Traveling is always a good idea! I absolutely love going to new places and I wanted to pick a city that would be dog friendly. Aside from Florida, I've never traveled down South so I thought okay, let's try Charleston, South Carolina! After doing some research, it was the perfect choice as it's a beach city, surrounded by greenery, foodie city and there was so much American history. The best part is that it's a super dog friendly city! This is just from my personal experience so it might not work for you and your pet. Penny has flown with me to Los Angeles multiple times so I know how she travels. These are just some of my recommendations if you wanted to visit Charleston with your pooch.
I always try to plan going to the Airport a little earlier because traveling with a dog will require a little extra time and there's nothing worse than running to your gate (with your dog)! Penny is my Emotional Support Animal so I bring all the documents the Airline requires. All airlines can differ on what is required so please check before hand with your airline on their policy on traveling with dogs. A few days before my flight, I upload all the documentation online (form from mental physician, veterinary health form and confirmation of animal behavior). I also carry copies because you have to check in with the Airline desk. This can be a hit or miss, sometimes you can wait awhile or it may be quick, hence why it's always important to give yourself some extra time. I typically try to choose window seat so we don't bother anyone in the aisle and always ask my seat partner if they are okay with dogs.
Where we stayed:
We stayed in Downtown Charleston because it was prime location and we were able to walk everywhere for the most part. I also rented a car at the airport which was useful when we did our day trips outside of downtown. You can choose to Uber/Lyft as well but for the trips outside of downtown, it was much easier to have a car especially when you have a dog with you.
Our hotel was the Double Tree Hilton. It was centrally located and a short walk to most places we wanted to check out. They are a dog friendly hotel but make sure you let them know in advance. Fees will differ depending on the hotel so please check in advance.
We arrived later in the afternoon/early evening so we checked into our hotel and headed to Folly Beach! Since it is peak season, leashed dogs are only allowed before 10am or after 6pm. Folly Beach is a casual beach scene so a lot of restaurants in the area that have patios are dog friendly :) I always liked to call before hand just to double check and they were always very friendly. Some recommendations I found online that were dog friendly were Taco Boy and Lost Dog Cafe.
I had a large list of recommendations for places to eat! Charleston is a foodie city and has some amazing places to check out. For brunch we headed to Poogans Porch. It's in a beautiful Victorian townhouse with a nice porch for you and your pooch. Of course I had to get fried chicken and waffles because when in the south, you get fried chicken, right?! They even provided water bowls for the doggos :)
After brunch we headed over to the Charleston Farmers Market which is held every Saturday. The Farmers market is dedicated to the support of farmers, growers, artisans, crafters, live performers and community groups. Dog Friendly as well!
Also check out the cute doggy shop Woof Gang Bakery located on King Street. I picked up a cute Pineapple treat for Penny. She's such a lady of leisure.
We decided to walk around downtown the rest of the day. Headed to the Waterfront Park where you can walk down the palm tree-lined path towards the Pineapple Fountain. Obviously we had to stop and take a photo in front of the Pineapple fountain and do a bandana change for the occasion :P You can find pineapples everywhere in the city. It worked perfectly with Penny's Tropic Like Its Hot bandana.
After we headed to one of Charleston's most photographed spots- Rainbow Row! It's a series of 13 brightly-colored houses. It's probably the most "Instagrammable" spot in Charleston in my opinion haha. I of course was the crazy dog mom trying to get Penny to sit in front of the houses. If you wouldn't do the same then I don't know if I can consider you an Instagram Dog Mom. LOL
These historic homes were first constructed around 1740 and were used by merchants who would run their business on the ground floor and live on the top floor. After the Civil War, this area was rundown. However in 1931, it was purchased by the Legges and they decided to paint the homes in pretty pastel colors.
My friend and I wanted to take the opportunity to learn about the history of Charleston so after dropping Penny off at the hotel, we decided to check out the Old Slave Mart. It once housed a slave auction gallery. It was believed to be the last slave auction facility in South Carolina. Charleston was the nation's capital of the slave trade, the place where many of those enslaved people first landed in the New World. It is not your typical "Museum" experience as there is more to read and feel than to see. It was an educational experience about slavery and its history in Charleston.
For dinner that night, we headed to Hometeam BBQ located in Northern Charleston. They have outdoor seating so definitely a place to bring your dogs. After we headed over next door to a place called Edmunds Oast which is a 'New American' restaurant with delicious beer, cocktails and wine. This place also had a large patio.
We went to brunch to meet an instafuriend in real life! Thanks @minnierescuechiweenie for the recommendation. We went to a place called Tattooed Moose on John's Island. Once again super dog friendly!
After brunch we headed to check out Angel Oak. This tree is estimated to be 400-500 years old. There was something so beautiful and peaceful about this tree. They do allow dogs but only in the picnic area OR you can choose to carry your dog which is what I did. If you plan on heading to Wadmalaw Island, this is a must see as it's on the way. We wanted to check out the Deep Water Vineyard and Firefly Distillery but they are closed on Sunday and Monday so we opted to check out the Tea Plantation which is the home of American classic tea. They do allow dogs and you can walk around the plantation however they don't allow them on the tram tour. I would have preferred the Vineyard/Distillery but this was a decent substitute.
After the plantation, we drove to Kiawah Island and went to the beach. If you go early enough when the tide is low, you might have the chance to see dolphins strand feed! I really wanted to see that however it would have happened in the morning so I guess next time. We headed to the Ryder Cup Bar at Ocean Course Clubhouse to grab drinks and dinner. It has gorgeous views of the ocean and 18th green. Since Penny is an Emotional Support Animal, she was able to sit with us out on the outdoor area.
It was our last day and we made plans to visit Magnolia Plantation. The Plantation has lush gardens dating to pre-Revolutionary War times with train and boat tours that show you around the property. We did the "From Slavery to Freedom" Tour and the boat tour. Both tours were very interesting and I would highly recommend. This plantation is also dog friendly and Penny was able to do both tours with us.
I would overall call this trip a success! Charleston was such a cool city with so much history. I highly recommend checking out the Instagram account @explorecharleston - this account has blogs, q&a's, itineraries and so much useful information about this city.
If you are thinking of somewhere to go that is dog friendly then this is your place.