Your Guide To Dallas' Best Off-Leash Dog Parks.
With the weather in Dallas finally bearable again, now's the perfect time of year to take your furry best friend to the dog park.
If you're a dog park newbie, here are the basics of what you need to know about the Dallas dog park world:
• Most of the parks around town are free, off-leash and open to anyone with a non-aggressive dog that has received all of its shots.
• At pretty much every park, you'll see two sections, one for small dogs (under 40 lbs.) and one for the larger breeds.
• All parks have different hours, but are usually open from sunrise to sunset or something along those lines.
• Most every park in town closes on Mondays for maintenance.
• Only about half of them have decent bathrooms for humans.
Each park boasts its own unique identity, though, so it's helpful to know what you're getting into at each before heading that way.
To that end, we're here to help. Below, we've put together a list of dog parks we're sure you and your little furry friend are going to love, listed from smallest to largest, with a few honorable mentions compiled at the end at the end. Whether your little one likes to swim, fetch or socialize, there's a park somewhere around town ready to cater to your needs. So check out this breakdown, find the park that's best for you and your pooch, and go explore.
Central Dog Park. This is a quiet little dog park in a nice neighborhood. But, since it's located behind the Central Christian Church, most people tend to miss it. Don't underestimate this one, though! This park has some nice perks that the others don't, including a dog washing station, ample parking and plenty of chairs. It's also one of the only dog parks that isn't a muddy mess when it rains. If you're looking for a more mellow place to relax with your pooch, Central Dog Park is your place.
Bark Park Central. This park is a really great use of space. They took a small lot under the elevated portion of Central Expressway in Deep Ellum and turned it into a cute and artsy place for your pooch. This park has a little younger crowd than the others and, to keep with the Deep Ellum vibe, it's covered in colorful, dog-related graffiti. Pretty much the only downside to this park is that there is no separation between large and small dogs, which, well, just kind of is what it is.
Mutts Canine Cantina. Mutts Canine Cantina just opened and is taking a new approach to its offering: It's a hot dog stand meets sports bar meets dog park. Fair warning, though: To enter the off-leash section of this establishment, you have to be a Mutts Member. Pricing is $9.95 a month or $4.95 a day. On the plus side, however, it's free to hang out with your dog on Mutts' leash-required patio. Want to have a drink while your pooch plays? Go for it: They have everything from craft beer and vintage wine to shakes and margaritas on the menu. They even have a doggie dessert and doggie hot dog for your little pal.
White Rock Lake Dog Park. Dallas' first city dog park is also arguably the city's best — well, if you're hoping to do other activities, such as walking around the lake, kayaking or having a picnic. Beware, though, that this park can get real muddy real fast in the rain. But wet doesn't necessarily mean bad: If you walk around behind the large dog section, there's waterfront access so that your pooch can go swim in the lake. Well, sometimes. It's currently closed because of safety concerns. Still!
Wagging Tail Dog Park. This is one of the nicest dog parks in Dallas, and for many reasons. For one thing, it has ample parking, plenty of trees and it's just very well maintained. There's even a cute little waterfall you can view behind the parking lot. Also a plus? The people here are very friendly, and almost everyone is a regular. The large dog side can get very muddy when it rains, though. But the small side rarely gets muddy, so there's that!
NorthBark Dog Park. NorthBark Dog Park is the king of Dallas dog parks. It's very similar to Wagging Tail Dog Park, but with something of an upgrade: It's the largest park in the city and it features the nicest bathrooms, the biggest parking lot and its own, man-made pond. If your dog is a swimmer, this might be the park for you. This park also stands out because it has three sections instead of two. In addition to your usual small and large sides, there's also a mutual section. There is even a place to rinse off your dog when it's finished with its swim.
Here are a few good parks that didn't quite make the cut.
Main Street Garden Dog Run. Main Street Garden has an urban dog run on the south side of the park. It is all cement with some fun obstacles for your dog to play on. If you're in downtown Dallas, this is a great place to let your dog get some exercise.
Klyde Warren Dog Park. Klyde Warren Park also has a small urban dog park in the southeast corner, complete with fake grass and shooting fountains. There's just something inherently cool about being in a park on top of an interstate, let's be honest. Plus, the fountains shoot out water at random times, which can be pretty entertaining or accidentally devastating if you're not on top of your game.
Meadows Dog Park. This is a nice-sized dog park ran by the Meadows Foundation, and it has most everything you could want in a dog park, although it's unfortunately lacking a few things that the city's other parks boast. Although the white picket fence surrounding the place is pretty adorable, it isn't very practical, as small dog can pretty easily squeeze through the breaks. There's also just one gate, and it's pretty easy to accidentally let a few dogs out on your way in if you aren't careful. So just be sure to be careful.
All photography via Instagram users. Cover photo courtesy of user @pametz.