Charles Town is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the eastern end of West Virginia. It is a small city surrounded by scenic views and lots of nature, a true dog-lover’s destination, as dogs are welcome anywhere outdoors on leash. It is also near several communities that offer dog-friendly activities, including Harper’s Ferry, Bolivar, and Ranson. It has a strong connection to the General Washington family, because George’s youngest brother Charles created the plan for the city, oversaw its development, and lived here with his wife Mildred until his death.
Charles Town boasts Willingham Knolls Park, a 66-acre swathe of land reserved for passive use that is a popular destination for dog lovers and their pups. It features a .7-mile paved walkway that meanders across open green lawns, through mature shade trees and alongside a small brook said to lead to a large, 3-room cave where George Washington’s Masonic Order secretly met in the organization’s early days. This could be a great place for Fido to “sniff out” this hidden spot. There are benches along the path, and footbridges crossing over Evitts Run as it courses through the park. Nature and intrigue! Woofderful!If you’re staying in the area overnight and looking for a place for you and your fur-pup to sleep, the Motel 6 in Charles Town is the place. Conveniently located just east of town on Route 51, rooms are reasonable and up to 2 dogs can stay for a small additional rate.
Charlestown is worth a visit, and worth staying at least a couple of days! Pawsome!
The downtown area of Charles Town has been laid out with neat, manicured streets and multiple historical homes and museums. It is also home to the Evitts Run Park, 2 acres featuring playgrounds and basketball/mixed-use courts just made for family fun, including Fido, who must be on leash. While the kids play, take a stroll around the grounds and view the lovely landscaping, or have a sit on one of the benches provided. You can fish in Evitts Run, then grill your catch (or something else, if your lucky charm doesn’t work that day) to enjoy with your fur-buddy at one of the picnic tables in the pavilion, or on a bench or blanket. Also in the City Center is Jefferson Memorial Park, a 12-acre expanse of green with a hard-surface walking trail, sports facilities and playgrounds, a swimming pool and 4 dining pavilions. Another pawsome spot to bring your human and canine family!
This neighborhood of Charles Town borders on the Shannondale Springs Wildlife Management Area in the Shannondale neighborhood of Harper’s Ferry and provides access to it. This 1361-acre, hilly area features a variety of growth and wildlife to enjoy with your fur-buddy by your side. As a wildlife management area, hunting and trapping are allowed in season, and many animals can be bagged here, including fox, bear and deer. Whether you’re interested in hunting, or would like to just walk the trails, fish, or watch for the many species of wildlife found here, your dog can go with you, on his leash. During hunting season, be sure you both wear blaze orange for safety. There are trails that amble along the Shenandoah River, and there is a boat launch if you’d like to get out on the river.
This Harper’s Ferry neighborhood sits adjacent to Charles Town and features the Harper's Ferry National Historic Park which runs along the Potomac River. This dog-friendly town and park are great destinations for strolling along the river, visiting the working train station and rusted, but sturdy railroad bridge, and meandering among the Civil War buildings and memorials. Don’t forget to visit downtown, too, perched on a cliff high above the river and park. It can be reached via a long climb up stone steps set into the cliff, or by road on foot or car. While there, make a stop at Bistro 1840, a restaurant and bar that is unpretentious in its appearance, but which serves up fine dining and a variety of hard-to-find local beers and wines. Fido is welcome to join you on its deck which hovers out over the town’s cliff and provides unequaled views of the river, train line, and mountains with their eagle and hawk blinds and nests. Pawtastic!
This neighborhood in Ranson, next door to Charles Town, is home to Flowing Springs Park, a 30-acre natural area near Route 9. The city is in the midst of fine-tuning this park to include marked trailheads and interpretive signage, along with a bridge over Flowing Springs Run and ADA-accessible trails. For now, with work in progress, the park is perfect for a dog-lover to wander through the fields and among the trees, or along the Flowing Springs Run itself with her furry bestie on leash. For those who enjoy a more rustic environment for their nature walks, this is for you! Hungry? California Tortilla Restaurant on Oak Lee Drive will satisfy with their upscale Mexican faves, and Fido can join you at one of their outdoor tables! Bone appetit!
This small communities lies just to the east of Charles Town, and southwest of Harper’s Ferry. It shares the Harper’s Ferry National Park with that town and is host to its own Bolivar Nature Park. Laid out on 7 acres, this park features a paved and easy walking trail that ambles through the park, with benches scattered along the way where you and Fido might, if you’re quiet and still, see deer grazing nearby. You will also find picnic tables and a pavilion near the entrance and parking lot. This is a small, but lovely wooded gem in the middle of Ranson and is worth a visit for you and your furry bestie. Remember that he must be on a leash! Woofderful!