From its charming historic districts in the capital Charleston to the state parks preserving abundant salt marshes and other natural landscapes to the maritime history still afloat within the busy harbors, South Carolina has built its reputation for nature, culture, and history. But did you also know that it’s a popular pet-friendly beach destination?
South Carolina receives more than 30 million visitors every year, with more than half visiting Myrtle Beach! It’s part of the state’s famous Grand Strand coastline extending for 100 miles of the total 180 miles of shore on the Atlantic coast. With such an expansive coast lined with pet-friendly beach towns and dozens of other sea islands that even welcome four-legged tourists, it’s a beach destination that you and your dog will love.
And remember, whenever your dog is participating in a water activity, be sure to keep them safe with a dog life jacket or other flotation device.
Coligny Beach Park
Hilton Head Island is a must-visit for anyone traveling with pets to South Carolina. This barrier island is known for its sandy shores, with many of them letting your pets have as much fun as you do! Drive down Pope Avenue, where you’ll run directly into the busy tourist area reverberating around the pet-friendly Coligny Beach Park.
Coligny Beach Park is one of the most popular (and beautiful) beaches on Hilton Head Island. And you’ll be glad to see that there are more than just human footprints denting the warm, tan sands. It’s an excellent place for your pet to have fun on the sand or splash around in the water.
Pets can run off-leash at Coligny Beach Park. Its wide beach gives them plenty of space to kick up sand while jolting towards the water. You won’t have to worry about calling them back because it’s one of the shallowest areas of the Atlantic Ocean that goes up to three feet deep unless you’re really swimming far offshore.
If you’re planning to visit Coligny Beach Park during the summer, pets are welcome from the Friday before Memorial Day to the Tuesday after Labor Day before 10 AM and after 5 PM. They’re required to be on a leash at other times of the year during these hours.
Address: 1 Coligny Circle, Hilton Head Island, SC
Kiawah Beachwalker Park
Umbrellas line the shores of Kiawah Island. But if you find yourself on the island’s west end at Kiawah Beachwalker Park, these umbrellas will provide shade for dog owners and their pets while enjoying a day at the beach. This public beach is one of the tops in South Carolina, thanks to permitting dogs all year round. That means that every day can be a beach day, and your pup will always be in the mood.
From open to close (7 AM-7 PM), dogs delight themselves with the beach pleasures at Kiawah Beachwalker Park. The coastline seems to run endlessly in either direction, an illusion caused by its 10-miles of broad beach landscape running along the island’s Atlantic coast. Visit during the week for the best time to have the beach to yourself and your pet. However, the weekends are an excellent time for your pet to meet other doggy pals to run around with.
Dogs can go off-leash on Kiawah Beachwalker Park between November 1-March 15, and a leash is required for other times of the year.
Address: 8 Beachwalker Dr, Kiawah Island, SC 29455, United States
Surfside Beach is one of the most pet-friendly cities in South Carolina. Several pet-friendly hotels and rentals around town welcome your dog(s) with open arms. And you might find yourself staying at one of these accommodations to plan the pawfect beach holiday at Surfside Beach.
Known locally as “The Family Beach,” Surfside Beach undoubtedly includes pets as part of the family. Spring is the best time to take advantage of the lovely beach weather with your pet—and it falls right before the seasonal deadline since pets are prohibited from May 15-September 15. But it’s plenty of time to revel in the beach’s numerous water fun activities alongside your furry family members.
Frothy waves from the Atlantic Ocean wash onto the beige sand coastline extending two miles. Pets have access to it all, so long as they’re kept on a leash and have any mandatory vaccinations. You’ll find several dog parents going for a walk along the beach until their pets get tired. Then, while someone sits back with them on the beach to rest, humans can participate in popular activities like surfing, kayaking, jet skiing, banana boat rides, and other water sports.
Address: 11 South Ocean Blvd., Surfside Beach, SC
Let your pet experience the beach bum lifestyle at Folly Beach. While they won’t be attending any of the beach’s popular annual festivals, you’ll barely hear a bark of complaint when they set their eyes on the vast beach.
Folly Beach is located adjacent to the beach town set on Folly Island. But this isn’t your typical beach town setting because tucked between the surf shops, souvenir shops, and oceanfront dining venues are dog parks, pet-friendly restaurants, and accommodations that will be happy to see your dog checking in with you.
Many people assume that May 1st to September 30th is the prime season to hang with your pets at the beach, but during this time period, dogs are not allowed on the beach between 10AM and 6PM—and for good reasons! The scorching summer heat can make the sand hurt their paws or lead to heatstroke. However, dogs can accompany you during normal beach hours in the off-season, from October 1st to April 30th.
Keep your pet on a leash while splashing in the Atlantic Ocean in the shadows of the iconic Folly Beach Pier, or take a walk on the pier stretching more than 1,000-ft long as you try to calm them from barking at the fish floating around below it.
Address: 101 E Arctic Ave, Folly Beach
Mention a beach vacation to South Carolina, and most would assume that you’re talking about Myrtle Beach. So, you’ll be glad to know that the state’s most famous beach is pet-friendly if you know where to go.
The entire Myrtle Beach stretches for 60 miles along the Atlantic coastline, earning its nickname as the ‘Grand Strand.’ Pets can get a taste of these golden shores in the North Myrtle Beach area and Myrtle Beach State Park. And these beach areas are no less grand thanks to their pet policies, keeping them in pristine conditions for the subsequent pet owners to enjoy their beauty.
