The South’s Best Dog Parks

These wag-worthy playgrounds are sure to cure any restless pooch—and are fun for owners too.
Jessica S. Thuston

Dog Beach Paw Playground At Fort De Soto Park
Tierra Verde, Florida

Why your dog will love it: Simply put—it’s a canine beach. Finally, your pup can lounge in the sun and chase balls into the surf on a stretch of beach designated just for dogs. There are also hoses available for washing Fido down after a sandy romp.

Why you’ll love it: This picturesque spot near St. Petersburg and Tampa is free and ideal for tourists who have their dogs in tow. The views are spectacular, and many owners bring chairs and enjoy picnics while the dogs play.

Dogwood Park
Knoxville, Tennessee

Why your dog will love it: Puppies are not overlooked here with a playground (constructed especially for little legs) that features a tunnel, puppy jump, and inclined hill. Once your pooch is thoroughly worn out, he or she can drink up at a water fountain designed just for dogs.

Why you’ll love it: It’s part of larger Victor Ashe Park, a 115-acre area that also includes a disc golf course, a children’s playground, soccer fields, fishing, a 1.5-mile cross-country trail, and a paved greenway for biking or jogging.

Fort Woof Dog Park
Fort Worth, Texas

Why your dog will love it: Located near Downtown, this park was North Texas’s second fenced, off-leash dog park and remains its best. There are two areas for large and small dogs to roam, multiple water spigots, and free plastic waste bags.

Why you’ll love it: Besides having the best name of any place on our list, the community-based group that runs this park knows how to have fun. They have extended an open invitation to First Dog Bo Obama to come play but swear their park is non “pawtisan.”

PETA’s Bea Arthur Dog Park
Norfolk, Virginia

Why your dog will love it: An access ramp lets your pooch dog-paddle down a stretch of the picturesque Elizabeth River, while a free toy bin provides ample opportunity for throwing the ball over and over again.

Why you’ll love it: Named after The Golden Girls star and animal-rights supporter, this 1-acre park is open 24/7 and has a shaded area for owners to relax while their dogs play. Located near the water in downtown Norfolk, it’s also convenient to the cruise lines’ port for visiting tourists.

PAW Park
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Why your dog will love it: Bordered by a pond, this park has a roped off water area and gravel beach for swimming and splashing. There’s also plenty of room to run in two fenced areas—one for small and senior dogs and a second for larger dogs.

Why you’ll love it: PAW Park is located near Lake Hefner, which offers biking and jogging trails, a fishing dock, and a boat slip. The area inside the dog park has some shaded areas as well as several benches and watering stations—a plus during hot summers.