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Explore Dog-Friendly Blowing Rock NC

Tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Blowing Rock, North Carolina is a bustling mountain town known for its outdoor recreation, robust dining and shopping opportunities, and beautiful scenery. Blowing Rock is also one of the most dog-friendly towns we’ve had the pleasure of visiting.

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Flynnie loves visiting Blowing Rock NC

This beautiful town is affectionately called the “Crown of the Blue Ridge,” and is a must-stop destination if you’re traveling on the world-famous Blue Ridge Parkway. If you happen to have your favorite four-legged companion with you, even better!

Ready to take a little tour of this storybook village in the mountains? Here’s an overview of some of our favorite things to do with dogs in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.

Blowing Rock At-A-Glance

Here’s a bite-sized snapshot of everything you need to know to plan your trip to dog-friendly Blowing Rock NC:

  • When to Go: May through October
  • Where to Stay: Hillwinds Inn is extremely dog-friendly and located within walking distance of downtown Blowing Rock NC.
  • How to get here: The cheapest flights will likely take you to Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), about two hours from Blowing Rock. From there, we recommend renting a car and embarking on a Blue Ridge Parkway road trip.
  • How to Get Around: If you stay at Hillwinds Inn, you’ll be within walking distance of downtown, Blowing Rock, but you’ll need a car to explore the other spots on this list.
  • Top 3 Highlights: Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, the Blowing Rock, Rough Ridge Trail.

Things to Do in Dog-Friendly Blowing Rock

Blowing Rock and the Blue Ridge Mountains provide numerous activities for outdoor recreation with or without dogs.

The following parks, hikes, and activities are dog-friendly and perfect for families.

Explore Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

Flat Top Manor in Moses H. Cone Memorial Park in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.
Flat Top Manor in Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

Located right on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Blowing Rock at milepost 294, Moses H. Cone is an awesome destination for history buffs, hikers, picnickers, dog walkers, and sunset lovers.

The park encompasses 3,500 acres of what was once the grand estate of Moses and Bertha Lindau Cone, who made their fortune in the denim industry.

The house, known as Flat Top Manor, was built in the 1890s. The estate was donated to the Blue Ridge Parkway in 1950. While much of Flat Top Manor is being restored, visitors can take ranger-led tours of the second floor, and explore the local craft shop on the first floor. Dogs, however, must stick to exploring the grounds.

Flynn the black lab lies in the grass as the sun sets over the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina.
Flynn loved Blowing Rock sunsets from Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

The beautiful estate grounds include 26 miles of carriage trails, two small lakes, and an observation tower at the top of Flat Top Mountain.

Dogs must be kept on a leash on the grounds of the estate, and you will likely encounter plenty of hikers, photographers, joggers, and horseback riders as you meander the trails.

If you are short on time, I recommend a stroll around Bass Lake or on the Figure Eight Trail, which starts near Flat Top Manor. If you have a bit more time, definitely hike the 2.8 miles (one way) to the observation tower.

Sunset from the carriage road just past the Blue Ridge Parkway underpass is fabulous. It’s also a good spot for an evening picnic. You can read more about visiting Moses H. Cone Memorial Park on the National Park Service website.

Read Next: Dog-Friendly Adventures for the Best Summer Ever

North Carolina’s First Tourist Attraction: The Blowing Rock

The Blowing Rock in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.
A cloudy view from the Blowing Rock

The Blowing Rock is touted as North Carolina’s First Tourist Attraction and has been attracting visitors since 1933.

While it’s definitely a commercial venture, charging $9 per person for a look at the rock and the breathtaking view, it is completely dog-friendly, and a beautiful spot for an afternoon picnic.

Meander on the flat, universally accessible walking paths, check out the vistas and explore the lovely gardens and a gift shop.

the blowing rock with dogs
There are benches and picnic tables throughout

The attraction and the town’s namesake, the Blowing Rock, is a slab of Gneiss that juts out above the surrounding cliffs, 4,000 feet above sea level.

Supposedly, the walls of the gorge below form a wind tunnel. The winds blow through with such force that it returns light objects that are thrown into the void from the rock. I can’t vouch for that, as there was no wind the day I visited.

