The city of Cornelius is nestled against the eastern shore of Lake Norman and serves as a suburb of Charlotte. Located in Mecklenburg County, this area provides a great natural space for outdoor enthusiasts of any species, as well as many pet-friendly establishments. There are 20 pet-friendly restaurants to satisfy the city’s hungry pups, and several veterinarians to keep them healthy.
One of the city’s most pawpular spots for an off-leash romp is the Swaney Point K-9 Park. This 4-acre, fully-fenced park is divided into two sections -- one for dogs over 20 lbs., and one for those under 20 lbs. Your fur-iend will love all the space to play and the abundance of shade to relax in.
The Lucky Dog Bark and Brew is truly a one-of-a-kind place. This sports bar has more pet-friendly amenities than most bark parks, like an indoor/outdoor off-leash area, sports-themed pet boutique, grooming services, and doggie daycare! Pups can join their owners inside the pub, where regulars can frequently be seen sitting at the bar and hustling waitstaff for treats.
After your game of happy hour fetch, enjoy a nice meal for two at Alton’s Kitchen and Cocktails. This pup-friendly eatery offers a large assortment of fresh selections for lunch, dinner, and bunch on the weekends. Here, you and your pup can dine on entrees ranging from fresh lobster to chicken and waffles! Whatever Fido fancies, Alton’s is sure to have it! “Bone” Appetit!
Do you dare for a scare? Take your pup on a spooky lantern-lit tour of historic Uptown Charlotte with the Carolina History and Haunts Company. This pup-loving company allows leashed pets to accompany their owners while learning the ghastly (and ghostly) history of Charlotte's most infamous landmarks. The tour lasts “ruff-ly” 75-minutes, and will leave you plenty of time to enjoy a nice dinner at the Wooden Vine Wine Bar and Bistro, just two streets over! The Wooden Vine offers patio seating where diners and their doggos can enjoy specialties such as pan-roasted salmon and short rib tortellini.
Mt. Holly is home to the U.S. National Whitewater Center, both a nature and athletic center used as a training site for the U.S. Olympic Team. This spot has so much to offer guests: biking/hiking trails, a climbing center, zip-lines, flat water kayaking, a high ropes course, and (of course) whitewater rafting. The best part? They LOVE dogs. Dogs are welcome pretty much everywhere (except the whitewater area), and even can join their human parents at the facility’s outdoor restaurant! You might as well grab a kayak and paddle off into the sunset with your fur-baby — because he won’t want to leave!
Jetton Park offers leashed pups and their families a great recreational space from March until the end of October. This 104-acre lakefront park is located on the eastern side of Cornelius, and rests on the edge of Lake Norman. Here, your pup can enjoy blazing the trails or just lounging on the beach while you work on your tan. Afterwards, drop by the Three Dog Bakery, a local dog bakery whipping up treats, pup-cakes, and seasonal confections. They will even make your fur baby a custom pup cake for his birthday...but with a pup as awesome as yours, who needs a special occasion?
Goat Island Park is nestled between the cities of Belmont and Cramerton, and provides fun for the whole gang. Goat Island derives its namesake from a group of goats which were brought here in 1910 in hopes of controlling the rampant plant growth. The area has kept the name, although the goats have since moved on to greener pastures. This gorgeous 30-acre park and greenway features river access and a small well-shaded park for the puppers. Leashed pets are allowed on the Greenway Trail, but owners must be sure to pick up after their pet.
East Monbo is home to the beautiful Lake Norman State Park, just a 20-minute drive north of Cornelius. Your pet can choose from four hiking trails of varying difficulties, but must remain leashed on his adventures. The Lakeshore and Alter Trails are considered easy to moderate in difficulty, and provide visitors with great views of Lake Norman. This park is also home to the 30.5-mile long Itsui Trail, considered to be one of the best biking trails in the state. There are several picnic areas and 33 camping sites if you decide to extend your stay. But don’t worry about having to “ruff it”—all the campsites are convenient to bathhouses, restrooms, running water, and grills.