Skip the summer road trip and instead, check off the Carolina Tails Summer Bucket List.  There are 91 days of summer and we want to make sure they don’t slip by without you making the most of each and every day. Let’s get this summer party started!

Ice Cream Date

Did you know that some Sonic franchises offer a free “Pup Cup” ice cream at the drive-thru?  Starbucks, Dairy Queen and even Chick-fil-a also offer pet treats in some areas. If you want to pass on the sweets, but still treat your dog, check out local shops Hairy Winston or All is Well for some specially-made treats.  You can even try making it yourself. A Google search turns up over 34 million results for dog ice cream. As with any diet decision, make sure you check with your veterinarian before indulging.

Roxbury Park

Off of Toogoodoo Road in Meggett, SC, Roxbury Park is a recent addition to the roster of outdoor public gardens in the Lowcountry. Funded through Greenbelt grants, the town-owned property features two large ponds, hiking trails and eight unique ecosystems, according to its website. Even better, they allow “quiet” leashed dogs! Other local gardens allowing dogs include Charles Towne Landing, Drayton Hall, Magnolia Garden & Plantations, and most city owned parks.

James Island County Park Dog Park

One of the biggest off-leash dog parks in the area can be found off Riverland Drive at James Island County Park.  The space features three beaches and a large open space where dogs of all shapes and sizes play fetch, sniff butts, swim and explore.  Courtesy water fountains near the entrance can be used to rehydrate and rinse off while a little dog section offers refuge for some of our smaller furry friends.  And if you’re looking for summer romance, many couples tell stories of meeting for the first time as they watched their dogs splash and play together.  Dog parks are also located in North Charleston and Mount Pleasant.

RIverdogs Games

Monday home games at “The Joe” are Miller Lite Dog Days and you can bring your pup to the park to cheer on Charleston’s hometown team. Baseball fans get to enjoy hotdog and beer discounts, and part of the proceeds go to a selected “Dogs with a Cause” charity (including Charleston Animal Society). A great reason to make America’s favorite pastime a family tradition!

A Night Stroll on the Beach

Raise your paw if you love the beach! All area beaches allow dogs, and a moonlit stroll as the waves roll in will be a lasting summer memory for your pup. Make sure you know the summer rules because each municipality is different. Sullivan’s Island requires a $35 dog permit, but allows pups off-leash between 5 a.m. and noon in the summer months. Folly Beach allows dogs on a leash between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m., while leashed dogs can visit Kiawah’s Beachwalker Park and Isle of Palms any time of day.  Isle of Palms also offers early morning off-leash times.

Boat Trip to Wolf Island

This beautiful beach on the Stono River offers a short stret­­ch of sand for boaters and dogs to get out and stretch their legs. A short walk inland opens up into a stunning wooded canopy of miniature Angel-Oak-like live oak trees and several primitive camps sites. Get here early though, the beach only fits about 10 boats easily. Other boat-accessible islands include Morris Island, the north-side of Kiawah, and Capers Island. Be careful to observe posted signs as many islands are private property and some are protected sanctuaries.  

Dog Paddle

If you don’t have a boat, rent one! Or, even better, rent a kayak, canoe or paddleboard. Coastal Expeditions is a pet friendly local business with a boat for just about any sized dog.  The manager, Henry Brandt, III, recommends calling ahead to plan your trip- each vessel has its pros and cons when paddling with your pup.  “Canoes typically have high sides which could make it hard to get your dog back in if it jumps out,” says Henry, “where a kayak is lower to water and is easier to get the dog back in but doesn’t usually have as much internal space.”  And, yes, paddle boarding is an option for the more experienced dog paddlers.

 Rickshaw Ride

Yep! Your under-control dog is allowed to join you on a rickshaw ride in Charleston. You can plan a day of touring using these chauffeured tricycles to take you to all the landmarks and even hit up some of the dog-friendly guided walking tours. So, if you haven’t had the chance to be a tourist in your own town, plan a three-wheel trip with Charleston Rickshaw Company or Charleston Bike Taxi.

Barn Jam at Awendaw Green

Barn Jams allow leashed dogs—and well-behaved off-leash dogs—at their concert series which occurs every Wednesday night at Awendaw Green (located on Highway 17 North past Mount Pleasant). Eddie with Awendaw Green also invites people and their pups to the Palmetto Brewery Loading Dock Music Series for free performances and $5 beers Friday nights.

Yappy Hours

A day at work is a great excuse to take advantage of Charleston Animal Society’s Yappy Hour held one Thursday every month from 4-8pm at James Island County Park. Take your dog to meet other dogs, listen to music, eat yummy food and make great friends. Mark your calendar for July 7, August 4, September 15 and October 13.

Dog Day Afternoon

A great way to wind down the summer is to make sure to get out to the Dog Day Afternoon held September 11 at Whirlin’ Waters in North Charleston.  Dogs of all kinds get to cool off in at the waterpark before it closes for the season.  There is a small charge for the pups but humans are free! Be sure to register for the event by calling 843-795-4386.