The Best Cities for Cat Lovers & Adventure Cats: Asheville, NC
Traveling with the KCC Adventure Team is one of my favorite things ever, so I am always looking for our next destination or planning our next trip. Earlier this year, we enjoyed a long weekend in Charleston, SC with Kylo Ren, and I’ve been dream planning our next adventure ever since. I’m excited to announce that it is finally time for the trip! Later this month, we will be heading to Asheville, NC with Sophie, Kylo, and Caster!
I’m especially excited about this trip because we are always hearing about what a cool city Asheville is, AND it happens to be extremely pet-friendly! In fact, Asheville is also known as Dog City, USA and boasts being one of the most dog-friendly cities in the country. Well, guess what, Asheville? The KCC Adventure Team is coming to town and taking over. You’ll be known as CAT CITY by the time we’re through 🙂
Cat-Friendly Accommodations in Asheville
Seeing as Asheville is considered one of the most dog-friendly cities in the US, you can imagine there are plenty of choices for pet-friendly accommodations. There are hotels, cabins, inns, etc. all over the city and surrounding areas that allow pets. Some charge fees, and some don’t. Some have restrictions, some don’t. Just be sure to ask when you make your reservations to be sure that you aren’t breaking any rules by bringing your kitty cat companions.
Aloft Asheville Downtown
The Aloft Hotel in downtown Asheville has been voted the nation’s top pet-friendly hotel. What kind of pet perks does the Aloft offer that makes it so awesome for pets of all kinds? First off, pets stay FREE! That is a huge perk for sure. Other perks include a pet bed and food and water bowls in the room as well as a rooftop walking area.
The hotel has also partnered with Charlie’s Angels Animal Rescue to foster rescue dogs. The hotel houses one adoptable dog at a time who wears an “Adopt Me” vest. While not cat-related, I still thought this was a great program. Perhaps they will consider bringing in resident adoptable cats in the future.
Urban Asheville Adventures to Enjoy with Your Cat
We know there are different types of adventure cats. Some enjoy the outdoorsy adventures such as hiking, canoeing, or camping, while others prefer sticking to more urban adventures. Regardless of you and your cat’s adventure preferences, Asheville has you covered. Here are our top picks for urban adventures to enjoy with your traveling cat companion:
Dog Welcome Center
Asheville is home to the first Dog Welcome Center in the country! Okay, you may be thinking, “Why in the world is the Dog Welcome Center included in a post about cat-friendly attractions?” Though it’s true that the Dog Welcome Center is geared towards dogs who are visiting the city, that doesn’t mean that it’s not a valuable resource for those traveling with cats too!
At the Dog Welcome Center, you can find indoor and outdoor seating, potty areas, water fountains, and brochures for the top 100 dog-friendly attractions, dining, shopping, activities, and services in Asheville. While dog-friendly doesn’t always translate to cat-friendly, it does sometimes. After a visit to the Dog Welcome Center, you will have an idea of the different attractions you’ll be able to enjoy with your adventure cat!
Asheville’s Urban Trail
If your cat doesn’t mind the hustle and bustle of a downtown city, you’ll want to check out Asheville’s Urban Trail. The Urban Trail is the city’s unique history museum – a walking-trail found outdoors along the sidewalks of downtown. The “trail” is 1.7 miles and includes 30 stations, each with a piece of art and a bronze plaque that commemorates the city’s most significant cultural, educational, social, and architecture stories. While the trail can be walked in an hour, it will most-likely take longer because you’ll get distracted by other shops, restaurants, and attractions along the way.
Laughing Seed Cafe
While most of the restaurants and breweries in Asheville have pet-friendly outdoor patios, our top choice that we are most looking forward to is the Laughing Seed Cafe. This restaurant serves organic, seasonal, farm-to-table vegetarian cuisine with an international flair with locally sourced ingredients from area farms. As a life-long vegetarian, I always get excited about a good vegetarian restaurant. Especially if I can bring my adventure cats with me!
American Museum of the House Cat + Catman2
Located about an hour outside of Asheville is the American Museum of the House Cat. This is must-visit location for any cat-lover, and you can even bring your adventure cat with you as long as they are leashed. This unique museum is full of Dr. Harold Sims’s 30+ year collection of all things relating to the House Cat. The collection includes fine “picture art” going back to the late 1800’s, modern art, folk art, rare advertising art, cat poster art, art glass cats, vintage and antique toy cats, etc. This display is the largest private collection of this magnitude and value in the country.
The museum is associated with the Catman2 no-kill cat shelter. All profits from the museum go to the shelter, which is run by Dr. Sims and his wife. The large shelter is located beside the Sims’ home in Cullowhee, North Carolina. The shelter is home to 60-80 cats at a time and consists of three large cat rooms, each with a large screened and fenced outside porch. Tours of the shelter are available by appointment. We will definitely be scheduling a tour!
Asheville Outdoor Nature Adventures to Explore with Your Cat
For those of you who enjoy getting out in nature with your cats, there are TONS of hiking areas and parks in and around Asheville. More than we can count. Here are our top picks:
The Biltmore Estate is the largest privately owned house in the United States and is a top tourist attraction in Asheville. With lodging, dining shopping, gardens, and plenty of outdoor activities such as biking, horseback riding, fishing, hiking and more, you can imagine why it is such a popular spot to visit. But did you know that the Biltmore is pet-friendly? Cats (and dogs) are welcome to explore the 250+ acres of manicured grounds and gardens, as long as they are leashed. Pets are not allowed in any of the buildings, but a couple of the restaurants have outdoor patio seating where pets are welcome.
North Carolina Arboretum
The North Carolina Arboretum is a 434-acre public garden located within the Pisgah National Forest. The Arboretum includes 65+ acres of cultivated gardens, 10+ miles of hiking and biking trails, and other outdoor activities and exhibits. Pets are welcome in the gardens and hiking trails, as long as they are leashed. The Arboretum reminds me a lot of Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, which we visited earlier this year in Charleston. Kylo Ren really enjoyed the gardens, so I am really looking forward to visiting the Arboretum with him!
Blue Ridge Parkway
Running 469 miles from North Carolina into Virginia, the Blue Ridge Parkway is America’s longest linear park and one of the most visited units of the National Park System. It is known for it’s beauty and for having so many activities along its way. With parks, hiking trails, and places to just stop and admire the view, you don’t have to travel far down the Blue Ridge Parkway to enjoy a fun adventure with your cat. The good news is that most of the stops along the way are free!
As you can see, Asheville is an awesome place to visit with an adventure cat. We plan on hitting up as many of these attractions as possible while we’re there. We will be sure to report back and let you know about our experiences!
Have you ever traveled to Asheville? What attractions do you recommend?