By Tara Smith
SpouseLink Ambassador
& Guest Blogger

Even if you are not a military spouse stationed in North Carolina this post is for you… as long as you have a dog! Sometimes it can feel like we are stuck in an area that just doesn’t seem to meet our adventurous needs. We may choose to stay home rather than venture out as a result. Moving from a large city in Florida to Jacksonville, NC, I was less than thrilled to move to the new location. I moved to an area where I didn’t know much about it and knew only a few spouses. It’s been one year since moving here, and I have come to love the simple pleasures of the country.

But Jacksonville is not organically adventurous, and you will have to travel out of the area to do things.

My husband and I recently went on a family trip to celebrate our anniversary and birthdays. We decided to escape to the mountains! The only thing is we have dogs. While boarding is convenient, it can sometimes be expensive. We rented an Airbnb because most commercial hotels do not accept dogs and sometimes have breed and size restrictions. I urge you to strongly look at the price breakdown before choosing your stay. We were going to pay more in cleaning fees as much as the entire stay! When doing research, I paid attention to the following:

  • Flat Rate Dog Fee: For example, 1 dog = $100, no matter how long the stay. Some places were charging $35/dog/day.
  • Restrictions: Number, weight, or breed.
  • Extra Fees: Cleaning fees. BOOM! This is where they hit you.

We chose it because it was a dog-friendly town. We also ate at restaurants that were dog-friendly and had outdoor patios. While I love Asheville, it is becoming a popular destination. My husband doesn’t deal well with many humans like my dogs do, so we retreat from the crowds. Here is what we encountered:

  • Blue Ridge Parkway (Free)
  • Grandfather Mountain State Park Trails (Ask for the military discount)
  • The Local Bar/Restaurant
  • The Orchard at Altapass (Our dogs made their Facebook page!)
  • Appalachian State University (Our dogs became therapy for students around campus!)

Many of the stores on the main strip allowed us to shop in the store with our dogs! Win-Win.

Wherever you go, it might be worth it to bring your furry pals along, not just to save you money, but because their excitement to explore is contagious. You’ll be happy to bring them along.

Tara is an active-duty Marine Corps spouse of 10 years. She is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who provides therapy to children and their families. Tara is a SpouseLink Ambassador, an expecting mother, and has one horse and two dogs. In her spare time, you will find her working out, walking her dogs, and spending time with her horse. 

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