It’s important always to keep your pet on a leash while visiting Myrtle Beach, although you can give them a bit of freedom when using the maximum seven-foot-long leash. The peak beach season at Myrtle Beach is from May 15-September 15, when pets are prohibited from 9 AM- 5 PM. However, don’t miss out on going for an early morning stroll or a late-night rendez vous accompanied by the sounds of the ‘Carolina Shag’ music.
When your pet has had enough water fun, dry off on the pet-friendly hiking trails extending from the beaches or stroll the beach boardwalk.
Address: 415 S Ocean Blvd, Myrtle Beach, Horry, South Carolina
Spending a day at Burkes Beach gives you two-for-one fun with your pet. Not only will you get to enjoy one of the serene coastline stretches on Hilton Head Island, but there is also a dog park within walking distance.
Burkes Beach is one of the favorite Hilton Head Island beaches for dog-lovers who gladly have their pets accompany them to the beach. The public beach is open 24 hours, so feel free to head down any time your dog gives you the signal that it’s time to step outside.
During the peak summer season, pets are only allowed on the beach in the morning before 10 AM to catch the sunrise and at golden hours after 5 PM, just in time for the sunset. However, they’re welcome around the clock during the off-season when fewer sunbathers are crowding your pet’s new sandy playground.
There is no need to rinse your feet or your dog’s paws at the onsite showers because there’s a lovely trail leading to Chaplain Community Park. In addition to its recreational facilities, there is a gated dog park for them to have some off-leash excitement to dry the ocean water off their fur.
Address: 60 Burkes Beach Rd, Hilton Head, SC
Pawleys Island even sounds like a place for dogs, and you’ll undoubtedly find one of the best dog-friendly beaches in South Carolina here. Litchfield is located on the Grand Strand if you’re looking for an alternative to the tourist crowds on Myrtle Beach.
A beach that allows pets during the day in the summer? Yes! It’s where beachgoers with their four-legged friends can take advantage of the refreshing Atlantic Ocean waters in the sunny weather in the summertime. The only requirement is that they’re kept on a leash between 9 AM to 7 PM. But if you’re dog is trained for voice command, unhook those clips before or after these hours and give them their doggy freedom to run around as they please!
From April 15th to October 31st, dogs are not allowed after 10 PM until one hour before sunrise. From November 1st to April 14th, the prohibited period starts at 8 PM until one hour before sunrise.
Address: 14276 Ocean Hwy Pawleys Island, SC
Isle of Palms County Park Beach
Visitors traveling with pets flock to the Isle of Palms, one of the most dog-friendly towns in South Carolina. It has several options for pet-friendly rentals and accommodations, a dog park, but Isle of Palms County Park is the true highlight. There’s a host of activities happening throughout the entire park, from the grassy play areas to the white sand beaches.
Isle of Palms County Park runs along 14th Avenue on Ocean Blvd to Palm Blvd. It’s a place for leisure and recreation with your pet, which are happily welcomed onto the sandy shoreline for a doggy day at the beach.
All year round, your pet can soak their paws in the salty ocean, wet their fur with a swim, or sunbathe beside you—so long as they remain on a leash. Want to let your pet roam freely without their leash? If you’re traveling between April 1st to September 14th, they’re permitted off-leash only in the morning from 5 AM to 9 AM. In the off-season, from September 15th to March 31st, these off-leash hours are expanded to 4 PM-10 AM.
Address: 1 14th Ave, Isle of Palms, SC
Alder Lane Beach
Hearing your dog bark in excitement over the gentle waves at Alder Lane Beach is one of the only sounds you’ll hear at this quiet beach escape on Hilton Head Island. With its pristine shoreline far less crowded than other beaches on the island, you can easily keep an eye out on your dog while they play around off-leash—and they’ll hear you when called back!
Your pet will be overjoyed to visit Alder Lane Beach, where you’ll meet other pet owners utilizing the spacious beach to let their pets burn off a bit of energy. The refreshing sea breeze blows across their fun when running from your beach towel to the ocean and back. Just be sure to watch for where they do their “business” so that you can pick up after them.
The beach season in Alder Lane Beach starts April 1st and lasts until September 30th. Even during these times, the beach is relatively quiet, although pets are only allowed before 10 AM and after 5 PM. However, during the other months of the year, the beach is open to pets at any time.
Address: 2 Woodward Ave, Hilton Head Island, SC
Morris Island Beach
You’ll feel like a castaway on Morris Island Beach, where your only companion is your pet! However, its natural beauty and pet-friendly policy make it the beach escape you’ve been looking for with your pet during your South Carolina trip.
Boat charters are the only way to reach Morris Island Beach. Boats will gladly welcome your pet on board as you sail out to the outer Charleston Harbor until making landfall on the island. Be sure to keep an eye out for dolphins on the ride over.
Thanks to its remote location, don’t be surprised to have the beach to yourself. It’s where your dog can tap into its natural instincts. Explore the undeveloped beach area with smooth sand lacking footprints and watch the calm waters washing onto the shore. You’ll have views of the historic Morris Island Lighthouse in the distance.
Morris Island is a popular nesting place for seabirds. To preserve the integrity of nature, dogs must remain on a leash during bird nesting season and avoid disturbing nature during your visit. Other times of the year, the only rule on Morris Island Beach is to have a tail-wagging good time!
Address: 1750 E Ashley Ave, Folly Beach, SC 29439, United States