The Ultimate Dog-Friendly Guide To Visiting Tennessee

The Ultimate Dog-Friendly Guide To Visiting Tennessee

One of the hardest parts of going on vacation is having to leave your pet behind (doesn’t your pooch deserve some rest and relaxation, too?). Luckily, Tennessee is full of dog-friendly places to stay, eat, drink and have fun! We collected a few of our favorite pet-friendly spots in the top cities in Tennessee, so you won’t have to leave your pup at home on your next trip.


Located just outside Nashville, this charming city is one of the most dog-friendly places in Tennessee. With tons of dog parks and pet-friendly restaurants and shops, there are plenty of spots to bring your pooch. The city has even launched an initiative to make local businesses more pet-friendly, with water bowls and doggie treats now at many downtown stores and restaurants. Here are a few of our favorite places in Franklin to bring your furry friend:

Harlinsdale Farm

Explore the grounds of Harlinsdale Farm. @maggie.card

This 200-acre farm, is famous for breeding prize stallions, but it also has a grassy dog park for pups to play in. Harlinsdale Farm is also across the street from the Factory at Franklin, a popular retail and entertainment complex. Stop by the Factory to see live music and locally owned artisan shops. Bonus: most of the Factory at Franklin is dog-friendly, too!

Puckett's Boat House

This restaurant proves you don’t have to be on the coast to get some awesome seafood. Puckett’s is known for its genuine Southern cuisine, fresh oysters and authentic coastal vibes. Enjoy some live music on their pet-friendly patio while eating delicious seafood and sipping on a specialty cocktail.

Tin Cottage

This home décor and specialty gift shop features locally made goods and artisan fare any avid home decorator will love. Whether you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind piece to add some character to your home or the perfect gift, Tin Cottage has it. The store also allows leashed dogs inside, so you can bring your pup along while shopping.


From the Southern cooking to the amazing music scene, Memphis is famous for having a ton of soul. Known for its rich musical history, Memphis was where artists such as Johnny Cash, Elvis and B.B. King started their careers. Luckily, many of the must-see spots in Memphis are also dog-friendly!

Overton Bark

Your dog will make new friends at Overton Bark. @overtonpark

Overton Park, a 342-acre public park in Memphis, includes the Memphis Zoo, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, and of course, Overton Bark. This 1.3-acre dog park includes cleanup stations, benches, water fountains, and separate areas for small and large dogs. Overton Bark is open every day from dusk till dawn, giving your pup plenty of time to run around and make some new friends.

Malco Summer Quartet Drive-In Theater

Nothing says summer more than a drive-in movie theatre, and it’s even better when your favorite furry friend can join you. Malco Summer Quartet Drive In is always playing the newest blockbusters for a great price. Plus, check out their Time Warp Drive In schedule for throwback movie nights from March until December.

Muddy's Bake Shop

Get a sweet treat for Fido at Muddy's Bake Shop. @arescuenamedloki; @jacquelawlesss

This hidden gem is known by locals to have some of the best cupcakes in Memphis. Enjoy one of their delectable treats with an artisan latte on the dog-friendly patio — Muddy’s even has fresh-baked goods for your pooch! What makes Muddy’s even better is their commitment to the community; the staff is always volunteering for different charities around Memphis, and all proceeds from their ROCWPC (Refill Our Community With Positive Change) jar goes toward a different nonprofit organization every month. Dog-friendly and committed to doing good — Muddy’s is a pretty sweet Memphis treat.

South Of Beale

Memphis’ first gastropub has become one of the hippest spots in the city, thanks to their elevated take on traditional bar food and artfully crafted cocktails. A dog-friendly patio, complimentary popcorn and awesome service are just a few of the things that make S.O.B. great. Be sure to try the duck fried rice — a $5 delicacy so great it was featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” With $4 mimosas and bloody marys, S.O.B. is also a great stop for Sunday brunch.

The Peabody Hotel Memphis

Bring your dog along to the Peabody Memphis Hotel. Tennessee Vacation

A Memphis landmark, The Peabody Memphis hotel is famous for its grand lobby, four-star accommodations, and most of all, its unique permanent residents. The Peabody ducks have been a tradition in the hotel for more than 90 years, where the five resident ducks march to the lobby fountain every day at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. When off-duty, the five North American mallards reside in the Royal Duck Palace on the hotel’s roof. While doggies are not allowed at The Peabody Duck March, the hotel welcomes pups under 75 pounds for an additional fee. The hotel even has a special room service menu for pets, so both you and your pet can enjoy a luxurious breakfast in bed.


