Dog Friendly Roadtrip: Charleston, S.C.

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.)

Folly Beach

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? : )

Find Roscoe at a Southern Plantation.
Find Roscoe at a Southern Plantation.
FInd Hunter in a Southern Plantation maze!
FInd Hunter in a Southern Plantation maze!

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!

Fuel Charleston

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!

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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.

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 The roadtrip!

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!

 

Dog-Friendly Road Trip Packing List

Hunter, Roscoe and a friend of mine are all taking a road trip to Charleston, S.C. next week! I’ve been wanting to go to Charleston for a long time, and have also been wanting to take Hunter and Roscoe on a trip, so I am excited to finally be combining the two.

I’ve been reading up on what to do in Charleston and found some dog-friendly activities and restaurants. Besides checking out Folly Beach, we are also going to tour a plantation and do a ghost tour – both dog friendly activities! My only concern now is how my fur-coat wearing pup will handle the heat.

Can we go somewhere with snow Mom?
Can we go somewhere with snow Mom?

 

Now that I’ve figured out what we are going to do, I need to get prepared for the long road trip ahead. In order to make the trip smooth for everyone involved, I’m going to need to pack carefully.

Here is my dog-friendly road trip packing list:

1. Car Harnesses – Hunter recently outgrew his car harness (he had a growth spurt between this year and last, but the vet assured me his weight is fine. It’s hard to tell with all his fur), so I bought him a cheap one that I haven’t loved. Before this trip I am investing in new dog harnesses for both Hunter and Roscoe. I asked for recommendations a few weeks back and got some good ideas. I am planning on getting the Sleepypod Clickit harness, since it has the best safety ratings.

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These two love to cuddle in the front seat. Sorry boys!

2. Toys – I plan to stock up on peanut butter-filled bones, bully sticks and Nylabones – all of Hunter’s favorite long-lasting chew toys. I also plan to stuff a few kongs (with peanut butter) and freeze them for both Hunter and Roscoe.

3. Travel/No Spill Water Bowls – I’ve also invested in a couple of different water bowls-  a no spill one for the car, and a water dispenser one for when we are out and about.

4. Towels/Dog Wipes – I plan to bring some extra towels and dog wipes, since I am sure between the beach and walking around the city, the dogs will get messy.

5. Vaccination Records – Some dog-friendly activities may require proof of current vaccinations. Although I didn’t see that mentioned on the places I am planning to visit, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

6. Dog Beds  – Although my dogs aren’t really that attached to their dog beds (that’s what my bed is for, of course!), I always like to bring them to give them a little piece of home when we travel.

I’ll let you know when I get back if I packed everything we needed!

Have you taken a long road trip with your dog? What advice do you have? And any suggestions on where to stop along the way to Charleston for a good walk?

Dog Friendly Road Trip: Columbus

I recently read an article about a bucket list a woman devised for her and her dog. One of the things on her list was taking trips with her dog. Although I think this is a great idea, the logistics of flying or taking a long drive with a dog seem difficult. This bucket list did get me thinking though what a fun idea it would be to take short weekend trips with my dog.

Just a short drive from Cleveland, Columbus is an easy road trip you can take with your dog. Since I make it back there frequently to see family, I’ve done some research recently on what Columbus has to offer in the way of dog friendly places and activities. Like Cleveland, Columbus has a lot of great parks as well as bars and restaurants with dog friendly patios.

Photo Credit: http://consumer.discoverohio.com/pressroom/freeohioimages.aspx

Here are some of the tops spots to hit up with your pup:

Best Parks:

Highbanks Metro Park, Lewis Center. Although I usually hit up Blacklick Park, since its closest to my family, I’m always disappointed that the park’s pet friendly trail is so short. Dogs are not allowed on most trails through the park (the Cleveland parks system seems much more welcoming of dogs, but let me know if I have the wrong impression Columbusites). I’ve been doing research to find a more pet-friendly park and recently came across Highbanks Metro Park in northern Columbus. This park has a 3.5 mile pet trail, the longest pet trail in the Columbus area. Great for a stop if you want to take your dog on a long walk to wear him out before hitting up a dog-friendly patio for dinner.

