I’m Penny. I’m a 3-year-old miniature Australian shepherd and I’ve been to 19 states. I like the beach and the mountains, but I can also pull off a park and a city street. I’m pretty cute and well-traveled, right? Well, I recently got back from Charleston, South Carolina. I had a great time there — as there was plenty to do for pups like me — and I can confidently say it’s one of the most dog-accepting and dog-friendly cities I’ve been to… in my entire life!
Parks made for pups
First, I must say, I love all the green places. (I’m a pup that hates to go on the sidewalk, ya know? It just doesn’t seem dignified.) In town, there are lots of grassy and mulchy parts, and big trees for shade from the hot sun. Big trees also mean lots of chittery squirrels, which I LOVE to chase. Some of my doggie-approved outdoor spots in Charleston are Marion Square, Waterfront Park, and White Point Garden. There are complimentary doggie bag dispensers in all of these parks too, which help pet parents keep the city clean.
Since the whole peninsula is only a few miles long, pups with a lot of energy like me can even hit ALL the top parks in one day! I recommend a walk along the Battery Street promenade (aka “The Battery“); you get the lapping waves of the harbor to your left, a row of cuuuute houses to your right, and a strong ocean breeze through your tail-feathers!
Education is not just for people… pups like to learn about places too! I visited the oldest building in Charleston, the Powder Magazine Museum, which used to be a gunpowder storage building in 1713 and beyond. There was a lot to sniff there.
In the same area, Mom and I hopped a tour on a horse-drawn carriage. (A horse is like a really big dog. Sometimes I bark at them when I’m being naughty.) It was fun strolling around town in the shaded carriage and letting somebody else’s legs do the work. And it didn’t cost Mom extra to bring me, because dogs count as a lap child. Check out Carolina Polo & Carriage.
What about all the historic mansions and theatres in Charleston? Actually, most I stopped at had a policy that dogs could come in — as long as their parent held them and didn’t put them on the carpet! So mom carried me inside the Dock Street Theatre for a brief peek inside, but opted to skip the Edmonston-Alston House tour because I’m too heavy to carry for very long. (I think she needs more muscles.)
Charleston’s shopping scene
The Historic Charleston City Market is a stretch of indoor-outdoor buildings with stands for art, jewelry, souvenirs, and more. The sign said no dogs allowed, but the locals told me as long as I was good dog nobody would care. (P.S. I was good dog, and nobody cared. Actually, a lot of shopkeepers were super happy to see me, and gave me lots of scratches.)
If you like to play by the rules, then there’s the Charleston Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings. Since this is held in Marion Square, which is 100% outdoors, there were lots of doggos like me there. There were also lots of shopkeepers handing out treats! You’ll find a lot of similar products in the city market at the farmer’s market. Plus, a lot of other dogs to meet and places to sit.
When it comes to department and boutique shopping, King Street is several blocks long and very welcoming to pups. It’s nice for a stroll because lots of places will leave water bowls out for thirsty dogs like me, and I was welcome inside every store that mom decided to shop at. I especially recommend Woof Gang Bakery Charleston, the dog treat bakery with SO MANY SMELLS and TASTY SAMPLES!
In Charleston and elsewhere, I’ve never met a restaurant patio that wasn’t dog-friendly. Usually, any outdoor spot is fair game for four-legged kids like me. (We had lunch and a nap on the sidewalk at Slightly North of Broad. I had a bite of the swordfish club, and it was divine.)
But what about when the patio is THROUGH the restaurant? Ruh-roh! Never fear, because again, as long as mom picked my puppy body up and carried me through the restaurant, we could hang out and eat. Case in point: happy hour spot Swig & Swine.
My general rule of paw: Charleston is a pretty dog-friendly city. Don’t assume dogs are not allowed. If you inquire, or go up to the counter, someone will be pretty quick about telling you whatever rule they have… that, or they’ll just smile at you and say you’re cute! (This happened a lot!)