Like many other parts of the country, Florida has been experiencing an intense heat wave this Summer. The weather has been 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit every day for weeks on end!  We really needed a break from the Florida heat so we took a last minute trip to dog friendly Boone, North Carolina. Boone is in North Carolina's High Country, in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

We had initially planned a fabulous vacation in New Hampshire and Vermont, but Mother Nature refused to cooperate! First, the Canadian wildfires impacted the air quality all across the Northeast. We were elated when the fires were finally brought somewhat under control and air quality in New England improved.  

We thought we were in the clear, but wait! No sooner did we think our vacation was saved, when raging floods hit Vermont, as well as parts of New Hampshire! Sadly, we had to cancel that trip and search for another dog friendly vacation destination with cool weather. 


At first we considered the North Carolina High Country to be a "consolation prize". We figured at least we'd have cooler weather up there, even if there wouldn't be much to do. But we couldn't have been more wrong. The Blue Ridge Mountain area of North Carolina took our breathe away! And we found out there was plenty to do, and lots of dog friendly activities in the North Carolina High Country.

Icy with a Blue Ridge Mountain view in the distance

Not only was the weather in the High Country in the 70's and low 80's, but the landscape is absolutely stunning. It's also extremely dog friendly! There are miles and miles of gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountain hiking trails that allow dogs. There are many charming restaurants and coffee shops with dog friendly outdoor patios, and other places that welcome dogs.


There are many pet friendly hotels and vacation rentals in the Boone area that will welcome your dog.

Townplace Suites, our Dog Friendly hotel in Boone, NC

We stayed at the Townplace Suites, which is owned by Marriott. It was close to everything, right at the North end of the town of Boone. I really liked that it had a kitchenette and dining table, and check out that closet in the above photo! 

Another dog friendly hotel in Boone that looked really nice is the Holiday Inn Express, which was at the other end of the town.

The town of Boone is largely a college town, home of the Appalachian State University. It's an adorable, funky little town with thrift shops, coffee and donut shops, the charming Mast General Store (a Must see!), and an energetic vibe. 

If you're looking for something a bit more upscale and quieter, nearby Blowing Rock or Highlands might be more your speed. Banner Elk is also a wonderful town to visit. There are several charming little towns up in the High Country that are a short drive from each other, so whichever town you stay in you can easily visit the others.

This Explore Boone Guide has great information on Dog Friendly Accommodations in Boone, as well as Restaurants, Shops, Hiking trails, and Dog Parks where your dog will be welcome! 


The night life in Boone isn't really hopping, considering it's a college town, but we found a few restaurants we loved. 

The Red Onion for dinner was my favorite. They had a delicious veggie pasta dish I loved. My husband had a coffee rubbed steak dish that was delicious. The restaurant has it's own parking lot, which you'll appreciate in the town of Boone, plenty of indoor seating, and the most charming covered patio dining area out front!

Macado's is an adorable pub style restaurant with a pretty extensive menu. We had delicious sandwiches here and great service. The place is large with plenty of seating, as well as a bar area that looks really fun.

Carolina Pizza Co is a really nice little pizza joint with quite a large menu. As really picky-about-our-pizza native New Yorkers, we were pleasantly surprised at how good the pizza was. We loved this place, just what we needed after a day of hiking! The food was great and so was the service. Such nice people! Very reasonably priced, too. 

Another place you just have to visit in the town of Boone is the Mast General Store. Mast is a wonderful old fashioned looking general store, complete with creaky wooden floors and barrels of "penny" candy which you can gather into little baskets and purchase by the pound. 

I loved browsing in this store, buying old fashioned candies I haven't seen in ages, cool tee shirts, handmade soaps, local honey and other goodies.



There's no shortage of beautiful dog friendly hiking trails in the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains! We stayed for a week, but there were so many nearby mountains and trails and other places we didn't have time to visit.

We had such a blast hiking with our Husky, Icy and our recently adopted Silky Terrier, Jessie.  Icy will be 14 years old next month (Yikes!) and we had no idea if 4 year old Jessie had ever hiked before so we weren't sure how this hiking trip would pan out.

Icy did great! We were so proud of her, and honestly quite relieved that she was able to handle the hiking so well and thoroughly enjoy it. Jessie was a bit unsure at first but she quickly got the hang of it and was clearly having a great time. It was a wonderful bonding experience for all of us.

One of the best hiking trails for us was the Boone Fork Trail Loop. It's listed as being an easy 5 mile trail, but honestly there were several parts that were not so easy, especially if you have dogs with you!  

