Southport, NC

Dogs Are Welcome at Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Southport, NC

One Writer

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Bolivia, NC, June 5, 2021Photo by the author

If you want to take a trip out to Oak Island beach area in North Carolina, chances are you’ve made a list of what kind of place you want to stay. For me, it was searching for a dog-friendly hotel that had a pool. I planned to travel with my little dog and since it was our first traveling adventure together, I was a bit nervous.

I searched online for “dog-friendly” hotels on Google and eventually landed on the Expedia website, through which I booked my 2-night stay at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Southport, NC. It was near enough to Oak Island beach which was a dog-friendly beach, allowing dogs (leashed) on the beach any time of the day. That sounded good to me!

Getting There’s Half the Fun!

After my 3 ½ hour drive with my doggie, I was exhausted. We pretty much drove straight through and since I am not patient when it comes to taking trips—I left hours early. Which meant I arrived in Bolivia very tired, and with all my stuff in the car.

First, we went over to Oak Island beach and my dog rolled all in the sand. It seemed she was as happy to be there as I was! But, I couldn’t just park the car with my laptop and writing equipment in the back for very long without any shade, so I went early to the hotel, hoping to get a map from them and choose a nice shady area (a local park or something) to spend a little resting time before check-in.

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Hotel in Bolivia, NC, June 5, 2021Photo by the author

Check-in was at 4 pm and I’d arrived before lunch! The phone service was patchy for navigation so I needed a place to get online with my laptop or something—but I had the dog in the car.

I learned on this trip that traveling alone with a dog is a special kind of situation.

Kind Staff Took Care of My Needs Right Away

What on earth to do for 4 hours while I wait for my room to be ready? Not a problem, the kind lady at the hotel desk said. She checked and the room was already cleaned—so, I checked in early! Let the vacay begin!

Shout out to the staff at Holiday Inn Express & Suites (Southport) for recognizing my greatest need right away, for tending to that need, and then making some great suggestions for places to visit. Excellent first impression. They even said hello to my doggie as she got her first experience with electronic doors, a giant fish tank in the lobby (How are those fish floating there Mommy?), and then a trip up the elevator. That’s a lot for a dog to take in!

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Lobby fish tank, June 5, 2021Photo by the author

Dog-Friendly Atmosphere

  • Dogs allowed pretty much anywhere on the premises (but I didn’t ask about the pool room. They may not be allowed in there.)
  • The atmosphere was friendly for my dog, which helped her to be more confident on her first trip and hotel stay.
  • The staff knew where I could and could not take my dog sightseeing, which was super helpful.
  • There was a bit of grass off the p[arking lot for potty-time but most of the potty areas were sandy and sparsely grown or were cultivated areas with rocks or mulch. Took some time for my pooch to decide on a place to do her potty business.
  • The hotel is secluded enough to feel safe walking the dog in the late hours. Well-lit enough also.
  • Black-out curtains on the windows in the room kept my doggie from waking me at the crack of dawn on my vacation—win, win!
  • There’s a hang tag for the room door if you need to step out and leave the dog in the room—so the staff won’t enter to clean while your dog is there alone (which might freak out both parties!)

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Hotel lobby pictured from the 2nd-floor balcony, June 5, 2021Photo by the author

Try Some of These Dog-Friendly Sites to Visit Nearby

  • Oak Island Beach
  • Sunset Beach
  • Southport area for shopping and leisure experience on the edge of the Cape Fear River
  • Visit the Oak Island Lighthouse
  • Take a drive on the back roads. We saw deer, raccoons, turkeys, turtles, some wild pigs (those were in Bolivia), lots of birds, and plenty of beautiful botanical areas.

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My dog on Oak Island beachPhoto by the author

Note: No matter where you go, make sure you have plenty of doggie bags in tow. You want to be sure to clean up after your pooch for those who come along behind you. It’s the considerate thing to do! For the safety of your dog and compliance with leash laws, keep your dog leashed. Take a bowl and a bottle of water with you everywhere you go to keep your dog well-hydrated.

Happy travels to you and say hi to all the wonderful folks at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites at Bolivia...they were all fantastic!

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