Headed to the beach for a winter getaway? Forget your bathing suit and pack the pooch. Communities up and down the coast have lifted their usual peak-hour canine restrictions, allowing dogs to stroll the shoreline .
For their Fido-friendly accommodations, three beaches — Hilton Head Island
, Isle of Palms
and Myrtle Beach
— have earned “Five Bones” on www.BringFido.com
Hilton Head Island
allows dogs on or off-leash through the end of March, but if you’re going to cut them loose, they must be under positive voice control. Between April 1 through the Thursday before Memorial Day, you’ll need to keep them in tow.
On Myrtle Beach
, dogs are permitted to stroll along the shore any time until April, but they have to be on a leash that’s seven feet or shorter.
Isle of Palms
allows pups to run free from 4 p.m. to 10 a.m. through March 31. During other hours, they need to stay on leash.
Hunting Island State Park
is another stand-out for sand-loving canines. Ranked No. 6 on America’s Best Online and Top Ten List of Dog Friendly Beaches, it’s hailed as “doggie and people heaven on earth”.
The park’s five miles of beaches are a favorite with Frisbee-catching dogs and fetch-aholics like my Lab Lucy. She’ll run a mile in soft-sand for a slobbery, sand-encrusted tennis ball. On Hunting Island, pets are allowed on the beach year round, provided they are kept under physical restraint or on a leash no longer than six feet.
Because each city has its own rules, you should check with the local municipality where you will be staying before you pack up Rover for a day at the beach. And remember to pick up after your pet. That’s a standing rule anywhere you take your canine companion.
Dogs aren’t the only four-leggers to have special seaside privileges in the winter. Horses also have free rein on Myrtle Beach and Hunting Island through the end of February.
To ride on Myrtle Beach, you have to enter through Myrtle Beach State Park
. A $25 permit is required for each horse you bring in the park. Don’t have your own steed? Take a tour with Horseback Riding of Myrtle Beach
or Inlet Point Plantation
Hunting Island State Park requires a $25 permit as well.
Happy trails, cowpokes!