Just south of Charleston, you'll find the charming island city of Folly Beach, fondly nicknamed “the edge of America” by its residents. Beautiful Folly Beach boasts a rich history, dog-friendly beaches, and a pier that extends more than 1,000 feet into the North Atlantic Ocean. While the city has no veterinary hospitals, the nearest one is only an 8-minute drive away in neighboring Charleston.
Folly Beach is known for its expansive beaches, and the best thing about them is that you can enjoy them with your pup! The city's public beaches are very accessible, with entry points located at the end of every block. Fido is welcome to soak up the sun and go for a walkie on the sand as long as he is leashed, except from 10 am to 6 pm from May 1st to September 30th.
For an off-leash treat, take your pooch to the Folly Beach Bark Park! Located next to the water tower facility, this dog park offers a quarter acre of open space for canines to run around and play with their friends. Drinking water, pick-up bags, trash receptacles, and a picnic table are provided. Remember to register your pupper with the city first before you head to the dog park.
Expect to have a pawsitively good time with Fido on Folly Beach!
Situated between the Folly River and the Atlantic Ocean, the Folly Beach County Park is loved for its unobstructed views, cleanliness, and laid-back atmosphere. It's quieter and less crowded than the other beaches on the island, making it the pawfect place to lay out a towel and just hang out with your pooch. Head to the west end of the park, and you and Fido will see a pelican rookery. Bring food and treats, as there are no stores or concession stands in the area. Leashed doggos are allowed on the beach, except from 10 am to 6 pm from May through September.
Center Street and its adjacent streets are lined with shops and restaurants, with many eateries welcoming furry patrons. For casual American cuisine, head to Rita's Seaside Grille, located just a stone's throw from the beach and pier. Their dog-friendly patio hosts live performances daily, so you can enjoy good food and good music with your pup by your side. Another spot to check out is the Lost Dog Cafe, which serves all-day breakfast with a Southern twist. This dog-friendly and dog-themed cafe will welcome your pooch with a treat, but be prepared to wait to be seated as the place is often packed and they don't take reservations.
Is it a bar with a dog-friendly backyard or a dog park with beer? Grab a pint and let Fido off the leash at The Barrel in Charleston, a 10-minute drive from Folly Beach. In addition to 33 taps of local and regional craft beer, The Barrel offers a spacious gated backyard where four-legged customers can roam and run around unfettered. They even have a separate, fenced area for pups that don't feel like socializing. Dog waste bags and water bowls are provided as well. And don't worry if Fido gets dirty, as there is a hose available for cleaning up your pooch. Dogs and craft beer—it doesn't get any better than that!
Go exploring on Morris Island for an unpawgettable adventure with your pup! Located northeast of Folly Beach, this unspoiled and undeveloped island is only accessible by boat, so hop on one with Adventure Harbor Tours. Adventure Harbor Tours offers three-hour tours of the island, during which you and Fido can stroll on the beach while looking for shells and fossilized shark teeth. You might also see some dolphins on the way to the island! Dogs get to join the tour for free, and you're welcome to bring your own snacks and drinks. Don't forget to bring a camera, hat, and sunscreen, too!
About 8.5 miles northwest of Folly Beach, the James Island County Park in Charleston is well worth the 17-minute drive. Spanning 643 acres, this park is home to a campground, seasonal waterpark, disc golf course, and miles of paved trails. But the feature that four-legged visitors will enjoy the most is the off-leash dog park. The dog park at the James Island County Park offers 4 acres of grassy running space, plus a large lake where Fido can go swimming. Your pooch will definitely be pooped once it's time to go home! If Fido picked up a lot of sand and dirt from playing, just rinse him off at the wash station before you leave.