Asheville Ranks As the Top Pet-Friendly Vacation City in the U.S.

Nevena Nacic
by Nevena Nacic
Javier Brosch/Shutterstock

Most people who live in Asheville, North Carolina, would describe their city as pet-friendly. And now, there’s a study that backs up their claims! A recent, data-driven study concluded that Asheville isn’t just welcoming to pets but ranked the city as the top pet-friendly city in the U.S. to visit.

Recently, Trips to Discover, an online travel resource platform, published a study that lists the 10 most popular travel destinations based on how well they are prepared to cater to the needs of people traveling with their pets. Asheville was ranked first, as the U.S. City Most Open To Pet Travel and deemed as having the highest pet acceptance level.

The study’s first objective was to source data from the national tourism office for the top 100 most visited U.S. cities. The next step was to manually search and collect data on pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, Airbnb rentals, parks, and stores. Lastly, a 13-metric statistical analysis was applied to calculate a city’s Pet Acceptance Level and Pet-Friendly City Score. 

The study also measured the concentration of pet-friendly businesses in each city and the cost of pet-friendly accommodation. Everything from highly-rated pet-friendly hotels to off-leash dog parks was considered to get the most accurate list of the best pet-friendly cities in the U.S. 

“When I embarked on my quest to discover the most pet-friendly places in the U.S., Asheville, North Carolina, stood out before I gathered any data,” said Noah Holtgraves, the study’s author. 

Based on the study’s custom scoring system, Asheville earned the highest Pet-Friendly City Score, scoring 10 out of 10. Thanks to an abundance of data, Noah was able to measure the willingness to accommodate pets in each city. And you’ve guessed it - Asheville got the highest score in the Pet Acceptance Level. 

Interestingly, Asheville has the most pet-friendly stores per capita and square mile and the nation’s most pet-friendly Airbnbs per capita. The city comes in third place for the most highly-rated pet-friendly hotels per capita and is in the top 10 for four other categories. 

If you plan to come to Asheville with your pooch, Trips to Discover recommends the Kimpton - Hotel Arras and Pet-Friendly Log Cabin on Reem Creek for lodgings. The Corner Kitchen and the Funkatorium took the title of the best restaurants with pet-friendly patios. 

In addition to pet-friendly accommodations and eateries, Asheville has parks, trails, greenways, and stores that welcome leashed dogs. The city also has one of the most beautiful dog parks. The French Broad River Dog Park sits on a one-acre lot and features a vast open area for dogs to run around and play, a paved trail, a gazebo, picnic tables, a small playground, and access to the river as well. 

Just outside of Asheville city limits, in Weaverville, doggy pawrents will find Wagbar - a private dog park that serves beer, wine, and other alcoholic drinks to humans, ensuring fun for everyone. 

“From my analysis, if you are genuinely passionate about pet travel, doggone it; you can’t do better than Asheville,” said Noah. 

Nevena Nacic
Nevena Nacic

Nevena is a freelance writer and a proud mom of Teo, a 17-year-old poodle, and Bob, a rescued grey tabby cat. Since childhood, she had a habit of picking up strays and bringing them home (luckily, her parents didn't know how to say NO). When she's not writing for her fellow pet parents, Nevena can be found watching Teo sleep. To her defense, that's not as creepy as it sounds!

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