Just across the state line in South Carolina, the town of Clover is often considered an outer suburb of Charlotte, NC. Clover still feels like a small town, though, with classic Main Street storefronts fronted by a wide sidewalk. This friendly, affordable community of pet lovers has access to excellent national, state, and local parks. Whether you stay in town or go roving, you'll find plenty of ways to wear out your energetic pups.
The urban amenities of Charlotte and Rock Hill are within barking distance of Clover. That includes the 300 dog-friendly restaurants in the Charlotte area. The Dog Bar in the NoDa Arts District lets dogs accompany you both inside and at outdoor tables, and even allows off-leash playtime for your pups while you share a drink with your human friends. Closer to Clover, another puppy pub—the Lucky Dog Bark and Brew—is opening soon in Steele Creek.
When it’s time for a check-up, your babies have the choice between a vet clinic and an animal hospital east of town. Just across Lake Wylie, you'll find another pet clinic that keeps evening and weekend hours, just in case. The Animal Supply House in Clover is your hometown shop for premium food and doggy goodies, and their loyal customers swear by the service. One reviewer even says the employees “treat your pet like they are part of the owner's family,” so pack up the pups and go meet your new pet-store cousins!
Dog-loving history buffs have a lot to look forward to in Clover. The Kings Mountain State Park and Kings Mountain National Military Park share a huge tract of land about 9 miles from Clover for a double helping of weekend fun. At the Kings Mountain State Park, you’ll find a 1.5-mile Living History Farm Trail that takes you past preserved buildings where traditional crafts and farming techniques are on display. This part of SC saw important campaigns during the American Revolution, and you can learn all about it at the Kings Mountain National Military Park. The 1.5-mile self-guided paved trail circles the battlefield past monuments and graves, and on-leash dogs are welcome. (Please clean up any messes at this important historical site.) The park also has three backcountry trails ranging from 2.5 miles to a 16-mile loop that circles both parks.
Crowders Mountain State Park in North Carolina is only 10 miles from Clover. Just a few miles from Kings Mountain, Crowders Mountain connects to the Kings Mountain State and National Parks via the Ridge Line Trail. The rocky cliffs of this dramatic landscape mean you'll find challenging hikes to wear out even the most athletic fur-babies. With two peaks to climb — Crowders Mountain and the Pinnacle — you should bring plenty of water and all your willpower, and a camera to capture the amazing views. (Plus some dog pics. You can never take too many dog pics.) Older dogs, smaller dogs, or lazier dogs might prefer the flat loop trail around the 9 acre lake, and you can even take them out for a dog-paddle in your canoe or kayak.
The McDowell Nature Preserve on Lake Wylie is less than 14 miles from Clover and worth every inch. With more than 1,000 acres of deep woods and lakefront scenery, your pups will be begging you to plan a visit. The 7 miles of hiking trails welcome dogs. Since the park is home to 119 species of birds, 42 reptiles and mammals, and endangered wildflowers, please keep your buddy on-leash at all time to help him resist temptation. If your pup prefers the water, there are plenty of spots to sun yourself by the lake and public boat ramps to explore Lake Wylie. If you want to go doggone crazy, you can even rent out the 20-acre Copperhead Island and enjoy some pawfect privacy.
About 14 miles from Clover, the town of York has a number of walking paths and the paved York Greenway trail at the York Recreation Complex in the Poplar Acres neighborhood. The Greenway is actually part of the Triple C Rail Trail, a 23-mile converted railway that leads east to the James Ross Wildlife Reservation on the outskirts of York and west to Sharon, SC. If you’re going to take on the Triple C, bring a phone, water, and trail map, as parts can be overgrown and difficult to follow. The James Ross Wildlife Reservation protects 300 acres of woodland and some good trails for a true wilderness experience close to home. This old-growth forest is remote and peaceful, just the thing for stressed-out dogs looking to get away from it all. The reservation is popular with hunters, though, so exercise caution during hunting season.