Four Paws Kingdom 335 Lazy Creek Dr. Rutherfordton, NC 28139
(828) 287-7324 http://www.4pawskingdom.com/
Four Paws Kingdom is a campground catering to dogs and their owners. It is located in the countryside of North Carolina outside the town of Rutherfordton. It is about an hour southeast of Asheville. Four Paws is one of the most unique campgrounds we have stayed at in our three years of camping. Although it is not a Good Sam member campground, they accepted our card and gave us a 10% discount. Four Paws also accepts all other discount cards (i.e. KOA, AAA, AARP, etc.). The campground consists of 41 sites, all of which are full hook up. Cable, including HBO and Showtime, were included. We have been to campgrounds with cable, but never one with HBO and Showtime. We found this to be “going the extra mile” for customer service. The actual number of channels was a bit limited – about 12 or so. Each site and is numbered and given a dog’s name. We stayed at site #12 (Benji). Most sites were pull thru, however, there were also back-in sites available. The pull thru sites could accommodate any size rig. Each site includes a composite picnic table, small fire ring, and a personal trash can. Deluxe sites offered a deck as well as a fenced-in area for the dogs. Although our site was not a deluxe site, we loved the idea of a fenced-in area at the campsite. Four Paws also offered three cabins and three rental campers, all of which were pet friendly (of course). The camp store sold ice, firewood, basic RV supplies, lots of dog souvenirs and treats, and the owner’s artwork. Unfortunately, it did not sell any type of groceries. However, a Food Lion and Walmart were within 15 minutes of the campground.
Four Paws is well manicured with gravel lots and a paved main road. Although most sites were pull-through, there was adequate shade and vegetation between sites offering a bit of privacy. The campground consisted of tall, mature trees and nice landscaping. As you walk through the campground , it is quite apparent that the owners take pride in their campground. Each site had its own trash can, something we have not seen in other campgrounds.
Rating: (1-5 lanterns with 5 being the highest)
If you are camping at Four Paws Kingdom, it is likely you are there because you own a dog and were intrigued by such a unique campground that catered to dogs. That is the reason we traveled to North Carolina. However, there are local attractions worth noting. The city of Asheville is within an hour drive. Also, there is the historic Biltmore Estate. Lake Lure and Chimney Rock are two parks within 30 minutes offering a variety of outdoor activities including fishing, boating, hiking, etc. We did not have the time to visit these places. We were there solely for the “Four Paws Kingdom” experience.
The restrooms consisted of four individual rooms, each containing a toilet, sink, and shower. It was like your own personal bathroom. The restrooms were by far the cleanest restrooms we have encountered in the 50+ campground we have visited throughout the years. Birgit, one of the owners, is also an artist. Each bathroom was elegantly decorated with dog-themed art. In fact, the toilet seat had the back end of a Corgi painted on it. It is the little things like this that truly make this a one –of-a-kind campground.
Normally when we evaluate campgrounds, there are four themes by which we evaluate: Appearance, Activities, Restrooms, and Pet/Family Friendly. Evaluating Four Paws Kingdom has put us in a complex situation. As indicated on their website, Four Paws Kingdom caters to dogs and their owners. This campground is more of an adult-only campground. Although we loved this campground, we would not recommend it to our friends who have little kids. When assessing “family friendly”, we look to see whether the campground has a pool, basketball court, volleyball court, game room, etc. Four Paws has none of that. However, in our rating for this section we will not give Four Paws a low score. Rather, we will judge the campground based our own personal needs and the fact that they advertise as an adult-only park. We do not have young children so those type of activities are not essential to us. Though, I would say I wish Four Paws had a swimming pool. We do have two dogs who are a big reason why we camp. So, in this section we evaluate solely on the basis of pet friendly. Four Paws Kingdom is by far the most pet-friendly campground we have stayed at. The campground includes a swimming pond for dogs, a small dog (30 lbs. or less) park, a large dog park, agility courses, 16 acres of hiking trails, a creek to swim in, a grooming station, and a dog bathing room. Each of the dog parks and swimming pond included shaded seating for the dog owners. The swimming pond included a nice gazebo with benches and a swing. There was a dedicated space fenced off for fishing, but there was not much of an access point as the grass had grown up around the perimeter.
Four Paws offers dog training seminars that were very informative. Birgit explained the art of training your dog step-by-step. She also explained behaviors of dogs and how to react to them and various strategies for teaching dogs based on their personalities. Throughout the camping season, Four Paws hosts theme-based weekend. We unfortunately missed “Corgiritaville Island Fest” where dogs dressed up in Jimmy Buffet style and campers decorated their rigs in an island theme. We were there for the Father’s Day breakfast. Mike and Birgit hosted an EXCELLENT breakfast! Four Paws also hosts other activities such as potluck dinners, bingo, dog training sessions, July 4th celebration, BBQ dinners, etc., etc. Visit their page all the great opportunities: http://www.4pawskingdom.com/events.html#June%202009
One thing that made our experience at Four Paws Kingdom so enjoyable was the customer service. Meik and Birgit greeted us with a smile and were very friendly. They came by our site to meet our dogs and took time getting to know us. We certainly look forward to visiting again in the future.