ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge
Phone – (843) 889-3084
Website - http://acebasin.fws.gov
Admission Fee - None
Directions - Edisto Unit; from US 17 take SC 174 towards Edisto Beach.
At a flashing light after Adams run make a right on Willtown Road (Route 346). The entrance road is two miles on the left.
Long the domain of rice plantations and hunting retreats, the ACE Basin represents one of the largest undeveloped wetland ecosystems remaining on the Atlantic Coast. The centerpiece of the refuge is the Grove Plantation that was an original land grant to Robert Fenwick in 1694. The property descended through a parade of owners (one being Owen Winston, a president of Brooks Brothers) until the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service purchased the Grove Plantation in 1992. Along with another unit on the Combahee River, the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge encompasses 11,062 acres and is growing.
For a day of pure hiking with your dog in solitude come to this refuge along the South Edisto River. Come with a mind to explore - these are not groomed trails. When you set out, you will never be sure what you will get. Maybe a rough dirt path. Maybe an old road. Maybe a former railroad grade. Maybe a woodland. Maybe old fields. Maybe a cypress swamp. Maybe a grove of old oaks. There are miles of roads and walking trails criss-crossing the refuge impoundments that will delight any level of canine hiker.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: The d irt roads and natural walking paths are almost always empty
Workout For Your Dog – Several hours of trail time here – all level, easy-going
Swimming – your dog on land - there are alligators here
Restrictions On Dogs - are welcome in the refuge
The white-faced Grove Plantation House is one of only three antebellum mansions in the ACE Basin to survive the Civil War. The Federal-style mansion was built around 1828 and is noted for its polygonal rooms and projecting symmetrical bays.
Audubon Newhall Preserve
Phone - None
Website – None
Admission Fee - None
Directions – Hilton Head Island; from US 278 take the Cross-Island Expressway (toll-road). After passing Palmetto Bay Road turn right at the Preserve sign, just before reaching Sea Pines Plantation.
Charles Fraser was the inventor of the modern seaside resort community, gobbling up 5,000 acres of land and towering pine trees on the southern side of Hilton Head Island for his visionary Sea Pines Plantation in 1957. He first envisioned only being able to sell home lots by the seaside but by 1965 it was becoming apparent that the appeal of Sea Pines would be far greater than that.
Realizing the need to save some of the island woodlands Caroline (“Beany”) Newhall persuaded Fraser to donate 50 acres of land for the Preserve. She worked tirelessly nurturing native plants and habitats in the protected area and in 1976 Beany Newhall deeded the Preserve to the Hilton Head Island Audubon Society.
There are eight small areas of exploration in the Preserve, all centering around a woodland pond. The 12-foot deep depression was excavated in 1965 and restored in 1993. Water temperatures can range from 50 to 90 degrees and over 50 species of plants line the edge, most identified by small label signs.
The hiking is easy for your dog here with soft dirt, pine straw and mulch under paw. The well-groomed paths traverse a patchwork of southern flora from Florida scrub to native Lowcountry hardwoods. A thick understory of shrubs is dominated by ferns and saw palmetto.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: The parking lot is scarcely large enough for a half-dozen cars so you most likely will enjoy solitary explorations of the Preserve with your dog
Workout For Your Dog – More than an hour of trail time in the forest
Swimming – don’t want to allow your dog in the pond
Restrictions On Dogs - is the type of park dogs normally are not allowed to enjoy so it is a real treat that dogs can trot these trails
Audubon Newhall Preserve features three distinct
wetlands ecosystems - Area 2 is a pocosin, from the Indian word for bog. Once numerous on southern
barrier islands but rapidly disappearing, a pocosin is lubricated solely by rainwater and during dry periods its personality transforms completely.
Awendaw Passage of the Palmetto Trail
Phone – (843) 336-3248
Website - http://palmettoconservation.org/index.php?action=website-view&WebSiteID=127&WebPageID=2452
Admission Fee - fee for Buck Hall Recreation Area
Directions – Awendaw; the northern trailhead at Buck Hall Recreation Area is on the east side of US 17, 6.5 miles south of McClellanville and 3 miles north of Awendaw. Parking at the south terminus is available at the Swamp Fox Trailhead on the west side of US 17 south of the town of Awendaw.
The Palmetto Trailwas conceived in 1994 to be one of only 13 cross-state trails in America. The target date for completion of the 425 miles of hike-and-bike trail from Mountains to Sea is 2010. The Awendaw Passageis the lowcountry eastern anchor for the Palmetto Trail.
The Awendaw Passagejitterbugs for seven miles, most of it on a bluff above the Awendaw Creek. The canine hiking here rises above the typical fare found in long pine corridors with its sweeping vistas of the marsh and Intracoastal Waterway. The groomed natural surface alternates with wild, untamed stretches, rooty mud and boardwalks. Still, if trail maintenance has had a chance to catch up with the latest storm, this should be easy going for any dog. After crossing US 17 at the 5-mile mark, if the terrain hasn’t been flat enough for you, the Awendaw Passageutilizes an old railroad grade. This trail sets up beautifully for a car shuttle but if you are visiting with just one car you will want to go out-and-back from the Buck Hall Recreation Area for full scenic impact.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: The trail is open to foot and bike traffic
Workout For Your Dog – Several hours and more waiting on the Palmetto Trail
Swimming - dog’s best chance for a doggie dip is at the boat launch in the Buck Hall Recreation Area
Restrictions On Dogs - are allowed on the trail and in the campground
In 1989 Hurricane Hugo made a direct hit on the coastal forest here, destroying more trees than any storm on record. A short interpretive drive circles a section of damaged forest that has been left undisturbed since the big blow.
Charles Pinckney National Historic Site
Phone – (843) 881-5516
Website - http://www.nps.gov/chpi/index.htm
Admission Fee - None
Directions – Sullivans Island; Just west of US 17 in Mount Pleasant; turn onto Long Point Road north of the intersection with Route 517 to the site on the left
Charles Pinckney began a career of public service at the age of 21 during the American Revolution. Captured by the British in Charleston in 1780 with his father, the elder Pinckney was forced to swear allegiance to the British Crown to save the family estate, Snee Farm, from confiscation. Charles Pinckney signed the United States Constitution in 1788 and went on to be a four-time governor of South Carolina, a U.S. Senator and Ambassador to Spain. He tried to retire in 1818 but was elected to the United States Congress. The Snee Farm had been sold out of the family by this time although it remained a working plantation for another 100 years. The original 715-acre Pinckney estate was systematically sold off for houses and a golf course. In 1990, a local preservation group deeded the final 28 undeveloped acres to the National Park Service to create a memorial for one of South Carolina’s most influential early legislators. Charles Pinckney National Historic Site is the only site in the National Park System that was owned by a signer of the United States Constitution.
A short nature trail leads from the plantation house through native red cedars into a typical Southern forest bounding a tidal wetland. This is easy hiking for your dog.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: Natural grass and dirt and small pebble paths
Workout For Your Dog – Less than an hour
Swimming - None
Restrictions On Dogs - Ydog is most welcome here - you are enouraged in park publications to “Bring the Dog!”
A small model of a rice trunk demonstrates how rice grew on Snee Farm.
Dungannon Plantation Heritage Preserve
Phone – None
Website - .dnr.sc.gov/managed/heritage/dungannon/description.html
Admission Fee - None
Directions - Hollywood; east of town on Route 162. From US 17 take Route 165 South in Ravenel to the intersection with Route 162 and turn left. The parking lot will be on the left.
Rice will not grow in saltwater. When the rice culture developed in South Carolina in the late 18th century hundreds of earthen dikes were built to block tidal streams and create freshwater ponds. Dungannon Plantation, named for Dungannon Township in Ireland, was one such working plantation. This 643-acre tract was purchased in 1995 by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Heritage Trust Program to protect one of the state’s largest nesting sites of the federally-endangered wood stork. About half the preserve consists of the impounded cypress and tupelo swamp.
For the pure experience of getting out in the woods and hiking with your dog you won’t find a better spot on the Carolina coasts than Dungannon Plantation. There are about five miles of designated nature trails on wide woods roads and single-file secondary trails. All the canine hiking here is under a light, airy forest. This was once the habitat of longleaf pine but most were harvested long ago to be replaced by red maple and sweet gum. Their leaves blanket the trails and sometimes hide a rooty path. Some of these secondary routes can get squishy under paw but the moist areas support a dizzying array of wildflowers. Five species of orchid can be seen on the Preserve.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: No motorized vehicles or horses are allowed and most days you can hike with your dog for hours without seeing another trail user.
Workout For Your Dog – Over an hour of trail time for your dog
Swimming - swimming for your dog in the swamp - there are alligators present
Restrictions On Dogs - are permitted to hike these wooded trails
The wood stork is a large wading bird standing three feet tall with a wing span almost twice that. Around 1930, 40,000 wood storks were in the United States but fewer than 5,000 remain today. Most are found in Florida in this country but a nesting pair was documented in South Carolina in 1981. Nine other sites have since been located in the state and the Dungannon wood stork rookery is one of the largest with more than 100 nests per year. The wood storks typically nest from April to June.
Edisto Beach State Park
Phone – (843) 869-2756
Website - .southcarolinaparks.com/park-finder/state-park/1298.aspx
Admission Fee - , per person
Directions – Edisto Beach; from US 17 head south on Route 174 for 28 miles to the town and park.
