If you’re thinking about buying a home or taking a vacation in or around Wilmington, NC, rest assured that our beautiful coastal area will make everyone happy—including your four-legged family members! In fact, you might even say the Port City has gone to the dogs. Between dog-friendly parks, beaches, restaurants, and other local attractions, there’s no reason to leave man’s best friend at home. Below are five fun and unique ways to spend some quality time with your dogs. Pack up those chew toys, grab that leash, and let the fun begin!

Dog Friendly Restaurants & Bars

Java Dog Coffee House

Java Dog has been serving delicious coffee to downtown Wilmington for over 17 years. Their cozy café is located in the heart of Front Street, and their love of dogs is clear. From their name to their logo to the dogs that waltz through the door with their owners, it’s a great way to take your dog on a morning walk and treat yourself to a coffee at the same time. Plus the jar of treats on their counter is never empty.

Wilmington Brewing Company

This midtown brewery is a great place to stop for a local beer—especially if you’ve got your dog with you. Their large outdoor beer garden has plenty of picnic benches for enjoying those long summer evenings, and it’s not uncommon to see a dog or two in sidling up to the bar in the tasting room. Just remember that dogs can’t actually drink alcohol; you’ll want to BYO water bowl.

Dog Parks & Beaches

Empie Dog Park

Located in the heart of midtown, Empie Dog Park is Wilmington’s first functional off-leash dog park. The park is incorporated into a 2-acre site of unused land within the confines of Empie Park and includes separate areas for large and small dogs. Each section has a water station, conveniently located bags to take care of business, and plenty of benches where you can sit and watch your pup play. The large dog section also has a new gazebo that offers shade and is handicap accessible.

Greenfield Lake Park and Gardens

With 250 acres, Greenfield Park is one of the best spots for outside activities. Located next to Greenfield Lake, it features an outdoor amphitheater, boat rentals, and—best of all—a beautiful 5-mile walking trail through gorgeous lush gardens. The trail is a great place to walk your dog and take in the sights and sounds of this beautiful lake, especially when the azaleas are in bloom. If you’re lucky, you may even spot an alligator!

Oak Island

While most of the beaches allow dogs during the off-season, Oak Island will welcome your pooch year round. Make sure to keep them on a leash during the summer months, and feel free to let them run free the rest of the year. If you’d rather take your dog out on the water, why not try paddleboarding? Plenty of pups are naturals when it comes to balancing at the front of your board, and many local places with rent out float coats specifically designed for your four-legged friends.

We hope this post has given you some ideas for sharing your love of Wilmington with that special dog in your life! And if we’ve left anything off our list, make sure and let us know on Facebook.  Additionally, if you're headed to the beach, you can't miss our new post,  Dog Friendly Beaches NC.