Nestled into the Appalachian Mountains, Chattanooga is a hub for outdoor adventures in Tennessee. From hiking trails to activities on the Tennessee River, there are plenty of ways to enjoy nature in Chattanooga. Here are a few of our favorite places in the city to bring your pooch:

Walnut Street Bridge

Take a stroll with your dog on Walnut Street Bridge. Jake Matthews

This massive half-mile long bridge spans the Tennessee River, connecting downtown Chattanooga and North Shore. The bridge is pet-friendly, so you and your dog can stroll across it to take in the views and people watch. As a bonus, there are plenty of places on both sides to grab a treat — our favorite is Clumpies Ice Cream Co., right off Coolidge Park on the bridge’s north side.

Rock City

Your dog will love exploring Rock City. Tennessee Vacation

One of Chattanooga’s biggest outdoor attractions, there’s so much to explore in Rock City. You can see seven states from the top of Lover’s Leap, a picturesque lookout point jutting out from the side of Lookout Mountain. In addition to some amazing views, there’s also Fairyland Caverns, where you can see artists’ renditions of classic children’s tales throughout the caves. Pets of all kinds are welcome here — and Rock City even serves doggie treats from local company Nooga Paws.

Aretha Frankensteins

Have brunch at Aretha Frankensteins. @crlwrites and @marionwdurham

Aretha Frankensteins is a funky diner with eclectic décor and out-of-this-world pancakes. It’s a little off the beaten path in Chattanooga, but that’s what makes it a favorite spot for locals looking for some awesome diner classics. Their patio is dog-friendly, so bring your pup along to this laid-back spot with quirky vibes.

The Read House Historic Inn & Suites

Enjoy a stay at the Read House Hotel. Tennessee Vacation

Located in the heart of downtown Chattanooga, this dog-friendly hotel is within walking distance of some of the city’s best attractions. This 19th century hotel has old-school charm with modern amenities such as a heated indoor pool and complimentary Wi-Fi. While staying at The Read House, check out the Tennessee Aquarium, Hunter Museum of American Art and the Creative Discovery Museum — all within a mile of the hotel.


This dog-friendly city in East Tennessee is full of history, with an awesome arts scene and plenty of nature to explore. Knoxville is a big college town, which means there’s tons of live music and gallery shows. Plenty of Knoxville’s bars and restaurants have pet-friendly patios, and many of the area’s nature trails are dog-friendly and have mild enough terrain that you can bring your buddy along.

Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum

Stroll through the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum. @jaime_plus3pups

It’s no coincidence that this botanical garden’s whimsical stone walls and hidden passageways are reminiscent of “The Secret Garden” — the author, Frances Hodgson Burnett, lived in Knoxville for a period, so this garden is thought to be the book’s inspiration. Bring the story to life among the beautiful array of plants and flowers along this two-mile trail. The Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum also welcomes dogs if they are on leashes.

Forks of the River Trails

Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area is an expansive wooded area overlooking the Tennessee and French Broad rivers in Knoxville. The area features different kinds of trails ranging in length and difficulty, and leashed dogs are always welcome. If you visit Forks of the River in the summer, make sure to park on the French Broad River side to see the incredible fields of sunflowers!


Enjoy a hotel package with your pooch in Knoxville. THE TENNESSEAN Hotel

Indulge in a stay at the AAA Four Diamond Hotel, THE TENNESSEAN Hotel. Book the Puppy Love Package during your stay, a package for couples and their furry friend. Dogs are treated to custom in-house-made dog treats and in-room dining options with a choice of steak, chicken or salmon served with vegetables and rice. You are then treated to the Panoramic King room, a romantic rose petal turn-down service which includes champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries. A dog sitter is also available for up to two hours while you enjoy an intimate dinner of wines and delicious meals.

The Tomato Head (Downtown)

Savor lunch or dinner at The Tomato Head. @steviemariek

This hip pizza parlor is a local favorite for its casual cool vibes and amazing pies. All of the food is fresh and delicious, living up to The Tomato Head’s catchphrase, “Food gotta cook, don’t come out of a can!” And with vegan and vegetarian options, the menu has something for everyone. Enjoy your pie on their dog-friendly patio, where local musicians often play. As a strong supporter of artists in their community, The Tomato Head regularly has art exhibitions from local artists.


