By Mel Lee-Smith
Published: 11/19/2020, edited: 10/26/2022
The southeastern United States is a treasure trove of fun places just waiting to be explored. Luckily, many of the best spots are also dog-friendly! Read on to discover the best spots to see on a Southeast road trip with your dog. Our itinerary is brimming with "furrific" stops from the Carolinas to Alabama to make sure your pack leaves with their tails wagging.
North Carolina is one of the most "pawpular" tourist destinations in the Southeast, drawing a whopping 50 million people each year. Whether you come for the Blue Ridge Mountains, outstanding parks, pristine beaches, or the history, you're sure to leave the Tar Heel State with a smile.
Biltmore Estate — Asheville, NC
The first stop on this dog-friendly road trip is Asheville, North Carolina, home to the country's biggest residence, the Biltmore House. While your pup won't be able to enter this colossal abode, the estate has plenty to explore with your fur-baby.
Traverse the grounds on more than 20 miles of walking paths, which feature antique wooden bridges, botanical gardens, and an entire village! After your stroll, sit down for a meal and a drink at one of the two on-site restaurants with dog-friendly outdoor seating.
US National Whitewater Center — Charlotte, NC
Next, leash up for a whirlwind trip to the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte. This action-packed destination features just about every outdoor sport you could think of, and some you've probably never heard of!
Leashed pups are welcome to hike the grounds, kayak with their pack, or spend time at the riverside bar with their human compadres. Two-legged adventurers can take turns tackling the ropes course, zooming through the park on the zip line, or doing some deep-water rock climbing.
If your pack has never been to South Carolina, then they're missing out. The food's great, the people are friendly, and just about everyone has a dog. South Carolina might not be the first destination that comes to mind for a road trip with dogs, but you won't regret the journey.
Swamp Rabbit Trail — Greenville, SC
The Swamp Rabbit Trail is a "pawsome" way to explore the quieter side of Greenville. This 20-mile trail traverses two college campuses and Greenville’s most popular park, Falls Park on the Reedy.
The Swamp Rabbit Track is fabulous for a family hike or a romantic stroll for lovers with fur-babies. Many people use this track as the background for wedding photos — and it’s no wonder why, with gorgeous human-made cascades, stunning topiaries, art sculptures, and picture-perfect landscaping! If you need somewhere to rest after your walk, check out one of the 150+ pet-friendly bars and restaurants downtown.
Charles Towne Landing — Charleston, SC
What's a trip to South Carolina without an adventure in the state's oldest city? Charles Towne Landing is the very place this Southern epicenter was born. Pups are welcome to explore the outdoor exhibits, except for the on-site zoo since they may startle the furry and feathered inhabitants!
Folly Beach — Folly Island, SC
Want to catch some waves at some dog-friendly South Carolina beaches? Check out Folly Beach, just a few miles south of Charleston. Folly Beach is praised as one of the most dog-friendly beaches on the Carolina coast, though it does have leash rules. Pups can visit year-round, but the beach limits doggy visiting hours from May to September.
If your pack is keen on a trip to the Peach State, here are a few stops you shouldn’t miss.
Magnolia Springs State Park — Millen, GA
Pups are welcome to stay and play at beautiful Magnolia Springs State Park and campground in Millen, Georgia. The vibrantly blue springs draw visitors, but packs stay for the “pawsome” trails and water activities! Once upon a time, this park was home to the world's biggest prison, but its Civil War past is a far cry from the fun atmosphere and beautiful scenery you see today.
Bonaventure Cemetery — Savannah, GA
You're probably thinking, "Why is a cemetery on this list?" But trust us, you won't want to miss this attraction. Paranormal believers have dubbed Savannah one of the most haunted cities in the US, and Bonaventure Cemetery is at the heart of much of the local lore. Beautiful scenery, historic inhabitants, and Spanish moss-studded trees are enough to make this a "mutts-see" destination even for non-believers.
River Street — Savannah, GA
You can't leave historic Savannah without a souvenir! Hit up River Street for eats, drinks, and shopping with your favorite furry companion. The shop has varying rules regarding dogs, so make sure you check with the shopkeeper first. If the restaurant has patio seating, then there's a good chance they're dog-friendly.
Skidaway Island State Park — Savannah, GA
Skidaway Island State Park is just a bone's throw from downtown, but you'll think you're a hundred miles away by the looks of it. This maritime forest has a beauty all its own with waist-high reeds, murky water, and gnarled oaks. Don't forget your camera — there's no telling what kinds of animals you'll cross paths with. The park campground allows tent camping with dogs and even has some pet-friendly cabins if you don't like "ruffing" it.
The next stop on our Southeast dog-firendly road trip itinerary is none other than the Sunshine State, home to some of the most "pawsome" dog-friendly parks and beaches in the Southeast!
Washington Oak State Park — Flagler County, FL
If you're up for a leisurely hike, check out the trails at Washington Oak State Park in Flagler County, FL. True to its name, the Bella Vista loop trail offers gorgeous waterfront views. Your woofer won't be able to accompany you on the beach or in the formal gardens, but the scenic trails alone are worth the drive.
Jupiter Beach — Jupiter, FL
If not being able to swim is getting your pup down, head over to Jupiter Beach, one of the prettiest dog-friendly beaches in Florida. Your dog will love feeling the sand between their toes and getting to splash leash-free in the warm water.
Need more destinations for your Sunny State itinerary? Check out our "ultimutt” guide to a Florida dog-friendly road trip for even more places to play, stay, and eat!
The last state on your Southeast road trip with dogs is good ol' Bama, home to some of the South's best-hidden gems.
Fort Morgan Beach — Gulf Shores, ALGulf Shores has several "furrific" places for packs to make memories, and Fort Morgan Beach is the place to start. Fort Morgan is situated on a white-sand peninsula, surrounded by strikingly blue Gulf waters. Leashes are mandatory at this coastal "pawadise," but that won't stop your pack from having the time of their lives!
Gulf State Park — Gulf Shores, AL
Next on our list is TripAdvisor's 2020 Travelers’ Choice Award winner Gulf State Park. This beautiful beachside park spans over 2 miles of coastline and boasts 25 miles of forested hiking trails and a bark park. The best part? It allows RV and tent camping with dogs! You can even rent a bike at the campground to explore the many dog-friendly trails in Gulf Shores.
Langan Park — Mobile, AL
Langan Park is the definition of family fun and one of the best dog-friendly parks in Alabama. This 700-acre mega-complex boasts botanical gardens, nature trails, playgrounds, and sports courts. Two- and four-legged kiddos will have a blast roaming the garden paths and smelling the flowers.
The Mobile Museum of Art is also part of this impressive complex. Unfortunately, your pup won't be able to accompany you to view the indoor exhibits. Instead of missing out on the masterpieces, why not let a local dog walker in Mobile keep Fido company while you check out the museum?
No matter where you go or what you do, making memories with the ones you love is the most important part. We hope this itinerary inspires you to plan your own road trip with your pack. Traveling cross-country with dogs in tow? Check out our "ultimutt" Midwest guide for more "furrific" ideas for road trips with dogs!
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