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Press Paws and Refresh in the Smokies



Fresh Smoky Mountain air, wide-open spaces, and a pocketful of treats make for a doggone good weekend if you ask us! Lucky for you and your best friend on four legs, we’ve got plenty of the first two, and we know a spot that can help with the third. If you’re looking for a weekend away from home where your dog is more than welcome, the NC Smokies are just the place. Here’s what your memorable weekend in Haywood County might look like.


Breakfast at Coffee Cup Cafe

There’s no better way to wake up in the Smokies—the lovely back porch provides amazing mountain views, and the menu offers fresh, delicious items plus homemade coffee drinks to help you get a jumpstart. While you’re here, you might as well pick up something special for your (spoiler alert) picnic outing, which is up next! P.S. If you’re looking to stretch those legs some more before your picnic, Clyde is home to some really unique adventures. Stop by Buffalo Creek to see the bison, drop a line into Ferguson’s Trout Pond, or admire the blooms at Wildcat Ridge farm.

Max Patch Hike

This wide-open mountain bald has plenty of room for running around, chasing tails, and lounging out. Hop onto one of the several nearby hiking trails for a fresh glimpse of the Smokies, then head back to the bald for a scenic lunchtime picnic and relax for a while.

Refuel at BearWaters

By this point, we’re sure you’ve worked up a thirst. To help with that, we’re sending you over to a few of our favorite dog-friendly watering holes: BearWaters Brewing in Canton and Maggie Valley. At both locations, you’ll find fresh brews, an outdoor patio, delicious food, and a welcoming environment for your four-legged companion. You can’t go wrong with either location, but if you’re having trouble deciding which one to swing by, we recommend a good old-fashioned coin flip.

Take Out

You’ve had a fun-filled day, and I’m sure you’re looking forward to relaxing with some AC in your pet-friendly accommodation. To make that happen faster, call ahead to one of our restaurants and take your order to-go. Here are some of our go-to spots when we’re looking to eat a takeaway meal.

two dogs in the nc smokies


Explore Black Balsam Knob Area

After you’ve had your breakfast and coffee, hop in the car and buckle up—you’re about to experience a bit of what people call “America’s favorite drive” along the Blue Ridge Parkway. You’ll take the Parkway up to milepost 420 to the Black Balsam Knob area, which is full of customizable hiking trails for you and your pup. Trails here lead to Black Balsam Knob, Sam Knob, and Tennent Mountain—all bald mountaintops known for their sweeping views and alpine appearance. After your morning hike, find a cool rock or grassy patch and enjoy another relaxing outdoor meal. We suggest 828 Market on Main in Downtown Waynesville for some freshly made, locally sourced chow.

Swimming at Sunburst

We’ve never met a dog who didn’t love to splash around in a cool mountain stream. At Sunburst Swimming Hole, you can both take a refreshing dip in one of nature’s most scenic pools. All the water originates within the mountains surrounding the creek, so you will find some of the freshest (and coldest) water around to cool off in.

Dinner at Southern Porch

Southern Porch—located in a historic, restored Victorian-style inn established in the late 1800s—is casual family fine dining at its best. They pride themselves on serving up a wide variety of local favorites in a relaxed atmosphere. Their friendly staff love four-legged patrons and are happy to cater to their needs. After your meal, take a stroll through the quaint but beautiful town of Canton, where you’ll find an incredible mix of history and modern retail.

Where to Stay

Finding a pet-friendly place to stay can sometimes be a real challenge. We’re here to make that easy for you—check out our variety of accommodations where your pets are more than welcome!

We hope this weekend of adventure is as fun for you as it was for us—our friends give it two wags and a high-paw.

If you happened to capture some action shots—tag them with #HayNow and we might feature them on our Instagram! If you come back and see us again, there are even more ways to explore, whether you’ve got two legs or four. Stop by our Visitor Center in Maggie Valley for even more inspiration.

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