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25 Jan 2022
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Dog Friendly

Dogs are our best friends, for good reason. They are living embodiments of unconditional love. And loyalty. They see the world in a simple, joyful way, and it can’t help but rub off on us humans. They improve our attitudes and our health. They make us laugh. They teach us how to love.

They are fabulous, and I’m not really sure we deserve them.

One good thing to come out of the pandemic, is that people realized anew how wonderful dogs are. Shelters and rescues saw a rush on adoptions, and some were actually empty for the first time ever. When you’re stuck home in quarantine, nothing beats a dog for constant companionship and fun. 

The Lowcountry has long loved dogs, way before the pandemic. There’s a lot of water around these parts, so Labrador Retrievers are particularly abundant. Yellow, black, chocolate, you name it, you’ll spot ‘em riding in a truck and ready for the next adventure. There are plenty of Boykin Spaniels, the state dog of South Carolina. Plus there’s a plethora of Heinz 57 rescues, often the happiest-go-luckiest ones around.

Yes, Exclusive Properties is pet friendly! 

Exclusive Properties has you covered for great places to stay with your pooch. So go ahead and bring all your family members, both two-legged and four!

More than a dozen of our beautiful homes are pet friendly, ranging in size from four to eleven bedrooms. Our pet friendly properties include Port of Call, Belle Mer, Villa del Mare, Beach Retreat, Barbados, Ocean View, Isle be Back, Makin’ Waves, Beach Daze, Ocean Air, Mermaid Manor, Dolphin View, Pavilion a la Plage, and Lime Cabana.

And there’s no shortage of great things to do with your dog here in the Lowcountry. 

The Beach

Without a doubt, going to the beach is one of the most fun things to do with your dog. We can almost guarantee they’ll love it. There are abundant sniffs, sights and sounds to keep them fascinated, not to mention constant wave action. Tennis balls are also highly recommended, as you’ll have plenty of room to play fetch.

The Isle of Palms beach is particularly dog friendly among the islands near Charleston. Unlike Sullivan’s, the IOP does not require your dog to have a pricey dog license to visit. You are required, though, to have your pup fully up to date on its rabies vaccination and have a rabies tag.

The Isle of Palms also has off-leash hours every day, so your pup can run and play unfettered. They vary depending on the time of year. From September 15th – March 31st, off-leash hours are 4:00 p.m. – 10:00 a.m. From April 1st – September 14th, off-leash hours are 5:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.  You must have a leash in hand and have your dog under voice control.  

Parks & Trails

The Isle of Palms also has its own fenced-in, off-leash Bark Park.  It’s located behind the IOP Rec Center along 29th Avenue. The Bark Park is open sunrise to sunset, has ample free parking, and is a perfect place to socialize your dog. Expect to meet canines of all breeds and sizes.  Conveniently, they have separate sections for small and large dogs. Here’s a list of the Bark Park rules

Charleston County also has some of the very best county parks in the nation. They’re ideal for bringing along your dog, as they have miles and miles of great walking (or biking) trails, and in some cases dog parks as well. One especially worth checking out is Palmetto Islands County Park just past Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant. PICP is super convenient to the Isle of Palms and yet allows you to experience different aspects of the Lowcountry, including pine forests, marshes and tidal creeks.

Pitt Street Bridge Park is a popular pooch-walking place that boasts great views. Located in the Old Village of Mount Pleasant, it’s build on the foundations of the old trolley bridge that used to connect Mount Pleasant with Sullivan’s Island. At the end is a terrific fishing pier where you can catch blue crabs, bass, trout and flounder.

Shem Creek Park is another great one where your pup is welcome. This amazing network of boardwalks extends past Shem Creek’s scenic shrimp trawlers out towards the harbor. As you stroll along, keep an eye out for dolphins, pelicans, kayakers and boaters all enjoying the creek.  Free parking in the lot off Coleman Boulevard.

Cafes and Restaurants

Charleston is blessed with an abundance of great restaurants. And more and more pet friendly places pop up every day. Another side benefit of the pandemic is that restaurants pivoted to outdoor dining - which also opened up the possibility of bringing your dog.

If you’re enjoying Shem Creek Park, stay and take your pick of great spots nearby to grab a bite or a beverage. Red’s Ice House is probably the most well-known of dog-friendly places around. Red’s was dog friendly before dog friendly was a thing. Their huge deck overlooking the water is doggie-central in nice weather.

Other good options along Shem Creek are Saltwater Cowboys, Tavern & Table’s spots along the water, and The Shelter across Coleman Boulevard.

The Isle of Palms and downtown Charleston also have great dog friendly restaurants. Check out this blog for some suggestions.

Special Events & Festivals

There are also plenty of special events here in the Lowcountry where your dog is more than welcome and can really enjoy him- or herself.

SEWE, or the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, is a nature lovers dream, and dogs play a big part. SEWE has been going on for 40 years now and is the largest single event in Charleston, happening on a long weekend in mid-February. It’s all about the sporting life and takes place in venues all over the city. Be sure to check out DockDogs at Brittlebank Park, and watch talented canines catch some serious air. 

Doggie Day at the Rec is a popular annual event on the Isle of Palms that also happens each February. There’re lots of exhibits, vendors, fun stuff for your dog, even a doggie contest with prizes. Read all about it here.  

2nd Sundays on King happens all year long. King Street downtown is blocked off to vehicular traffic, and people and dogs take over. It’s an ideal place to people- and dog-watch, on what’s been called one of the top ten streets in America.

So grab your pup and head to the Lowcountry. There’s so much to sniff, see and explore.


All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger