While the Charleston heat is a completely valid excuse for not leaving your apartment all day– Fido probably thinks otherwise and would prefer to retrieve a ball that isn’t thrown three feet from the couch (although he could do it all day long + be just as content).
Luckily, there are a plethora of pup parks, situated all across the Lowcountry. But before you grab Buddy’s leash, it’s important to plan ahead to ensure a safe + enjoyable experience for both you, and your furry friend.
Here is some basic ‘petiquette’ that any dog owner should know before entering a dog park: Make sure your pet is up to date on all vaccinations. This is a preventative measure that most dog parks require. Stay with your dog at all times, and never leave them unattended. Occasionally, things can get a littleruff. Bring a tennis ball or frisbee (my pooch’s toy of choice), some extra water, and maybe a towel or two in case of muddy paws. Make sure to always clean up after your pet to avoid any angry looks from other owners… and smelly shoes. Check that the park you’re visiting has plenty of shade + that water stations are available. If the temps are too high– save the park for a cooler day. Know the signs of heat stroke– like excessive panting, excessive drooling, dehydration, + rapid heart rate. If you are concerned that your pet might be suffering from heat-related illness– get him/her out of the heat + call your vet immediately.
Read on below to see where you and your four-legged friend can have some doggone fun
Hampton Dog Park Run30 Mary Murray Dr. Mon.- Sun., sunrise to sunset free Offers shade, benches, a water station, plus bags + waste stations Some holes are present in the park– so watch your step
Hazel Parker Playground70 E. Bay St. Mon.- Sun., sunrise to sunset free Offers shade, benches, a water station, plus bags + waste stations Off-leash is limited to before 9 a.m. + after 6 p.m. during spring through early fall
Wannamaker County Park8888 University Blvd., North Charleston Mon. 10 a.m.- 7 p.m. // Tues.- Sun., 8 a.m.- 7 p.m. $2 park admission Offers large + small dog areas, shade, and a water station Bring your pup to the Dog Day afternoon at the waterpark on Sept. 9, from 12-5 pm. $12 in advance, $15 at the gate.
Riverfront Park1001 Everglades Ave., North Charleston Mon.- Sun., 6 a.m.- 10 p.m. free The park is fully fenced + near the playground (so if your pup is anti-kid, it’s probably not the best place for them to relax + play) No separation for big + little dogs
Palmetto Island County Park444 Needlerush Pkwy., Mt. Pleasant Mon.- Sun., 8 a.m.- 7 p.m. (opens at 9 a.m on Wednesdays) $2 park admission Offers large + small dog areas, shade, benches, a water station, plus bags + waste stations Bring your pup to the Dog Day afternoon at the waterpark on Sept. 8, either from 10 a.m.- 12 p.m., or from1-3 p.m. $8 in advance, $10 at the gate.
Rifle Range Dog Park1559 Rifle Range Rd. Mt. Pleasant Sunrise to sunset free Offers large + small dog areas, a water station, + waste bags Shade is limited + bug spray is a must
Ackerman Park55 Sycamore Ave., West Ashley Mon.- Sun., sunrise to sunset free Offers large + small dogs areas, shade, + a water station There’s a bulletin board for postings about pet sitters, groomers, lost dogs, etc.
Bees Landing Recreation Complex1590 Ashley Garden Blvd., West Ashley Mon.- Sun., sunrise to sunset free Offers large + small dog areas, shade, benches, plus a water station + cleaning station Three gated sections: sunny, shaded, + wetlands (muddy paws are expected)
Lenevar Park1305 Lenevar Drive South, West Ashley Mon.- Sun., sunrise to sunset free Great space for off-leash exercise Jog on the trail around the park with your pup on-leash
James Island County Park871 Riverland Dr., James Island Mon.- Sun., 8 a.m.- 7 p.m. $2 park admission Boasts a dog beach, four-acres of grass to roam with shaded areas, cleaning station, small dog area, plus bags + waste stations Bring towels for the car ride home so the pups can wash off in the cleaning station
Wassamassaw Community Park651 Wassamassaw Rd., Summerville Mon.- Sun., 7:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. free Offers large + small dog areas Restrooms + playground nearby
Bark Park Dog Park29th Ave & Lauden Blvd., Isle of Palms Mon.- Sun., sunrise to sunset // Closed Wednesdays 10 a.m.- 12 p.m. for cleaning free Offers large + small dog areas, shade, benches, a water station, toys, plus bags + waste stations No children under 13 allowed in dog park
Governor’s Park Dog Run145 Seven Farms Dr., Daniel Island Mon.- Sun., sunrise to sunset free Offers large + small dog areas, shade, benches, water stations, plus bags + waste stations Tennis balls are abundant– so don’t worry if you’ve forgotten yours
Other pet-friendly parks to consider: Brittlebank Park (dogs must be leashed at all times), Cannon Park,Horselot, White Point Garden (dogs must be leashed at all times), Freedom Park, West Ashley Park (dogs must be leashed at all times), + Johns Island Park. Note that these are open areas for all to enjoy.
Personally, my favorite place to take my pup (featured below) is IOP or Sullivan’s Island. However, Charleston has some pretty strict beach rules regarding dogs, so take a glance at our beach guide before heading out.
Whether we’re headed to a patch of grass or a sand dune, Huck is just excited to get outside + play with his frisbee.