Rice and indigo were the first cash crops when Edisto Island was founded in the late 1600s but it was Sea Island Cotton that brought fame and fortune. It is reliably stated that the Pope once insisted that his garments be made only of Edisto Island cotton. The War Between the States and the boll weevil destroyed the cotton fields while island residents turned to truck farming by the end of the 19th century. In the 20th century development came slowly. During the Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps built the 1,255-acre park on land donated by the Edisto Company in 1935.
The standout canine hike at Edisto Beach is the Spanish Mount Trailthat leads from the Live Oak Campground to one of the earliest known American Indian shell mound sites. The wooded trail is 1.7 miles one way and moves along a wide hard-packed dirt road. You can avoid completely retracing your pawprints on the return trip by using the Forest Loop Trailor the Scott Creek Trail. All the canine hiking here is on natural surfaces and easy going.
When your dog gets his fill of the hiking in the woods along Scott Creek - and you’ll find some of South Carolina’s tallest palmetto trees here - head next for the Atlantic Ocean and the park’s 1.5 miles of beachfront. If she still isn’t tired you can keep hiking on the sand into adjoining Edisto Beach, which has remained a residential beach.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: This is one of South Carolina’s most popular parks but the trails lead away from most of the activity
Workout For Your Dog – Many hours of beach walking and trotting on woodsy paths
Swimming - , in the Atlantic Ocean
Restrictions On Dogs - are allowed on the park trails, on the beach and in the campgrounds but not in the cabins
One of the most unique destinations of any trail on the Carolina coasts is the 12-foot high pile of oyster shells on the Spanish Mount Trail. The oyster pile, known as a shell midden, is typical of American Indian rings found throughout the coastal islands. The Spanish Mount is estimated to be 4,000 years old, the second oldest known in South Carolina. These piles of bleached shells might have been built for ceremonies or possibly they are just ancient trash heaps.
Edisto Nature Trail
Phone - None
Website - www.sctrails.net/trails/ALLTRAILS/NRT/EdistoNature.html
Admission Fee - $2 parking fee
Directions – Jacksonboro; on US 17 (the north side), just east of town. The parking lot is on the south side of the Edisto River bridge.
The Edisto Nature Trail is the public face of MeadWestvaco’s forest management practices. The paper and packaging products company opened the trail to the public in 1976.
This is the best interpretive nature trail on the Carolina coasts. Subtle changes in moisture and elevation in this typical Lowcountry setting conspire to produce a wide variety of trees from live oaks emblematic of the South to the yellow poplars that are the tallest trees in northern deciduous forests. A detailed booklet explains it all across this 1.5-mile stacked loop system on the edge of the Edisto River Swamp. This is easy hiking for your dog on soft - sometimes gooey - natural surfaces and occasional boardwalks. Some of those pawprints will be left on some of South Carolina’s most historic traverses. You start on traces of the Old Charleston Road, authorized in 1737 and traveled by George Washington. Later your dog will trot on a bit of the King’s Highway that is even older. It was developed to link Charles Towne (today’s Charleston) and Savannah between 1670 and 1733. The back of the main loop utilizes an old railroad bed. The entire route is shaded under the canopy of a mature woodland.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: Foot traffic only on the soft wooded trails
Workout For Your Dog – Less than an hour of hiking
Swimming - None
Restrictions On Dogs - are allowed on the Edisto Nature Trail - a happy pair of hiking dogs are featured on the website
The Lowcountry was once an ancient seabed, a vast graveyard for millions of years of sea creatures. These marine deposits near the soil surface contain phosphate and calcium, minerals valuable in cement making and for fertilizing fields. The minerals were enthusiastically mined in the 1800s and phosphate mines brought prosperity to towns devastated by the Civil War. The Edisto Nature Trail leads to an old mining site and processing plant where phosphate was loaded on barges and shipped down-river to Charleston.
Fort Lamar Heritage Preserve
Phone – None
Website - https://www.dnr.sc.gov/mlands/managedland?p_id=34
Admission Fee - None
Directions - On James Island; off SC 171 turn left onto Grimball Road and right on Secessionville Road and left onto Fort Lamar Road
Anytime an army wants to invade Charleston, James Island is a logical point of attack. It happened when the British eyed the town during the Revolution and again in the Civil War. The Confederates began erecting defenses on the island in January 1862 but they were little more than earthworks protected by the muck of tidal marshes. The battle for the control of James Island began in the pre-dawn hours of June 16, 1862. More than 3500 Union troops stormed the earthen mounds and quickly breached the walls. But the assault was repulsed in heavy hand-to-hand fighting and a second wave of Federals was foiled by the impassable marshes. The battery would not be finished until 1864 and was named for the 1st South Carolina Artillery commander Colonel Thomas G. Lamar. After his standout performance on James Island, Lamar died of malaria late in 1862.
