Photo Credit: Jake Woetzel

Harrisonburg is the perfect place to bring your dog on vacation, with walkable downtown streets and over 15 pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, and breweries. Your dog can walk, sniff and explore the streets of Harrisonburg’s historic downtown shopping district and sample sumptuous treats at one of Harrisonburg’s independently-owned pet stores. Frolic through the fields of the Smithland Road Dog Park or explore lush forests and cold mountain streams in Shenandoah National Park or the George Washington National Forest. Dine al fresco under shaded patios and relax with your pup over handmade ice cream and a much deserved pup cup.

Take your adventure to the adjacent mountains, where you and you and your furry companion can explore miles of untamed wilderness. To the west, lush forests, cold mountain streams, and rugged mountaintop balds abound in the George Washington National Forest. To the east, cascading waterfalls, spectacular vistas, and fields of wildflowers are on full display at Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive. Shenandoah National Park is one of only a few national parks welcoming pets onto its trails. Over 500 miles of dog-friendly trails wind through these stunning natural areas.

Walkabout Outfitter, a locally owned gear shop welcoming four-legged and two-legged adventurers, carries a full selection of collapsible bowls, stash bags, and kibble caddies as well as toys, treats, and Ruffwear harnesses. Their friendly staff are always happy to share gear tips and expert advice to guide you on your next adventure.

Photo Credit: Jake Woetzel

When your dog signals that it’s time for a nap, wind down at one of Harrisonburg’s pet-friendly restaurants, where they can rest by your feet and be welcomed with a cold bowl of water and friendly pats. Relax on the patio at Island Wing Company, where pups are spoiled with their very own menu! Dine al fresco at Magpie Diner, Rocktown Kitchen, Vito’s Italian Kitchen, or Heritage Bakery and Café, or savor contemporary cuisine under a shaded patio at Clementine Café or Jack Brown’s Burger and Beer Joint. Enjoy a pint of beer at one of Harrisonburg’s six craft breweries and cidery or sample internationally-inspired cuisine at Mashita or BoBoKo Indonesian Cafe. Inside PULP, fuel up with a smoothie or açai bowl and meet Fern, the owner’s Blue Heeler.

Walk side by side down the streets of Harrisonburg’s historic downtown shopping district. This area is bustling with activity, giving your dog so much to sniff and explore! Stroll up to one of Harrisonburg’s independently owned pet stores to sample splendid treats and stock up on supplies. At Blue Ridge Dog, handmade, hand-decorated cookies are cut into fun shapes that change with the seasons. In the springtime, foxes, bunnies, and squirrels front the display case. In the fall, they are replaced with turkeys, bears, footballs, and deer. Call ahead for a customized treat box full of silly surprises. One very special cookie will be frosted with your pup’s name on it. Not far from downtown, Sylvia’s Pets and Farm Choice Country Stores which offer a full line of products and friendly customer service.

Expend some energy and frolic through the fields of Smithland Road Dog Park. With two acres of grassy knolls, there’s plenty of room for your pup to play. Obstacles like rubber tires, big boulders and concrete tunnels provide hours of fun, while shady spots under towering trees provide a place for you and Fido to rest until they’re ready for the next round. For comfort and peace of mind for you and your best friend, the park has been divided into fenced areas for small dogs (under 30 pounds) and bigger dogs (over 30 pounds).

Photo Credit: Jake Woetzel

Then, treat your pup to dessert at one of Harrisonburg’s cafés or ice cream parlors. At Coffee Hound, Branch’s Soft Serve, Scotty’s Italian Ice, or Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, dogs can lap up ice cream from a sundae or pup cup. At Kline’s Dairy Bar, your dog will lick their bowl clean as they enjoy the “pooch special,” a small cup of vanilla ice cream topped with a tempting milkbone.

As your day of exploring draws to a close, retreat to one of Harrisonburg’s pet-friendly hotels. With over 15 hotels and even more cozy Airbnbs to choose from, it’s certain you’ll settle into your room with wagging tails and happy hearts.