It took two separate days to complete the 5 mile loop. We did half of it the first day and half the second day, with a day in between to rest our muscles. The dogs seemed to need a down day too. It was a bit rugged in a few spots.  Here's a video with highlights from hiking the Boone Fork Loop Trail, which is a great place for hiking with dogs!

Grandfather Mountain, Banner Elk, NC

Grandfather Mountain, at a 5,946 foot high elevation, is considered the Mother of all mountains in North Carolina! It's located in Banner Elk, NC, a 13 mile drive from Boone. It's a massive mountain park with lots of hiking trails, some of them very challenging, camping areas (permit needed), a wildlife habitat, and the BIG draw, the Mile High Swinging Bridge! 

Grandfather Mountain allows dogs, pretty much everywhere that is outdoors. Much of the mountain is free of charge. However, special attractions like the swinging bridge and wildlife habitat are not free.  Access to the area with the swinging bridge was $22 for adults, but let me tell you I think it's well worth the experience!

Grandfather Mountain, Banner Elk, NC. Mile High Swinging Bridge

The Mile High Swinging Bridge, Banner Elk, NC

At Grandfather Mountain, dogs are even allowed on the Mile High Swinging Bridge! There was a guy with his English Mastiff, a huge dog, walking across the bridge. Personally I wouldn't take my dogs on that bridge, I think it would be too scary for them. The bridge really does sway noticeably. I'll be honest, I was actually a little scared walking on that bridge! But I'm so glad I went because the views from that bridge are stunning. The views and experience of it were well worth it.


We didn't make it to the town of Blowing Rock, and we didn't get to see the actual rock, the Blowing Rock, but we saw videos and it looks gorgeous!  We ran out of time, and had to choose the few places we most wanted to see.

The town of Blowing Rock is named after an interesting rock formation with beautiful vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The town of Blowing Rock is really quaint, and they clearly love their flowers! It looks like folks in that town must have green thumbs because all the videos and photos show beautiful flowers and gardens around the town!  

The Blowing Rock is an actual rock that juts out over the Blue Ridge Mountains. There is a charming legend behind it the rock itself and how it got it's name. 

One day a Chickasaw maiden, daydreaming on the rock, spied a Cherokee brave wandering in the wilderness far below and playfully shot an arrow in his direction. The flirtation worked and soon he appeared before her wigwam, courted her with songs of his land and they became lovers, wandering the pathless woodlands and along the crystal streams. One day a strange reddening of the sky brought the brave and the maiden to The Blowing Rock. To him it was a sign of trouble commanding his return to his tribe in the plains. The maiden implored him not to leave her, but the brave, torn by conflict of duty and heart, leaped from The Rock into the wilderness far below. The grief-stricken maiden prayed daily to the Great Spirit until one evening with a reddening sky, a gust of wind blew her lover back onto The Rock and into her arms. 

According to area locals, there is a mysterious wind pattern at the blowing rock that "causes it to snow upside down"! I'm not sure what creates that and I hate to be a buzz kill, but I'm sure this wind pattern is rooted in science.  We will make a point to visit Blowing Rock on our next visit to the area. 

The weather in the North Carolina High Country was glorious! It was a wonderful respite from the extreme Florida heat and humidity. I wish we could have stayed a whole month!

My dog Icy was as sad as we were to leave the cool weather in the Blue Ridge Mountains!

Goodbye North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains! We can't wait to visit you again!

I'm excited to share my new ETSY store with you! It's called Nature and Critters. True to it's name, I sell nature and animal inspired photos and design works that are in 
Printable, Digital Download format. I hope you'll stop by my store and check it out!

Digital Download Designs available in my ETSY store

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LaylasWoof said...

WOW this trip sounds amazing I would love to be able to take Layla places and visit little towns plus of course the hiking on the trails, I am so jealous here and so happy you all had a great time

Tail Wag Wisdom said...

This looks like the perfect escape from hot FL and you must've timed it right with the hurricane too. I love finding gems like this that you don't think will be too charming but completely over perform. I loved hearing all about this little spot in the NC Blue Ridge Mountains. If I ever make it that way, I'll certain check it out. Although, I think I'll skip the swing bridge. That would just make me too nervous.

Congratulations on your Etsy store!

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you were determined to stick with a holiday plan and visit somewhere new and fun. It looks a fantastic place for the pups (and you!) to visit. I had to laugh because my Paul would never cross that Bridge!!!

Marjorie and Toulouse

FiveSibesMom said...

What a lovely little vacation! I bet the cooler temps felt so nice for you and especially Icy! I love the video of her skipping along the stream path! She looks like she's smiling too! NC looks beautiful. It's on my list of places to hopefully one day visit. Thanks for sharing your trip with us all! It's wonderful seeing places that are dog friendly. Sharing!

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