The interpretive trail winds through the earthen magazines that stand across the road from the parking area. The historic Fort Lamar is lightly visited and the area is a bit unkempt but a good place for your dog to romp for a half-hour or so.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: Rolling, wooded terrain
Workout For Your Dog – Good for a quick jaunt
Swimming – Not really in the marsh
Restrictions On Dogs - None
You can stand in the fort and on the closest weekend to June 16, attend a commemoration at the preserve to observe the Battle of Secessionville.
Phone - (843) 883-3123
Website - .nps.gov/fosu/
Admission Fee – ,but for the fort where dogs are not allowed
Directions - Sullivan’s Island; from US 17 take SC 703 to Sullivan’s Island. Cross the Intracoastal Waterway at the Ben Sawyer Bridge and continue straight on Ben Sawyer Boulevard to Middle Street. Turn right and go 1.5 miles to the Visitor Center.
In January 1776 Charlestonians began to defend their town by starting construction of a fort on Sullivan’s Island. Six months later the palmetto log-and-sand fortification showed only two walls facing the harbor and two incomplete walls exposed to Long Island to the rear. Meanwhile British amphibious forces were massing offshore. Rather than sail by the meager American defenses into Charleston Sir Henry Clinton chose to destroy the unnamed fort. Nine powerful warships opened fire on the morning of June 28. The crude fort proved to be an ideal bastion, as the spongy palmetto wood received the cannon balls without splintering. The sand mortar absorbed what the palmetto could not. After nine hours the British fleet and its more than 200 guns was forced to retire. Charleston would remain unmolested for three more years. The little fort was subsequentlynamed for its commander, William Moultrie. After the Revolution Fort Moultrie was neglected, and by 1791 little remained. Under a nationwide system of seacoast fortifications, Fort Moultrie was rebuilt in 1798 and remained active until World War II. The fort stands today under the administration of the National Park Service as a unit of the Fort Sumter National Monument.
The maze of sand-and-grass paths that wander around Fort Moultrie and Battery Jasper make for an easy open-air exploration for your dog. The real hiking comes when you split a small dune and arrive on the beach at Sullivan’s Island. Here your dog can go off-leash much of the year and a couple of miles of sandy beach await. Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War rang out, is clearly seen in Charleston Harbor from the beach.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: If you are coming to lay a blanket on the beach around Charleston, this probably won’t be your destination so it’s a wonderful place to bring your beach-loving dog
Workout For Your Dog – Only strenuous with a spirited swim session
Swimming - your dog’s swimming trunks when you come to Fort Moultrie
Restrictions On Dogs - are welcome on the grounds but not inside the fort and not on the ferry to Fort Sumter or at Fort Sumter if arriving by private boat
Out on the grounds is the Cannon Walk with artillery pieces dating from the Civil War that tell the storyof the evolution of seacoast defense weaponry during a period of rapid technological development.
Hunting Island State Park
Phone – (843) 838-2011
Website - .southcarolinaparks.com/park-finder/state-park/1019.aspx
Admission Fee - , per person
Directions – Hunting Island; take US 17 to Gardens Corner, then take a left on Highway 21 to the park.
The 5000-acre island was once a hunting preserve, hence its name. Before that it was a stopover for sailors and pirates. Much of the park was developed as a Depression-era project and its 1120-foot fishing pier is one of the longest on the East Coast. The lighthouse in the park, built in 1859 and destroyed in the Civil War before being rebuilt with cast iron plates designed to be dismantled and moved, is the only public light in South Carolina. When open, you can climb the 167 steps - without your dog - to the top for a commanding view of the shoreline.
Hunting Island State Park is one of the best places you can bring your dog. Dogs are allowed on the park trails and the ocean beach - four miles of natural sand - is open for long canine hikes beside the Atlantic waves. The formal trails include a one-mile nature trail near the lighthouse and a 4-mile long hiking trail that travels on parallel courses deep into the island. Both are easy going for you and your dog. The surface is sandy and easy on the paw. Extended hiking is available on some of the lightly traveled roads, service roads and bike paths. As a side trip, a marsh boardwalk has been constructed over a salt water marsh overlooking Johnson Creek. You will find an abundance of cabbage palmetto forests - the South Carolina state tree - on the island. Although the palms form a thick canopy it will get hot at Hunting Island and there are few fresh water sources so make sure you bring water for your dog when hiking here. The dog-friendly campground is only a few steps from the beach.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: This is South Carolina’s most popular park - more than a million visitors a year so there will be times of the year when the trails will be noisier than others.
