You may have heard that Beaufort, South Carolina is pet friendly. But where do you stay? Where do you eat? And what can you do with your dog? If you’re trying to plan a pet-friendly Beaufort, SC getaway, there’s no need to chase down answers like a dog chasing his own tail. We’ve got you covered. By the end of this article, you’ll have a complete picture of dog-friendly Beaufort S.C.—from a dog-loving dog mom’s point of view.
So grab a glass of sweet tea, cuddle up with your pupper, and enjoy our “virtual tour” of this charming southern town known for its history, beautiful marshes, and Lowcountry cuisine.
Where is pet-friendly Beaufort?
The coastal town of Beaufort is located on the southern tip of South Carolina near the Atlantic coast. Most of Beaufort sits on Port Royal Island, an interior Sea Island with lush foliage and a marshy estuary. Beaufort is not far from two other well-known historic cities—Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC.
If you’re road tripping with your dog to Beaufort and using Google Maps, make sure you enter Beaufort, South Carolina. Interestingly, there is also a Beaufort, North Carolina.
Beaufort, South Carolina is pronounced BEW-fort. (Think of the word “BEAUtiful” as in “beautiful Beaufort.”) Beaufort, North Carolina is pronounced BOW-fort. (Think “BONEified” as in “bonified Beaufort.”)
Now that we have the location down, you may want to plan some dog-friendly stops along the way. Here are a few nearby cities you may want to add to your itinerary:
|Destinations near Beaufort, SC:||Approximate drive time:|
|Hilton Head, SC||Less than 1 hour|
|Savannah, GA||About 1 hour|
|Charleston, SC||About 90 minutes|
|Amelia Island, Fl||About 2.5 hours|
Also, if you love visiting dog-friendly beach towns, check out my article on 21 things to do on dog-friendly Amelia Island, Florida. Who knows! You may decide to visit two pet-friendly getaways along the Atlantic coast! (They are less than a three hour drive from each other.)
Dog-friendly travel tip: Wondering what to pack for a dog-friendly getaway? Check out our list of dog road trip essentials.
Next, let’s take a virtual trip into town.
Dog-Friendly Beaufort, SC
As you enter Beaufort, live oak trees drenched in Spanish moss and lush green palms create nature’s canopy framing the historic homes and buildings.
As you travel through the tree-lined streets into the downtown Beaufort area on Bay Street, it’s easy to see why it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Plus, the downtown area sits just adjacent to the Beaufort River and boasts local shops, local restaurants, and charming places to stay. Many of the restaurants and accommodations are pet-friendly, so there’s no need to leave your pupper at home.
So now you have a feel for Beaufort’s charm. Next, let’s look at pet-friendly hotels, dog-friendly restaurants, and dog-friendly things to do.
🏩 Pet-friendly hotels in Beaufort, SC
If you’re looking for dog-friendly accommodations, the Beaufort area offers a good mix of places to stay. You’ll find the familiar pet-friendly chain hotels, dog-friendly air bnbs, and historic hotels. Plus, if you’re a tenter, glamper, or RVer, you’ll even find dog-friendly camping at Hunting Island State Park.
The Hilton-Garden Inn was our home base, so we can personally speak to its dog-friendliness.
Hilton Garden Inn
The Hilton Garden Inn is dog-friendly and located about 1.5 miles from Beaufort’s downtown historic district.
In my opinion, the Hilton-Garden Inn stands out for its spacious outdoor grassy areas, shaded paved walking paths, and outdoor courtyard. As you can see in the pics, there is plenty of space to walk your dog and enjoy the southern natural habitat, too.
In addition to plenty of outdoor space, the Hilton Garden Inn is conveniently located by anything you need—grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, etc.
The staff at the Hilton Garden Inn was friendly to our entire pack—both two-legged and four-legged.
By the way, as with most pet-friendly accommodations, there is an additional fee (one-time and not daily) for pets staying in the room.
If you want to stay in the heart of the historic downtown Beaufort area, then the Beaufort Inn may be the place for you and your dog.
While we did not stay there, we heard great things about the gardens at the Beaufort Inn.
In addition to the main inn, there are separate cottages with courtyards and beautiful walkways nestled among the trees and flowering shrubbery.
It’s important to note that there are only a limited number of dog-friendly rooms available at the Beaufort Inn. Be sure to make your reservation well in advance, and let them know you are bringing your dog along with you.
🍽 Dog-friendly restaurants in Beaufort, SC
Once you’ve settled on dog-friendly accommodations, you’re probably searching for dog-friendly restaurants. According to Visit Beaufort’s website, there are almost 30 restaurants in the area that offer outdoor dog-friendly dining. Of course, we could only visit a few. But the ones we chose did not disappoint.
Located on the waterfront in the downtown historic district of Beaufort, Panini’s is dog-friendly with outdoor seating facing the waterfront. (BTW, this restaurant is not to be confused with Panini’s the chain restaurant.)
