat your doggy dining partner to grilled chicken, hot dogs, bacon or a Puppuccino.

“Can I see the menu, please?” Photo by BringFido/Rachel

Bring Your Furry Angel to Angelle’s.

After waking up at River’s Bend in Virginia, take your pup to breakfast at Angelle’s Diner in Troutville. Find a seat on the covered patio and order a Farm-Fresh Egg Breakfast, waffles or one of Angelle’s Omelets. If you stop by later in the day, enjoy lunch or dinner with live music during your meal and sip on a local brew from Port City Brewing.

Revel on a Covered Deck

Pups who love good vibes and plenty of pets will fit in well at Nantahala Brewing Company in Bryson City, NC. Find a spot on the porch to enjoy your flight made onsite that can include everything from the popular Noon Day IPA to a variety of barrel-aged beers, and listen to live music. Meanwhile, pups can lap up their own bowl of water.

Where’s Fido’s favorite Appalachian destination? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

Banner photo by BringFido/Sarah.