Hike the Rough Ridge Trail of the Blue Ridge Parkway

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Sunrise from Rough Ridge near Blowing Rock, NC

The Rough Ridge Trail is a beautiful little hike (1.5 miles round-trip) with awesome views of the surrounding mountains, as well as the Linn Cove Viaduct.

Starting at the Rough Ridge Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, milepost 302.8, the Rough Ridge Trail is actually a small section of the 13-mile Tanawha Trail.

To make your hike a little longer, start at the Boulder Fields Overlook (milepost 302.4), and hike up to the Tanawha Trail and then on to Rough Ridge Summit, at 4,773 feet in elevation. Unless it’s cloudy, you’ll be treated to neverending views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Flynn the black lab poses next to a sign for the Tanawha Trail in dog-friendly Blowing Rock, NC.
Flynn is ready for a hike on the Tanawha Trail.

The hike is moderately steep and travels through rhododendrons and hardwoods, across several wooden bridges and small waterfalls, before finally reaching a wooden boardwalk that was created to protect the delicate vegetation on the summit.

Explore Downtown in Dog-Friendly Blowing Rock

Blowing Rock is a thoroughly walkable town, with cute boutiques and restaurants, plus several lovely parks and an itty-bitty museum.

Most importantly, they’ve got two ice cream shops and a fabulous coffee shop, and just about every store has a bowl of water out for thirsty pooches.

Memorial Park, which is located right on Main Street, is not dog-friendly, but if you walk down Laurel Lane from Main Street, you will come to Broyhill Park, which allows dogs. There is a small pond, gardens, and benches for relaxing.

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Picking out a treat at Stella Blue’s Pawtique in downtown Blowing Rock

While many of the stores in downtown Blowing Rock allow dogs, your dog’s favorite place will definitely be Stella Blue’s Pawtique.

Flynn and I popped in to get him a little treat, and we were amazed by all the dried animal parts for sale. I bought him a duck neck, which he devoured in two seconds.

Stella Blue’s loves meeting the dogs that come to town, and they have a great selection of treats, toys, beds, and collars. It’s a must-visit if you’re passing through with your pooch!

Dog-Friendly Blowing Rock Restaurants

While most restaurants in Blowing Rock won’t allow your dog to come inside, many have fabulous outdoor decks, patios, or dining areas where you can bring your dog when the weather cooperates.

We dined at many local restaurants during our visit. Here’s an overview of all the restaurants in Blowing Rock that allow pets.

Blowing Rock Ale House

The outdoor seating area at Blowing Rock Ale House in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.
Blowing Rock Ale House

Located on Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock Ale House is the perfect place to unwind after a day of shopping or hiking. There are several outdoor picnic tables to choose from, as well as a huge variety of beers brewed behind the restaurant at the Blowing Rock Brewing Company.

The fare is pretty standard pub food with a bit of local flare. My server recommended the roasted poblano and white cheddar appetizer, which is a dip served with flatbread chips. It was really yummy, but perhaps too gooey and cheesy for such a hot day.

I ordered a flight of three beers and loved the High Country Ale, a golden ale with floral notes — the perfect summer beer in my opinion. Flynn enjoyed his bowl of ice water and lots of petting and compliments from the waitstaff and other diners.

Location: 152 Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock, NC 28605, (828) 414-9254

Mellow Mushroom

I had never heard of this national pizza chain before visiting Blowing, but the dining options at Mellow Mushroom in Blowing Rock are so yummy — holy shitake pizzas, tempeh hoagies, and enlightened spinach salads. Dogs are welcome on their outdoor patio, and there are 24 beers on tap!

Location: 946 Main Street, Blowing Rock, NC 28605, (828) 295-3399

Six Pence Pub

The Outdoor seating area at Six Pence Pub in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.
Sweet potato fries and bleu cheese!

Another awesome downtown pub! Six Pence Pub has a spacious patio that welcomes dogs. Flynn was offered a huge bowl of ice water as soon as we were seated. We shared the patio with two other dogs without an issue.

I started with a Wicked Weed Cucumber Golden Ale, a Saison that came with a cucumber slice and was so refreshing!

