Get more bang for your bark at the Lowcountry’s 5 best dog parks
Story + Photos by Daisy Dow
The dog days of summer pound the Lowcountry with unbearable heat and humidity. Two seconds outside might leave you drenched in sweat, and the thought of wearing a fur coat? Unfathomable. However much we might be drawn to air conditioning, our canine companions still want to go outside. Even when it’s 95 degrees out, your dog will still bat their puppy-dog eyes at you begging for a walk. So why not find a place that gives you both what you want? Imagine packs of dogs darting between trees like a pinball machine while you watch with your feet kicked up on a bench. Give your pups some space to socialize and let off some steam while you take in some fresh air. Abundant with water fountains for dogs, shaded hideaways for humans and lots of room for both to chase each other, these Lowcountry dog parks are designed to reinvigorate the spark between you and your best friend. From a lakefront beach in Beaufort to wooded oases in the heart of Old Town, whether you have four legs or two, there’s something for everyone in the Lowcountry’s best dog parks.
Have a ball
Bluffton Dog Park at Oscar Frazier Park
The Bluffton Dog Park at Oscar Frazier Park has got a little something for dogs of every age. Three sections (small dogs, large dogs and senior dogs) foster unique communities among those who frequent the park with their pups. Owners can kick back on a number of the benches around the park and watch their dogs socialize. In addition to its dedicated spaces for canine companions of all shapes, sizes and ages, Oscar Frazier Park has a little something for every dog. Even if you forgot your dog’s favorite toy, have no fear. This park has baskets of communal tennis balls you can borrow to make sure your dog gets all their energy out. Located just a short distance from the buzz of Old Town Bluffton, the Bluffton Dog Park is within earshot of a playground and baseball complex. Venture into the heart of Bluffton to step into this vibrant space, sure to make your dog’s heart sing.
You’ve got a friend in Chaplin
Best Friends Dog Park at Chaplin Community Park
Hilton Head Island’s only public dog park, Best Friends Dog Park on the north end of the island serves as an idyllic haven for dogs that tire of routine beach walks (what a ruff life!). Steps away from Burkes Beach, Chaplin Community Park boasts a large parking lot and winding paths that sweep you away from the buzz of the beach into a shady getaway. Even if your dog is eager for the feel of sand beneath their paws, Best Friends’ sandbox digging area means your pal can enjoy the perks of the beach without the heat. As with all other dog parks in the area, Best Friends Park has separate spaces for dogs below and above 20 pounds. Paved paths lead the way from the gated entrance towards a number of benches throughout the park. But be careful not to stub your toe on the fire hydrants around the paths! Don’t bother calling the fire department to open one up if your dog is thirsty. Rather, cool off using one of the hoses located around the park. Although the sea breeze is just a short walk away, Best Friends Park is the perfect setting for your pup to be swept away in a gust of furry friendship when they join the pack of best friends whipping around the park.
Long Cove Club Community Park
Long Cove Club offers residents the ability to introduce their dogs to one another without the stress of large crowds. This unassuming park is a meditative getaway for Long Cove canines eager to run loose off-leash. The large- and small-dog areas are equally sized within this one-acre park. While a gated fence divides the two areas, both are equipped with continuous-fill water bowls that will keep any dog hydrated, no matter how many tennis balls they chase. Take a seat on the benches in the corners of the park for an all-encompassing view of the canine mayhem before you.
All’s well that’s Burton Wells
Burton Wells Dog Park
Nestled in the woods between Burton and Habersham, Burton Wells dog park is a hidden gem waiting for your dog to stop by and soak up some smells. With two separate areas for small and larger dogs, this park is designed for canines of all kinds to let loose and explore their surroundings. For canines looking to cool off, the larger dog area has beach access to a lake complete with an island. Ambitious swimmers might paddle out to the island or hop in the blue waters to get their jaws on a lucrative stick. Burton Wells is a treasure trove of the unexpected, and the tranquility of this dog park makes it the perfect play space for dogs that like to lounge in the sun, chase critters, and take the occasional dip.
An oasis in the oaks
Beaufort’s Southside Park is ringing with Southern charm. Billowing live oaks act as umbrellas for pups that need a breather between laps around the field. This large, grassy plot is split into one acre for large dogs and a half acre dedicated to smaller ones. A recent survey among Beaufort residents indicated that a third of the survey’s respondents regularly use this dog park. It has been open for just over five years, in which time some locals have established a tradition of coming every day with their pets. The benches, picnic tables and chairs all around offer a sweeping view of the 38-acre Southside Park. Park-goers can watch their dogs socialize from any of the benches, chairs or picnic tables that have been strategically placed in shaded parts of the park.