Workout For Your Dog – More than an hour of diverse canine hiking here
Swimming - much as your dog wants in the Atlantic Ocean
Restrictions On Dogs - are welcome across the park
There is a good chance that you have already seen Hunting Island. The Viet Nam scenes from the movie Forrest Gumpwere filmed here. The trees come right down to the beach and the lush, tropical feel of the vegetation indeed give off the aura of a jungle. A trail leads along the length of the inland lagoon - man-made from sand dredging - that is where Forrest saved Lieutenant Dan in the movie. Movie buffs will want to stop in Beaufort on the return trip - some of the big movies filmed here include Big Chill, The Prince of Tidesand Great Santini.
Huntington Beach State Park
Phone - (843) 237-4440
Website - .southcarolinaparks.com/park-finder/state-park/1020.aspx
Admission Fee - , per person
Directions – Murrells Inlet; three miles south of town on the ocean side of US 17.
The land for this park was once part of the 10,000-acre Brookgreen Gardens created by Archer Huntington, step-son of Collis P. Huntington, one of the builders of the Transcontinental Railroad. He purchased the former rice plantation to display the works of his wife, sculptor Anna Hyatt and others. When it was opened in 1932 Brookgreen was the country’s first public sculpture garden. Huntington State Park, which includes about 2,500 acres - mostly marshlands - was founded in 1960.
There are two formal trails here, both completely contained under a maritime forest. The Kerrigan Nature Trailis a short planks-and-pine straw affair that leads to an overlook of the freshwater lagoon (the saltwater marsh can be viewed via an elevated boardwalk). The one canine hikers will want to sample most is the Sandpiper Pond Trail, a rolling, sandy romp past an interdune pond. The Atlantic Ocean beach can be used to close a 2-mile loop on this out-and-back trail. Viewing platforms are spaced along the route that serve as ideal resting spots for your dog after trotting through thick sand. For many dogs the best part of Huntington State Park will be the three miles of undeveloped beach. To leave the sunbathers behind park at the boardwalk and head north on the beach. You will reach a jetty in 1.2 miles.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: The trailheads are easy to find but things can get confusing on the Pond Trailwith its spurs to the beach and campground. You will see red-topped poles sort of marking the way but you can also see some in the bushes as well.
Workout For Your Dog – hours, if your dog wants
Swimming - Atlantic Ocean will fill the bill nicely
Restrictions On Dogs - are allowed on the park trails, on the beach and in the campground
Archer Huntington was one of the leading authorities on Hispanic culture outside of Spain. He designed the Moorish castle on the estate from memory
after studying the architecture of the Spanish Mediterranean Coast. The elegant one-story home is enclosed by 200-foot walls on each side and dominated by a 40-foot square tower. The Huntingtons named their home Atalaya, a Spanish term for watchtower. In addition to the horse stables and dog kennel, a bear pen was included in the construction. Atalaya is open for tours daily.
James Island County Park
Phone - (843) 795-4386
Website – www.ccprc.com/index.asp?nid=68
Admission Fee – Yes
Directions - Charleston; exit US 17 on the south side of the Ashley River onto Folly Road Boulevard (Route 171). Turn right onto Maybank Highway and left onto Riverland Drive, following brown signs. The park is on the right at 871 Riverland.
Located on the south side of Charleston Harbor, the first cotton mill in South Carolina was built on James Island in 1789. This 643-acre park, not far from downtown Charleston, is administered by Charleston County.
All the canine hiking in the park is conducted on paved asphalt paths but as far as the genre goes, it is some of the best your dog will find on the hard surface. Three loops, each about a mile-and-a-half, visit meadows and marshes and mix open-air and shady trees for your dog. All the trotting in James Island County Park is flat and easy. But once your dog eyes the off-leash dog park in the center of the park it might be hard keeping her on the hike. Again, one of the best of its ilk, the unfenced area is on a round peninsula in the lake that offers superb access to canine aquatics with a smooth bank into the water.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: This is a busy park and the multi-use trails are suitable for bikes, strollers and rollerbladers
Workout For Your Dog – About an hour of trail time
Swimming - lake and its off-leash area are a perfect place to bring your water-loving dog
Restrictions On Dogs - are allowed throughout the park and in the campground
won’t set your dog’s tail to wagging but James Island County Park hosts South Carolina’s tallest outdoor climbing facility. The wooden Climbing Wall is designed to accommodate all abilities and levels of skill. Also in the park are a Bouldering Wall and a Portable Climbing Wall.
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
Phone - (843) 571-1266
Website - .magnoliaplantation.com/index.html
Admission Fee - , per person
Directions – Charleston; on Ashley River Road (SC 61). From US 17 go west for ten miles.
