15 Best Dog-Friendly Vacation Destinations in West Virginia

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dog is posing in a dog friendly vacation in West Virginia

West Virginia is unmatched when it comes to outdoor recreation, and it has some of the friendliest people in the US. The scenic mountains in this central east state make it the perfect place for selfies and pup shots. Surrounded by Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, it is one of the smallest and least populated states in the country, with just over 1.7 million residents. 

With more than 280,000,000 fur babies living in West Virginia, there are lots of dog-friendly places and things to do. For example, there are over 1,250 rental properties, including 20 campgrounds that welcome dogs. You can also find 230+ pet-popular restaurants, over two dozen dog parks, and more than 60 trails where Fido can join you. 

Although West Virginia is not on the ocean, there are many places where you can enjoy some water sports like swimming, boating, fishing, and waterskiing. The state is located at the point where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers meet, giving you ample opportunity for white-water rafting, kayaking, and whatever else you like to do on the water. Here are our top 15 dog-friendly vacation destinations in West Virginia. 

Harpers Ferry

At the very eastern tip of West Virginia, just across the Potomac River from the Maryland border, Harpers Ferry is a very small town with the least number of people. But over 40% of the 285 residents have a dog, so there are more than 120 fur pups in the tiny town. You are likely to see dogs at the local eateries like Almost Heaven Bar & Grill and The Rabbit Hole, as well as many of the parks and recreational spaces. 

If you are into camping or just want to save some money, sleep under the stars at the River Riders Family Resort, where they have rafting, tubing, ziplining, tours, hiking, kayaking, and lots more. At the KOA, they have over 250 campsites as well as a playground, arcade room, movie theater, pool, store, bike rental, mini-golf, and even a dog park. 

You and your canine compadre can even go on a ghost tour of Harpers Ferry and learn about the dark past while visiting dog-friendly attractions. Be sure to pack doggie bags.


If you would rather sleep indoors, visit the capital city of Charleston. With a population of about 48,000 people and about 7,400 dogs, you know they have plenty of dog-friendly accomodations. The Hampton Inn is one of the best, with an indoor pool, patio, restaurant, fitness center, and playground for the kiddos. Nearby, the Kanawha State Forest is pet-friendly too and has camping, trails, biking, fishing, and hunting. 

When Fido needs to get rid of that excess energy, let him be social with the local fur babies at Ruth Rafferty Peyton Dog Park. The off-leash pup playground is fully fenced and located on Highway 60 so it is easy to find. Another fun pooch park is the one at Joplin Park at the Kanawha Turnpike.  

After, you and your pooch can stop at Pies & Pints to enjoy some pizza and brews. They have some unique pizzas like Siracha shrimp, grape & gorgonzola, and pine & swine. Your fur baby can join you on the patio and enjoy some grilled chicken or pulled pork. 


Snowshoe Mountain is the main attraction in Snowshoe, West Virginia. The main resort in town is Snowshoe Mountain, which is on Cheat Mountain. There are 60 ski slopes and trails on 245 acres featuring the highest vertical drop in the mid-Atlantic at 1,500 feet. You will have to leave your fur baby back at the hotel for safety reasons if you plan to ski. 

The Inn at Snowshoe is just 3,000 feet from the ski lifts and has spacious dog-friendly rooms with free Wi-Fi, a coffee machine, a microwave, and parking. It even has a ski school. Another pup-friendly place is Marlinton Motor Inn, which has a pool, a pet relief area, and free Wi-Fi. 

One thing the other cities do not have is a pet-friendly Greenbank Observatory with 2,400 acres and the largest steerable radio telescope in the world. Take a self-guided tour with your leashed pup to use the telescopes. 


In northern West Virginia, Morgantown runs along the Monongahela River and has 30,400 residents. You will often see some of the approximately 5,000 fur babies playing in the local dog parks, such as Stanley’s Spot or Krepps Dog Parks. You may even see them in Barnes & Noble where their pup parents are looking for a good book. 

