Pets at ‘Home’: Public dog parks, pet friendly villages grow in numbers as Charleston area neighborhoods embrace man’s best friends

Joshua Simon walks his dog, Bishop, in front of striking homes in the Mixson neighborhood near Park Circle. More and more neighborhoods, apartment homes and parks are becoming pet friendly (Photo by Laura Olsen/Olsen Imagery).

“When Fifi met Rover” might be today’s social icebreaker, a pseudo-planned encounter that’s no doubt taking place in communities across greater Charleston.

Local agent Maggie Curtis notes that she includes, in real estate listings these days, any information on a neighborhood’s pet friendliness.

“I do, because people come here (from other places),” said Curtis, agent with Coldwell Banker United, Realtors. They may not know anybody, she says. But set out on a stroll with the family retriever or spaniel in tow, and they’re bound to cross paths with fellow pet walkers eager to strike up a conversation.

It’s “a great way to meet new neighbors and friends,” she says.

Pet friendliness indeed may be “trending” in greater Charleston, as local cities and towns open public dog parks, apartment homes set up playgrounds for domesticated animals and newly built neighborhoods display marketing photos of couples or youngsters playing fetch or jumping in ponds with their pets.

“This is definitely a trend that we are seeing in the multifamily industry,” says Wendy Tucker, senior regional manager with Greystar and president of the Charleston Apartment Association.

“People are very serious about their pets and as apartment developers/operators, we are catering to that with added amenities and conveniences,” she says.

“Bark parks, dog wash stations, doggie waste stations, and collateral geared towards pet owners (branded leases, collapsible water bowls, etc.) are very popular with today’s apartment renter,” Tucker says.

For single-family residents, public pet parks tend to grab central spots that prove convenient to owners.

West Ashley playgrounds for the four-legged variety include Grand Oaks at the Bees Ferry Recreation Center, Bridgewater Dog Park near apartment homes in Carolina Bay’s Centex Homes section and on Sycamore Avenue just west of S.C. Highway 61.

In Mount Pleasant, Park West Dog Park serves all the villages in the master planned community and Palmetto Islands County Park’s pet playground takes in neighborhoods off Long Point Road. North Charleston’s Park Circle area and environs encompass the Mixon Dog Park at 5000 Lackawanna Blvd.

One website,, provides a list of pet-friendly parks and local attractions that permit dogs on leashes.

Among apartment communities, Greystar headlines a number of managers and developers that provide pet-friendly surroundings.

Greystar’s new Elan Midtown Apartments on Meeting Street showcases “Spot”, a dog park area within the community. Just ready to open, Elan accepts dogs up to 100 pounds.

“We are seeing more pet friendly (parks) and they’re building more,” says Curtis, who owns a French bulldog that she says “looks cross between a dog and a rabbit.”

The pet friendliness may stem from new attitudes among pet owners, she says. At one time, “people weren’t made to ‘pick up’ after their pets.” As a result, many homeowners frowned on pets, having collected one too many fresh “deposits” in their yards. Today, most pet owners are “more responsible,” Curtis says.

While local bark parks gain stature, the Charleston area can be classified as overwhelmingly pet friendly when it comes to securing your pet on a leash and going for a stroll.

“You can walk your dog on the Battery,” she says.

Sometimes, a pet-friendly amenity can be as simple as a blocker to keep your domesticated animal in the yard.

“I think the fact that the house has a fence, it becomes a pet-friendly home,” says Carolyn Dubrofsky, Realtor with The Marshall Walker Group. She is listing agent for 3352 Toomer Kiln Circle in the Coatbridge section of Park West in Mount Pleasant. “The house has an enclosed privacy fence on all sides. The seller has a pet,” she says.“It’s a great turnkey home (that’s) really pet-friendly.”

Dubrofsky says she’s noticed an increase in dog playgrounds locally. Park West, for one, has a pet park. “The dog owner can have the dog off-leash,” she says. “I think it’s a nice feature to have, especially for dog lovers. It’s an added bonus (when marketing a house),” she says.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or



• Ackerman Dog Park, Sycamore Avenue (behind Ryan’s Steakhouse), West Ashley

• Bees Landing Recreation Area, 1580 Ashley Gardens Blvd., West Ashley

• Folly Beach Bark Park, 513 E. Hudson Ave., Folly Beach

• Governor’s Park, North Seven Farms Drive (near Family Circle Stadium), Daniel Island

• Hazel Parker Dog Run, 70 East Bay St., downtown Charleston

• Hampton Park Bark Park, 122 Grove Street (address is approximate), downtown Charleston

• James Island County Park, 871 Riverland Drive, James Island

• Isle of Palms Bark Park, 29th Avenue (behind Recreation Center), Isle of Palms

• Mixon Dog Park, 5000 Lackawanna Blvd. (Park Circle area), North Charleston

• Palmetto Islands County Park, 444 Needlerush Parkway, Mount Pleasant

• Park West Dog Park, 1251 Parkwest Blvd., Mount Pleasant

• Riverfront Park, 1360 Truxtan Ave., North Charleston

• Sky Dogs Family Dog Park, 10461 U.S. Highway 78, Summerville

• Wannamaker County Park, 8888 University Boulevard, North Charleston

• Wassamassaw Park, 651Wassamassaw Road (off Highway 78), Summerville


• Charles Towne Landing, 1500 Old Towne Road, West Ashley

• Colonial Lake, Rutledge Avene, downtown Charleston

• Daniel Island Park, Daniel Island

• Folly Beach County Park, 1100 W. Ashley Ave., Folly Beach

• Fort Moultrie, Sullivan’s Island

• Isle of Palms County Park, 1 14th Ave., Isle of Palms

• Johns Island Park, 1770 Bozo Lane, Johns Island

• Magnolia Plantation, 3550 Ashley River Road, West Ashley

• Marion Square, Meeting and Calhoun streets, downtown Charleston

• Shem Creek Park, Coleman Boulevard, Mount Pleasant

• Waterfront Park, 34 Prioleau St., downtown Charleston