The deck off the back of the restaurant has plenty of umbrella’s for shade and dogs receive a water bowl with fresh water right at your own table. If your dog is hungry, Panini’s offers its own doggy menu.
For the hoomans, you can choose from flatbread pizzas, pastas, and paninis. The food is reasonably priced for a tourist area.
When you check in with the host to be seated, mention that you have a dog, so they can seat you accordingly.
Fish Camp Restaurant
For a beautiful view of the sunset over the water, Fish Camp gets our vote for peacefulness and beauty.
The restaurant is dog friendly and even offers a choice of outdoor seating or screened-in seating where dogs are welcome.
If there is a wait to be seated (which is likely), your dog need not get bored! You can take your leashed pupper for a walk along the pier, watch for dolphins, or watch the sun set.
Plus, there are some outdoor games like bags for the hoomans to play, too.
Of course, there is a bar and it’s dog friendly as well.
Fish Camp is located on Port Royal and about a 10-minute drive from the downtown Beaufort area.
Hearth Wood Fired Pizza
Hearth Wood Fired Pizza is located right on Bay Street in historic downtown Beaufort. It has plenty of dog-friendly outdoor seating. As the name suggests, Hearth Wood is known for its wood-fired pizzas, but you can also enjoy sandwiches, pasta, and salads.
If your morning doesn’t start until you have your cup of coffee in one hand and your dog’s leash in the other, then Urban Brew is the dog-friendly coffee shop for you.
This family-owned coffee shop has two locations in Beaufort. Both locations warmly welcome dogs and offer outdoor seating. The owners share southern friendliness and the atmosphere is relaxed.
Sweet treats for the humans
If strolling along the waterfront with a sweet treat in one hand and a dog leash in the other is part of your ideal vacation, Beaufort has you covered. There are several places where you can get sweets, and we visited two during our stay.
Kilwins Ice Cream
If you can’t decide between ice cream or chocolates, Kilwins is the stop for you. This ice cream and confectionary is located right in the heart of historic Beaufort on Bay Street, and the riverfront park is just around the corner.
Kilwin’s hand makes the chocolate and caramel that they use in their ice creams. Plus, their fudge, chocolates, and caramels are made in the store.
While Kilwin’s Ice Cream store does not allow pets inside, there are benches in front of the shop where you can enjoy your sweet treat.
Or, just a short block away, you’ll find plenty of tables and benches along the waterfront. There are swings, playgrounds for the kids, public bathrooms, and, of course, a beautiful view of the water.
The Chocolate Tree Chocolates
Beaufort’s own chocolate shop, The Chocolate Tree, has a claim to fame. Word is, when filming Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks replaced the chocolates inside the Whitman’s heart-shaped sampler box with chocolates from The Chocolate Tree. They are that good.
(Of course, if you are taking chocolates home with you, make sure to pack them where your doggo can’t get into them. Chocolate is toxic to dogs.)
Visit a pet-friendly Beaufort pet boutique with your dog
The Rustic Pup
We can’t leave our dogs out of the fun! If you’d like to pick up a treat for your dog, The Rustic Pup is your next stop. Also located in downtown Beaufort, this dog-friendly boutique is the place where you can grab those essentials you may have forgotten such as dog collars, bowls, and harnesses.
Now that you have the deets on where to eat and where to stay, let’s take a tour of dog-friendly adventures. First, we’ll look at dog-friendly beaches and then wrap up with more things to do in Beaufort with your dog.
🏖 Dog-friendly beaches
No visit to Beaufort would be complete without stopping at a dog-friendly beach. Since we’re always scoping out dog-friendly beaches, we knew Hunting Island State Park had to be part of our adventures. .
Hunting Island State Park, Atlantic ocean
Located 15 miles east of Beaufort, Hunting Island State Park is a 5,000 acre barrier island with lush foliage at the entrance of the beach, which is on the Atlantic ocean.
The drive into Hunting Island State Park is almost as beautiful as the beach itself. The sub-tropical maritime forest wraps around you on both sides of the winding road leading you to the public beach parking area.
The walk from the parking lot to the ocean is short and lined with palmettos, palms, and pine trees. The beach is expansive. When we were there in April, it was almost void of people.
We found Hunting Island to be quiet, and unique for its lush foliage that lines the beach.
It’s important to note that this beach is somewhat remote. Don’t expect to find restaurants, souvenir shops, or water craft rental nearby. I’d recommend packing a beach bag for your dog with dog beach accessories and essentials like plenty of your fresh water and a cabana or beach umbrella for shade. There are public bathrooms at the entrance to the beach.
Of course, limit your dog’s exposure to the sun on hot days to avoid heat exhaustion. And do not allow your dog to drink the water in the ocean due to the salt content. Safety first and happiness will follow!
Hunting Island State Park: Rules for taking your dog to the beach
Leashed dogs (dogs on a leash less than 6 feet) are welcome on the Hunting Island beach year-round and at all times of day. To protect shorebird habitat, dogs are not allowed on the tip of North Beach. Also, “Owners will be asked to remove noisy or dangerous pets or pets that threaten or harass wildlife,” according to the South Carolina State Park website pet policy.
