For golfers, beachcombers, war historians, barbecue lovers and other vacationers alike, South Carolina is a mecca for warm weather, beautiful scenery and southern hospitality, so it's no wonder why this little paradise is known as The Palmetto State. Unfortunately, like many of its neighbor states, summer means days are regularly in the 80s if not up into the 90s, leaving visitors and residents alike scrambling for shade and sweating pitchers full of iced tea. While there may be limited ways to escape the sun, there are certainly plenty more that will help you embrace it, so we're here to share our list with you so wherever you end up, you're happy as a pig in the mud, as they say.
Despite its reputation for being a paradise for easy-going people and relaxation, there is a ton to explore in South Carolina and Adventure Harbor Tours will help you do so with gusto. Not only do they provide reasonably priced tours of the harbor and surrounding area, but they'll even take you to a secluded island where people, and more importantly, dogs, can run free (oh yes, we mean full-tilt, off-leash beach-barreling). It's perfect for a hot day because getting out on the water and catching some wind and spray off the boat is a great way to cool off, and even if it doesn't initially help, splashing in the waters of Morris island certainly will. Plus, it's easy to book, easy to ride, easy to play and can eat up just a part of or nearly half your day.
Of all the ways a dog can exercise, swimming is easily one of the best. It decreases weight bearing, works a ton of muscles and is a truly thorough workout even for the most high-energy breeds. Plus, when it gets too hot, it's a great way to exercise without getting overheated in the summer sun. Most states only have a few limited places where dogs can truly get in and doggy paddle, but South Carolina has a place designated for that and that alone: Wag-n-Splash. In fact, it's the only facility we've found like it in the state. They're open from Tuesday to Saturday but they are by appointment only, so you'll have to call ahead unlike a public pool. But when all is said and done, you'll have a great way to get your dog some exercise (and maybe learn to swim better), keep cool and entertained all for a modest price.
If you want to make a mini adventure that will have you cool as a pool, you can start in one of several Myrtle Beach dog parks (some of which even have water features) and end up lapping some delicious canine (and human) ice cream just up the highway on the way out of town. There are several spots to check out, but don't worry, we have some recommendations, all of which are good for staying cool. They're all cheap if not free, great for hot weather specifically, easy to get to, and best of all, will be rewarded with tasty treats afterward!
Beside the dog parks we mentioned in Myrtle Beach, there is another we surely need to mention: Saluda Shoals Barking Lot. This fantastic dog park is two acres of off-leash space complete with a pair of bone-shaped pools for cooling off and a water fountain for thirsty pups. It's easily one of the best in the area and afterward, you and your pooch can head up the road to check out Lake Murray or southeast to check out Columbus.
South Carolina is surprisingly dog-friendly all-around, so you'll have no shortage of places to stop and shop out of the cruel sun. Check out places like Paw Paws USA or Cupcakes Pet Boutique and Bakery for some custom made gear, toys, and treats!
There are tons of grooming spots all over South Carolina, giving you lots of options for where to take your pooch to get trimmed down to a cooler coat. A few of them offer unique options, such as Camp Bow Wow's blueberry doggy facial, so shop around and find some other fun ways to pamper your panting pooch.
While it may fall in the smallest fifth of overall area compared to other states, South Carolina has no shortage of hospitality, space, and activities to keep you and your dog chill, chilled, and happy. And to be honest, our list, although thorough, only details a few of the possibilities available. Feel free to use locations or ideas straight off our list or just as inspiration for other trips, activities and spots to check out. We're here to help and we want you and Blue to stay happy and cool and make your time great in the Palmetto State.