A perfect pet-friendly destination no matter the time of the year, Wilmington welcomes dogs of all shapes, sizes and pawprints. From numerous dog-friendly restaurants and parks to activities fit for furry travel companions, this must-see Southern destination offers an abundance of genuine, tail-wagging vacation experiences for every traveler – whether they have two legs or four.
Day 1: Explore Wilmington with your Furry Friend
Kickstart your day by visiting The Maroon Monkey Coffee Co and grabbing a cup of joe just the way you like, along with a pup cup for your furry friend. Once you've fueled up for the day, take a stroll through Historic Downtown Wilmington to check out the many quaint shops on Market and Front Streets. Don’t forget to stop into Unleashed, the Dog & Cat Store to get a new toy or treat for your four-legged friend.
Guided by the Wilmington History Tours app, take a self-led walking tour to explore the area's rich culture and history. Your pup will have their own adventure, too, following scents and stories along the way. In the afternoon, explore downtown Wilmington and walk along the Wilmington Riverwalk, where leashed dogs are welcome to stroll.
After an active morning, rest your paws and enjoy a local brew in Satellite Bar and Lounge’s pet-friendly courtyard, located in the South Front District. Grab a bite at Block Taco, a unique taco joint adjacent to Satellite with a walk-up window for easy ordering. Nearby New Anthem Beer Project puts an American spin on Belgian brews and welcomes dog in the taproom.
Then, it’s on to New Hanover County Arboretum, a 7-acre botanical garden that allows you to bring your dogs as long as they are on a leash. Enjoy a pleasant stroll while capturing countless photos of your furry friend at the Japanese-themed garden. Take a moment to sit back, relax and bask in the beauty of the surrounding nature. If you have some extra free time during the afternoon, visit one of the area’s dog parks, including Long Leaf Park, Empie Dog Park, Greenfield Park and Ogden Park.
Finish off the day at a dog-friendly brewery. Located in the Brooklyn Arts District, Flytrap Brewing specializes in American and Belgian ales. Enjoy a pint while your pup takes a breather in the beer garden. In the Cargo District, join the paw-ty at Ruff Draft Dog Park & Bar, an off-leash dog park and full-service bar. The pet-friendly bar has a walk-up window for Mess Hall, the neighboring restaurant which serves delicious burgers and sandwiches.
Day 2: Active Adventures with your Dog
Get an early start to the day at Folks Café, a local favorite for its delicious fresh Argentinian empanadas. Lace up your walking shoes or rent a bike from Bike Cycles Shop and pick a stop on the Gary Shell Cross City Trail for you and your pup to explore Wilmington. The greenway trail is 15 miles long with stops at several points of interest and parks, including the Heide-Trask Drawbridge. Be sure to make a stop at the bridge’s lookout station to take in a picturesque view of the Intracoastal Waterway.
After working up an appetite, stop by Anne Bonny’s Bar and Grill along the bustling Riverwalk. Located on a barge, this floating bar and restaurant has a covered dog-friendly area that is enclosed during cooler weather. With a variety of menu options from the land or sea, it’s a perfect place to recharge for your next adventure. At nearby Lazy Jack’s Ice Cream Shack, treat your pup to dog-friendly peanut butter ice cream.
Embark on an afternoon adventure with Hook, Line & Paddle. This local canoe and kayak outfitter can set you up with everything you need for a guided water adventure with your pup. Time permitting, make a detour to Keg Island and let your dog run and play in the water.
After two full days, finish off your trip to Wilmington with an authentic French dining experience at Brasserie du Soleil. You and your pet can dine on the pet-friendly patio overlooking the pond.
Pet-Friendly Places to Stay
Pet-friendly lodging choices in Wilmington include hotels, small inns and vacation rentals. Located in the heart of Historic Downtown Wilmington, boutique hotel ARRIVE Wilmington offers pet-friendly suites that welcome dogs and their owners to stay in mid-century modern style. Unwind in a suite at DREAMERS by DW, a renovated Victorian home that combines the features of a boutique hotel and the freedom of a rental home, making it the perfect spot for pet owners. Peruse the website for a full list of pet-friendly accommodations.
With a variety of dog-friendly adventures and accommodations, Wilmington makes it convenient to curate a coastal getaway that's as unique as your furry travel companion!