For Thomas Drayton and his son, Thomas, Jr., in 1675 it was Barbados or bust. They boarded the ship Willing Windand left England only to arrive in what had become the most densely populated colony in the British empire. With all the choice land for a sugar plantation already snapped up the Draytons turned their attention to the new Carolina Colony. Soon after arriving on the Ashley River young Drayton married Ann Fox and inherited the Magnolia Plantation in 1680. The young couple set about building a plantation house and at the same time planted America’s first estate garden, Flowerdale. Through the Revolution and the Civil War and the end of the age of the gentleman planter the estate was ravaged but the gardens survived intact. In the 1870s, Magnolia Gardens opened to the visitors as one of the country’s oldest public gardens.Today the estate remains in the hands of the Drayton family and Flowerdale looks much as it did 300-plus years ago.
You wouldn’t expect to find a formal garden in a guidebook of places to hike with your dog. But how dog-friendly is Magnolia Plantation? Not only are dogs allowed to walk the grounds but they can ride the tour trams and even go in the plantation house (if you carry the dog). And it is quite a treat - you are not likely to have a canine hike like this anywhere else. The prescribed path through the maze of walking paths stops at two dozen points of interest, crosses graceful bridges, looks in on 250 varieties of azaleas, skips through quiet stands of towering bamboo and wanders by 900 types of camellias.
More hiking with your dog is available through the 60-acre blackwater cypress and tupelo swamp. Plus there are nature trails on the property.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: Although there are always plenty of folks in the gardens you will often find yourself alone among the lush plantings
Workout For Your Dog – More than an hour of easy going canine strolling here
Swimming - loving dogs only
Restrictions On Dogs – dog-friendly as a major tourist attraction can be
Drayton Oak, just off of Bridge Square and not too far from the site of the original Plantation House, was planted around 1680 by Thomas Drayton, Jr. at the time he and his wife Anne settled at Magnolia. If your dog acts strangely at this magnificent live oak it may be because he senses the ghost of Magnolia’s recently deceased owner, J. Drayton Hastie, Sr. When he died in December of 2002, his grandson and successor did place his ashes in the tree, and Thomas Drayton’s beautiful oak became home to one of Magnolia’s newest ghosts.
Mt. Pleasant Palmetto Islands County Park
Phone - (843) 884-0832
Website - .ccprc.com/index.asp?NID=69
Admission Fee - Yes
Directions – Mount Pleasant; west of US 17. Turn onto Long Point Road south of the junction with Route 41 and north of Route 517. Continue past Charles Pinckney NHS to Needlerush Parkway and turn right. Follow road to the park at end.
This unique park was originally designed on and around 140 acres of tidal wetlands, marsh, sand barrens, and 16 spotted islands, some as small as three-tenths acre and the largest being 26 acres. As the park expanded into a busy 943 recreational acres with a playground and splash park it retains its naural feel thanks to its thick tropical plantings.
The marquee trail here is the Nature Island Trailreached by an open boardwalk across a salt marsh.island was energetically logged through the mid-1900s although it is hard to tell these days. This canine hike is on planks and pine straw that your dog will love under the palmetto, loblolly pine and live oak trees. Back on the main island you can pick up various hard-packed multi-use trails that connect picnic shelters and skirts the salt marsh. Most of these paths, including the Osprey Nature Trail,pass maze-like through the walls of vegetation. The center of the park has been cleared for a large meadow that is reserved for unstructured play, like a game of fetch.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: This is a busy place but you can leave most of the action behind when you hike over to Nature Island
Workout For Your Dog – More than an hour of easy-going exploring in the park
Swimming - dog can find some aquatics in Horlbeck Creek
Restrictions On Dogs - are allowed throughout the park
The park has made use of the wasted space under some power lines by creating a permanent dog agility course and a dog park.
Myrtle Beach State Park
Phone - (843) 238-5325
Website - .southcarolinaparks.com/park-finder/state-park/795.aspx
Admission Fee - , per person
Directions - Myrtle Beach; the park is at 4401 South Kings Highway, four miles south of town on Business 17.
Franklin G. Burroughs controlled a 19th century turpentine and naval stores empire in Horry County, owning much of the land east of Conway. It was always his dream to run a railroad to the coast and develop a resort town almost exactly halfway between New York City and Miami. Burroughs died in 1897 before he could follow through on his plans but his heirs built that railroad and created the Myrtle Beach Farms (named for the dominant species of tree in the area) real estate company in 1912. In 1934, in the 100th anniversary year of Franklin Burrough’s birth, the company donated the land for what would become South Carolina’s first state park. Myrtle Beach State Park opened formally on July 1, 1936.
