By Jennifer Marra | Beaufort, South Carolina is known for its beautiful marsh views, its abundance of American history and its Lowcountry-style cuisine. But perhaps one of the best kept secrets of this eclectic destination is its pet-friendly atmosphere.
Everywhere you turn, you’re most likely to find someone with their furry friend tagging along. From accommodations, to dining, to enjoying the day around town, or an adventure at the soon to be reopened Hunting Island Beach your dog is pretty much welcome everywhere you go here in Beaufort – after all, they’re part of the family!
Start out by strolling the downtown shopping district, and you’ll find a bowl of water for your pooch outside many of our storefronts including Joli Home Accents, The Beaufort Art Association Gallery, Old Bay Marketplace, and many others on Bay Street. Many of the store owners are pet-conscious since a lot them are pet owners themselves with some even bringing their dog with them to work every day. A personal favorite is seeing Woodrow lying in the bay window of Modern Jewelers, enjoying the sunshine and the view of all the people walking by. Sometimes, you’ll even catch Woodrow hard at work behind the counter.
Downtown Beaufort’s Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park is a great place to play with your pet. The open area and scenic view makes a great place to practice some tricks or just relax for a while and enjoy the day. The Park is large enough to enjoy games, frisbee, or a great walk/jog around the perimeter walkway. Need a potty break? No Problem. The park has a handful of doggie-stations equipped with bags and receptacles to aid in picking up after your pet. Most of our local parks are pet-friendly, as long as you are willing to play your part and clean up after your friends.
Another great place to play with your furry friend is at Hunting Island Beach. Dogs are allowed at the park year-round, including the beach, the trails, and the campground area. All of that open space, the beach, water and beauty of Hunting Island makes it a great place to go and spend some quality time.
Beaufort is also home to two dog parks. One at Southside Park and one over at Burton Wells. Dog parks are a great place to go and let your pooch(es) run free without the restraint of that dreaded leash. The dog park at Burton Wells is part of a 69 acre facility that includes a lagoon and pavilion, as well as an outdoor amphitheater with open spaces, a playground and splash zone area, the dog park, primitive camping and trails with boardwalks. Southside Park’s doggie area is an expansive green space.
Back in downtown Beaufort, if you happen to be enjoying Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park with Fido, you can stop by and all have a cool drink together at Luther’s Rare & Well Done, Hemmingway’s Bistro, Common Ground Coffeehouse, and Panini’s on the Waterfront…they all have plenty of doggie bowls to choose from.
Of course, all that playtime sure works up an appetite and the beauty of Beaufort is that no matter what part of the area you’re in, there’s a restaurant nearby that is very accepting of dogs at the dinner table, as long as you’re eating outside.
With nearly 30 restaurants offering outdoor dining options, there is a definite probability of finding the cuisine you’re craving while being accompanied by your pet. If you were to ask my dogs which restaurants they liked best, they’d probably tell you to go to Blackstone’s Café for breakfast (the waitress almost always orders them something tasty too), and Panini’s on the Waterfront or the Back Porch Grille for lunch or dinner. Also, Panini’s offers a doggie menu. You can order your meal and theirs and you’re served together on the River Deck overlooking the downtown waterfront.
Hands down, or should I say paws down, they’ll tell you their all-time favorite place to visit when we’re out and about is Southern Sweets Ice Cream Parlor in downtown Beaufort. Southern Sweets offers a doggie sundae on the menu – which is a scoop of vanilla ice cream with milk bones in it. It’s definitely the best treat to accompany a productive day on the town. High marks also go to Bruster’s Ice Cream of Beaufort and their homemade doggie sundaes.
Visit Bricks On Boundary and bring your pet with you…your pooch is welcome on the porch at Bricks. Also in the area is Maggie’s Pub and Eatery in Habersham. They adore pets at Maggies, and do their best to make everyone comfortable in their outside dining area. The Habersham neighborhood with it’s Marketplace is also a very pet-friendly area.
If you’re visiting from out of town and looking for a place to stay, there’s over 26 properties to choose from that are pet-friendly in the region.
Beaufort doesn’t make you sacrifice comfort or preference when it comes to your accommodations selection. From campgrounds, to vacation rentals, to hotels, to bed and breakfasts – there’s an opportunity in each category to find a pet-friendly stay.
A few properties I’ve heard great things about from guests who stayed (with furry friend in-tow) recently: renting a cottage at the Beaufort Inn, reserving a camp site at Hunting Island State Park, and reserving a room at City Loft Hotel. If you’re looking for a beach vacation, check with the friendly folks at Seaside Getaways/Natural Retreats, they share the feeling that pets are family.
The City Loft Hotel has stepped up for man-and-woman’s best friend. City Loft staff told us, “five of our twenty-three rooms are committed pet friendly, and they’re booked very frequently. We always welcome your canine travel companion at the City Loft Hotel.”
Same goes for several other Beaufort-area spots. The historic Cuthbert House Inn, the Greyhound Flats, and Quality Inn at Town Center are among a large group of accommodations that are pet friendly. For a list of pet-friendly accommodations check out this link.
Recent studies show that over 49 percent of U.S. adult leisure travelers consider their pet to be part of the family and 18 percent of U.S. adult leisure travelers usually take their pets with them when they travel*.
If you’re looking for your next vacation spot where the dog can tag along, Beaufort is your destination. From fun at the beach to dinner on the waterfront and a cozy night’s sleep together, your furry friend can be by your side enjoying the vacation too.
After all, what’s a family vacation if the whole family can’t come?