We may only have had four days but we packed a lot (and not just driving, although it felt like that a little) into our big Memorial Day weekend road trip to Charleston, S.C. We were so excited to see the ocean, hear some Southern accents and experience dog-friendly Southern hospitality.
I got most of our ideas for what to do from Bring Fido and GoPetFriendly.com (both great resources for traveling with your dog) and we found a place to rent through Airbnb. I didn’t want to stay at a hotel since I haven’t traveled with Hunter or Roscoe before, so I wasn’t sure how they’d behave (ie: how much Hunter would bark) if we stayed at a hotel. The place we found was a small guest cottage located in the backyard of a house centrally located between downtown Charleston and Folly Beach. Perfect for all of our plans!
I really loved Charleston’s charm – and how dog friendly the city is! Pretty much everywhere we went the people we met were really excited to see the dogs. I mean, I know I have exceptionally cute dogs, but I got the feeling that people in Charleston just really love dogs.
So now the low down on what we did in Charleston. Here are the places we visited and would recommend if you’re planning a trip there (with or without your dog.)
This dog-friendly beach is about 15 minutes from downtown Charleston and located in a cute beach community full of restaurants and bars. I was so excited to have Hunter and Roscoe see the ocean for the first time. Although I’ve taken them both to the lake, I haven’t exposed them much to water. I was happily surprised that they both seemed to enjoy the ocean, but especially Hunter who had a blast jumping the waves. Roscoe was a little more cautious but ventured out a little into the ocean too. My favorite part, though, was how much Hunter loved sitting on the sand and watching the ocean. Sitting on the beach with him and watching the wind blow through his fur was one of my favorite moments of 2015 so far. Pure bliss.
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
I was so excited to find a plantation and garden that was dog friendly since it is rare that dogs are allowed in these types of places. Every part of Magnolia Plantation is dog friendly, including all of the tours and dogs are even allowed inside the plantation (if you can carry them). This is an absolutely beautiful walk to take with your dog. Although we didn’t do any of the tours, we loved exploring the grounds. I absolutely love Southern foliage – the palmetto trees and Spanish moss; and this plantation has it all. Hunter and Roscoe loved walking through the shaded gardens and checking out the alligators and peacocks (from a distance) hanging out at the Plantation.
Inspired by one of my favorite instagrammers, Andrew Knapp and his series of “Find Momo” photos, we set up a couple of “Find Hunter” and “Find Roscoe” photos. Can you find them? : )
Old Charleston Ghost Tour
When you’re in an historic city like Charleston, you have to do a ghost tour! Luckily Charleston is so dog friendly, Old Charleston Tours allows dogs on their tours. I’ve always heard dogs have a special sense about ghosts, so I thought maybe Roscoe and Hunter would tip us off to any real ghosts along the way and make the tour even more exciting.
Truthfully though, I was a little nervous about taking Roscoe and Hunter on the tour, only because Hunter gets so hot sometimes that he doesn’t like to walk too far and Roscoe doesn’t do well in crowds, especially with people walking around him. I figured we could try it out though and see how it went. Luckily, it was a small crowd and they were the only dogs, so things went really well. We had a lot of stops along the way and it wasn’t very hot, so they were able to keep up during the entire walk. I was really happy with how well it went. The ghost stories were pretty interesting too, but really my favorite part was getting a chance to walk around the historic Charleston downtown area. It is such a beautiful city.
Where we ate:
Lost Dog Café
This great recommendation from the GoPetFriendly site is a popular attraction for anyone staying near Folly Beach, but especially dog lovers. Lost Dog Cafe really caters to dog lovers and we encountered several on our visit. The food, and coffee in particular (which is called Border Collie blend – love!) were very good. I’d recommend it even if it wasn’t dog friendly!
Another recommendation from BringFido.com, Fuel is a bar/restaurant housed in a converted gas station. The open air restaurant has a large patio in the back where dogs are welcome. The patio is very large, with an outdoor bar, a lounge area and tables. We had plenty of space for both dogs and enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere of the patio. The food is Southern-Caribbean style – tacos, sandwiches and salads.
Blind Tiger Pub
Located on a cute street in downtown Charleston, Blind Tiger has a really cool patio with plenty of room for dogs. We stopped in there before our ghost tour to grab a bite. Dogs are only allowed on the patio until 9 p.m., as it gets crowded there in the evening. I really loved this patio and would highly recommend stopping here if you visit Charleston.
Other places worth a stop:
Black Tap Coffee – they allow dogs inside and the coffee is delicious!
Poogan’s Porch – this cute restaurant is located on a charming street in downtown Charleston. It is also reportedly haunted! It’s a little on the expensive side, but they do allow dogs on the patio. We didn’t visit during our trip, but I took a picture since it was a stop on our ghost tour.
Hunter and Roscoe were great on the 11-hour car ride. I had stocked up on a lot of bones and treats, but really they weren’t too interested in them. They just hung out and took some quick naps. It was a super easy road trip. We only stopped three times on the way down, and twice on the way back, giving them a chance to walk around and stretch their legs. I was impressed with how well they behaved and will definitely do another road trip soon since now I know they are excellent travelers!