There is a small admission fee per person to visit Hunting Island beach and park. Dogs are free.
Also, Hunting Island is home to South Carolina’s only publicly accessed lighthouse. The lighthouse does not allow pets inside the fenced in area. However, you can still view the lighthouse from the outside and get a feel for its size and beauty.
The Sands Beach, a tidal beach on Port Royal
If you’re looking for a unique experience, you may want to try hunting for shark teeth on Sands Beach. This tidal beach is on the island of Port Royal and is about a 10-minute drive from Beaufort.
It’s important to point out that Sands Beach is not an oceanfront beach. Rather, it is a wide swath of sand along Battery Creek. It is located where Battery Creek flows into the Beaufort river.
To set your expectations, the sand is rocky and the beach is not more than 100 yards long. Also, we did not let our dog walk in the water as the area is known for sharp clusters of oyster shells.
But if you’re looking for shark teeth, this tidal beach is the go-to spot, according to the locals.
While we did not find any shark teeth ourselves, we felt lucky to get to observe the locals in their search. They expertly used sand shovels to dig into the sand and sifters to sift through the sand to find triangular, jet black pieces— prehistoric, fossilized sharks’ teeth.
After you’ve tried your luck at hunting for shark teeth, you and your dog can venture out onto the Henry Robinson Boardwalk for expansive views of the river, marshes, and estuaries.
More places to go with your dog
Next, let’s discover some more places to go and things to do with your dog in Beaufort. Our virtual tour is heading to Beaufort’s shopping district and waterfront park next.
Visit the Beaufort Historic Shopping District
Bay Street is the primary street for shopping in downtown Beaufort. It offers blocks of boutiques, art galleries, and dog-friendly restaurants. If you’re looking for local shops, friendly shop owners, and local goods, you’re in luck. While you may not be able to take your dog into the shops, there is plenty of window shopping to be had!
And if you need a little nature break after shopping, one of the best parts about downtown Beaufort is the fact that it’s anchored by the dog-friendly Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.
Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park
Winding along the Beaufort River, the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park is a seven-acre riverfront park. The giant oak trees, green spaces, and walkways make it a great place to walk your dog. Or, you and your furry friend can just sit and look at the view of the water, boats, and marshes.
Since the Henry C Chambers Waterfront Park anchors the downtown, you’ll find dog-friendly restaurants with outdoor patios that face the park.
If you like to look at the yachts and fishing boats, you can walk down to the boat dock and take in the views.
Visit the Forrest Gump locations in Beaufort, SC
You can’t wrap up a virtual tour of Beaufort without mentioning the movies. Beaufort, SC has been the backdrop for many classic movies, but none that stand out more than Forrest Gump.
Much of this 1994 classic movie was filmed in Beaufort, South Carolina. If you’re looking to walk down movie memory lane, you and your dog can visit some of the locations where classic scenes took place…right in the little town of Beaufort.
Woods Memorial Bridge: Location for the classic scene from Forrest Gump
Woods Memorial Bridge in downtown Beaufort is the iconic bridge scene of Forrest running while being interviewed. The photo below shows the bridge in the background.
Hunting Island backdrop for scenes from Forrest Gump
We’ve already mentioned Hunting Island State Park for its ocean views, but its lush foliage made it a perfect filming location for some of the Vietnam scenes in the Forrest Gump movie.
Gay Fish Company
Not far from Hunting Island, you can stop at the family-owned shrimp company, Gay Fish Company. Word is, the Gay Fish Company provide the shrimp in the Forrest Gump movie’s shrimping boat fish scenes. As you can see in the photo below taken at the Gay Fish Company, there’s a dock lined with shrimping boats. They make for a great picture or selfie with your doggo.
Other noteworthy things to do in Beaufort
The following list of things to do in Beaufort aren’t all dog-friendly, but they are noteworthy:
- Pay your respects to fallen Americans at the Beaufort National Cemetery, a 330-acre site built in 1863 for Union soldiers and sailors.
- Take a boat tour to watch for dolphins
- Walk or bike the Spanish Moss Trail
- Kayak or paddleboard along rivers, marshes, creeks
- Rent a bike to see the historic sites
Paws up for pet-friendly Beaufort
Beautiful Beaufort gets a paws up from our entire pack for its dog-friendliness, history, beautiful marshes and views of the water, local flavor, outdoor restaurants, and abundance of nature.
If you’re looking for a weekend getaway, it may be just the dog-friendly adventure you’re looking for. After all, the paws-abilities for bonding with your dog are endless.
Searching for more dog-friendly beach escapes? Check out our overview of dog-friendly Dauphin Island, a tiny hidden gem in Alabama.
Have you visited Beaufort, SC with your dog?
Please comment below. We’d love to hear about your favorite dog-friendly places to eat, play, or stay.