Our Guide to Em”bark”ing on a Pet-Friendly Trip to Staunton, VA July 19, 2022 by StauntonVA If you’re like most Americans, you rarely leave home without your pandemic pet! Fortunately, there are a lot of pet-friendly activities, plenty of lodgings that cater to paws, and a wealth of restaurants and watering holes that are totally cool with your pet joining you on the patio. Here’s a “pound-up” of where your pet is welcome in Staunton. Pup-cation Fun for People and Pets Get outside to howl, run, and play fetch. Here are our favorite parks and hikes. Montgomery Hall Park has miles of wooded trails as well as big, open fields for playing catch and fetch. Dog owners who like solitude and taking serious hikes with their dogs should sniff out the Betsy Bell Wilderness Area. Gypsy Hill Park has a paved 1.3-mile loop that offers a nice view of the park as well as doggy bag stations and convenient trash cans. The star of the show, however, is the Gypsy Hill Bark Park. Divided into separate enclosures for small and large dogs, it gives pups a chance to meet and greet while their owners make small talk. The enclosures include tunnels, training ladders, “fire hydrants,” and benches for humans to sit. Leashed pets are welcome on the majority of the hiking trails in Shenandoah National Park. It’s actually one of just a few national parks with this perk. For day-trippers and campers, George Washington and Jefferson National Forest stipulates that dogs must be leashed on hiking trails (but may go off-leash in undeveloped areas). Make sure you pack plenty of water for your furry friend and check them for parasites after your outing. Coyner Springs Dog Park in Waynesboro boasts a large, open off-leash area as well as trails for leashed dogs and their human packmates. The nearby Crozet Tunnel trail is a good hike for leashed dogs, especially if you’re afraid of the dark! Make sure you take your flashlight. Leashed dogs are also welcome on the Augusta Springs Wetland trail, but you shouldn’t take your dog if you think he might disturb the waterfowl and other wildlife. Un-Pack Your Bags Kenneling your dog is expensive, sad, and can cause a lot of stress shedding. Fortunately, many Staunton inns and hotels offer luxury accommodations for people and dogs, so you can share that king-sized bed just like at home. Just check the fine print: lodgings may have restrictions on size and number of pets. They may also apply additional fees to bunk your fur baby. Hotel 24 South is both a luxury, historic hotel as well as a pioneer in Staunton’s dog-friendly accommodations. The Blackburn Inn opens select rooms to dogs and has extensive grounds to explore while you walk them. Howard Johnson by Wyndham is steps from downtown shopping, dining, and the farmers’ market. There’s also free parking, light breakfast, and wifi. Sleep Inn Staunton ensures you’ll sleep well in one of their Designed to Dream rooms. Bring your pet: there’s no pet fee! Best Western Staunton Inn boasts comfortable rooms, easy access to I-81, and no pet fee. Comfort Inn Staunton has free breakfast, a pool, and is convenient to both the highway and downtown Staunton. Motel 6 Staunton allows pets and lets kids stay free. You’ll also enjoy free coffee and expanded cable options. Holiday Inn Staunton Conference Center allows up to three pets. It’s convenient to golf, the interstate, and kids eat free with paying adults. Red Roof Inn Staunton is a great budget option. Kids and one pet up to 80 pounds stay for free. Econo Lodge is convenient to the Frontier Culture Museum and downtown Staunton. It’s pet-friendly and offers free coffee. Walnut Hills KOA and Sherando Lake Campground both accommodate families and dogs. Paw-some Patios Staunton has several dining spots where the waitstaff doesn’t mind stepping over Teddy’s outstretched paws. They might even bring him a dish of water! Well-behaved dogs on leashes can join you at a table on the covered, gated patio at Table 44. The patio at Byer’s Street Bistro also welcomes dogs. Spend your lunch hour dining with Rex and watching the bustle of downtown. Bonus: Dogs will find water bowls and often treats. Just want a quick bite? Stop by the outdoor patio at The By & By for coffee drinks, beer and wine, and sandwiches. The patio at Thai Staunton Restaurant is pet-friendly. If you’re feeling like eating Mexican, take your pooch to Mi Rancho’s outdoor dining space where you can get relax with a big, tasty margarita. Prefer Italian? Family-owned Maria’s Pizza & Italian Restaurant has a dog-friendly patio where you can share your spaghetti with Lady. The Pampered Palate, Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery, The Split Banana, Nu-Beginning Farm, and the Clocktower Eats & Sweets all have delicious food and allow dogs at their sidewalk seating. Get there early and grab a spot at the Peck’s Bar-B-Que’s dog-friendly picnic table. There’s shade and nearby grass for your pet to sniff. There’s also a lone pet-friendly table at Sam’s Hot Dog Stand where you can enjoy a sack of all-beef hot dogs. Share your BBQ and ice cream with your dog at one of the two dog-friendly picnic tables at Hog Wild BBQ and Klines Dairy Bar. Edelweiss Restaurant serves authentic German food like bratwurst and jager schnitzel. If you dine outside at one of the covered tables, Fido can join you and lick knackwurst juice off your fingers. Bark-tastic Breweries Want to spend an evening out having beers with your best fur buddy? Raise a glass because many of Staunton’s breweries are pet-friendly. Redbeard Brewing and Skipping Rock Beer Co. allow well-behaved dogs on the patios, and Shenandoah Valley Brewing and Queen City Brewing actually welcome dogs inside their taprooms. Hang with your pup on the patio at Ciders From Mars. Or if you’d rather have wine, Barren Ridge Vineyards welcomes leashed dogs if there are no ticketed events. Other Staunton Stops that are Mutts about Dogs It’s not surprising to come across a dish of cool water waiting on the sidewalk on a hot day in downtown Staunton. Here are other pet-friendly destinations. Your pet will be the star of the show at the Well Balanced Paw Pet Wellness Shoppe and Barkery. Specializing in nutrient-rich pet nutrition and relaxing small-animal massage, this downtown destination will keep your pet balanced and healthy for years to come. Latitudes has all kinds of fair-trade gifts, including this snazzy puppy place-mat! Locally owned Pets N Pals has been selling pet supplies like habitats, food, and toys since 1989. They also have healthy pets of all kinds for sale if you’re seeking a new companion. Petco has a big selection of supplies as well as fish, lizards, birds, spiders, and rodents. Also, check out Augusta Dog Adoptions and the SPCA for pets that need new homes. It’s common to see happy dogs walking with their owners as they shop for dinner at the Staunton Farmers’ Market. Leashed dogs can also browse the aisles at Tractor Supply Co.