Where to go with your dog on Hilton Head

Dog friendly Hilton Head

Family vacations are for just that, for family. Understandably, leaving your pup behind can feel like leaving a family member behind, not to mention boarding fees and time it takes to find the perfect pet sitter. Then again, bringing your family pooch along on vacation can create a brand new set of problems: where will they stay all day, how do I find a dog friendly place to stay, are they breed specific, and much, much more. But no need to worry about those things because we’re here to help you out! Check out these dog friendly places to go and things to do on Hilton Head:

Where to stay

Finding a place where you and your pet can rest your head isn't too hard on Hilton Head. Photo by Andrea Six.

Pups don’t just need a place to play, they also need a place to rest their little heads. Photo by Andrea Six.

Many places on the island do not allow dogs on the premises at all, especially resorts and small one-bedroom rentals. Of course, there are exceptions like Palmetto Dunes. While your pup may not be allowed during the height of the season, they are more than welcome during the off season, October through April. The places you’ll most likely be able to bring your dog to are weekly vacation rentals that you can obtain through rental companies like Seashore Vacations and Sunset Rentals. Many rental companies give you guidelines and options on which home you should rent. They have a variety for you to choose from, but try to remember that vacation homes that allow dogs, especially large dogs, may be difficult to come by in June, July and August. So call and plan ahead!

Below is a list of all the accommodations that allow dogs:

Vacation homes: Hilton Head Rentals & Golf, Hilton Head Vacation Rentals, Sunset Rentals, Inc., The Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head Hideaways, Palmetto Sands Vacation Rentals, Resort Rentals of Hilton Head Island, Wyndham Vacation Rentals, Adventure Inn/Vacation Time of Hilton Head, Beach Properties of Hilton Head, Inc.

Hotels: Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort, Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort, Park Lane Hotel & Suites, Red Roof Inn, Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island and The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa.

What to do

Chaplin Dog Park

In addition to having double gated areas for dogs to play, Chaplin Community Park at 11 Cast Net Dr., also has a special area for small dogs that are less than 45 pounds. Photo by Andrea Six.

Whether you’re looking for a park with some trees or a sandy shore, there are several places you pup can go with you on the island.

Play in the Park

There are several great parks to take your pup to on Hilton Head, but Chaplin Park is probably the best, because it has its very own “Best Friends Dog Park” with multiple fenced in areas for pups to play. It’s is a great place to let your dog off the leash and enjoy some freedom. Just remember that if you let your pup roam free, they must be friendly with other dogs and under positive voice control. This applies at all places dogs are able to roam without a leash, including the beach.

Pup on Hilton Head

Be sure to let your pup take a break while it’s running around on the beach. You don’t want them overexerting themselves. Photo by Joshua Lagunez.

Bustle to the Beach

Dogs are allowed on all of Hilton Head’s beaches, but not year-round. During the height of the summer – when crowds cover the beach and temperatures reach their highs – dogs aren’t allowed. But only during certain hours.

From the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day, dogs are NOT allowed on the beach from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. With the heavy crowds and extreme heat, it’s probably not a good idea to take them anyway. Plus, you CAN take your dog out on the beach before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m. all summer long. So yes, they still can enjoy the nice breeze, sandy shores and salty water.

Now if you’re looking to do a little more exploring with your dog, then think about making plans to visit Hilton Head in the fall or winter, specifically October 1 through February 28, when dogs are able to roam the beaches all day. And if they’re a good dog that obeys voice commands, they don’t even have to be leashed. (To get all the specifics about the dog rules and regulations on Hilton Head beaches, click here).

Take a break on a Boat

Some cruises and kayak rental companies, including Captain Mark’s Dolphin Cruise and Outside Hilton Head, allow seaworthy pups on board! It might just make a great beginning or end to the perfect day paddling with your pup. Just make sure to call ahead of time to check.

But before you go bounding to the beach, a park or on a long boat ride with you excited friend, be sure to grab some fresh water and have some shade to relax in, because you don’t want your friend getting dehydrated! And remember that you are responsible for any excrement your dog may leave behind.

Where to eat

Unfortunately, due to federal health code laws, your pup isn’t allowed inside of any restaurants around Hilton Head, but the good news is many restaurants on the island have dog friendly patios, where your pup is more than welcome to lounge while you’re relaxing on a sunny afternoon. Some even offer dog friendly food items, just like Bruster’s Real Ice Cream. This ice cream joint makes a sundae just for your canine companion with delicious dog biscuits crumbled on top!

Below is a list of all the restaurants that allow dogs on their patios:

dog on beach

Dogs of all ages can enjoy the sandy shores of Hilton Head. Photo by Katie Hatfield.

Black Marlin Bayside Grill, Skull Creek Boathouse, Bistro 17, Bomboras Grille, Main Street Cafe and Pub, Skillets Cafe, Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, Old Oyster Factory, Captain Woody’s, Nick’s Steak and Seafood, Frosty Frog Cafe, Flatbread Grill and Bar, Pino Gelato, Marley’s Island Grille, Street Meet American Tavern and Crazy Crab

We hope you and your canine friend have a wonderful vacation on the island!


Note: Please remember that service dogs are allowed anywhere with the correct documentation. Also, any impersonation or falsifying of service animal credentials can result in a misdemeanor, fine, and/or jail time.