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Six State Parks Offer Pet-Friendly Lodging

Marie McAden Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.
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Travel plans to South Carolina include a four-legged member of your family? State parks offer a great option—even if you don’t want to camp.

Pet-friendly lodging is now available at six state parks, offering a variety of settings from popular lakeside destinations to mountains retreats. Whether you prefer a traditional rustic cabin, a simple motel-style room or a spacious contemporary house, you’re sure to find the perfect accommodations both you and Fido will enjoy.

With more people traveling with pets these days, South Carolina State Parks expanded its pet-friendly lodging to include 22 cabins, 19 lodge rooms and five villas. Of course, pets are also welcome in all state park campgrounds for those staying in an RV or tent.

Looking for a “camping experience” but prefer more than a thin layer of nylon between you and the elements? Book one of the four pet-friendly camper cabins at Dreher Island State Park located on three islands overlooking Lake Murray.

The one-room cabins offer heating and air, indoor lighting, electric outlets, Wi-Fi, one set of bunk beds and a double bed. Linens are not provided. And like tent campers, you’ll need to use the centrally located restrooms and do all your cooking outside. A water spigot, fire ring and grill are available at each cabin campsite.

Prefer something a little less rustic? You’ve got a few choices.

Barnwell State Park, best known for its three small fishing lakes, has a two-bedroom cabin available for guests with pets. Fully furnished, it comes with linens, basic cooking and eating utensils, a coffee maker, refrigerator, stove, microwave and satellite TV.

Santee State Park on Lake Marion has 10 similarly furnished two-bedroom cabins along its shoreline. Or head for the mountains where Oconee State Park recently opened seven two-bedroom cabins to pet-toting guests. Situated around a picturesque lake, the historic cabins were built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps and feature a fireplace and screened porch.

If golf is your thing, make reservations at Hickory Knob State Resort Park, featuring an 18-hole golf course carved through a pine forest along the shores of Lake Thurmond. The park also offers skeet shooting, archery, a swimming pool, a full-service restaurant, and kayak, canoe and stand-up paddleboard rentals.

Hickory Knob recently renovated 19 rooms in its lodge that accommodate pets. Much like a motel room, they offer an array of amenities, including cable TV, Wi-Fi, coffee maker and refrigerator.

Or go all out and stay in one of the contemporary villas at Devils Fork State Park, overlooking Lake Jocassee in the pristine Jocassee Gorges wilderness. The mountain-style homes feature modern furnishings, a full-size kitchen, satellite television and Wi-Fi.

A few other things to know about the park’s pet-friendly accommodations:

• Pets must weigh less than 75 pounds.
• No more than two pets are permitted in a cabin, villa or lodge room.
• There is a non-refundable pet charge of $55 due upon arrival.
• Pets are allowed in most public areas of the park but must be kept on a leash no longer than six feet.

For more information on the pet-friendly lodging available at South Carolina state parks, click here

Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.