If you and your cuddle buddy like to hike, Morgantown has quite a few of them. Coopers Rock State Forest has 50 miles of hikes, from easy to challenging, where you can see canyons, historical sites, and sandstone cliffs. The Mon River Trail has over 23 miles of rail trail featuring the Monongahela River. The 20-mile Deckers Creek Trail starts downtown, where Deckers Creek meets Monongahela River. For an easier walk, take the Westover Park Loop. It is 1.4 miles long and takes you around a peaceful lake.     

For a special treat, take Fido to Table 9 where dogs are welcome on the patio. It was the first Gastropub in Morgantown and serves exquisite food. Afterward, stop by Dairy Cream Corner for dessert.                   

Monongahela National Forest

With 900 acres spread along the central-eastern section of West Virginia, Monongahela National Forest has four dog-friendly districts, including the Cheat-Potomac, Gauley, Greenbrier, and Marlington-White Sulphur Springs. This is a great place for camping as well as hiking with 23 campgrounds and more than 30 trails with 825 miles. All dogs must be on a leash at all times and are not allowed in the swimming areas.

The largest campground is Lake Sherwood, with 92 reservable sites, from rustic tent sites to RV sites with full hookups. The lake is the largest one in the forest and it has a picnic area, swimming, and a boat ramp. Seneca Shadows has 81 sites, 38 of which are for RVs with hookups. There are two caves and the Potomac River to enjoy with your pooch. Most of the campsites have BBQ grills, fire pits, picnic tables, and lantern poles.  

If you want to fish, bring a license and your gear. There are 129 miles of fishing streamers and 576 miles of trout streams. Do not forget to bring water and extra poop bags. 


With 29,749 residents, Parkersburg is one of the most populated cities in West Virginia, and it has an estimated 4,900 pups. You can find it in the northwestern corner of the state between the Little Kanawha and Ohio Rivers. What started as a railroad stop in 1857 is now a bustling city known for its culture. It is home to the Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival in June, The Taste of Parkersburg in May, and the Downtown Throwdown in September.  

One of the most pup popular attractions is the Island Belle. The riverboat takes you across the Ohio River to the Biennerhassett Island State Park, where you and Fido can take a tour of the grounds and the mansion. Stop in at the Mulberry Lane Country Store for a shopping spree with your leashed pooch. They have souvenirs, antiques, gifts, and all sorts of crafted items. 

City Park is another pup popular recreational space. This one has over 46 acres of trails, picnic areas, sports fields, playgrounds, and a pond. 


At the extreme northern tip of the panhandle of West Virginia, you will find Wheeling at the base of the Appalachian Mountains. The city was a pivotal point in the American Civil War hosting the Wheeling Conventions that led to the forming of the state. It is also a popular music town featuring many live performances at the Capitol Theatre, including Black Sabbath, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Tammy Wynette, and Johnny Cash. 

Wheeling is perfect for pup parents looking to save some dough. You can find several dog-friendly hotels for under $100. The Super 8 welcomes fur babies for $25 per night and has free Wi-Fi and parking, as well as complimentary breakfast. The rooms start at only $47 per night, so you and your pupster can stay for $72!  You will be right across the road from Subway, Wendy’s, and Pizza Hut along Wheeling Creek. 

Another way to save money is to spend the day at Wheeling Park, where entry is free. You and your pup can enjoy the lake, golf course, and paddle boats. However, there are small fees for the boats, snack bar, and mini-golf. 

New River Gorge National Park

You can find New River Gorge National Park in southern West Virginia, running along the New River. Pups are allowed in the park as long as you keep your fur baby on a leash no longer than six feet and bring doggie bags to pick up after him. Dogs are not allowed in buildings or visitor centers but are welcome everywhere else on the 72,800 acres. The New River is the longest gorge in the Appalachian Mountains, running for 360 miles.

