Rated as the “Best American Riverfront” by USA Today, Wilmington is a spirited city nestled between the river and the ocean on the southern coast of North Carolina.
From the charming history and bricked-line streets of the city’s historic district to the progressive and innovative riverside, there is always something exciting and new to discover in the pedestrian- and pet-friendly city of Wilmington.
With more than 100 dog-friendly restaurants, numerous dog parks, endless nature trails, and many year-round, dog-friendly beaches, Wilmington is a great city to explore with your canine companion.
The vibrant Riverwalk snakes along the famed Cape Fear River, giving direct access to a plethora of riverfront restaurants, shops, parks, and nightlife to indulge in with your pup. Nearby island beaches are just a short distance away and are the ideal getaway for getting some sand between your toes — and paws.
For water-loving canines, explore the islands by water from a kayak or paddle board to discover all that this southern coastal city has to offer.
After a day of exploring the vibrant coastal city of Wilmington, you’ll want a comfy place for you and your pampered pup to rest those legs. Luckily, many of the city’s hotels offer cozy accommodations for you and your four-legged friend right in the center of it all.
And if you need more space, check out some of the best pet-friendly Airbnbs in Wilmington.
From hotels boasting stunning river views and apartment-style suites to boutique hotels in the heart of the city and those near the beach, there’s a hotel for every pup parent.
Here are 6 of the best pet-friendly hotels to stay at while exploring the charming port city of Wilmington, North Carolina.
1. Aloft Wilmington at Coastline Center
Why you should stay: Stay on the famed Riverwalk.
- Pet fees: Contact the hotel for breed restrictions and fees
- Pet policies: 2 pets allowed, 40 lbs. max; cannot be left unattended
Located directly on Wilmington’s popular Riverwalk, Aloft Wilmington at Coastline Center is the perfect base for exploring this southern city on foot. The hotel is only footsteps away from the two-mile scenic Riverwalk which features impressive views and countless shops, markets, and restaurants to indulge in.
Bring your pup for a dog-friendly walking tour and take in the rich culture and history of Wilmington or take a short trip to one of the dog-friendly beaches for some fun and sun with your four-legged friend.
After a day of adventure with your pooch, seek refuge in one of Aloft’s spacious, modern rooms featuring a balcony that overlooks the city, or wind down with a refreshing cocktail at sunset from the hotel’s lively rooftop bar with stunning river views.
2. The Hive
Why you should stay: The fully equipped kitchen.
- Pet fees: $75 per dog, service animals stay free
- Pet policies: 2 dogs max allowed; must be at least 1 year of age and pre-approved by the hotel (some breed restrictions)
Locally owned and operated, The Hive offers a unique and personalized stay in a boutique hotel right in the heart of downtown Wilmington in the Riverfront District.
The hotel’s prime location makes it a great home-base for exploring the city on foot with your four-legged friend, with the Riverwalk just steps away. Start your days with a morning walk to Java Dog Coffee House, which is only a block away, and dogs are always welcome.
After a day of indulging and exploring the vibrant city of Wilmington, enjoy the comforts of home in the hotel’s apartment-style rooms featuring fully-equipped kitchens and suites designed with modern luxury in mind. Choose from one of the suites with a balcony to take in the fresh coastal air and beautiful views of the city.
Related read: 13 Pet-Friendly Cabins with Fenced Yards in Asheville, North Carolina
3. Home2 Suites by Hilton Wilmington Wrightsville Beach
Why you should stay: The sprawling saltwater pool.
- Pet fees: $50 for 1-4 night stays, $75 for 5+ nights
- Pet policies: 2 pets allowed (dogs and cats only)
Located just a short distance from the coast, Home2 Suites by Hilton is the ideal spot to explore Wilmington’s dog-friendly island beaches. Keep in mind dogs are only allowed on the nearest Wrightsville Beach from October 1 to March 31, however many of the other dog-friendly beaches in Wilmington allow you to bring your canine companion all year round.
After a day of exploring the city of Wilmington and nearby islands, relax with a refreshing dip in the hotel’s large outdoor saltwater pool or indulge in a tasty BBQ at the outdoor grill area. Don’t forget to make a stop by nearby Woof Gang Bakery for some tasty snacks for your pup.
4. Residence Inn Wilmington Landfall
Why you should stay: Fantastic outdoor dog recreation area.
- Pet fees: $100 per stay
- Pet policies: 2 pets per room with a combined weight of 75 lbs. (must use stairs)
Situated near Wrightsville Beach, Residence Inn Wilmington Landfall is a great stay for those who love nature and water sports. Featuring a landscaped garden, large pond, patio with BBQ facilities, sports court, and an outdoor pool, you and your pup can enjoy outdoor activities right from the hotel when you’re not exploring the city or nearby beaches.
For those active paw-rents that enjoy long walks or runs with their canine kids, Residence Inn has partnered with Under Armour to create local mapped running routes so you and your canine companion can explore Wilmington while you get your bodies moving.
Related read: 13 Pet-Friendly Vacation Rentals in the Outer Banks, North Carolina
5. Hilton Garden Inn Wilmington Mayfaire Town Center
Why you should stay: The uber-comfy beds.
- Pet fees: $75 for 1-4 night stays, $125 for 5+ nights
- Pet policies: 2 pets allowed (dogs and cats only)
Just 10 minutes both from beaches and downtown Wilmington, Hilton Garden Inn provides a central location to explore the city and the sea with your pampered pooch. After a long day of touring the city or having a lazy one in the sun on one of the many dog-friendly beaches, guests love getting a good night’s sleep in this hotel’s comfy beds.
When you’re not touring the city, relax by the hotel’s outdoor pool or visit nearby Mayfair Town Center to shop ’til you drop. Guests rave about the friendly and accommodating staff at Hilton Garden Inn, often expressing how it really made their stay extra special.
6. Staybridge Suites Wilmington
Why you should stay: 24-hour business center and amenities.
- Pet fees: $35 for 1 night stays, $75 for 2-6 nights, $150 for 7+ nights
- Pet policies: Record of complete and up-to-date vaccinations required (guide dogs and service animals exempt)
Whether traveling for business or pleasure, Staybridge Suites Wilmington will be your home away from home with its spacious suites equipped with full kitchens, on-site laundry facilities, and a 24-hour business center.
Its convenient location allows you to enjoy many of Wilmington’s fun attractions, nearby universities, beautiful beaches, and downtown historic district.
After a day of exploring this charming port city, retreat to the hotel for a dip in the indoor swimming pool or find solace in your roomy suite with home-like comforts and plenty of room for your pup to relax or play.
Related read: 13 Pet-Friendly Cabins in Boone, North Carolina
Pet-Friendly Activities in Wilmington, North Carolina
Enjoy these must-do activities and places while exploring Wilmington with your furry friend.
- Spend an afternoon at Gurney Hood Barking Lot at Joe Eakes Park, the only park in the county where dogs can play sans leash.
- Start your morning walk with a coffee with your canine companion at Java Dog Coffee House, where dogs are always welcome.
- Visit Woof Gang Bakery on your way to Wrightsville Beach to pamper your pooch with a gourmet treat.
- Spend the day at one of the many dog-friendly beaches like Freeman Park Beach where dogs can explore off-leash between October 1st to March 31st.
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