Less than an hour by car from the state capital of Raleigh, Lillington is part of the Dunn Micropolitan Area and quite literally the heart of Harnett County. With the Cape Fear River crossing through the town, there are several outdoor recreation opportunities for people and puppers alike in Lillington. Three animal hospitals look after the community's canine residents and visitors, so you can travel worry-free with your pooch.
Raven Rock State Park is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Though the park is beautiful all year round, it is recommended to visit during the spring when the wildflowers are in bloom and migratory birds stop by. Explore the area's diverse flora, fauna, and topography with Fido by following the various scenic trails. While almost all the trails are easy hikes, there is a wooded picnic area surrounded by huge oak and hickory trees where you can take a pawse.
If you're headed back to town after a day in nature, drop by the County Seat Sports Grille for some dinner. Fido is welcome to join you at one of their outdoor tables while you enjoy your meal, as long as he is leashed.
Come see what puptastic adventures await you and your best friend at Lillington!
Doggos that are used to riding in a boat may tag along on a river trip organized by Cape Fear River Adventures. This family-owned and operated river outfitter offers various whitewater kayaking and scenic rafting trips for all skill levels, and Fido is welcome to join in on the more easygoing canoe rides, including the Leisure Paddle. One of the company's most popular offerings, the Leisure Paddle lets you explore up to seven miles of a flat-water stretch of the Cape Fear River. Rent a canoe for an hour or two and enjoy the virtually unspoiled wilderness with your furry buddy!
Staying in Lillington for a few days with Fido? The Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham allows guests to bring two pooches of any size for an additional fee per pet, per stay. Each room comes with free Wi-Fi, cable channels, and breakfast. Be sure to call first to book a pup-friendly room! Located next to the hotel is the Lillington Sports Zone Restaurant and Grill, which serves the usual pub grub. Snag an outdoor table with Fido at their gated and covered al fresco area and chow down on one of their house specialties before heading back to your room.
The Cape Fear River Trail Park in the nearby town of Erwin is a furrific spot to take your best pal for a leashed walk. Located on the Cape Fear River, this 16-acre park offers walking trails, overlooks, a picnic shelter, and canoe access. Clear your mind and get some exercise at the same time by enjoying the sights and sounds of the water as you and Fido go for a relaxing stroll around the Cape Fear River Trail Park. From this neighborhood, you and your pooch can also access the Dunn-Erwin Trail, a crushed stone pathway that connects Erwin to neighboring Dunn.
Tyler Park in the nearby city of Dunn is a nice spot to go for a walk and picnic with your four-legged pal. Since this park houses a playground, splash pad, and athletic complex, it sees a lot of use from the residents. Just a stone's throw from Tyler Park is the Dunn trailhead of the Dunn-Erwin Trail, a five-mile path that will lead you and Fido through suburbs and farmlands, across the Black River and wetlands, and beside cotton fields. Dogs are allowed to walk on the Dunn-Erwin Trail, but must be leashed and cleaned up after, so don't forget to bring waste bags.
If you're traveling through nearby Dunn and need a place to stay for the night, the Baymont Inn & Suites welcomes two dogs up to 35 lbs for an extra fee. Past guests say the rooms are clean and quiet, despite the hotel being dog-friendly and located next to I-95. Not all rooms are pet-friendly, however, so it is best to call first to avoid any surprises at check-in. Let Fido get his daily exercise at the Clarence Lee Tart Memorial Park, which is about a mile away from the Baymont Inn & Suites and features multiple ball fields and a one-mile walking track.