The park is also perfect for hiking, with 50 miles of trails ranging from easy strolls to extremely difficult treks. Some of them have steep and unsteady cliffs and gorges that should not be attempted with pets or children. Rafting is also popular here, and the rapids range from class III to class V. 

Also in the park are the 4,127-acre Babcock State Park, with hiking, camping, swimming, and fishing, and the 350-acre Hawks Nest State Park, with an aerial tram, lodge, and restaurant. If you like rock climbing, drop off your pup at a dog sitter and try out the 1,400+ rock climbs in the park.


The tiny town of Davis has less than 600 people living in it, but it is well-known for its ski resorts, 

Canaan Valley Ski Resort and Timberline Mountain. Although you cannot bring your pet on the slopes, there are lots of resorts and hotels that welcome fur babies. The Inn at Canaan in Davis is just a five-minute walk from the Timberline and Canaan Valley slopes. The Alpine Lodge is also pup-friendly and is just a few miles from Timberline. 

While you are in Davis, take a break from skiing so you can take your pup to Blackwater Falls State Park, where you can see the 57-foot waterfall. During the winter, they host the Sled Run, which is the longest sled run on the East Coast. It also has 21 different trails you can enjoy with your leashed pup. You can use snowshoes if you need them. 

Don’t miss the Beaver Creek Trail along Beaver Creek and the Allegheny Trail along the Blackwater River. It is a beautiful hike.  

Summersville Lake State Park

When you get to the 177-acre Summersville Lake State Park, the first thing you will notice is the beautiful lake with its waterfall that will blow your mind. The second thing is the Almost Heaven swing. It was made by local students, where you can get some unique selfies with the stunning lake and mountains in the background. Or, set your pooch on the swing and get some pics of him for your social media pages.  

Fur babies are welcome in the park as long as you keep your little buddy leashed and clean up after him. Always pack extra doggie bags and water for both of you. The park is also known for its white water rafting on the Gauley River. But, if you plan on doing any rafting, leave your pup at doggie daycare and be sure to wear a life jacket because it gets rough. 

The park also has several campgrounds if you want to stay the night, but they are first-come, first-served. While there, take your dogster on the Pirates Cove Trail, where you will reach some incredible cliffs. Keep going on Climbers Trail for another half-mile through the woods to a stairway that takes you to the lake.


In the middle of northern West Virginia is a city called Fairmont, where part of the Civil War took place in 1863. The town boasts a population of about 18,000 people and 3,000 dogs and is known for its Country Club Bakery, which was where the pepperoni roll originated. Running right through the city, the Monongahela River is one of the main attractions for locals and visitors, with plenty of waterfront activities like boating, swimming, fishing, and rafting.   

One of the main places you will find these activities going on is Palatine Park on the east side of the river. It has two boat ramps, a fishing pier, hiking, and a picnic area as well as a splash park for kiddos. For your fur buddy, FIDO’s Backyard is an off-leash pup paradise in East Marion Park with four acres of fenced space for running, playing fetch, and socializing. 

After working up an appetite, take your pup to The Rambling Root for a bite to eat. They have a delicious bacon and beer burger with smoked cheddar beer cheese and pork or chicken tacos. The patio is dog-friendly. 


Where the Guyandotte and Ohio Rivers meet, you will find Huntington, West Virginia. Founded in 1775, the city has one of the highest populations at 46,842 and an estimated 7,349 fur babies. The city is home to Camden Park, a famous amusement park with 25 park rides, including four roller coasters and two water rides. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed. But it is a great place to take the kids. 

While you play at the park, you can drop off your cuddly canine at Pet Palace, where they do pet sitting, aquatics, and spa services. Your hotel can be just as nice if you stay at Best Western Huntington Mall. It has a swimming pool, gym, breakfast, family rooms, and free Wi-Fi. Comfort Inn is also quite nice, with an indoor pool, free hot breakfast, a restaurant, a fitness center, and free Wi-Fi. 

