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10Best: Amazing dog parks across the USA

  • March 30, 2015

Canines get oceanfront action at Fort DeSoto Paw PlaygroundBeau's Dream Dog Park at Buchanan Park in Lancaster,Elm Creek Reserve Dog Park in Maple Grove, Minn., keepsPoint Isabel Regional Shoreline in Richmond, Calif.,Dogs can get quite a workout at Freedom Barks Dog ParkThe Bark Park in Bentonville, Ark., is a true doggieWhile humans enjoy the mountain views at Hugh RogersStrong community support for Fort Woof Dog Park atSeattle's Magnuson Dog Park is the only one in the

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Why should humans get all the thrills on vacation? Dog parks are emerging all over the country, welcoming the growing number of pet owners who bring their furry friends along on trips. “Parks are very important to travelers, who may have their dogs cooped up in the car for hours at a time,” says Becca BarnettBringFido.comLarry Bleiberg

Beau’s Dream Dog Park at Buchanan Park

This park was an award-winner from the start, having snagged the top prize in a Purina-sponsored contest in 2012. The half-million-dollar makeover added whimsical touches like splash pads for large and small dogs, custom designed spray nozzles, a roller-coaster inspired footbridge and a tennis ball tree. “If you spend $500,000 on park, it’s going to be pretty amazing,” Barnett says.

Hugh Rogers Wag Dog Park

While humans enjoy the mountain views in this scenic town near Glacier National Park, canines will love the obstacle course and ball catapult. The five-acre pet playground’s also equipped with human and dog water fountains. “It’s always clean and well-kept. The commitment there is very strong,” Barnett says. 406-863-2470;

Bear Creek Dog Park

Dogs can explore a range of Colorado terrain with natural pools, prairie, hills, woods and a creek running through the park. Humans aren’t overlooked either. “There are trails within the park. If you want to take your dog running, that would be a great place to do it,” Barnett says. 719-520-7529;

Fort Woof Dog Park at Gateway Park

The oversized fire hydrants and strong community support helped this park win top honors from Dog Fancy magazine. “It’s a very playful place,” Barnett says. Park lighting and evening hours makes it a great stop for canine (and human) night owls. 817-392-5700;

Elm Creek Reserve Dog Park

This fenced 29-acre off-leash park offers trails through forests and open fields northwest of Minneapolis. Winter visitors can try dog-sledding, or skijoring, a sport where dogs over 30 pounds pull humans on skis. Spring and summer brings a chance for long walks. “There are a lot of places to go exploring off-leash. It seems like a completely different park, depending on the season,” Barnett says. 763-694-7894;

Fort DeSoto Paw Playground and Beach

Canines get oceanfront action at this spacious park near St. Petersburg, with a dedicated dog beach, where pets can swim freely, or chase a Frisbee across the sand. Amenities include separate fenced areas for small and large dogs and a shower. “When you’re leaving with a sandy dog, it’s good to be able to rinse them before you drive off,” Barnett says. 727-552-1862;

Freedom Barks Dog Park

Dogs can get quite a workout in this 20-acre park with specialized training equipment, like an A-frame, plank and jump set, which is similar to a horse steeplechase. “There’s a lot for dogs to play with, a lot to teach them,” Barnett says. But she cautions that the park is not entirely fenced in.

Point Isabel Regional Shoreline

This 23-acre park gives dogs ample space for roaming off-leash, while humans have the opportunity to fish, hike and bike with their canine companions. “The view is beautiful of the San Francisco Bay. There are hills and a lot of space,” Barnett says. 888-327-2757;

Bentonville (Arkansas) Bark Park

Magnuson Dog Park
Seattle goes all out in the nine-acre fenced park, the only one in the city with water access — in this case to Lake Washington. The park has trails so humans can work out too. “Seattle is one of the most dog-friendly cities in the States,” Barnett says, and locals rave about this venue. 206-684-4075;

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