Tennessee is known for southern hospitality, and there’s no better place to bring your furry, four-legged friends than these pet-friendly destinations across the state.
Pet-friendly Shelby Farms Park is one of the largest urban parks in the country. “The Outback” section offers more than 100 acres (40 hectares) of open fields, ponds and unpaved trails for off-leash fun. It’s open from sunrise to sunset and features a water fountain with a doggie bowl and dog wash station. Pets will feel right at home on the patio at Loflin Yard, which serves up barbecue, burgers, grilled veggies, sandwiches, craft cocktails and local beer. Check in at the pet-friendly ARRIVE Hotel. The boutique hotel in the middle of the South Main Arts District, across the street from the National Civil Rights Museum, has an onsite bakery (Hustle and Dough), bar (Longshot), and cocktail spot.
Bring your pup on a leash to check out the West Tennessee Farmers Market in the heart of downtown Jackson. Grab a bite from one of the local food trucks and shop with crafters and listen to a concert at the Amphitheater at the Market. Pups can run leash-free while socializing with other pups and play in the one-acre (0.4 hectare) fenced in Jackson Downtown Dog Park. Chow down on pizza and try local brews with your pup on the patio at Rock ‘n’ Dough. Take a hike at nearby Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park, which covers more than 1,200 acres (485 hectares) and contains at least 15 Native American mounds. Rest up at the pet-friendly Hampton Inn & Suites.
Grab a brew and explore with your pet at Hop Springs Beer Park. It’s open every day with great food, live music every weekend and a huge selection of craft beer. Outside is a 9-hole disc golf course, dog park, 84 acres (34 hectares) of trails on a nature reserve and a sculpture garden. Local favorite Mayday Brewery offers pet-themed events like Paint Your Pet Parties, Dog Costume Contests and Pets on the Patio. Dogs are allowed at the locally-owned Red Bicycle. Snap a pic with your pup at the swing set mural before grabbing gourmet coffee and a scratch-made crepe. Stop by Veda’s Flowers and Gifts for a picture with your dog at their dog wings mural and take a walk around Murfreesboro’s historic town square. Leashed dogs are welcome inside the kombucha taproom at the wellness center Float Alchemy, which hosts dog-themed events like Booches + Pooches and Paw Painting Parties. Furry friends can explore seven miles of trails with history, cannons, wildlife and nature at Stones River National Battlefield.
Columbia unleashed its first dog park in 2020 at Maury County Park. Pups can enjoy a fire hydrant leap, weave posts, dog crawls and a double jump. The enclosed park is divided into a small pup play area, large pup play area and a free-for-all area. Other amenities include benches, a watering station and doggy bag dispensers. Bring your pet to sidewalk cafes, coffee shops, bars and other eateries with outdoor seating, including Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant on the downtown square, JJ’s Barbecue and Embers Tavern & Grille.
Leashed dogs and their owners love to explore the 144-acre Dunbar Cave State Park in Clarksville. Short trails, water, woods and wildlife watching gives the whole family, pets included, a fun adventure. Miss Lucille’s Marketplace & Café has outdoor tables with dog-friendly seating outside under their covered patio. The café with rustic Southern flavor offers a lunch menu with tasty sandwiches like brisket sliders, salads and shareable plates like nachos or a cheese board. Grab a cup of coffee or signature drink from the coffee stand. Stay at Riverview Inn, which welcomes two pets of any size for an additional fee of $10 per pet, per night. Pets may not be left unattended in rooms. Treats and waste bags are available at the front desk, and there is a grassy area for pet relief on the property.
The communities surrounding Norris Lake, Cherokee Lake, Melton Hill Lake, Douglas Lake, Watts Bar Lake, Fort Loudon Lake, Tellico Lake, and Chilhowee & Calderwood Lakes—dubbed the 9 Lakes region—is a dog-friendly area that welcomes furry friends. You’ll have loads of fun with your pet on a hike through the woods at Cumberland Gap National Historic Park in Cumberland Gap. Begin your trek at the Daniel Boone Welcome Center or take the Wilderness Trail to the Furnace Parking Lot. Stop at Gap Creek Coffee House for a snack or one of their signature coffee creations. Outdoor seating along the creek is pet-friendly. Clinch River Brewing at Norris Dam State Park has the perfect patio for pets. Trails within the state park can cap a great day with your pet. Pets are also welcome on the patio at Bubba Brews on Norris Lake, which has live music on the weekends.
Knoxville is the perfect playground for pets to explore trails and the walkable downtown. Sniff out local cuisine at more than 60 restaurants with outdoor seating areas, including Barley’s Tap Room, Tupelo Honey and Bistro at the Bijou. Breweries like Elmont Exchange and Schulz Brewing have outdoor patios. Get some rest at the Holiday Inn at World’s Fair Park. The pet-friendly hotel is within walking distance of many attractions, including Market Square. In June, don’t miss Bike Boat Brew & Bark. The event has Powerboat Nationals, Smoky Mountain Dock Dogs dog jump competitions, Riverwalk tours, a pet photo contest, food and drinks, guided brewery slow rides and doggie pools.
Kingsport in Northeast Tennessee is a dog-friendly destination with pet-friendly restaurants, parks, hotels and businesses offering pet services. The city’s first dog park, known as the Barking Lot, is open from dawn to dusk. Kingsport even has its own Selfie Trail with picture-perfect backdrops for pet owners and pooches. Grab a spot at the picnic table and enjoy a classic burger and fries with your pup at the award-winning Pal’s Sudden Service. Downtown Kingsport features several pet-friendly restaurants with outdoor seating, including Stir Fry Café.