Nearby, your pup will love playing off the leash at PetSafe Dog Park. The 3.5-acre dog park has a special section for small and old dogs, as well as agility equipment and toys.


The smallest town on this list is Ghent, with just 457 people and approximately 70 dogs. Winterplace Ski Resort is the main attraction in Ghent for locals as well as visitors from all over. The mountain is 3,600 feet above sea level at its highest, with a vertical descent of just over 600 feet. There are 90 acres with 28 trails, nine lifts, and a park. 

Dogs are typically not allowed on the slopes, but many of the nearby vacation rentals are pet-friendly. The Resort at Glade Springs is just a few miles north and has a pool, two restaurants, a bar, three golf courses, and a spa, as well as easy access to the ski lifts. The Microtel Inn also loves pets and has an indoor pool, so you can swim anytime. 

While you are in the area, take your pooch on a shopping trip at Tamarack Marketplace in Beckley. They have all sorts of shops and eateries with an open space for pet parents to sit with their pooches. You can also walk around and look at the sculptures made by local artists. Just keep your pup on a leash and bring doggie bags. 

Kumbrabow State Forest

Thinking of a summer vacation in the woods with your best pal? Kumbrabow has everything you need and then some. The 9,474-acre park is located on top of Rich Mountain in the Allegheny Highlands. It is the state’s highest elevation at 3,000 feet above sea level and has eight fantastic dog-friendly trails you and Fido can enjoy. The easy Clay Run Trail is less than a mile and runs across Mill Creek up an old logging railroad grade.

Pack a tent, doggie bags, water, and food so you and your cuddly canine companion can spend the night. During the summer, the temperatures are pleasant, and you can enjoy a night out under the stars. However, Mill Creek Campground only has 13 sites, so get there early to secure your spot. Nearby, a trout stream is the perfect place to catch some dinner. Make sure you have a license and trout stamp.

If you are not staying the night, you can use one of the grills at the picnic areas to cook up your catch for you and Fido. 


Take your honey on a romantic trip with your pooch to Shepherdstown, where you can stay at a cozy bed and breakfast, tour a winery and vineyards, and take a ghost tour. First, the Sundogs Bed & Breakfast speaks for itself. The owners love dogs and will allow any pet to stay for just $20 per stay. The quaint little retreat also welcomes your dog in the dining room, sitting room, and patios as well as the 46 acres of trails and woods. 

Then, take the Paws-N-Pours Wine Tour through Elite Excursions, where you and your pooch and partner can visit dog-friendly vineyards and wineries. They do private tours and weekend getaways as well. Once it gets dark, you two can bring your canine compadre on a ghost tour where you will learn about legends and history including ghost stories from the Civil War. 

Speaking of the war, your pooch is also welcome to join you and your significant other at Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park with 300 historical sites on its Civil War Discovery Trail. Bring water and poop baggies!

The Final Woof

All pup parents enjoy bringing their fur babies with them when they go out of town. That is why we make these lists to help you find the best places to go where you and your cuddly buddy will have plenty to do. In West Virginia, you will find several campgrounds, hiking spots, and even a romantic getaway. 

For example, Shepherdstown has a dog-friendly bed & breakfast, vineyards, and ghost tours to explore. Campers can enjoy sites at Harpers Ferry, Kumbrabow State Forest, Summersville Lake, and the Monongahela National Forest. Many of the places have hiking trails, including Morgantown, New River Gorge National Park, Davis, and Fairmont. Just remember to bring doggie bags wherever you go. 

Photo of author
Patty Oelze is a freelance writer who is also in the process of getting her PhD in Psychology. She has been writing about dogs and other critters for about 10 years and has a plethora of animals at her home including several cats, some chipmunks, a dozen raccoons, two foxes, one coyote, and herds of deer. She and her husband have been living in the Missouri Ozarks for years where she enjoys taking care of wildlife, fishing, photography, boating, and of course, writing.

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