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Bring your pets on vacation

Maggie the dog retrieves a tennis ball from the May River inBluffton.
Maggie the dog retrieves a tennis ball from the May River inBluffton. null

Hilton Head Islandis going to thedogs-and vacationerscouldn'tbe happier. Petfriendlyaccommodationsandamenities make it easy tobring your four-footedfriends. See the map onpage 32-33 for the locationof Hilton Head Island'sChaplin Community Park'sBest Friends Dog Park, afenced-in facility offeringshady trees, and a separatearea for small dogs.

Some restaurants withpatio seating also welcomepets. At Skillets Grill &Cafè in Coligny Plaza andMontana's in Bluffton, ordera canine entrèe for yourpet from a separate menutitled "Lucky Dog Cuisine."Market Street Cafe, also inColigny Plaza, is dog-friendly,too.

Tail-Waggers GourmetPet Bakery & Boutique inColigny Plaza (next to BlackMarket Minerals) acts as aclearing house of informationfor vacationers travelingwith their dogs. In the storeis a list of pet friendly hotelsand vacation rental companies.Well behaved animalsare always welcome in thestore; each dog gets a treat."Yappy Hour" dog socialhour is every Tuesday from6-7 p.m. 843-686-3707.Adoptions Sundays fromnoon to 3 p.m.

BEACH REGULATIONSAnimals on the beach mustbe on a leash between 10a.m. and 5 p.m. from April1 through the Thursdaybefore Memorial Day andafter Labor Day until Oct.1. Animals are not permittedon the beach between10 a.m. and 5 p.m. fromthe Friday before MemorialDay through the Monday ofLabor Day weekend. FromOct. 1 to March 31, dogsand other animals must beon a leash or under positivevoice control. Owners arerequired to pick up and disposeof their animal's waste.

WHERE TO STAYSome visitors board theirdogs in kennels during theirstay on the island, otherslook for rental houses, villasor hotels that allow pets.Pet policies vary widelyamong rental companiesand include weight limits fordogs and security deposits.At the Westin HiltonHead Island Resort & Spa,dogs weighing less than20 pounds are permittedin first floor rooms with anon-refundable pet deposit.Hardeeville's Holiday InnExpress at Exit 8 and I-95and in Bluffton accepts petsfor a smaller fee. A beachhouse or villa may be thebest choice for those travelingwith a large dog or multipledogs.A selection of boardingfacilities also is available onthe island and in Bluffton.Vacationing owners usuallyvisit their dogs several timesduring their stay, often takingthem out for day outingsand bringing them back tothe kennel about dinnertime. If your dog has had agreat time at the beach andyou're not looking forwardto bathing her at home,stop by Red Rover on NewOrleans Rd., which offersfull-service and do-it-yourselfdog baths and groomingin a fun atmosphere.