Dog-friendly summer retreats | CLT Blog

Dog-friendly summer retreats

Posted on 2 Jul 2010 by Nicole

It’s officially the dog days of summer and one of my favorite things to do is to take day and weekend trips away from the Queen City. With three dogs the question for me is always do they stay or do they go. For those of you that can’t bear to spend a day away from your canine “kids,” here are some recommendations for things you can do with your dog within driving distance of Charlotte.

My dog Katrina swimming in the pond at Four Paws Kingdom

Mountain Getaways:

  • Four Paws Kingdom Campground — A friend of mine called this place “Disneyland for Dogs.” After spending a weekend there last year I definitely agree. Located in Rutherfordton, Four Paws caters exclusively to adults and their dogs. They have RVs and cabins for rent, or you can park your own RV at one of their sites. They offer four different dog parks, a pond you can swim in with your dog, an agility course, and a dog bathouse and grooming station. For humans they have free wi-fi, free tv cable hook-ups at your site and great events like “Margaritaville Island Fest Weekend.” They even offer dog walking services if you want to explore nearby Asheville or Lake Lure dog-free.
  • Bed & Breakfast at Ponder Cove — If camping isn’t exactly your thing, but you are looking for a mountain adventure with your dog, Ponder Cove may be more your speed. Also located near Asheville in Mars Hill, Ponder Cove welcomes dogs of all sizes as long as they are potty trained and not aggressive. They have 92-acres of land and a dog park. There is a limit of two dogs per unit.
  • Devils Fork State Park — Devils Fork State Park provides the only public access to Lake Jocassee for boating, fishing, swimming or hiking. It is located in Salem, SC with access from the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Highway. Tent and RV sites are available for camping reservations. Pets are allowed in most outdoor areas provided they are kept on a leash.  Although they have villas for rent, pets are not allowed in the villas or villa areas.

Beach Retreats:

  • Freeman Park - Freeman Park is part of Carolina Beach, which is about 15 miles from Wilmington. Dogs are required to be on a leash from April 1st to September 30, but from October 1st to March 31, dogs are allowed off a leash so long as they remain under voice command. Daily passes may be purchased for $10.00 at the entrance or you can buy an annual permit for $40.
  • Topsail Beach — Just like Freeman Park, dogs are allowed on Topsail Beach, but they must be on a leash from May 15th through September 30th. At other times the dog must be under voice command of a responsible person, but does not have to be on a leash. Topsail Beach is located at the southern end of Topsail Island, which is just off US Highway 17, about half-way between Wilmington and Jacksonville.
  • Kitty Hawk Beach — From the Friday before Memorial Day until the day after Labor Day between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. dogs must be on a leash not exceeding 6 feet. There is a parking lot and public restroom at Byrd Street and at the Kitty Hawk Bath House, located just south of the intersection of Kitty Hawk Road and NC 12.
  • Caswell Beach — Dogs must be on a leash except between dawn-9am. There is no charge for beach access, but there are fines ($25) for going off-leash during restricted hours and not cleaning up after your dog.


  1. shelley orr 2 Jul 2010 at 11:57 AM

    This rocks! Thanks for the info.

  2. Jenn Bennett 2 Jul 2010 at 2:03 PM

    We can’t wait to try out Four Paws Kingdom.