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Just a few miles from the North Carolina border and an hour from the coast, Mullins is the heart of SC tobacco country. In fact, the town is home to the South Carolina Tobacco Museum in the Old Mullins Depot. Many of the pretty homes in Mullins date to the early 20th-century heyday of that industry.
Park-ing is a breeze for Mullins dogs. Mullins is just a half-hour drive from NC’s beautiful Lumber River State Park. A dog-paddler’s daydream, this river park is ideal for a kayak or canoe journey up the designated National Wild and Scenic River. You can explore the wetlands and forest on three hiking trails. If your sporty pups overdo it at the park, a visit to the local veterinary hospital will get them up and running again.
In South Carolina, both Lee State Park and Cheraw State Park are about an hour from Mullins. Lee has a mile-long hiking trail plus 12 miles of equestrian trails where your Great Dane will fit right in; there are also 144 species of birds to sniff out along the way. Golf-focused Cheraw has three hiking trails ranging from 0.5 to 9 miles long in deep tall-pine forest.
Or, skip the hike, grab a towel, and head for the beach! Mullins is an hour's drive from Myrtle Beach, where all public beaches welcome dogs before 10 AM and after 5 PM during peak summer season (May 1 through Labor Day), and all day the rest of the year.
The tree-lined sidewalks of Mullins beg to be explored on foot; a stroll down Main Street shows the community’s historic prosperity. Walking south on North Main, you'll pass century-old bungalow homes to reach the red-brick storefronts of the downtown shopping district — classic Americana. When you're done window-shopping at the antique galleries, you'll find gentile mid-century ranch-style homes with landscaped yards on South Main until the sidewalk ends at the city limits. If your buddies prefer to ride, watch the calendar for the Chamber of Commerce's dog-friendly classic car events, including an annual car show and outdoor concert. Your pups will look forward to the annual Golden Leaf Festival, too: the BBQ cook-off really gets those noses twitching.
Just 8 miles west of Mullins, Marion is a bit bigger and just as beautiful. Take a stroll up Main Street past the old-fashioned downtown shops to a number of grand Greek-columned manor homes that preserve the city's 19th-century roots. The Marion Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Veer east on Oakenwald Avenue to reach the in-town nature preserve at Harmon Park, a peaceful stand of woods surrounded by well-tended homes. A couple more blocks west is Withlacoochie Park, with restroom facilities and a picnic area plus public parking for both Harmon and Withlacoochie. If the oval walking track at Withlacoochie doesn't delight your pups, you can catch the mile-long Marion Hike and Bike Trail, a converted railway connecting downtown to the park and a pretty creek on the edge of town.
Little Pee Dee State Park is 11 miles from Mullins, an 835-acre playground practically in your backyard. With a public boat ramp and accessible shoreline, Little Pee Dee is your launching point for paddling or swimming in Lake Norman. Or, explore the blackwater swamp of the Little Pee Dee River, teeming with wildlife for your fur-baby to bark at. If you'd rather keep your adventure dry, the 1.3-mile Beaver Pond Nature Trail gives you a view of the water without the need for a towel. While you're there, sniff out the now-dry Carolina Bay; this puzzling geological feature might be the remnants of a prehistoric coastline during a time of higher ocean levels.
Though 30 miles away, Florence is the nearest urban center to Mullins and worth the drive for its big-box pet supply stores and 25 dog-friendly restaurants with outdoor seating. The real puppy hotspot, though, is Florence's McLeod Park Dog Park in the Cypress Point neighborhood; the fenced off-leash play areas even include a small pond for splashing. Continue your walk on-leash on the park's nature trail or head a mile east to Jeffries Creek Park. Tucked away in an affluent golf community, this lovely park has secluded trails by the water. When you need to fuel up, head north to a cluster of restaurants near the mall. Seminar Brewing is pawticularly dog-friendly, with an outdoor beer garden stocked with a watering station and waste bags.
At over 50,000 acres, the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge is a wetlands preserve that hosts thousands of plant and animal species, including your on-leash dogs. Just 38 miles from Mullins (and on the way to Myrtle Beach) this massive wilderness requires planning to explore safely. Bring plenty of water to stave off the SC heat, and since hunting is allowed within the refuge, stay on the trail and wear bright colors during deer season. The Cox Ferry Lake Recreation Area is ideal hiking country, with three trails including a boardwalk over the swamp. You can also hike along the Great Pee Dee River; catch the trail at the bridge on Highway 701 above Yauhannah Lake.
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