I’ll admit it. I’ve put this article off for a while now. With Charlotte being our home, it’s been hard to compile a list of the best dog-friendly activities, restaurants, and places to stay in our “neck of the woods.” Why? Because Charlotte, NC is incredibly dog-friendly!
Charlotte, NC offers a plethora of dog-friendly things to do, making it difficult to pick favorites. That said, I’m going to do my best… and I’m breaking this article into three parts -- things to do, restaurants and accommodations. Once I get the articles up, you’ll be able to download the free eBook combining everything into one easy to read PDF.
Whether you’re looking to spend time in the city, you want to explore the Lake Norman area, or you’re seeking adventure in some of the smaller neighboring towns, Charlotte has so much to offer you and your pup.
So without further ado, I give you The Pup’s Travel Guide to Charlotte, NC… Part 1!
Charlotte, NC is particularly proud of its breweries, and there are a variety of breweries with outdoor patios where you can sip on a local beer while enjoying the company of your pup.
And while there are many breweries across the Charlotte region, there are quite a few in the same area where you and your dog could stroll from one to the next. I’ve listed a few of my favorites below.
And while this is not a “brewery” per say, this is another excellent place to check out with your pup:
Charlotte’s dog bars take the typical dog park and up the ante. Dog bars are a great way to let your pup let off some steam and play off leash with other dogs while you kick back with friends and play games. Two of our favorites are:
If you’re looking for a place to get some fresh air with your dog in a quiet, peaceful setting, look no further than one of the many beautiful parks in the Charlotte region.
Freedom Park is just outside the city and is frequented by Charlotteans walking their dogs or riding bikes around the pond, hanging from hammocks in the trees, or picnicking on the lawn.
If you’re interested in getting out of the city, Historic Latta Plantation in Huntersville is a great place to visit. Only 20 minutes outside of Charlotte, Latta Plantation offers hiking trails around Mountain Island Lake and throughout the many acres of the nature reserve, and there are a few areas where your dog could cool off in the water.
The plantation is home to the Carolina Raptor Center and a restored 19th century Federal-style home and living history farm, originally owned by James Latta. And while Fido can’t accompany you inside the home, there are a variety of events that take place outdoors that your dog can enjoy with you.
With Latta Plantation located just a few miles from where we live in Huntersville, we frequently visit with the girls, and they love cooling down in the lake after a long hike.
Who doesn’t like being able to take their dog into stores with them? While Charlotte doesn’t have a vast amount of stores that welcome dogs, there are still quite a few places where your pup can shop with you, outside of Lowe’s Home Improvement and PetSmart.
And one of my favorite shops, Sleepy Poet Antique Mall, is also dog-friendly! Sleepy Poet Antiques is a 55,000 square-foot space filled with antique home decor and vintage clothing. It’s so fun to explore, and Fido can join you.
The U.S. National Whitewater Center fills 1,300 acres on the Catawba River, about 15 minutes from uptown Charlotte. And while dogs are not allowed in the man-made whitewater rafting river, dogs can accompany you kayaking or SUP boarding on the Catawba River, and exploring the 400+ mile trail system.
With so much to do, you could easily spend a whole day at the USNWC. And if you’re planning a trip between May and September, I highly recommend going on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday so you can wind down the day with River Jam. You and your pup can post up on the lawn and listen to live music while watching people raft down the river. With craft beer, food trucks and restaurants on site, there’s also plenty to eat and drink.
The USNWC also hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year, and you can check them out here.
We love to take Isabella and Penelope to the USNWC to go paddleboarding, and then to hang out with friends on the lawn, especially as the weather gets cooler.
Even though it’s about a 30-minute drive from Charlotte, Lake Norman is one of Charlotteans’ favorite destinations, and of course, your dog can join you!
Whether you want to picnic and hike in Lake Norman State Park, or you prefer to rent a boat and get on the water, there’s something for everyone. The small towns of Huntersville, Cornelius, and Davidson all border Lake Norman, and each is known for their small town charm, shops, restaurants, and country/historic feel.
If you decide to get out on the lake with your pup, check out swim safety tips for your dog here>>
As you can see above, Charlotte is far from lacking in dog-friendly activities… and those are just activities that you can partake in year-round. Charlotte, NC also has a variety of pet-friendly events and festivals that take place seasonally around the year.
While this is not a complete list, it does hold a few of my family’s favorites:
Have any questions about the dog-friendly activities I’ve shared above? Charlotteans, did I miss any staples? Let me know! Leave a comment or shoot me a message.
And stay on the lookout for Part 2 coming soon!