Liberty, South Carolina is half sleepy Southern small town and half Greenville metropolitan bedroom community. In other words, Liberty dogs can enjoy peace and quiet, friendly neighbors, and some nearby creature comforts. There's a veterinary hospital located in Liberty to care for all your furbaby’s needs. The locally-owned Saluda River Pet Food Center is in nearby Easley, as are some national chain pet supply stores.
Once considered sacred hunting grounds by the Cherokee, Liberty is still a haven for outdoorsmen and their beloved hounds. Plenty of deep woods await you and your pack, including the Fant’s Grove Wildlife Management Area. The trails in this beautiful 7,444-acre wilderness are well-marked and managed by the SC Department of Natural Resources, and on-leash dogs are welcome. Exercise plenty of caution, though, especially during deer season. Make sure you and your pets are all brightly dressed, and avoid hiking near dusk and dawn.
If your pups like their entertainment a little tamer, Liberty’s Freedom Park is the perfect place for a quick walk right in town. The paved 0.3-mile walking trail circles the playgrounds and picnic areas, so you’ll be able to watch all the action while you get in a few good laps.
Just six miles up the road, the larger Greenville suburb of Easley offers some of the infrastructure that petite Liberty doesn’t. Easley’s Bark Park is the area’s hot spot for off-leash frolicking. Who can resist meeting your neighbors and sniffing their behinds? The park has small- and large-dog fenced enclosures, along with running water, agility equipment, and a waste station. In addition to multiple pet stores, Easley also has 10 restaurants that welcome dogs on their patios or at outdoor tables. In pawticular, Coyote Coffee Café seems to have some serious canine credibility. You can even take your leashed pets shopping at the outdoor Easley Flea Market; don’t let the name scare you off.
The idyllic college town of Clemson, SC, is full of dog-loving students and nature lovers of all ages. The campus itself is fun to explore on-leash with ample sidewalks winding among the lawns and historic buildings. There are 12 dog-friendly restaurants with outdoor seating, including the pub T.D.’s, where the staff will gladly bring your pup a bowl of water and you a glass of something stronger. If your pups are ready for some off-leash play, head to the WC Nettles Park, where you’ll find fenced dog runs located near the back of the park. Water and waste bags are provided, but regulars note that the park can be muddy: bring a towel if your pups like it dirty.
It takes a little less than half an hour to reach Downtown Greenville from Liberty, and it’s worth every moment. This up-and-coming small city has an accessible, vibrant downtown scene with trendy restaurants lining Main Street with outdoor tables. Whether you’re looking for pizza or Indian food or burgers, you can find it on a dog-friendly patio. You can walk off the indulgence on the wide sidewalks, but don’t miss the beauty of Falls Park. Built around a natural waterfall in the center of downtown, Falls Park features a stunning suspension bridge over the falls, riverside seating, cultivated gardens, and work by local artists on display.
Stretching for more than 20 miles from Downtown Greenville all the way through Traveler’s Rest to the north, the Swamp Rabbit Trail is one of the most pawpular attractions in metro Greenville, especially for bikers and dog lovers. Though four-legged visitors may need to make way for fast-moving two-wheeled ones, this is still a peaceful and beautiful trek through the rolling hills of the Upstate. The trail follows a disused rail line, with periodic stops in many local parks, giving you access to restrooms, water fountains for refilling bottles, and trash cans for disposing waste. The trail’s huge fan base means that several local restaurants have also established dog-friendly outdoor seating near the trailhead, in case you need a lengthier pit stop. Get a trail map showing access points on the Greenville County Rec website, or get their interactive trail guide app.
Keowee Toxaway State Park is less than half an hour from Liberty, and it features some of the best views of the Blue Ridge Mountains any South Carolinian could hope for. This hilly park of 1,000 acres has more than five miles of hiking trails to explore with your on-leash friends. The 1.5-mile Natural Bridge Nature Trail takes about an hour, including crossing Poe Creek on the namesake bridge. The more challenging 4.2-mile loop of Raven Rock Trail can wear out even the most energetic puppies. Swimming is permitted throughout the park, and the park’s boat launch is available for canoeing and kayaking, so you’ll have no trouble cooling off with your furry friends on a hot day.