Charleston has so many scenic outdoor spaces that it would practically be a crime not to bring your family pet with you on your trip to the Holy City. Some of our favorite dog-friendly Charleston restaurants, bars, parks and hotels also happen to be our favorites without taking into consideration their pet policies. So sit back, enjoy some sun (and maybe even a cocktail) with your favorite non-human family members in South Carolina’s oldest city.
It’s also important to note that this info is relevant for pets only. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires businesses to allow service animals to accompany their owners.
Getting Around Charleston With a Dog
A large number of pet owners head to Charleston by car — or plan on renting one when they get here. Yet not everyone needs a large vehicle to get a fluffy friend around town (we’re lookin’ at you, teacup poodle owners).
If you need wheels while you’re visiting and don’t want to rent them, we recommend using a pet-friendly rideshare app. uberPET is a new(ish) service that allows riders to bring along a reasonably sized pet for the ride.
When it comes to buses in Charleston (known as CARTA here), dogs aren’t allowed.
Dog-Friendly Bars and Restaurants in Charleston
Charleston has so many outdoor restaurants, bars and courtyards that we’ve lost count of exactly how many there are. And you guys know what outdoor services means? Yup, many of these places can allow you to bring your pooch — as long as you follow the rules of the establishments.
This spot encourages both two-legged and four-legged guests to stop by their Broad Street and Calhoun Street locations. This quick-serve spot specializes in sandwiches, salads and other light fare.
No one can say that Fuel isn’t oozing with charm. This 1950s-era gas station has been transformed into a Caribbean pub, serving nachos, ho-cakes and tacos. They also have some pretty great drink specials during the week, too. Head to the patio if you happen to have a pup in tow.
Poogan’s Porch was named after the dog of the original owner. And its porch is the perfect spot to relax after a day of sightseeing. Nosh on typical lowcountry brunch on the weekend or sip a cocktail on a weeknight. Should you happen to feel a furry friend cozy up to your knees (and you don’t have a dog), you might be ‘meeting’ the ghost of Poogan, who’s known to haunt this spot.
Does your dog love live music? Head to the Barrel. This cozy spot serves craft beers in a setting that might make you believe you’re hanging out in your BFF’s rec room or backyard. When Fido falls asleep, take advantage of a few of the lawn games, like corn hole. Food trucks also roll up every night of the week to ensure your belly never rumbles for too long.
If you need a spot to wind up (rather than down), head to this trendy coffeehouse that features a cozy patio and decadent pastries. Bring your book and your dog, and you can consider your day of relaxation planned.
Charleston Dog Parks
Charlestonians love their furry family members just as much as any other city’s residents. And there’s plenty of dog parks to give your fur children a little exercise and interaction.
Staying Downtown? Just north of some of the most visited attractions in Charleston is the Hampton Park Dog Park. Only a few blocks from the Citadel military academy, this dog park is easy to get to and is super safe for pups.
If you want to enjoy the scenery while giving your dog some running space, head to James Island County Park. This spot is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts; there’s spaces for camping, picnicking and hiking here.
You can even catch your own crabs at this waterfront park.
But if you have a dog, you’ll definitely want to make the trip here from Downtown. There’s a fenced-in area for smaller dogs — and get this — there’s even a beach just for four-legged friends here.
Charleston Dog-Friendly Beaches
Sometimes you just want to soak in a little more sun than you’d get at the dog park. If you want to spread out a little more, you can always take your pup to one of Charleston’s many beaches. Just be warned that you’ll need to secure a special permit for your pooch. Dogs are also only allowed on beaches at certain times of the year.
Just some of the beaches that allow dogs during these special circumstances include:
Not all hotels in Charleston are created equal. Some don’t allow dogs at all and others only allow small dogs. The nerve!
Luckily, there are a few (pretty great) hotels that also allow you to bring your dog. Most charge a small fee for non-service animals (usually around $25 a night). It’s best to call your desired hotel before making a reservation to ensure you don’t get any hairy surprises at check-in.
Holiday Inn Express offers basic accommodations and a breakfast buffet. This spot is our budget pick for dog-friendly Charleston hotels.
If you’re looking for a spot with a little more character than the Holiday Inn, head to Belmond Charleston Place. This 5-star hotel features a rooftop pool and lavishly decorated rooms.
Need a little more pampering for your pooch? The Wentworth Mansion is one of the most luxurious hotels in Charleston. It’s also located right in Downtown, so you can get to all the top attractions without grabbing a cab.