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Dog-Friendly Things to Do in Raleigh, NC

Raleigh is a rapidly growing and highly desired area in Wake County, NC. Additionally, Raleigh and its surrounding areas are also very pet-friendly, with plenty of dog parks, nature trails, and dog-friendly restaurants to explore. Check out our list of some of the most popular dog-friendly spots in Raleigh below. If you and your furry friend are ready to relocate to the Triangle area or move to a new home, be sure to check out our tips for a stress-free move with your pet!

Dog-Friendly Nature Parks and Trails

Let’s start off with our amazing nature parks and trails! These are great ways for your pup and you to get some fresh air, exercise and meet new friends. Looking for a good park or trail close to you? Here are some must-see spots broken down by popular Raleigh suburbs below.


There are plenty of expansive parks to explore with your dog in Raleigh.

  • Spend hours hiking the extensive trails at William B. Umstead State Park right off US 70 and I-40.
  • Right off NC State University’s Centennial Campus is the beautiful Lake Raleigh, which offers disc golf, walking trails and amazing lake views.
  • Dorothea Dix Park has its very own dog park off Umstead Drive. Let your pup play their heart out with new friends. If you don’t want to go to the dog park, you can walk around Dix Park with your dog or have a picnic on the beautiful grounds.


Welcome to Apex, “The Peak of Good Living!” This lovely town is very family and dog friendly. Take a look at our top spots:

  • Lake Pine Loop offers a 2 mile trail that will take about 45 minutes to finish. Wear your puppy out and get some exercise for yourself while enjoying the scenery.
  • With 160 acres to explore, Apex Community Park is perfect for your furry friend and the entire family to enjoy.
  • Your pup will enjoy walking around the trail and seeing all of the wildlife at Salem Pond Park. There is also a playground and multi-purpose turf field for the kids.


Cary is a bustling town perfect for those who want a little separation from the city with many parks, nature reserves, and other outdoor attractions. It’s no wonder that Cary has been rated one of the best places to live in North Carolina for families and pets.

  • Fred G. Bond Metro Park is an expansive 310 acre park, one of the largest municipal parks in Wake County. With a large lake and canoe rentals, multiple walking trails, fields, and picnic areas, this is the perfect place to go escape the hustle and bustle of urban life with your pup.
  • The Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve is a 104 acre registered natural area and is run by both the state of North Carolina and the town of Cary. They have over two miles of trails to explore, and they offer environmental education programs for those who want to learn more about the environment where they live.

Dog Parks

Dog Parks are a fun way to train your dog, let them meet friends and get out all of their energy. Since there are so many parks to choose from, we’ve broken them out by suburbs in the Triangle. Let’s start with Raleigh!


  • Raleigh’s oldest dog park, Millbrook Exchange Dog Park, provides agility equipment, lights for nighttime play, shade and water fountains for both dogs and humans. The park is also broken up into three separate fenced areas for large and small dogs, as well as a kiddie pool for those hot summer days.
  • Located in one of the most historical parts of Downtown Raleigh sits Oakwood Dog Park. Volunteers keep the park clean and well-maintained. It also stays cooler in the summer time because it is located “under the oaks” where it stays shady.
  • Buffaloe Road Dog Park features a water station, play areas for large and small dogs and shady areas. If you don’t want to venture into the dog park, you can enjoy the outdoor track or the beautiful scenic Neuse River Greenway Trail.


Garner, NC is continuously growing and sits right outside of Raleigh. There are plenty of parks for your dog to enjoy. Check them out below!

  • Lake Benson Park is a dog-friendly, 64-acre park with large, open grassy areas, paved and unpaved trails, a dog park, scenic lake, a playground and plenty of parking.
  • North Garner Dog Park is another great place for your dog and you to hang out. With a mulched play area, separate spaces for large and small dogs and a water station, it’s a great place to enjoy an afternoon.

Chapel Hill

Visit UNC-Chapel Hill and enjoy walking around the stunning campus with your pup. Not only is Franklin Street a great place to walk, but there are also a couple of dog parks close by.

  • Homestead Dog Park is just an 8 minute drive from Franklin Street and offers 20,000 square feet of enclosed space for playtime. There are huge rocks for your pup to climb and a water station.
  • Just 11 minutes from Franklin Street and UNC-Chapel Hill sits the Southern Community Dog Park with plenty of shady areas for hot summer days, 2 acres of room to roam and a water station.

Dog-Friendly Dining in the Triangle

 We love enjoying yummy food outside with our pups! A few of our go-to places in Raleigh are Whiskey Kitchen, The Flying Biscuit Café, Chuy’s Tex Mex, Relish Café & Bar, Fresh, Dos Taquitos, and so many more. We’ve also included some favorites in nearby cities below.

  • The best thing to do on any warm day/evening in North Carolina is sit outside with a draft beer. Apex has a few breweries to choose from that are great for dogs too. Southern Peak Brewery, Brüeprint Brewing Company, Vicious Fishes and HighCraft Apex are all wonderful places to spend the afternoon.
  • Your dog will surely enjoy a pup cup at Fresh’s second location in downtown Cary. If you need a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, look no further than BREW Coffee Bar where your dog can chow down on treats in an espresso-sized cup.
  • Chatham Hill Winery and Jordan Lake Brewing Company are both awesome hangout spots in Cary to relax after a busy day of trying new places.

Breweries in Raleigh

There are so many breweries in Raleigh where you can enjoy a gorgeous day outside sipping on a cold beer. Your pup will enjoy meeting new friends and being outside. Some of our favorite breweries are Gizmo Brew Works, Big Boss Brewing, Bond Brothers, Raleigh Brewing, Crank Arm, Trophy Brewing and Taproom and the list goes on.

Food Halls in Downtown Raleigh

Downtown Raleigh has not one, but two food halls that are both great places to bring your furry friend. Morgan Street Food Hall and Transfer Co. Food Hall have an abundance of patio seating to enjoy your delicious food and drinks. They have a variety of food selections to choose from with beautiful views of Downtown Raleigh.

Restaurants in Raleigh

The Raleigh Times

The Raleigh Times has a wonderful rooftop bar and great food/drink options! They have water bowls onsite so your puppy can also enjoy themselves. This 100 year old hangout spot has Raleigh’s past and present pictures on display.

 Raleigh Beer Garden

For a fun afternoon with your dog, friends, or family, head over to the Raleigh Beer Garden on Glenwood Avenue. They have an assortment of beer, wine, mixed drinks and delicious food too!

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