Top 10 Dog-Friendly Spots To Hit This Summer

By Meghan Grant
Monday, May 29 2017

My husband and I have two rescue dogs adopted from Wake County SPCA, a six-year-old German Shepherd/Chow mix named Winston (after Winston Churchill) and a two-year-old German Shepherd/Australian Cattle Dog named Gizmo. There are few things we like to do more than hang out with these two furry boys, who really like exploring, snacking and napping—much like their parents! Follow along as I take you on a tour of my favorite dog-friendly hangouts to check out this summer.

Photo by @kendallsmith311

Bombshell Beer Company (Holly Springs)

Being local suburbanites, Bombshell is a great place to meet our friends and get our pups out of the house. Bombshell has six IPAs on tap right now, and food trucks are on-site from Thursday–Saturday. There are picnic tables outside and a playground for your kiddos. Dogs are allowed inside the taproom, which is perfect for rainy days.

Head Out to Bombshell Beer Company
$   .  Bombshell Beer Company   .  Holly Springs
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Photo by @raleighfoodpics

The Raleigh Times (Raleigh)

There is nothing better than people-watching outside The Raleigh Times with your dogs. This is a great lunch or dinner spot in the summer, and after an afternoon of playing at the dog park, it feels amazing to relax in the shade.

Indulge in Something Tasty at the Raleigh Times
$   .  The Raleigh Times Bar   .  Raleigh
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Photo by @kristenwhite74

Eno River State Park (Durham) +497 fire icon

One of our rescues is just a gigantic furball. He loves hiking at the Eno because it is shaded, and he can jump in the river to cool off. I would venture to say that this is his favorite spot for us to take him walking! The trails are easy to hike and make for a great afternoon adventure.

Local Escape: Bask in the Glory of the Eno
Free   .  Eno River State Park   .  Durham
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Photo by @ponysaurusbrewing

Ponysaurus (Durham) +236 fire icon

I’m not sure I’ve ever been to Ponysaurus when it hasn’t been packed with dogs and their owners. This is another great spot for food trucks and delicious beer! It’s a nice stop before heading to Bark in the Park at DBAP. The outdoor space is welcoming and open, and there is a ton of seating for you and your favorite four-legged friends.

Giddyup at Ponysaurus
$   .  Ponysaurus Brewing Company   .  Durham
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Photo by @@emilyeballard

Lake Johnson (Raleigh)

Lake Johnson has a great walking trail for dogs and a nice views where you can stop and relax. Gizmo is definitely a runner while Winston likes to stroll, and Lake Johnson allows both of them to get their favorite type of exercise.

Run Around Lake Johnson
Free   .  Lake Johnson Park   .  Raleigh
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Photo by @dawnacrawford

Coker Arboretum (Chapel Hill)

Coker Arboretum offers nice trails and shade for hot days. The arboretum winds through UNC's campus and makes for a lazy afternoon of strolling and relaxing on the lawn or on the benches throughout. Don’t forget to bring water for your pets!

Stroll Through Coker Arboretum
Free   .  Coker Arboretum   .  Chapel Hill
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Photo by @gain3r

Umstead State Park (Raleigh)

There is nothing better than a good day of hiking at Umstead Park. We love to come here for a hike in the morning, and then head over to Gizmo Brewery for refreshments and snacks if there is a food truck. Umstead offers a variety of trails and we can switch up depending on how much time we have or how exhausted we want our boys to be.

Wander the Wilderness at William B. Umstead State Park
Free   .  William B. Umstead State Park   .  Raleigh
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Photo by @1ucyf3r

Gizmo Brew Works (Raleigh)

I would be hard pressed to not mention Gizmo Brew Works, since one of our little guys is named after it! His foster family changed his name to Gizmo in part due to his crazy ears, but mostly because of their favorite brewery. This watering hole is a fantastic place to bring the dogs—they're allowed inside the taproom and out on the patio, plus there's plenty of space around the industrial park to take them strolling when they get restless. I suggest subscribing to Gizmo Brew Works' email listserv for events and food truck updates!

Grab a Drink at Gizmo Brew Works
$   .  Gizmo Brew Works   .  Raleigh
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Photo by @teganthetripawd

Oakwood Dog Park (Raleigh)

It’s no secret that I love Raleigh's Oakwood neighborhood, so its dog park is one of my favorites. This is a weekend treat for us to check out and always makes for a fun time. The dog park is very well maintained and busy, and it’s always nice to take a walk through Oakwood to cool the boys off after their play date.

Treat Your Pooches to the Oakwood Dog Park
Free   .  Oakwood Park   .  Raleigh
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Past Experiences

Durham Bulls' Bark at the Park (Durham)

This may be my favorite event of the summer! We always treat the guys to one Bark in the Park so they can socialize with new buddies and catch some baseball. Gizmo usually relaxes under the seats, while Winston is the welcoming committee for new doggie friends that enter the section.

Cheer On the Bulls: Bulls vs. Charlotte Knights: Bark in the Park
$10+   .  Durham Bulls Athletic Park   .  Durham
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is the author of the blog I'm Fixin' To, where she writes about fashion, DIY home decor, recipes and adventures around North Carolina.