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Roam: The best dog parks in the Western US

You’ll find terrific pet parks out West, where the scenery is spectacular and there’s plenty of space for your dog to run and play. Put some of these on your “must-visit” list, especially if you’re traveling during the summer. Their ponds, creeks are other water features are refreshing when the temperatures soar.

Richmond, CA

Point Isabel Regional Shoreline. If your pup will obey voice commands and stay in sight, stow his leash and let him romp around this beautiful 23-acre park. There are also over 2.5 miles of San Francisco Bay Trail in the area. While he splashes in the bay, enjoy views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin County, or watch for cranes, herons and other birds. Later, grab a snack for yourself and him at the Sit & Stay Café. Make Mudpuppy’s Tub & Scrub your last stop and treat your dog to a head-to-tail scrub or grooming.

Book a room for a day or longer at Extended Stay America Richmond Hilltop Mall, or try an Airbnb property. Beachside Retreat has a backyard for your dog and sits a block away from dog-friendly Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Colorado Springs, CO

Bear Creek Dog Park. More doggy fun awaits at 25-acre Bear Creek Dog Park. In addition to playing in the creek, your canine companion can explore the prairie, climb hills, and run a ¾-long primary trail and secondary trails. A 2-acre section of the park is set aside for senior dogs and small dogs. You’ll find dog drinking fountains and a dog washing station in the agility training area. Go mid-week to avoid crowds.

When you need a place to rest your weary feet and paws, try one of the pet-friendly La Quinta Inns and Suites in Colorado Springs or The Dog House, an Airbnb with a fenced, dog-friendly yard (dogs can’t be kenneled in the house).

Fort Worth, TX

Fort Woof Dog Park at Gateway Park. Leave it to Texas to do things in a big way. This off-leash playground has oversized fire hydrants, a watering station and water bowls, agility hoops, tunnels and other equipment. It also boasts two large fenced areas: one for big dogs, and one for smaller pups. The park, located east of downtown, in Gateway Park, is lighted so you can visit after sunset. Consider Country Inn & Suites by Carlson, in Fort Worth, for lodgings for yourself and your best fur friend.

Prescott, AZ

Willow Creek Dog Park. Since 2010, Beneful has helped develop dog parks across the US, including Willow Creek, a fire station-themed park in northeast Prescott. Dalmatians will feel right at home on the life-sized fire truck (and so will other breeds). Let your pup play in fire hose shaped-tunnels, run past fire-hydrant misters, and lounge in the grass. For pet-friendly lodgings, consider Prescott’s Quality Inn, a Choice Hotel. It’s one of several pet-friendly properties around town.

Houston, TX

Millie Bush Dog Park. Fifteen-acre Millie Bush Dog Park, in Houston, is named for the English Springer Spaniel who shared the White House with former President George Bush and his family. Thanks to its three swimming ponds, dog showers and drinking fountains, and a shaded walking path, it’s a great place to cool off in the sizzling Texas summers. Many Red Roof Inns in Houston are pet-friendly.

Before you go to a park you’ve never visited, check its website: Some won’t allow puppies until they’ve reached a certain age, and you may need to bring your own waste bags. You’ll also find information about tag and inoculation requirements, hours and more. A little preparation before you go ensures a lot of fun once you get there.

Editor’s note: Check out our pet park tips and etiquette before visiting pet parks across the US.


Lynn Coulter is owned by two rescue dogs—Molly and Miss Paws—and occasionally blogs at LynnCoulter.com. She’s also the author of three books and a freelancer who writes about travel, gardening and more. She and her husband live in metro Atlanta, where they cheer for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and spend their money on dog biscuits.

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