The star hike in the park is the one-mile Sculptured Oak Trailthat snakes through a 100-acre remnant of maritime forest. This is easy traveling for your dog on soft natural surfaces and a shady respite from the hot beach. A short spur leads to a small woodland pond where you can observe some of the more than 200 species of birds that have been recorded here. Additional canine hiking in this slice of forest - designated a Heritage Trust site - can be found on the red-blazed Yaupon Trail. The two trails both spill out of the woods at the park’s mile-long stretch of Atlantic Ocean beach. You can hike the wide sand beach as far as your dog wishes but only the beach in the park is dune-backed.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: This is one of South Carolina’s most popular parks, attracting more than one million visitors each year
Workout For Your Dog – Beach hiking for your dog
Swimming - Absolutely
Restrictions On Dogs - are allowed year-round on the beach, on the trails and in the campground. Dogs are not permitted in or around the cabins.
To help alleviate the hardships of the Great Depression President Franklin Roosevelt mobilized the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), putting men to work across the country building recreation facilities. The CCC built Myrtle Beach State Park and some of the original structures are still in use, including cabins and picnic shelters. A yellow-and-green shield indicates an original CCC structure.
The Penn Center
Phone - (843) 838-2432
Website - http://www.penncenter.com/
Admission Fee - None
Directions – East of Beaufort on St. Helena Island; turn right on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive off US 21 to the Penn Center on the right
The Penn Center was started in 1862 after the Emancipation Proclomation as one of the first schools for newly freed Southern slaves. The first principals were Northern missionaries Laura Towne and Ellen Murray. Both spent the next forty years of their lives living among and educating former Sea Island slaves. The complex of nineteen surviving buildings has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
If you are making the drive down US 21 to Hunting Island State Park this is an ideal break to stop and give your dog a leg stretcher. The one-mile interpretive trail loops along a sandy path past several campus buildings and a garden. Many of the Lowcountry’s signature hardwood trees are on display along the way: live oaks draped in Spanish moss, black walnuts, pecans and magnolias among them.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: An out-fo-the-way respite from crowded parks
Workout For Your Dog – Nope, just a good time
Swimming - None
Restrictions On Dogs – Your dog is welcome to soak in the historic grounds
Darrah Hall, dating to 1882, is the oldest building remaining on the historic campus.
Santee Coastal Reserve
Phone - (843) 546-8665
Website - None
Admission Fee – None
Directions – Georgetown; go 15 miles south (one mile past the South Santee River Bridge) and turn left onto Santee Road. Go 1.4 miles and turn left onto Santee Gun Club Road (gravel road). The parking lot is 3 miles down on the right.
Once a vast rice plantation, the Nature Conservancy was given this land in 1974 by the Santee Gun Club. It was eventually turned over to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The result is the 24,000-acre Santee Coastal Reserve.
Your first stop in the Santee Coastal Reserve should be the 1.9-mile Marshland Loopwhere your dog will find easy trotting mostly on wide, double-track roads and dikes left over from the rice cultivation days. The highlight of this hike is an 800-foot boardwalk that pierces a freshwater pond speckled with bald cypress and water tupelo, all luxuriously adorned in Spanish moss. Serious canine hikers may want to depart the Marshland Loopfor the 6.5-mile trip on the Bike/Hike Loopthat leads out to the Intracoastal Waterway and South Santee River. Only serious dog hiking adventurers should consider the 1.1-mile Woodland Loopwhere you are likely to find thick sand, churned up dirt roads and overgrown grass pathways.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: More bikes than hikers but don’t expect much of either
Workout For Your Dog – Many hoursof cruising through this lush forest with your dog
Swimming - live here so save the canine aquatics for another day
Restrictions On Dogs - are allowed on the trails in the Santee Coastal Reserve
The Washo Reserve features a 200-year-old freshwater cypress lake and cypress-gum swamp, which harbors the oldest wading bird rookery in continuous use in North America. Numerous pairs of osprey nest here, making the Reserve one of the largest concentrations of fish hawks on the east coast. Washo has been named one of America’s top 500 Globally Important Bird Areas by the American Bird Conservancy.
South Tibwin Hiking Trail
Phone - (843) 887-3257
Website - www.fs.fed.us/r8/fms/
Admission Fee - None
Directions – Awendaw; on the east side of US 17, 2.3 miles south of McClellanville and 12.5 miles north of the Sewee Visitor and Environmental Education Center in Awendaw.
The Francis Marion National Forest was established in 1936, protecting some 600,000 acres of trees in South Carolina. The South Tibwin tract was a rice plantation established in 1803 on the salt marshes along the Atlantic Ocean. Much of the impoundments on the property are the handiwork of slaves from that early 19th century heyday.