For dinner, I ordered a grilled portabella sandwich on rye with a side of sweet potato fries. The fries came with bleu cheese, which made my day. Most of the menu consisted of classic British pub fare, cooked to perfection.

Location: 1121 Main Street, Blowing Rock, NC 28605, (828) 295-3155

The Speckled Trout Restaurant and Bottle Shop

Featuring a small menu of regional dishes, the Speckled Trout welcomes dogs to their outdoor patio. Eclectic menu items include a pickled watermelon salad, fried trout belly, and bison ribeye.

The onsite bottle shop features a great (and unusual) selection of beers and wines.

Location: 922 Main Street, Blowing Rock, NC 28605, (828) 295-3155

Town Tavern

The Town Tavern is a sports bar on Main Street with the largest outdoor dining area around. Featuring live music on the weekends, water bowls and treats for dogs, and a large tavern menu and beer selection, this is a hoppin’ spot for locals and tourists alike.

Location: 1182 Main Street, Blowing Rock, NC 28605, (828) 295-7500

Where to Stay in Blowing Rock with Dogs: Hillwinds Inn

An outside view of the Tarheel Suite at Hillwinds Inn.
Outside View of the Tarheel Suite at Hillwinds Inn

Not only does Hillwinds Inn in Blowing Rock allow dogs, but they welcome dogs with open arms, belly rubs, and lots of sweet talk. This beautiful inn is within walking distance of downtown Blowing Rock and a perfect home base for all of your explorations on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The view of Hillwinds Inn fin Blowing Rock rom the outside
The view of Hillwinds Inn from the outside

The staff at Hillwinds Inn truly love dogs, and you definitely get the feeling that dogs are welcome, not just tolerated. There is a $35 pet fee per night, which covers the extra cleaning required for the dog-friendly rooms.

We were excited to book the Tarheel Suite, which included a separate bedroom with a queen bed, a sitting area with a gas fireplace, a balcony, and a small kitchenette.

The rooms are climate-controlled and so comfortable that it was sometimes hard to head out each morning to explore. My only complaint would be the lack of a workspace or table in the Tarheel Suite. Not a huge deal, but I did work/eat on the sofa, which wasn’t ideal.

A photo collage of the inside of the Tarheel Suite at Hillwinds Inn in Blowing Rock, NC
Inside views of the Tarheel Suite

I had the opportunity to peek inside the regular guest rooms during my visit, and they are just as lovely, with comfy beds, microwaves, mini-fridges, and warm and inviting decor.

Each room has cute rocking chairs out front to relax in, which is such a welcoming way to meet other travelers who are passing through the area.

A complimentary breakfast is served in the dining area off the main lobby each morning, and while it’s pretty standard fare, the Chobani yogurt and waffle bar was a treat.

The staff at the front desk said that Flynn was more than welcome to come for breakfast or the nightly wine and cheese hour, but I generally left him in our room to sleep during those times. My dog is well-behaved, but he’s such a beggar, and I didn’t want to make a bad impression…

I would not hesitate to recommend Hillwinds Inn to anyone visiting Blowing Rock. It is such a cute and welcoming place, and you can’t beat the downtown location.

Planning Your Trip to Blowing Rock, NC

Here are the resources I used to plan my trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway and to dog-friendly Blowing Rock.

  • Visit Blowing Rock. This is one of the best tourism websites I’ve used. I love that they provide specific itineraries based on your interests, plus they have lots of dog-specific advice.
  • Blue Ridge Parkway Association. The Blue Ridge Parkway is maintained by the National Park Service, but the BRPA is a member organization that works to attract visitors and promote businesses along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • National Park Service. The official site for the Blue Ridge Parkway, the NPS website will keep you up-to-date on alerts and road closures, and provide you with an overview of trails, campgrounds, and attractions along the 469-mile roadway.

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Tara Schatz sits with her two dogs, Gatsby and Flynn.

Tara is a freelance writer and travel blogger with a passion for outdoor adventures. She is the co-author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes in Vermont and currently blogs at Back Road Ramblers and Vermont Explored, where she shares travel tips, adventure destinations, and vacation ideas for the wanderer in everyone.