Dog Friendly Day Trips

Summertime is often a time in which many of us find ourselves out and about enjoying ourselves and the world around us. Unfortunately, that became difficult to do. With the summer in full swing and COVID restriction being lifted there are a lot more opportunities and options available for leisure. However, many of us feel guilty leaving our furry friends at home while we go out and enjoy ourselves. And, if your pet has grown accustomed to spending more time with you, it is possible that they will feel anxious or abandoned if you were to leave them alone for too long. 

What is there to do that is fun but you can also take your dog with you? This question may seem limiting but we are here to share with you some dog friendly day trips. Adventures and activities for you and your pet that you can do together. 

Outdoor Recreational Activities

Summer is an excellent time to explore the outdoors. Here are some outdoor activities that you can do on a day trip with your pup.

Hiking & Biking

There are plenty of trails in North Carolina, especially around the Triangle that you can explore. They vary in length and difficulty, altitude, and even scenery so you can select the perfect option for you and your pup. Did you know that North Carolina has more waterfalls than anywhere else east of the Mississippi River? We also have a fairly impressive ecology since our state is home to both mountain and ocean life, making North Carolina one of the most diverse ecosystems in North America.

Some of the best options to look at are: William B. Umstead State Park hosts art installations and easy trails right outside Raleigh and Cary; Neuse River Trail at Anderson Point Park is a mostly shaded trial with easy to moderate terrain; Eno River State Park has more moderate trails with a view of the river; Johnston Mill Nature Preserve has easy trails with flat, shaded terrain; Hanging Rock State Park hosts easy, moderate, and hard trails with incredible views; and, lastly the American Tobacco Trail.

AllTrails will show you all the trails near you and you can sort them by length, difficulty, and more. We highly recommend using them to explore options for your dog friendly day trip.

Swimming & Water Activities

It is summer in the south and that can mean hotter days. This is an excellent day trip idea that would keep you and your pup cool while also being fun. Depending on how far and what type of swimming you wish to have with you pup, you could stay local to hear to the Carolina coast. Locally, Wake County boasts some excellent lakes. 

Lake Jordan is the largest between Cary and Chapel Hill, and it also offers the opportunity to rent boats, canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards. Harris Lake County Park is a 680-acre park on the Shearon Harris Reservoir which offers fishing, boating, and the opportunity for your pup to splash around a bit. Other options include Lake Benson, which offers its own dog park; Lake Wheeler; and Lake Johnson. 

Another option would be a day trip to the beach. New Bern is about a 2-hour drive from Wake County. New Bern is also a dog friendly community with a lot of bars, restaurants, and stores open to the public and their pets (so long as they are on leashes and well behaved).

Bars & Restaurants

Now that things are starting to open back up again, it is time to see where you can go for you, but also take fido too. BringFido is an excellent resource for finding dog friendly restaurants, bars, breweries, hotels, and more. While it is not a comprehensive list, BringFido shows nearly 500 bars and restaurants, in and around Wake County, that permit pets. About 250 of those are in Raleigh. 

Some of the options include The Flying Biscuit Cafe in Raleigh, Raleigh Brewing Company in Raleigh, the Raleigh Beer Garden in Raleigh, La Farm Bakery in Cary, Chatham Hill Winery in Cary, Crosstown Pub & Grill in Cary, Parker and Otis in Durham, Foster’s Market in Durham, Guglhupf in Durham, Southern Peak Brewery in Apex, The Provincial in Apex, Mason Jar Tavern in Holly Springs, Dead Mule Club in Chapel Hill, The Root Cellar Cafe in Chapel Hill, and many more.


A great way for you and your pup to spend time together can be at flea markets or farmers markets. These open air markets give you an excellent opportunity for you to mosey about and explore with your pet. It is also a great place to pick up some fresh and local products, or find some vintage pieces. 

Farmers market options include the North Carolina State Farmers Market in Raleigh, which is the largest and offers fresh produce, meats, cheeses, seafood, crafts, bakery items, and more; Durham Farmers Market on Wednesday’s in downtown Durham; Holly Springs Farmers Market; Wake Forest Farmers Market; Apex Farmers Market; Cary Downtown Farmers Market; Western Wake Farmers Market; and more. 

Flea market options include The Raleigh Market, Brightleaf Flea Market in Smithfield, and Harper’s Flea Market Mall in Smithfield.

Have any ideas for some fun dog friendly day trips? Let us know in the comments.