Dog Parks and Pet-Friendly Spots in Columbia, SC (2023)

Columbia, South Carolina is a great city to live, work and play in. Whether you live in Columbia or you’re passing through, there is always something to see or do.

Another pro about Columbia is that it is super pet-friendly!

There are so many places that will welcome your furry friends. From public and private dog parks to public parks, restaurants, and more.

Check out our list of dog parks and other pet-friendly spaces in Columbia, SC!

3 Best Public Dog Parks in Columbia, SC

There are three great public dog parks in and around Columbia. These parks are free or offer a daily fee and are open to everyone.

Emily Douglas Dog Park-Free
-Fenced off-leash area
-A lot of shade
-Park benches
-Water for dogs
4 of 5 Stars
175 Google Reviews
Map Link Here
Page Ellington Dog Park Park-Free
-Fenced off-leash area
-Some shade
-Park benches
-Water for dogs
4.5 of 5 stars
51 Google Reviews
Map Link Here
Dog Park at Sesquicentennial State Park-Low cost
-2-acre fenced-in area
-Splash pools for dogs
-Water for dogs
4.5 of 5 stars
2,672 Google Reviews
Map Link Here

Below are three of the top public dog parks in the area.

1. Emily Douglas Dog Park

Emily Douglas dog park is a free public dog park right outside of the Five Points district in Columbia. There’s plenty of parking on side roads around the park entrance.

Emily Douglas has a large, fenced-in area for pups to run around.

This park is very shaded by large trees, which makes it great for a warmer day in Columbia. There is also a “doggie drinking station” near the gate with fresh water.

The ground cover is sand/dirt and there are some hills with pine straw. There are a few benches here for owners to sit while the dogs play.

Location: 2500 Wheat Street, Columbia, SC 29205

2. Page Ellington Dog Park

This dog park lives within Page Ellington Park, which is a public park in the BullStreet District. It is a free, fenced-in park that is pretty spacious.

The park is open to both large dogs and small dogs. The ground cover is dirt, but it is always kept clean.

This dog park has shade from large trees and also provides water for the pups. There are benches in the shaded areas for owners to sit.

Pro tip: bring a leash so you can enjoy the rest of Page Ellington Park beyond the dog park! Outside of the dog park, there are walking trails, shelters and a small pond.

If you need a new leash, we’ve found several options that all can work, depending on your dog. Here are some of the options we’ve tried from Amazon.

Location: 2220 Gregg Street, Columbia, SC 29207

3. Dog Park at Sesquicentennial State Park

Sesquicentennial State Park (Sesqui) is a 1,400-acre park in the Sandhills region of SC. Within the park is a 2-acre, fenced-in dog park for pets to run off-leash.

Along with a large area for the dogs to run and play, there are shallow splash pools for dogs to cool off in. This is great for those warm days in SC!

Owners must show proof of vaccination and pay a $4 entry fee to access the park. Yearly membership to the dog park is also available for $25.

Sesqui also has walking trails and picnic shelters for owners and their pets to enjoy.

Pro tip: Sesqui offers RV and tent camping and it is pet friendly! Learn more about camping here or at other spots near Lake Murray in Columbia, SC.

Location: 9564 Two Notch Rd, Columbia, SC 29223

3 Best Private Dog Parks in Columbia, SC

If you live in Columbia and like to get your dog out often, you might want to consider a private dog park. At these parks, you pay a monthly or annual fee for access to the park.

Private dog parks usually have more amenities. They are also frequented by other members, so it’s a chance to meet new human and dog friends!

Noma Bark Park-Membership: $25/year
-Grassy park
-Large and small dog sections
-Puppy playground
4.5 of 5 stars
169 Google Reviews
Map Link Here
The Barking Lot Dog Park at Saluda Shoals Park-Membership: $40/year
-Grassy park
-Puppy pools
-Agility course
4.5 of 5 stars
928 Google Reviews
Map Link Here
Lake Carolina Dog Park -Membership: $25/year
-Spacious grassy park
4 of 5 Stars
18 Reviews
Map Link Here

Below are three of the top private dog parks in the area.

1. Noma Bark Park

Noma Bark Park is in the North Main District of Columbia. It is part of the larger Earlewood public park, but the dog park requires a membership.

To become a member, you must show proof of your pet’s vaccinations and pay a $25 annual fee. Once you’re a member, you get a key fob that gives you entry to the park at any time.

Noma Bark Park is a large, 2-acre fenced-in park. The ground cover is grass and there are some big shade trees.

The main park is for large dogs, with a small dog park located right beside it. Although there are two separate parks, small dogs can still play in the large dog park if well socialized!

The park has small pools, tennis balls and other fetch toys, and a puppy playground.

Location: 1250 Parkside Dr, Columbia, SC 29201

2. The Barking Lot Dog Park at Saluda Shoals

The Barking Lot is a dog park within Saluda Shoals Park.

To become a member, you must show proof of your pet’s vaccinations and pay a $40 annual fee. However, the dog park membership is good for two dogs in each household.

The Barking Lot is a grassy two-acre fenced-in dog park.

There are so many great features to this park! Here’s everything you can expect to see:

  • Three bone-shaped pools for dogs to cool off in
  • Interactive fire hydrant sprayer
  • Agility course
  • Gazebo for owners to relax
  • Dog drinking fountain

Saluda Shoals is a 400+ acre riverfront park, so there is a lot to explore beyond the dog park. Dogs on a leash can join their humans on one of ten paved walking/biking trails or relax at a picnic shelter.

Location: 5605 Bush River Road, Columbia, SC  29212

3. Lake Carolina Dog Park

Lake Carolina Dog Park is a private neighborhood dog playground in Lake Carolina. Residents of Lake Carolina frequent this park, but it is open to anyone in Columbia.

To become a member here, you only have to pay the $25 annual fee.

This is a one-acre park with plenty of grassy space and trails for dogs to run and play.

There are some shaded spots and benches for owners to sit. There aren’t as many amenities here as some of the other parks listed. But, if you live near Lake Carolina, this could be a good spot for your pup!

Location: 971 Lake Carolina Dr, Elgin, SC 29045

Other Dog-Friendly Spots in Columbia

Columbia is a very dog-friendly city, which means a lot of public places are open to you bringing your pet.

Here are a few public parks that allow dogs on a leash:

There are even restaurants and shops that not only allow pets but also have special treats for the pups!

Publico Kitchen and tap is a Mexican-fusion restaurant with two locations in Columbia. They have a VIP (very important puppy) menu with special bowls and treats for your dog!

Pelican’s is another great spot to bring your pet on a hot day. It’s a Hawaiian ice shop that sells “pup cups”, which include a peanut butter flavored ice and dog treat.

Other restaurants with patios often allow dogs as well. Check out some of the top brunch spots in Columbia, many of which have a patio.

Many shops allow pets as well, like Mast General Store or Salty’s Surf Shop.

Remember when taking your pet to a dog park to always follow the rules and etiquette. This will ensure everyone has a good time!

In short, there are plenty of pet-friendly options in Columbia. Whether you need to get out some of your pup’s energy or want them to tag along with you, there’s something for you!

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