Pigeon Forge is known for the famous Dollywood amusement park, but it’s also renowned for being one of the best places to explore Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With plenty of dog-friendly nature trails, activities and accommodations, both you and your pooch are sure to have fun in Pigeon Forge.

Cades Cove

Cades Cove. @jlmurph

This stunning valley nestled between the Smoky Mountains is home to beautiful plants and a variety of wildlife. Take the 11-mile loop trail by bike or car, or try one of the many hiking trails for a better chance at seeing white-tailed deer, raccoons or even coyotes. Cades Cove also features a visitor center and well-maintained campgrounds, so bring your pup for a hike or on an overnight outdoor adventure.


You don’t have to leave your pooch at home when spending the day at Pigeon Forge’s most popular attraction, Dollywood. Their on-site doggy day care, Doggywood, promises to take great care of your pup while you enjoy the park. FYI: Doggy day care service runs $25 to $35 per day, and you must provide food and proof your buddy has up-to-date vaccinations. If you’re planning a visit to the park, we also recommend making reservations at Doggywood — space tends to fill up quickly!

Two Trails in the Smokies

The Gatlinburg and Oconaluftee River trails, the two most popular trails in Gatlinburg, are both great ways to explore the Smoky Mountains with your pup. Both trails are easy terrain and under a mile long, with plenty of picturesque views. Not only are these two trails dog friendly, but many of the cabins in the area are pet friendly too!


Known for its amazing music scene and awesome down-home Southern food, Nashville is a can’t-miss stop on any trip to Tennessee. As an added bonus, there are plenty of pet-friendly hotels, restaurants and activities, so you can bring your pup along! Nosh on Southern cooking on a dog-friendly patio downtown, stroll down 12th Street for some shopping or take an outdoor adventure right outside the city — here are our top places to make it happen.

Hotel Preston

Clean design and dog-friendly rooms at Hotel Preston. @tessgauvin

This stylish hotel with rock ’n’ roll vibes is close to both the airport and downtown Nashville. Pet-friendly with modern amenities and an outdoor pool, it’s the perfect place for you and your pooch to stay while visiting Nashville.

The Southern

This bustling steakhouse in the heart of Nashville is known for their elevated Southern cuisine and quality classic cocktails. The Southern takes pride in their extensive oyster selection, sustainably sourced meat and seafood, and use of local produce. It’s a busy spot, so reservations are typically needed for dining room seating; however, the patio is first come, first served and, best of all, dog-friendly. The outdoor seating is also perfect for sipping mimosas at brunch.

White’s Mercantile

Have a shopping day with your furry friend. Christina Morgan

Furry friends and stylish shoppers rejoice! Nashville’s chicest gift shop loves doggies. The owner, Holly Williams, is a singer/songwriter and, as the daughter of country musician Hank Williams Jr., Nashville royalty. White’s Mercantile is a modern, sophisticated general store, with a special section just for pups! Whether you’re looking for a special gift for loved ones back home, a chic Nashville souvenir, or a stylish new accessory for your dog, White’s is the place.

The Trails at Fontanel

Take a 3-mile trail walk with your dog. @thefunkybunchandme

About 15 minutes from downtown Nashville, Fontanel is the perfect place to get out of the city and spend a relaxing afternoon in nature. This easy 3-mile trail is perfect for pups, with a wide trail and plenty of benches to take a breather along the way. After your hike, head to Prichard’s Distillery at Fontanel and try some of their gold medal double barreled bourbon. Bonus: Prichard’s is also dog-friendly!

Bicentennial Mall State Park

Walk the 19-acre Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Tennessee State Parks

One of downtown Nashville’s most beautiful attractions, this well-kept 19-acre state park lets stunning monuments tell stories of Tennessee’s history. The park has guided tours, benches and a visitor’s center; pups are welcome if they’re on a leash. After walking through the park, take a stroll through the Farmers Market located across the street.

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Written by Tennessee Vacation for VMLY&R on behalf of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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1 comment

I am a great loyal fan of dogs, and this article is really so much fun to read. I usually read up about dogs and cats on websites like PetCareRx and PetMD. But now I am going to regularly visit your blog as well.


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