art in the museum park
North Carolina

7 Things to Do With Your Dog in the Raleigh Area

To bring in the new I wanted to go somewhere since we both had some time off. Our destination needed to be somewhere we could drive to and take Gimli. After spending some quality time bouncing between Google Maps and Airbnb I decided on dog friendly Raleigh, North Carolina.

This was our first trip with our pup besides visiting family. This post is all about dog friendly activities we found! This post is all the human only places – most of them center around food. We ate a ton. Anyway, many of the breweries in the Raleigh Durham area are dog friendly. And not just on the patio. Many of them allow pups inside too! This was perfect since we went at the end of December when the weather is not always comfortable for outdoor seating.

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While we stayed in Raleigh, not all of these are located within the city. Durham is about a half hour away and there smaller towns in between. We focused on Raleigh, but did venture out of the city for a few things. Here are 7 places you and your dog can hang out together in the Raleigh area.

1. Eno River State Park (Durham)

We drove to Eno State Park from Richmond to start our trip with a hike. The Buckquarter Creek trail runs along the river and through the woods. That loop took us about an hour and a half. But Gimli stopped for lots of sniffs; we also stopped for pictures. After a 3 hour car ride, this was perfect for Gimli, and us, to stretch our legs and get some fresh air.

The river was up and roaring from recent rains and the trails were quite muddy. Even though much of the foliage was dead for the winter, the trail along the river was a scenic one. We packed plenty of water for everyone, and brought Gimli’s collapsible bowl. Dog treats and sandwiches also made their way into the backpack for a quick bite along the trails.

North Carolina has a lot of state parks. I considered Falls Lake, Jordan Lake, and William B. Umstead as well, but decided upon Eno River at random. The Raleigh Durham area is not short on outdoor activities with Duke Forest, and the American Tobacco Trail in addition to all of the state parks.

2. Fullsteam Brewery (Durham)

After our hike, Fullsteam Brewery in Durham was on our way to Raleigh. A post hike beer is always a good idea! When you walk in there is a large space that dogs are allowed in, however pups can’t go in the smaller room the bar is in (because they serve food). We ended up sitting outside because the weather was mild, and there were fewer people and dogs outside. Gimli is young enough that he still gets excited very easily and is learning how to be the best dog in public. Trying to drink without spilling while holding a leash with an excited jumping dog on the other end is no small task. Their outdoor seating was more of an aesthetically pleasing alley with landscaping and tables.

Flights come on a board shaped like North Carolina. We particularly enjoyed their pilsner because it was so refreshing and crushable. Not many places do pilsners because they are more temperamental to brew and take longer. Fullsteam also serves food. I ordered the pimento cheese and it comes with a pineapple jalapeño jam on top. I was skeptical, but spicy and sweet complement cheese very well. My fiance got a pork carnitas taco and the tiny bite I stole was also delicious.

3. North Carolina Museum of Art – Museum Park (Raleigh)

What a cool place close to downtown! I wanted to go inside the art museum itself, but unfortunately we ran out of time (aka prioritized eating tons of biscuits). Instead we walked through the park adjacent to the museum with Gimli one day to at least see a little bit of art. There were paved and gravel trails past open fields and sculptures. Parts of the trail venture though woods too. After all, Raleigh is the City of Oaks. The park also connects across I-440 to the House Creek Greenway Trail. This is a popular spot for couples, families with kids, and folks walking their dogs. It was good exercise for us (did I mention we ate tons of carbs?!), and we burned some of Gimli’s energy before heading to another brewery.

4. Trophy Brewing (Raleigh)

Trophy has a restaurant downtown, a pizza joint a bit west, and a taproom southwest of downtown. We went to the taproom so that Gimli could go with us. I seriously loved being able to take him with us to breweries. I’m hoping since Virginia’s laws on this have changed that more Richmond breweries will start allowing pups inside. After the busy atmosphere at Fullsteam, we were better prepared with Gimli’s treats and rawhide. He was incredibly well behaved chewing his bone while we split a flight. The taproom was small, very relaxed, and had a viewing window into the brewery. My favorite beer here was El Hombre, a horchata stout. Of the four breweries we hit, this one was the most laid back atmosphere.

OTHER NORTH CAROLINA ADVENTURES: Raleigh Travel Guide | Asheville in the Rain

5. Unleashed (Raleigh)

While walking around City Market, we stumbled on Unleashed. We were impressed with their selection of treats, collars, and foods. Gimli wasn’t with us, so we walked back to our Airbnb, got him, and came back. He got a new collar, a yak cheese chew, and lots of love from the folks there. Unleashed has a self serve dog wash for $15. Gimli didn’t need a bath (he hadn’t gotten muddy at the dog park yet), but I thought it was such a cool idea. I also felt good supporting a local business rather than a big chain. They have several locations even if you aren’t staying in downtown Raleigh.

6. Fortnight Brewing (Cary)

I loved the decor and atmosphere here! Fortnight is warm, cozy, and reminiscent of English pubs. They do have cask beer, but unfortunately were out of it when we were there. They also have a selection of kombucha and at least one guest tap. We each got an IPA heavy flight. All of their beers were tasty, but “Call the Hops” and “Resilience Butte County IPA” both stood out as excellent choices. We brought Gimli with us after a trip to the dog park. When we walked in I was a little concerned because they were busy, but we did our best to tuck ourselves into a quiet corner. Gimli was very well behaved, alternating between chewing on his bone and yak cheese. A few kids came over to play with him, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

7. Oakwood Dog Park (Raleigh)

This was one of the reasons we picked a trip to dog friendly Raleigh; I wanted to make sure we’d have a spot nearby for him to socialize and exercise. Oakwood has a very large area for big dogs and a separate area for small dogs. The entire park is covered in a thick layer of mulch, and has trees inside the park. We came here twice, and both times there were only a few dogs. The second time, it had rained and there were some mud bogs around the park. Of course Gimli found those. And found a dog to wrestle with (that pup’s name was Samwise, another Lord of the Rings name!). Gimli was a mess to clean up, but he had a lot of fun. There’s a Krispee Kreme around the corner for breakfast too.

What’s your favorite thing to do in dog friendly Raleigh?

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