Scioto Audobon, Downtown. Located in the heart of downtown, this is a great place to take your dog while making a weekend visit of the city. The park has hiking and biking trails, a climbing wall, fishing and a dog park. The 2-acre dog park features separate areas for small dogs and large dogs, each with its own agility course.

Alum Creek Dog Park – this large park has a lot of space for dogs to run around, including a spacious small dog area as well.

For a complete list of what Columbus parks offer pet trails visit:
http://www.metroparks.net/trailspettrails.aspx

Dog Friendly Dining

Once you’ve worn out your dog on the trails or at the dog park, it’s time for dinner! The best area for dog lovers is in the Short North, the area just north of downtown and just south of the Ohio State campus. The Short North is chock full of galleries, bars and really good restaurants. Some good ones to check out on your visit with your dog:

Bodega, corner of High St. and Third Ave. Bodega offers an impressive beer menu along with burgers, sandwiches, salads and appetizers. The usual array of menu items you can find at most gastropubs. The patio isn’t very large, but it does welcome dogs.

Northstar Café, 951 North High Street. The restaurant specializes in healthy, locally-grown cuisine. Dogs are allowed at the outside tables.

La Chatelaine French Bakery 1550 West Lane Avenue, Dublin. In the true spirit of France, this delicious French bakery allows dogs at the outside tables. Although not in the Shorth North, the bakery is located in a really cute area of Dublin that is definitely worth a visit.

One other thing I just found out about that I’d love to take my dog to is Dog’s Night Out at Graeters. Since it falls on the first Thursday of the month, I haven’t been able to make it yet but I love the idea of taking my dog to my favorite ice cream place!

Accommodations

Since I always stay with family, I don’t have any firsthand experience with pet-friendly hotels in Columbus. However, the site BringFido.com has a great list of pet-friendly hotels to help you find a place to stay with your dog: http://www.bringfido.com/lodging/city/columbus_oh_us/

Upcoming Events:
Lazy Danes Luau, Jul 27, Three Dog Bakery, Columbus
Dog Jog, Aug 18 Genoa Park
WAG! Dog Festival, August 24, Hilliard
Woof Stock, Aug. 24, Columbus Commons Downtown
Fido Fest, Oct. 6, Worthington Village Green
Canine Companions DogFest! October 12, Dublin

Don’t forget to send me pics of your doggie road trip!

 

Road Tripping

My dog is a big fan of road trips, which is lucky for me since we take a lot. Whether it’s just a couple of blocks to the pet store or a longer trip down to Columbus or Akron to see family, my dog is always excited to get in the car and go somewhere new.

This past weekend we took a drive to Columbus. Although it’s only a two hour drive, I take a few precautions ahead of time to make sure that the ride goes smoothly for the both of us.

1. Harness
Within a couple of months of getting Hunter I got a harness for him to wear in the car which hooks into the seat belt. This has been a great help on road trips. It gives him a little space so that he doesn’t feel totally confined, but keeps him out of the front seat and off of my lap, which would be his seat of choice. I have to admit the harness isn’t his favorite thing, since like all dogs he likes to stick his head out the window. So from time to time on shorter drives, I do let my dog have free rein in the back seat so he can stick his head out the window and enjoy a little more freedom.

2. Toys
Before a road trip I always give him a special toy. I like it to be something like a bully stick or a stuffed Kong that will keep him busy for a while. I usually throw in a few of his other toys as well, just so he has a mix of things to play with.

3. Water
Especially on summer trips, it’s important to keep your dog well hydrated during the drive. I’ve usually just put a bowl of water back there, but that can get messy. Lately I’ve been looking into a better way of having water for him in the backseat. I’ve been thinking about getting one of those no-spill bowls, or water dispensers with tray, that would also be good for the dog park.

4. Seat covers
My car is covered in fur, even shortly after vacuuming. I have a seat cover that works pretty well, but I would love to hear from you all what, if anything, works to keep the fur from taking over your car. Anyone have success with any particular seat covers? This is definitely something I’d like to invest in considering how much time my dog spends in the car.

Stay Tuned for Part 2 later this week – Dog Friendly Road Trip: Columbus