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Roam: Columbia’s dog friendly spaces await

Whether it be surfing the dog friendly patios of Five Point’s restaurant scene, or attending one of the pooch day baseball games at the Lexington County Blowfish’s field, Columbia, South Carolina has a vibrant outdoor scene perfect for dog owners and their pups. With several water features about the area, from lakes to rivers, and natural surroundings, there’s always something to explore. Come for the history, theatre scene or food, but stay because there’s so much you can do with your dog.

Eat

Cantina 76 is THE place for out of the box Mexican food, as they have menu items like buffalo chicken tacos with jalapeno coleslaw—house made margaritas are excellent too. But the aspect that is most alluring is the climate-controlled patio where pups can either seek warmth or air conditioning depending on the season.

Yesterday’s tavern is a pub like eatery offering mouthwatering variations from street tacos to southern fried chicken and collard greens—it’s quite versatile. Dogs are more than welcome to hang with their owners in the outdoor dining area. While the space sits tightly along the sidewalk, Yesterday’s is great with their four-legged patrons, offering plenty of smiles and water.

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium has a wide selection of brews to sip while hanging with your dog on a lovely covered terrace, perfect rain or shine. Typical bar food is given a twist reflected in offerings like the tasty arugula and prosciutto pizza, and green chili pork stew.

Play

Barking Lot Dog Park is within Saluda Shoals Park, which is fenced in while having fun little additions like bone shaped cooling pools. There is a charge of $5 a day, or a set yearly rate if you’re planning on staying in the area. With two grassy acres to explore off leash, it’s likely the best park in Columbia for fur babies, and the community continues to enhance the amenities—expect to see gazebos and other shaded lounge spots to pop up.

Sesquicentennial State Park offers kayaking, canoeing, mini water park areas, bike loops, nature trails and wildlife all in a serene setting filled with water views and green pines, creating the perfect way to bond with your pup, who is also welcome at the campsites. You’ll have to have all shot records before registering to enter. Overall, “Sesqui” is a wonderful place to enjoy Columbia. 

Emily Douglas Dog Park is an off-leash dog area, and it’s pretty basic. However, it’s a nice shaded spot to get those legs stretching on toasty days, and there is access to water and some seating. This is more than adequate in a pinch.

Stay

Hampton Inn Columbia i-26 Harbison Blvd gets five bones on BringFido.com, with pet parents raving about the overall hotel presentation, friendly staff and extremely convenient walking path and sparkling pond right out back. Doggies are even offered certain selections for breakfast—be sure to ask about it.

Hyatt Place Columbia also gets five bones, but only opens its doors to dogs. This location is exactly what you’d expect with the brand—clean, consistent and ambient, and the pool is lovely.

Fairfield Inn & Suites Columbia also gets a high rating when it comes to its pet hosting capabilities. Plenty of outdoor space is at your disposal, with doggie waste supplies also being onsite. Fairfield is a cozy place to snuggle up for the night, and the staff will also put a goodie bag together, filled with healthy treats, for your fluffy one. So sweet!

Editor’s Note: It can be challenging to find a hotel to accommodate cats, but we have some tips that might help.

Columbia continues to build on its dog-friendly vision, so expect to see great things from this South Carolina town in the future. Until then, if visiting or looking to live there, know that you’ll have one happy puppy on your hands.


Karyn Wofford is a “Mom” to her fluffy, sweet dog Halli. She spends much of her time traveling and advocating for Type 1 diabetes—and Halli sometimes accompanies her on her adventures. You’ll find Karyn’s work on sites like Mother Earth Living, and in magazines such as Diabetes Forecast.

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