Charleston, South Carolina charms its visitors with pristine beaches, shady parks and historic sites—and not just human visitors! It topped the list of 10 US cities for dog-lovers in a 2016 survey conducted by realtor.com.
You’ll find off-leash beach hours, along with pet-welcoming hotels, shops and tour companies. Plus, many eateries provide bowls of fresh water on their porches and patios for your canine companion. (Here are some tips for taking your pooch on a patio date.)
While you and your pup are in Charleston, be sure to visit the following pet-friendly places:
The John Rutledge House Inn®, in downtown Charleston, has a pet-friendly package for two people and one dog. You’ll stay in the Carriage House, which offers access to the courtyard and nearby parks. When you check out, your dog will go home with a souvenir bandana and pet toy. Book the dog package at Kings Courtyard Inn, also in the city’s historic district, for similar amenities.
Take an outdoor table at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., and order crab legs, shrimp, or a landlubber’s entrée. Wait staff will gladly bring your pup a dish of water and a treat.
At Poogan’s Porch, the owners say they believe in “old Southern dogs,” and dogs of any age can join you when you dine on their front porch.
Walks and Tours
Give your pup some exercise, and get your own, when you sign up for an Old Charleston Ghost Tour. The shivery fun lasts about 90 minutes, but you can opt for an historic or Civil War tour, if this one sounds scary.
When your feet and paws get tired, let the Charleston Water Taxi ferry you and Fido to various places around town. Watch for dolphins, and keep your furry pal leashed so he doesn’t jump into the water with them!
Sadie the bulldog might join you and your pet on an Ashely on The Cooper Walking Tour. She sometimes accompanies the human guides as they lead you through Charleston’s side streets and pretty gardens, or show you the city’s haunted spots. Your dog can even help sniff out a “killer” on an interactive Murder Walk.
Of course, Charleston is a wonderful city for walking, even without a guide. Wander down King Street to explore the city’s elegant architecture, where many stores will let you bring your pup inside.
Parks and Beaches
White Point Gardens, a dog-friendly park located on the Battery, is a great place for scenic views of Fort Sumter and Charleston Harbor. The park has off-leash hours, but take note: it isn’t fenced. Find more fun, pet-friendly parks here.
Don’t miss Yappy Hour at the James Island County Park Dog Park, where you can purchase beverages and listen to live music with your pooch at your side. Check the website for dates and times.
No trip to Charleston is complete without some time in the sun and surf, so dog-paddle with your pup, or just lounge on the sand, at Edisto Island, Folly Beach, the Isle of Palms or another beautiful South Carolina beach. Be sure and read the regulations for each one before you go!
Lynn Coulter is owned by two rescue dogs—Molly and Miss Paws—and occasionally blogs at LynnCoulter.com. She’s also the author of three books and a freelancer who writes about travel, gardening and more. She and her husband live in metro Atlanta, where they cheer for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and spend their money on dog biscuits.