As the largest city in South Carolina, Charleston has a lot to offer to everyone who visits, as well as its 150,000+ residents. It is located on the southeastern coastline along the North Atlantic Ocean, and with its sunny and warm climate all year long, you will find plenty of outdoor activities, from beaches to parks to explore with your four-legged family member. Although some of the parks and beaches do not allow pets, Charleston has its fair share of dog-friendly recreational spots too!
Charleston was founded in 1670, but it was named Charles Town back then for King Charles II, who granted the area to eight of his friends in 1663. With an average temperature of 52 in the winter and 80 in the summer, outside is where most of the action happens in this city. There are almost 2,000 acres of park space spread over 120 parks and beaches. We found 15 of the best pup popular parks in Charleston for you and Fido to enjoy.
Ackerman Park Dog Run
A few miles to the northwest across the Ashley River, Ackerman Park has a really nice dog run for all pooches to play in. Located on the corner of Sycamore Avenue and Hamilton Street, the pup playground is right next to the skatepark. Although it is completely fenced, there is a spot where smaller dogs can squeeze through, so if your pup is an escape artist, keep a close eye on him. Another issue is the mud. If it rains, the park turns into a mud pit. But your dog will love it!
The rest of Ackerman Park is pup popular as long as you keep him on a leash while you are there. They have soccer fields, a fun skate park where you and your pooch can watch the kids do their thing, and a small pond. Your cuddly canine companion will have a blast sniffing around the waterfront, and he can even splash around if it is warm enough.
Bees Landing Dog Park
Located behind the Recreational Center on Ashley Point Road, the Bees Landing Park offers three large fenced-in spaces for different-sized fur puppies. One for small up to 20 pounds, one for medium up to 40 pounds, and the large pooches over 40 pounds get the big space. They all have room to romp around and play fetch or frisbee, chase each other, or just explore the scents of the new pups.
You will also find plenty of shaded benches for pup parents and water fountains for humans and pups. They also offer doggie bags, but it does not hurt to bring your own, just in case they run out. Outside the pooch park, your leashed dog can join you for a picnic or on the tennis and basketball courts, as well as the recreational areas for football, baseball, and soccer. The park also has a recreational center, but it does not allow pets inside.
Bridgewater Dog Park
A few miles south of Bees Landing Park, Bridgewater Dog Park is a nice large park with a huge lake that takes up most of the space in the community area. But the fenced dog park in the back is perfect for your pooch to play without a leash for a while with the other pups. There is a hand pump to get clean water to fill a water bowl or even to fill a large tub where you can clean your fur baby after he gets dirty in the lake.
The park also has doggie waste stations with dog bags for your convenience. However, it is good to bring your own anyway. Your canine companion will love the fire hydrant, which is a great place for him to mark his territory. It does get muddy here, especially around the lake. Bring a towel to clean your pup’s paws before heading back to the car.
Folly Beach Bark Park
Folly Beach is a fantastic place for almost everyone, but dogs are not allowed on most beaches. Southwest of Charleston on the oceanfront, the Bark Park is located in the middle of Folly Island next to the water tower. The fenced space is the only place on the island where dogs can run around and play without a leash. It is a large space with lots of shaded benches and picnic tables, a few fire hydrants, water fountains, and cleanup stations with baggies.
The rest of the island has several parks where your pooch can join you on a leash, but the beaches are off-limits from 10 AM until 6 PM from May until October. This includes the beach at Folly Beach County Park, which has a boardwalk, picnic area, and snack bar. No matter where you take your cuddly canine companion, always remember to bring extra doggie bags and water.
Governor’s Park Dog Run
North of downtown Charleston, Governor’s Park can be found by the Family Circle Tennis Center along the Wando River. In the southwestern corner of the park, there is a large fenced sandy area just for fur puppies. There is a separate space for small dogs so they feel safe from being stepped on as well as lots of trees to run through. Maybe that is why they call it a dog run. You will also find water fountains and waste stations with baggies.
