Walking your dog in the neighborhood is fine for the weekdays. But when the weekend rolls around, try planning an outing a little further from home. Now that summer is here, this is prime time for play time! So, grab your walking leash, a waste bag and water for your pet—and explore these 10 dog-friendly places for you and your bestie!

  • Elizabeth River Trail, Norfolk
    This 10.5-mile urban trail along the Elizabeth River offers a beautiful backdrop for walking your dog. Along the paved and natural pathways are benches, fitness stations, trash receptacles and Plum Park for an easy rest spot. The trail also runs through the Chelsea neighborhood, where there are restaurants and breweries with outdoor seating for you and your pet (see below). The Elizabeth River Trail (ERT) also connects to Town Point Park in the downtown area, with ample green space for a game of fetch.
  • Benchtop Brewing Company, Norfolk
    This dog-friendly brewery on the ERT is the perfect pit stop during your walk. Benchtop Brewing Company offers two patios, and well-behaved pets are welcome inside and out. “Keep the unpredictable pets at home, please,” they say. We get that!
  • First Landing State Park, Virginia Beach
    At First Landing State Park, you can trek along 20 miles of hiking trails that wind through a shady Cypress Swamp setting. Or walk by the shore at the park’s Chesapeake Bay beach front. Park rules require you supervise pets and keep them on a leash no longer than six feet. You can also make an overnight stay of it, by renting a campsite or cabin on park grounds.
  • Ridgway Bark Park, Hampton
    An amenity of Hampton Parks and Recreation, the Ridgeway Bark Park offers over a full, secure acre of land for dogs to run without leashes. Pet owners can keep an eye on their dogs from covered and open seating within the enclosures. You must register your dog with the park before going, and the $10 yearly fee allows for unlimited park use.
  • Oak Grove Lake Park, Chesapeake
    This 65-acre park off Volvo Parkway offers a dog-friendly, 1.5-mile trail around the lake, plus benches to rest and take in the pretty views. There are also fitness stations along the Ocean Grove Lake Park, a playground and areas where fishing is permitted.
  • Red Wing Park, Virginia Beach Where to begin? With so many features in this 97-acre park, it may be hard to choose which ones to explore. Red Wing Park has paths to walk and hike, picnic areas, a fenced-in dog park, multiple playing courts for sports, a Miyazaki Japanese garden, public bathrooms, vending machines and a wooded area. They even offer a Cherry Blossom Festival in the spring.
  • New Realm Brewery, Virginia Beach
    From Red Wing Park, you are less than two miles from New Realm Brewery. Who needs a refreshing beverage? This dog-friendly spot has a two-acre beer garden with firepits and cornhole. Your dogs will love the lawn and shade, and you’ll dig the laid-back vibe. Come back soon for live music, Bingo and movie nights in the garden.
  • Norfolk Botanical Gardens, Norfolk
    Four paws up for Sunday Dog Days at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens! All those trails, blooms and trees; what a sensory sensation for your pet. Garden members and their dogs get in free. Others can enjoy this outing for the regular admission fee + $5 for your dog. Canines must remain leashed, and a few garden locations are off limits. Don’t forget to BYOB! (That’s B for water bowl.) Fresh water is available through the gardens.
  • Meadowbrook Dog Park in Norfolk
    Owned by the City of Norfolk, this park on West Little Creek Road offers separate enclosed small and large dog playing areas and water stations. A shady playground and basketball court make it ideal if you are looking for a kid-friendly park as well. For a complete list of Norfolk dog parks, check here.
  • Elizabeth River Park, Chesapeake
    This park by the Elizabeth River offers more than just a paved ADA-friendly path for you and your dogs; it also offers a 24-hour public boat ramp and parking, a fishing pier, a dog park, playground, a fitness area and a snack shack offering snacks and fishing supplies. Find all the details at this link.

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