Canine hiking here is a rustic affair on flat hardwood bottomlands with a preponderance of pine trees near the highway. Park just after pulling off US 17 and walk your dog through the gate into the maze of old roads and cart paths. Off the main road you will often encounter natural double-track paths, some heavily sheathed in grass. It can be a messy affair in times of wet weather. The primitive trail system covers about five miles, mostly leading to three freshwater ponds on the property. These ponds will just be looking for your dog - they do contain alligators. Almost all your dog’s steps here will be shaded by forest.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: Bikes are allowed but sightings of other trail users on the South Tibwin trail system will be infrequent. No motor vehicles allowed.
Workout For Your Dog – More than an hour of woods time here
Swimming – your dog out of the ponds - alligators live here
Restrictions On Dogs – are permitted and can go under voice control in the Francis Marion National Forest
One of the primary attractions of the Francis Marion National Forest are the presence of Carolina Bays or “whale wallows.” These series of shallow depressions, filled with water in rainy times, are generally oval with the long axis always running from northwest to southeast. Their origins are a mystery; local lore maintains that they are the result of struggling whales, stranded after the biblical flood receded. Other theories suggest glacial scraping or even meteorites. Whatever their origins, when wet these “living museums” support rare plants and abundant wildlife.
Wannamaker County Park
Phone - (843) 795-4386
Website - ://ccprc.com/index.asp?nid=70
Admission Fee - Yes
Directions – North Charleston; at the intersection of Routes 78 and 52. The main entrance is at 8888 University Boulevard (Route 78).
Wannamaker Park opened in 1998 - a spacious park sprawling across more than 1000 acres, about evenly split between dry highlands and beautiful cypress wetlands. Although designed to serve the usual recreation needs of a suburban populace the park retains much of its natural feel.
Your dog will find plenty of trail time here with two miles of paved multi-use paths and another two miles of nature trails. The park has been designed so the trails lead away from the recreational areas so don’t get discouraged if you are sitting in a line with hundreds of kids at the entrance gate - they are probably headed for the water park and play hill. The central loop swings around a five-acre lagoon while a more private loop skips out towards the Goose Creek Reservoir. There is plenty of shade on these trails and easy canine hiking afoot. When your hike is done an expansive grass meadow is begging for a spirited game of fetch.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: This is a popular park but the trails are probably the least-used feature
Workout For Your Dog – than one hour of trail time
Swimming - sports for dogs are not the prime attraction at Wannamaker Park
Restrictions On Dogs - are allowed on the park trails
For many decades the people of Charleston relied on shallow wells and cisterns set out to collect the City’s annual 51 inches of rainfall for fresh water.
It would take 50 years of tinkering until the 1870s to perfect the drilling of deep artesian wells to supply healthy drinking water. Some of these
artesian wells can still be seen in the City although they stopped producing water after Hurricane Hugo in 1989. By 1897, it was clear that the two million-gallon yield of the artesian wells could not continue to support the growing population. In 1904, Goose Creek was dammed ushering in the modern era of Charleston’s water supply, providing five million gallons of water per day.
West Ashley Greenway
Phone - (843) 724-7321
Website - .sctrails.net/Trails/ALLTRAILS/Railtrails/WestAshGreenway.html
Admission Fee - None
Directions – Charleston; cross the Ashley River on US 17 and turn left on Folly Road (Route 171). At the second light turn right into Windermere Shopping Center. The trail is behind the strip center on the right.
West Ashley was the site of the original founding of Charles Town in 1670 and this area is Charleston’s oldest suburb. The West Ashley Greenwayuses an abandoned railroad line to travel out 10.5 miles to John’s Island.
Unlike most rail-to-trail projects this pathway has not been paved. The hard-packed corridor is bumpy and occasionally pockmarked so canine hikers won’t have to deal with road bikes as they do on most rail trails. More typical of other rail trails, there are virtually no hills. The first three miles or so traverses residential neighborhoods and there are a number of street crossings. Further west the scenery turns rural and marshy. The Clemson Agricultural Experiment Station is here. So if you are just sampling the Greenway this is the end to concentrate your explorations with your dog.
Where The Paw Meets The Earth: is a popular recreation destination for local hikers and mountain bikers
Workout For Your Dog – much or as little as your dog wants
Swimming – Nope
Restrictions On Dogs - are allowed to hike down the
The Greenway ends on Johns Island, the second largest coastal island on the East Coast after New York’s Long Island. Long a farming community the area is known especially for its tomatoes and onions. Just south of the Greenway, off Bohicket Road in Angel Oak Park, is the oldest tree east of the Mississippi River. The live oak, reported to be 1,400 years old, features massive tentacle-like limbs resting gracefully on the ground. The dimensions of Angel Oak are as follows: Height - 65 Feet, Circumference - 25.5 Feet, Area of Shade - 17,000 Square Feet, Largest Limb - 89 Feet Long, 11.25 Feet Thick.