Your fur buddy is welcome in the rest of the park, too but he will have to put his leash back on. The large park includes Seven Acre Field, which is a massive green space about seven acres in size for everyone to enjoy. They also have basketball, baseball, a soccer field, trails along the waterfront, and a playground for the little humans to explore and enjoy.
Hampton Park Dog Park
Bring your fur baby to play unhindered by a leash at the fenced Hampton Park Dog Run in northwestern Charleston. On the eastern side of the Ashley River and the west side of Cooper River, the park lauds plenty of shaded benches and a water fountain for the pet parents as well as tons of room to roam for all the pooches. Whether you have a playful Pug or a mild-mannered mutt, all dogs are welcome here.
During the summer, there are usually puppy pools to fill with water so your canine companion can cool off, and there are always doggie bags in the Mutt Mitt dispensers for your convenience. However, it never hurts to have extras on hand, just in case. Your dog is also welcome to join you at Hampton Park as long as he has his leash on. They have trails, picnic areas, a playground for the kiddos, and ball fields.
Hazel Parker Playground Dog Park
In the heart of the city of Charleston, Hazel Parker Playground boasts a large fenced play area for pups right on the Charleston Harbor. Also known as East Bay Dog Park, this is a flat and grassy space at the northern end of the park on South Adgers Wharf and Concord Street. It is not a huge place, but it has lots of space for your pooch to play with other pups. There is no special section for smaller dogs, so everyone plays in the dog park together.
You will find waste stations, water fountains, and dog bowls, as well as seating in the shade and in sunny areas for pup parents who want to soak up the sun. In the adjacent Hazel Parker Playground, dogs are also welcome on a leash. There is (of course) a kid’s playground with swings, slides, and climbing, picnic tables, tennis courts, and a ball field for everyone to enjoy.
James Island County Park
James Island is located just to the southwest of Charleston proper and features several parks and beaches. In the northwestern corner of the island is James Island County Park, the home of one of the best pooch parks in the Charleston area. There is a double-gated entrance/exit for safety, a separate gated space for small fur puppies 25 pounds and under, and a lake where all the pups can play and splash in the water. There is also a dog washing area so you can clean up your pup before heading back to the car.
Cuddly canine companions are also welcome in the rest of the park as long as they are leashed. There are picnic areas with grills and tables, paved trails for exploring, a playground for the kiddos, saltwater crabbing and fishing access, volleyball, a splash zone park, and a disc golf course. They even have a campground with over 125 sites to choose from.
Mixson Avenue Dog Park
In northern Charleston, Mixson Avenue Dog Park is a fully-fenced pooch park where Fido can play off the leash with other friendly pups. This dog park features agility equipment like big tunnels to run through, ramps to climb over, and jumping obstacles. They even have hoops to jump through, which is great for photos. With the waste stations, shaded benches, and water features, there is everything you need here to spend a nice day with your pooch. And during the summer, the park provides doggie pools for cooling.
One of the best things about this park is the astroturf. This means no more worries about your dog getting too dirty or muddy after it rains. Next to the dog park, there is a ball field and multipurpose area that is pup popular for leashed dogs. Across the street, you can find a race track, tennis courts, and a huge swimming pool. Remember to bring extra doggie bags and water.
Palmetto Islands Dog Park
Head northeast about 20 miles, and you can find Palmetto Islands County Park on Palmetto Island. Surrounded by the Wando River, Horlbeck Creek, and the Copahee Sound, the island is a great place for everyone to enjoy. But the pooches really love the fenced pooch park, where they can get off the leash for a while. You will always find one or two pups and their pup parents here enjoying the excellent weather and shaded seating.
When you are ready to explore the rest of the 943-acre tropical park, just be sure to put Fido’s leash back on and have extra doggie bags to pick up after your cuddly canine. There are several miles of walking and hiking trails, places to rent bikes and pedal boats, and picnic areas with barbecue grills. You can also go fishing if you have a license, and if you have any little humans with you, there is an awesome playground too.
