Charleston can be a paradise for pet owners, boasting a non-stop list of fun, scenic places where animal lovers can bring their pets and enjoy good weather and atmosphere.
Public, off-leash dog parks are numerous. Hampton Park’s Dog Run, at the corner of Grove Street and Rutledge Avenue, is a great place in downtown Charleston to let dogs of all kinds play freely in the fenced-in park.
The James Island County Park, at 871 Riverland Drive, has plenty of space for dogs to run off-leash, in addition to a lake in which they can swim. Other Charleston County parks have similar off-leash areas, such as North Charleston’s Wannamaker County Park, at 8888 University Blvd, and Mount Pleasant’s Palmetto Islands County Park.
With three beaches so close by, pet owners can also take dogs to walk on the beach and play in the ocean. Each beach has different rules on whether dogs can be off-leash and at what times they’re allowed.
On Isle of Palms, dogs can be off-leash from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. April 1 to Sept. 14. From Sept. 15 to March 31, that changes to 4 p.m. to 10 a.m.
Outside of those windows, dogs are allowed on the beach but must be kept on a leash, even in the water.
At Folly Beach, pet owners must always keep their dogs on a leash. Dogs aren’t allowed at all from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 1 to Sept. 30.
On Sullivan’s Island, all dogs must have a license whether on or off the beach. Town residents can purchase licenses for $25, while non-residents must pay $50. From May 1 to Sept. 30, licensed dogs can be on the beach off-leash from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and on the leash from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m., while from Oct. 1 to April 30, dogs can be off-leash 5 a.m to 12 p.m. and on the leash 12 p.m. to 5 a.m., according to the town’s rules.
After you’ve enjoyed the outdoors, try some of the multitude of bars and restaurants that are pet-friendly.
On 10 Conroy Street in downtown Charleston, stop by Revelry Brewing Co., whose downstairs space and rooftop seating are both pet-friendly. There’s a green space right across the street.
The Barrel, at 1859 Folly Road on James Island, has a large, fenced-in backyard with access to the creek, where dogs can be off-leash. Plenty of beach restaurants and bars are pet-friendly, such as Chico Feo at 122 E. Ashley Avenue or the aptly named Lost Dog Cafe at 102 W. Huron Avenue.
Taco Boy’s three Lowcountry spots, in downtown Charleston, Summerville and Folly Beach, are also all dog-friendly.
With so many pet owners and animal lovers in Charleston, the list of parks, patios and more are endless. Grab a leash, and you’re ready to explore everything Charleston has to offer for both you and your animal companion.
Reach Fleming Smith at 843-937-5591. Follow her on Twitter at @MFlemingSmith.