Best Places for Dog Walks Near me

dog walks near me

Best Places for Dog Walks Near Me

Walking your dog is an important part of keeping them active, stimulated, and healthy. However, with so many options around the country, it can be difficult to decide where the best spots are located near you. In this article, we will outline some of the top places for dog walks all across the United States and provide tips to help you find scenic and safe trails close to home.

Dog Parks – A Great First Stop

Your local dog park is likely one of the closest and most convenient options for exercising your pup. Dog parks allow dogs to socialize off-leash in an enclosed area while their owners can catch up and meet other dog lovers. Some key advantages of dog parks include:

  • Location – Most urban and suburban areas have at least one dog park located within a few miles. This makes them extremely accessible for quick trips.
  • Dog Interaction – Dogs can run, play fetch and meet new canine friends to burn energy in a safe environment. This is great mental and physical stimulation.
  • Amenities – Larger dog parks may have shade, benches, water fountains and waste bag dispensers for owner convenience.
  • Safety – Fenced areas prevent dogs from running into roads while owners can supervise interactions. Just be sure to watch for aggressive dogs.

To find dog parks near you, search online directories or your city/county parks department website. Read signage carefully regarding size, leash and vaccination rules too. Go at off-peak hours for less crowding.

Nature Preserves and Wildlife Refuges

For a more tranquil outdoor experience beyond the dog park, consider nature preserves and wildlife refuges. These large public lands provide miles of multi-use trails perfect for hikes with your well-behaved dog. Some top spots to explore include:

  • Cranberry Lake Wild Forest (NY) – 55,000 acres of hardwood forests, wetlands and remote ponds. Leashed dogs permitted on 88 miles of hiking trails.
  • Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area (KS) – Over 12,000 acre wetland habitat with 7 miles of trails through native prairie and waterfowl viewing areas.
  • Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge (CA) – Nearly 30 miles of trails across various habitats along the south San Francisco bayshore. Dogs must be leashed.
  • Jockey’s Ridge State Park (NC) – Features the largest natural sand dunes on the Atlantic coast with 4 miles of hiking trails and ocean views.

Nature refuges provide a calm environment for your dog to sniff new smells while taking in scenic vistas. Just be sure to follow all leash and waste clean-up rules to protect wildlife.

Greenways and Rail Trails

For level, paved routes great for all fitness levels, consider multi-use greenways and abandoned rail trails converted for recreation. Some top dog-friendly conversions across the U.S. include:

  • Katy Trail (MO) – 225-mile converted railroad running between Clinton and St. Charles, MO. The longest paved state park trail in the nation.
  • Memphis Urban Greenline (TN) – 12-mile multi-use trail through downtown Memphis along the Wolf River.
  • Pinellas Trail (FL) – Over 48 miles along a former railroad corridor connecting St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs with scenic views.
  • Elroy-Sparta State Trail (WI) – Over 30 miles of crushed limestone rail trail winding through scenic southwest Wisconsin driftless area.

These paved paths see less bike and pedestrian traffic than busier urban trails. Plus the flat, wide surfaces are easy on joints for pups and owners of all fitness levels. Many provide water, snacks or waste facilities too.


State and National Parks

For large natural areas boasting stunning scenery and diverse trails, consider state and national parks. While not all areas or trails are dog friendly, many parks do allow leashed canine companions on at least some paths. Some top doggy destinations include:

  • North Cascades National Park (WA) – Over 504,000 acres with 140 miles of trails, including 26 miles open to leashed dogs on more lightly used routes.
  • Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (MI) – Features 35 miles of trails across its 71,000 acre stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline, beaches and forest. Dogs permitted on leash.
  • Rocky Mountain National Park (CO) – Over 265,000 acres with over 350 miles of trails, where leashed dogs are allowed on under 10 miles of designated paths.
  • Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park (CA) – Over 2,500 acres with 17 miles of trails among second growth coast redwood forest, suitable for leashed dogs.

Just be sure to verify park policies, as some trails or areas may exclude dogs during certain times for wildlife concerns. Proper waste disposal is also critical in these sensitive habitats.

City and Urban Parks

For quick access on your lunch break or after work, highly landscaped city and county parks offer pleasant paths that are ideal for dog walking. Some top urban dog spots include:

  • Central Park (NYC) – At 843 acres and over 7 miles of paths in the heart of Manhattan, Central Park sees over 25 million visitors annually including leashed dogs.
  • Forest Park (St. Louis, MO) – Sprawling 1,370 acre park with over 70 miles of multi-use trails and diverse habitats is one of America’s largest inner-city parks catering to leashed dogs.
  • Griffith Park (Los Angeles) – At over 4,500 acres in the Hollywood Hills, Griffith Park features 50 miles of interconnecting trails and paths suitable for on-leash dog walking.
  • Genesee Valley Park (Rochester, NY) – Scenic 300 acre park along the Genesee River with 4 miles of paved and unpaved trails open year-round to leashed dogs.

Urban parks provide easy access to green space right in the city. Just be mindful of other park users, especially in warmer months when attendance is higher.

Finding Local Options Near You

To locate the best dog walks near me, start with searching online maps and directories. Google “dog friendly trails near me” or check your city/county parks department website for area canine recreation highlights. Resources like AllTrails, BringFido and local dog owner Facebook groups also provide user reviews of favorite local spots.

Additionally, look for:

  • Greenbelts – Undeveloped corridors or creek/river trails surrounded by residential neighborhoods.
  • Community Parks – Smaller local open spaces suitable for neighborhood dog walking.
  • College Campuses – Schools like state universities often have scenic interior paths and nature preserves open to the public.

With so many options around the country, getting your pup outside for daily exercise is made easy whether you live in a city or more rural location. Just be sure to follow leash and hygiene rules to keep trails available for all. With a little online research, you’re sure to find scenic and responsibly-run spots perfect for dog walks close to home.