Riverfront Park Dog Park
In northern Charleston, Riverfront Park features a nice and peaceful dog park on Cooper River. Being so hidden from view, you will not see many pups and pup parents here. But the fur puppies you do meet here are fantastic, according to those who have visited. Of course, once the news of such a fun pooch park gets out, there will probably be tons of dogs to play with. Besides plenty of space to run and trees for shade, canine companions have agility jumps and tunnels as well as ramps to climb on.
In the rest of the park, put your pup’s leash back on, and you can enjoy any area of Riverfront Park. There are trails where you can take a walk along the waterfront, a fishing pier, a playground for the kids with slides, swings, and monkey bars, as well as a splash pad and cafe so you and your pup can have a bite to eat.
Sullivan’s Island Beach and Park
Sullivan’s Island is about a half-hour southeast of the city of Charleston and has several beaches and parks to enjoy with your fur buddy. The western end is on the Charleston Harbor, and to the north is the Intracoastal waterway. Then, on the eastern end of the island, the Breach Inlet has lots of golden sand and blue waters to explore with your canine compadre. There are also trails, picnic areas, and playgrounds for the whole family to enjoy.
Leashed dogs are welcome on the island at any of the parks and beaches as long as they are licensed. You can get a license at city hall whether you are a resident or visitor. Be sure to bring extra doggie bags and water. The beach has waste stations with bag dispensers at the end of each path, but it is best to be prepared. You never know when they may run out, and you will need something to pick up what your dog lays down.
Wannamaker County Park Dog Park
In northern Charleston, Wannamaker County Park has a large dog park where your poochie can spend the day with other pups romping around the Dog Park. With such warm summers, it is nice to know that Fido has a place to cool off at just for them. They have their own splash pad where they can just lay in the middle of the place and enjoy the cool spray of water. There is a small fee, but it is most definitely worth every penny for such a nice place.
Pups under 25 pounds also have their own space so they can feel safe from the big huge dogs while they play. They even have a dog washing area where you can clean off your pooch before getting in the car. The rest of the park is pup popular as well, as long as you put his leash back on. It has more than seven acres of meadows, paved trails, picnic areas with grills, volleyball, two playgrounds, a disc golf course, and a snack bar.
Wassamassaw Community Park Dog Park
Wassamassaw Community Park is about 30 minutes to the northwest of downtown Charleston, and it is pup-friendly for leashed pups. But the park also has two dog parks where you can let your cuddly canine play off the leash. One section is for dogs under 25 pounds, and the other is for all dogs, from petite poodles to huge hounds. Both sides have plenty of shaded seating for pet parents, water and waste stations, and lots of room to romp around.
After wearing out your pooch, put him back on the leash and take him for a walk in the rest of the park. There are several paths where you and your fur puppy can explore the flora and fauna. The park also has basketball courts, gardens, and a picnic area with shelters, restrooms, and water fountains. And, of course, there is a fun playground for the kids with interactive fun for all ages.
Westcott Park Dog Park
Another fun park in northwestern Charleston, Wescott Community Park, is right next to Fort Dorchester Elementary School. At the northern end of the park, there is a dog park where you can take off his leash and let him run wild. And you do not have to worry about him getting dirty because it is artificial grass in most of the park. The big fur babies are separated from the little ones for safety, and there are agility items like tunnels, ramps, and jumps.
Put his leash back on, and you can go out and enjoy the rest of the park with its childrens’ playgrounds, volleyball courts, and even an adult fitness trail with five stations. You can have a picnic or barbecue with your pup or rent one of the shelters if you have a bigger crowd of people. There are also three ball fields, batting cages, and basketball courts.
The Final Woof
Although there are many more dog parks and beaches, most are either seasonal or they require a leash. We prefer a park that allows our pooch to run free and unfettered for fun frolicking (say that three times fast). But you can also take your cuddly canine companion with you on other fun activities in Charleston. For example, if you are a golf fan, you and Fido can go golfing at the City of Charleston Municipal Golf Course. Or enjoy a ride on a rickshaw at the Charleston Rickshaw Company. They will pick you and your fur baby up anywhere in the city and take you wherever you want to go. Afterward, enjoy a Belgian beer with your pup at the Munkle Brewing Company.