Where can you take your urbane dog for sophisticated fun while still getting a chance to feel the sand between your paws? Why Charleston, South Carolina, of course!
One of the best things about Charleston is that the downtown is compact and many attractions are walkable. In fact, one of the best ways to explore is to take one of the walking tours available to history buffs, architecture fans, and even ghost hunters.
Free Tours By Foot (107 Ashley Avenue) allows well-behaved dogs to accompany their people on history and architecture tours. And you can’t beat the price—pay what you wish.
The Ghost and Graveyard Tours and Dark Side of Charleston Tours offered by Bulldog Tours (18 Anson Street) are also pet-friendly. Perhaps your pup will sense a ghostly presence … even if you don’t.
If you visit Charleston during the humid summer, small dogs (lap-sized) may enjoy Doin’ The Charleston (375 Meeting Street), a 90-minute, air-conditioned bus tour with a video display. During quiet periods they may allow larger dogs on the tour, but call ahead to check availability.
Small dogs are also allowed on daily sails of the Schooner Pride (360 Concord Street).
But if you want to enjoy seeing Charleston by water with your large dog, you can’t beat the Charleston Water Taxi (10 Wharfside Street). Dogs of any size ride free and humans can buy a $10 pass, which allows them to get on and off the taxi all day. You’ll enjoy great views and probably spot some of the friendly dolphins who make their homes in Charleston harbor.
If you need a little retail therapy, King Street in Charleston has gone to the dogs. You’ll find water dishes outside many shops and some store staff holding treats under the counter. Duck in and ask if your pet can join you inside – you’ll be surprised at how many say, “Yes!”
While there, you’ll find a number of restaurants with pet-friendly patios, such as Kitchen 208 (208 King Street).
But you’ll find other pet-friendly options all over town, such as Fuel Cantina (211 Rutledge Avenue). You can even enjoy fine dining at Circa 1886 (149 Wentworth Street). If you see an outdoor patio, it’s worth asking if your pet is welcome.
A short drive from downtown Charleston lets you enjoy the playful and pet-friendly backyard of The Barrel (1859 Folly Road). With games, live music, over 30 brews on tap and different food trucks, both humans and pups will have a blast. Just don’t let your pooch take off with the corn hole bean bags.
If there’s any time left, head out to some of the nearby beaches that are pet-friendly, such as Front Beach at Isle of Palms (Ocean Boulevard from 10th Avenue to 14th Avenue) or Folly Beach (Near Hwy 171).
Beaches have some seasonal and daily restrictions on pets so check the town websites before your visits to make sure you’re obeying the rules.
During the hottest part of the day, you’ll enjoy touring the beautiful gardens of Magnolia Plantation (3550 Ashley River Road). The oldest public gardens in the country, Magnolia allows pets on nearly all guided tours, including the nature tram.
Perhaps the most unusual pet-friendly site in Charleston is Wild Blue Ropes (1595 Highland Avenue), an adventure and ropes course. Dogs are not allowed on the ropes course but are welcome on the grounds and in the picnic areas. You’ll not have a better people watching anywhere!
Charleston has so many pet-friendly activities, you could easily spend a week and not see them all. Check out Top Eleven Dog-Friendly Things To Do in Charleston or search the Pet-Friendly Road Trip Planner at GoPetFriendly.com to pick the perfect place to stay during your visit.