Just 30-minutes south of Wilmington is the beautiful island known as Oak Island. Accessible by bridge, this easy-to-get-to Island has three beaches: Caswell, Yaupon, and Long Beach. Every beach is family- and pet-friendly (i.e. no nudity, no dog breed restrictions). You can leave your cash at home – you won’t need it with no beach or ferry fees. Your favorite foods, plenty of water, a few toys, and your loved ones are all you need for a day of fun!
Looking for a dog park on the mainland? Check out Wilmington Dog Park at Empie Park. GPS will fill you in, but if it doesn't, Wilmington Dog Park is conveniently situated on the corner of Independent Blvd. and Park Ave. Wilmington Dog Park is part of Empie Park and is the city’s first functional off-leash dog park. Owners enjoy the separate areas for big dogs (<21lbs) and little dogs (>20lbs), plenty of shade, free water, and pet waste station while dogs love the freedom of being off-leash in a wide open space. Wilmington Dog Park is open from sunrise to sunset year-round.
Explore the beauty Wilmington has to offer while hiking the Abbey Nature Trail. Located within the 67-acre Abbey Nature Preserve, the Abbey Nature Trail snakes its way through the woods and over a pond for 2.4 miles. Your dog is allowed to adventure with you on the trail, but he must be on his leash at all times, and you must clean up after him.
Downtown Wilmington is a dynamic neighborhood that features an eclectic mix of locally owned shops, trendy bistros, comfortable pubs and some late-night clubs. Just a couple of miles from downtown is the Greenfield Lake Park. Featuring a flat 4-mile walking path that weaves around the lake, it is just right for a pawsome leashed stroll in the early morning or after work. The 250-acre outdoor space will keep you surrounded by nature’s beauty throughout your walk. Not far away is Von Barkee’s Dog Spa and Bakery. Not only does Von Barkee’s provide the ultimate in pet paw-m-pering, they’ll even make up a batch of special dog treats for your good buddy. Near the park is Satellite Bar and Lounge where you and Fido are welcome inside and out while enjoying local brews and food truck selections, or live Bluegrass music on Sundays. If you’re feeling hungry for a good steak, try eating outside at Aubrianna’s with your leashed pup. If you are in the mood for pizza, Fat Ton’s Italian Pizza can fulfill your deepest pie craving while dining outdoors with your well-behaved and leashed pup.
Oleander is a charming and well-maintained dog-friendly neighborhood that is home to Empie Park. The park features a paved trail around the park, a playground, varied sports facilities, and a dog park. Wilmington Dog Park is the first off-leash dog park established in the city, and is part of a 2-acre site of unused land within Empie Park. The dog park is completely fenced with two play areas, one for large dogs and another for dogs under 20 pounds, and provides water, pet waste stations, and lots of shade. The rules of pet-iquette are posted clearly, making it easy for everyone to have a dog-tastic day. If you are looking forward to a meal accompanied by your leashed and well-behaved fur baby, consider checking out the Fish House Grill for some delicious alfresco dining with a great view of the Wrightsville Beach Drawbridge and bay. Tandoori Bites features Indian cuisine, and has a curry ready for you in the outdoor eating area where your pup is welcome. Feeling like Pizza? Mellow Mushroom welcomes you and your pup in the outdoor dining area to enjoy a slice. Both Tandoori Bites and Mellow Mushroon request that your dog is leashed and well-behaved to join you.
This peaceful and historic neighborhood is located near the inlet, and the New Hanover County Arboretum. The Arboretum is one of the most beautiful and tranquil locations in southeastern North Carolina, offering views of lush landscapes, flowering plants and bushes, lawns, and colorful water features that create an inviting place for people and their leashed companions. Paved walkways will lead you past a lush rose garden and a Japanese garden, complete with a tea house and winding stream. Follow the path to the picnic area and magical children's garden with a miniature cottage. The gardens are open from 8-8 daily and are free. Enjoy a peaceful walk among the beautiful grounds with Bowser and enjoy watching him play peekaboo with the Koi Fish. The Dog Park at Hugh MacRae Park offers separate off-leash opportunities for large and small dogs, water, and waste disposal. Woof Gang Bakery and Grooming is not far away for a little after workout treat. They also make doggie birthday cakes to make your party special.