The Dog Friendly Guide to Charleston
By: Rebecca Barnes
A few days before the hurricane hit the East Coast in August 2018, my husband and I were leaving Charleston, SC and reminiscing about one of the most fun trips we’ve done in ten years of dating. We left truly hoping all of the wonderful people, businesses and architecture we saw would be safe and now we hope are recovering well. It was one of the best trips I have ever taken, and I am so glad our three-year-old corgi Knightly got to experience it too. In addition to being one of the best U.S. cities, it was definitely, hands-down the most dog friendly city we have ever been to!
If you are wondering whether or not to bring your dog to Charleston, I highly encourage it! Everywhere we went, from the locally owned tourist stores, to the dog-friendly restaurants and porches, we loved every second. On top of that, we truly felt like celebrities because everywhere we went, we heard “corgi!” gasps and people wanting to stop us to pet and talk to Knightly. We would literally go into the store, and before we could ask the owners if they allowed dogs, they were running over to greet us (mostly him) and welcome us to their shop. The streets were lined with water bowls and he would get dog treats, too. We are so thankful for the Southern Hospitality we enjoyed in South Carolina and can’t wait to share it with you.
When visiting a new city you can feel kind of out of place, but that was never the case with us. All of the historic buildings and cute courtyards just make walking the streets and neighborhoods worth the visit. I couldn’t stop gasping myself at all the adorable porches and little gardens. I especially loved walking down Rainbow Row (pictured below). If you want some fun suggestions of stuff to do in Charleston, all with your furry best friend with you, this is the right place!
First things first, where to stay?
This hotel is in the heart of downtown Charleston and walking distance to everywhere we went. It is dog-friendly and has a free breakfast. Some of the rooms are renovated BEAUTIFULLY (we were lucky to score one of these!), however most of the rooms still need renovated, so I’m sure they sell out fast. Be sure to ask for one when reserving your room. The only picture I got of the gorgeous and spacious bathroom (especially for a historic city like Charleston) was when we were finishing the trip and giving Knightly a much needed bath from all that walking! It was so nice to see his paws nice and pink again! Also, this is the most luxurious bathroom he has been in, and he hates baths!
Another awesome feature was our room was on the first floor, which is really helpful with dogs. It was a suite, so we had a separate room with the couch, TV, small table, chairs and fridge for cold drinks.
Next, the FOOD.
The first night we walked to one of the best restaurants with incredible seafood. It was busy (understandably, the food is amazing!) and even if they allowed dogs, I don’t know if I would want to eat inside because it appeared really small and cramped. There is also no outdoor seating, so we got our food quickly to-go and brought it back to our room, it was only a few blocks away and it was fun to walk through the cute old cobblestone streets.
The dinner we brought back to our room at the Hilton, was a scalloped poboy that we split and two shrimp tacos. Oh my goodness. It was a flavor explosion. I’m so glad it was a short walk too, because it was best enjoyed while it was hot. We honestly would go to this restaurant again twice in one trip, if we didn’t have so many options to try!
We then walked around the shops next to our hotel with all the little tourist trinkets, S.C. magnets and mugs stacked on shelves to buy. I got two little coastal car coasters (say that 10 times fast), a wooden S.C. magnet, S.C.’s state flag playing cards and a Charleston comfort color oversized sweatshirt (I sized up). Like I said earlier, the stores welcomed us with open arms. Knightly is well-mannered, 25 pounds and short legs, so of course be reasonable when deciding what to do with your dog. Since it was September and summer was ending, we got a fresh squeezed lemonade while walking. We heard from the locals and shop owners to try Kaminsky’s for dessert and stopped there on the way back to the hotel.
There was always a line outside (so you know it’s good) and by the end of the night when we were getting ready to leave, I was able to pretty much walk up and order to-go. It’s got a very cozy vibe, with brick walls and wood floors. To go along with my mood, I got a warm blueberry cobbler and ate it in our hotel’s lobby with my husband and amazing trooper pup. It was delicious, I just wished I had remembered to make it a la mode! I would definitely go back to Kaminsky’s, they have so many delicious looking sweets to buy.
Once we got back to the hotel, we broke open our new S.C. flag playing cards and the hubby taught me how to play Rumi. We are a super competitive couple, so we kept score of course. It was really nice to hang out together without watching TV, except sports on the background, and without being on our phones. There is something so nice about playing board games or cards on vacation with your family!
The next morning we got breakfast at our hotel and we were shocked at how good it was for a free continental breakfast. The potatoes at the Hilton DoubleTree are diced and crispy and the eggs aren’t overdone or over scrambled. So far, the food was still impressing us! We ate in the courtyard under the strung globe lights and in the shade (with Knightly begging for some bacon scraps under our table).
Waterfront Park - Pineapple Fountain
We got dressed and walked down to the Waterfront to find the pineapple fountain. I am beyond glad we left in the morning because there was a breeze by the water and it wasn’t too hot yet…on the walk back was a different story! We sat on benches and in the grass and talked. It was de-stressing and relaxing, which is what we needed. Knightly even tried to get in the pineapple fountain. I could tell he was really loving sitting in the park and watching all of the people. I feel bad when he is cramped up inside during the week while we’re working, so I loved how much time he got outside that day in Charleston, S.C.
The second night we had dinner at 82 Queen. We walked over from our hotel at the Hilton Double Tree in downtown Charleston and sat outside in the courtyard. We called ahead for a reservation, which I think is always wise on a weekend in a city like Charleston. We also let them know we would have our dog with us and requested the patio. The courtyard is super cute and lit up with little lights. It almost feels like dining in a fairy garden!
Everyone there was incredibly friendly to our pooch and brought him water. We lucked out and it was restaurant week, so we got a great deal on three courses. The best part of the meal? The fried oyster buffalo mac and cheese starter. It was both of our favorites and I am mac and cheese obsessed! This was a special item not usually on their menu, it was one of our favorites of the trip.
So, this last one I am not 100% sure they are always dog friendly, but we had no problems taking Knightly into Skinny Dip on their upstairs cafe’s second-story patio. It is the most adorable patio and the greatest little place. It is a collaboration space filled with different brands and I found out about this space from a post by Carly The Prepster. I love the low-key feel and patio swings. Some items in the shops were pricy and we didn’t spend a ton of time looking around.
Skinny Dip is located right on King Street and even though it’s filled with shops, it wasn’t my favorite part of Charleston. I so much enjoyed the smaller businesses and boutiques closer to our hotel or walking by the waterfront or looking at all of the old architecture and houses.
Charleston, we are looking forward to our next trip! Especially, this one with four paws.
Basically, this face says it all.