The City Magazine Since 1975

Going to the Dogs: Off-Leash Dog Parks

Find big boys and littles alike at the Hazel Parker Dog Run on East Bay Street.

Let your furry pal run free, meet new friends, play, and even swim at these area parks. Many provide shade, benches, and water fountains, while a few have great trails, splash zones, and dog-washing stations. 

Ackerman Park: This fenced dog run is convenient for Avondale residents and close to downtown. 55 Sycamore Ave., West Ashley (behind Ryan’s Steakhouse); charlestonparksconservancy.org/park/ackerman-park

Bees Landing: Near Bee’s Ferry Road, this park offers plenty of room to run and explore, plus shaded walking areas. 1580 Ashley Gardens Blvd., West Ashley. charlestonparksconservancy.org/park/bees-landing-recreation-complex

Folly Beach Bark Park: Making good use of an empty, city-owned lot near the water tower, this little park gives dogs a shady place to romp. 510 E. Erie Ave., Folly Beach. cityoffollybeach.com

Governor’s Park: Located near the Family Circle Tennis Center, this park has it all. There are sports fields, a toddler playground, waterfront trails, and a dog run, plus free Wi-Fi. 165 Fairbanks Dr., Daniel Island. charlestonparksconservancy.org/park/governors-park

Hazel Parker Dog Run: Although petite in size, this gravel dog run sports the peninsula’s who’s who of notable pups. Any given morning, you’ll see South of Broad regulars catching up. 70 East Bay St. charlestonparksconservancy.org/park/hazel-parker-playground

Hampton Park Dog Run: Hampton Park is already a paradise for leashed dogs jogging, walking, or relaxing with their humans, but it also offers a small dog run where furry friends can frolic unfettered. 30 Mary Murray Dr., downtown. charlestonparksconservancy.org/park/hampton-park-dog-run

Isle of Palms Bark Park: This slip of a dog run next to the town recreation center is a gathering place for IOP pooches and their owners. It tends to be a little less crowded than others, so it’s great for active dogs who need to run out their energy. 29th Ave., Isle of Palms iop.net/recreation/facilities

James Island County Park: The dog park to end all dog parks, this multi-acre wonderland includes ample grassy running room, a beach, a lake, and woods, all within an enclosed, safe space. Watch your pet closely as alligators and other wildlife live there, too. 871 Riverland Dr., James Island. $2 per person. ccprc.com/3529/Dog-Park-at-James-Island-County-Park

John’s Island County Park: This newer county park has two off-leash areas specific to large and small canines, plus dog-washing facilities. 2662 Mullet Hall Road on John’s Island. $2 per person. ccprc.com/3592/Dog-Park-at-Johns-Island-County-Park

Lenevar Park: In this neighborhood near Charlestowne Landing, a walking trail circles the outer perimeter of the green space with an off-leash dog area. 1305 Lenevar St., West Ashley. charlestonparksconservancy.org/park/lenevar-park

Beyond its fenced-in dog play area, Palmetto Islands County Park in Mount Pleasant offers many wooded trails and boardwalks for on-leash hikes; (inset) Hotel Indigo.

Palmetto Islands County Park: While there is a fenced-in, off-leash area at this park, the trails, such as the shaded Nature Island Trail with its many picnic spots and scenic overlooks, might be an even bigger attraction. 444 Needlerush Pkwy., Mount Pleasant. $2 per person. ccprc.com/3531/Dog-Park-at-Palmetto-Islands-County-Park

Riverfront Park Dog Park: Located on what was once the Navy Yard golf course, Riverfront Park features views across the Cooper River and a cozy dog run that attracts Park Circle pooches. This gem offers an escape for dogs and humans alike. 1001 Everglades Ave., North Charleston

Wannamaker County Park: An expanded six-acre dog park is slated to open early this month with several new amenities, including “Splash Paw,” a dogs-only splash pad, as well as separate meadow play areas for large and small breeds and a dog-washing station. 8888 University Blvd., North Charleston. $2 per person. ccprc.com/3530/Dog-Park-at-Wannamaker-County-Park

Yappy Hours - Enjoy a cocktail or brew with your pooch

Hotel Indigo: Every Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m., locals and hotel guests can bring their pooches poolside for a happy hour, complete with specials for the humans and a dogs-only menu, including a chicken and rice bowl and a burger bite plate. Proceeds benefit the Charleston Animal Society. 250 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Mount Pleasant. mountpleasantlyindigo.com

James Island County Park: This county park hosts the original area Yappy Hour. Locals and their pups gather in the dog park to listen to area bands, romp, and relax. On October 14, listen to Whiskey Diablo from 4 p.m. to sunset. 871 Riverland Dr., James Island. Free with $2 admission. ccprc.com

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Photographs by Kit MaCavoy; courtesy of (Boardwalk) Charleston County Parks & Recreation & (lounging dogs) Hotel Indigo