Top Places For

Taking Your Dog for a Walk

Our furry friends love the outdoors, too. So when you’re planning a day out in the Chesapeake region, pick a place where your pets are welcome to join in on the fun!

Your dog can enjoy the best of the Chesapeake at spots like Wye Island, Gunpowder Falls, and Windsor Castle Park, where pets can roam and play to their heart’s content. Whether your dog likes to walk, run, or swim, she’ll have a blast sniffing and splashing her way through the region’s best parks, beaches, and forests.

Remember to follow the posted rules for pets wherever you go. Most parks require your dog to stay on a leash at all times. Also, always pick up your pet’s poop, which can pollute our water when left on the ground.

Hit the trail with your dog at dozens of local parks, from Caledon State Park in Virginia to Gambrill State Park in Maryland. closer to Baltimore, try the Grist Mill Trail at Patapsco Valley State Park. For a full-day getaway, head to Shenandoah National Park, which is one of the few national parks that allows dogs.

On a warm day, take your dog to cool off at a pet-friendly swimming spot like First Landing State Park, Point Lookout State Park, or Terrapin Beach Park. At Pohick Bay Regional Park, you can even rent a kayak or paddleboard and paddle out onto the Potomac with your dog.

Exploring the Chesapeake is even more fun with your faithful companion by your side at the top places for taking your dog for a walk.

Biker on the Baltimore and Annapolis Trail

Baltimore and Annapolis Trail

The Baltimore and Annapolis Trail Park in central Maryland features a paved surface ten feet wide set within a corridor of parkland over thirteen miles long. The linear park is shared by walkers, runners, bicyclists, rollerbladers, and others.

Severna Park, MD

Bel Air State Park water view

Belle Isle State Park

With seven miles of waterfront on the north shore of the Rappahannock, Belle Isle State Park features diverse tidal and nontidal wetlands, lowland marshes, tidal coves and upland forests.

Lancaster, VA

Main building at Caledon State Park

Caledon State Park

A designated National Natural Landmark, Caledon State Park provides visitors a unique opportunity to view bald eagles in their natural habitat.

King George, VA

Tree Lined Road Through Catoctin Mountain Park

Catoctin Mountain Park

With 25 miles of trails winding through Catoctin Mountain Park, a variety of experiences are available ranging from easy to strenuous, many leading to outstanding scenic vistas.

Thurmont, MD

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal NHP

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park lets visitors explore history and the Potomac River along the 184 mile canal from Washington, DC to Cumberland, MD.

Potomac, MD

Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge

Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge

Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is a 2,285-acre island refuge at the confluence of the Chester River and the Chesapeake Bay on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It's an important migration stopover and wintering area for thousands of waterfowl.

Rock Hall, MD

Footbridge to Beach at First Landing State Park

First Landing State Park

First Landing State Park is located near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay close to the spot where Captain John Smith landed in 1607. First Landing is Virginia's most popular state park with over a million visitors each year.

Virginia Beach, VA

Fort Washington Park

Fort Washington Park

Fort Washington once guarded the water approach to the Nation's Capital and now provides grand views of Washington and Virginia.

Fort Washington, MD

Gambrill State Park

Gambrill State Park

Gambrill State Park is a beautiful mountain park, located on the ridge of the Catoctin Mountains in Frederick County. Its most popular feature is the 16 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

Frederick, MD

Great Falls Park

Great Falls Park

Just 15 miles from the Nation's capital, Great Falls is considered the most spectacular natural landmark in the DC metropolitan area. The park providing a series of trails and overlooks from which to view the falls and the gorge.

Great Falls Park, VA

Green Ridge State Forest

Green Ridge State Forest

Green Ridge State Forest is the second largest of Maryland's State Forests consisting of a 46,000-acre oak-hickory forest. It is located in eastern Allegany County, approximately eight miles east of Flintstone off I-68 at Exit 64.

Flintstone, MD

Trees in Autumn at Greenbelt National Park

Greenbelt National Park

Just twelve miles from Washington, D.C., Greenbelt Park is located in suburban Greenbelt, Maryland. The park features a 174 site campground, nine miles of trails, and three picnic areas.

Greenbelt, MD

Gunpowder Falls State Park

Gunpowder Falls State Park

Gunpowder Falls State Park protects the stream valleys of the Big and Little Gunpowder Falls and the Gunpowder River. The long, narrow 18,000 acre park ranges from tidal marshes and wetlands near the Bay to steep, rugged slopes upstream.

Middle River, MD

Gwynns Falls Trail and Greenway

Gwynns Falls Trail and Greenway

Explore a hiking and biking trail through a Baltimore stream valley making its way to the Chesapeake Bay.

Baltimore, MD

Kayaker at Janes Island State Park

Janes Island State Park

Janes Island State Park encompasses 2,900 acres of Chesapeake Bay marsh, beach, and highland. The park is dissected by many small waterways, with 30 miles of trails marked for canoes and kayaks.

Crisfield, MD

Jones Falls Trail

Jones Falls Trail

The trail parallels the Jones Falls River and passes by a number of historic mills, the scenic overlook at Round Falls and the Baltimore Street Car Museum.

Baltimore, MD

Kingman and Heritage Islands Park

Kingman and Heritage Islands Park

Kingman and Heritage Islands are natural parklands found on the Anacostia River in Northeast Washington, DC. There are over 50 acres of natural area to be explored on these two island habitats by water and land.

Washington, DC

Sunrise at Kiptopeke State Park

Kiptopeke State Park

Kiptopeke State Park's location near the tip of the Chesapeake's Eastern Shore makes the park a prime location for bird-watching. Migrating birds congregate at this point on the Delmarva before moving on to breeding or wintering grounds.

Cape Charles, VA

North Point State Park

North Point State Park

North Point State Park is a 1,310-acre Bay-front park with more than six miles of shoreline along the Chesapeake Bay, Back River, and Shallow Creek. The park offers public access, a wading beach, and crabbing and fishing opportunities.

Edgemere, MD

Patapsco Valley State Park

Patapsco Valley State Park

Patapsco Valley includes five developed recreational areas, providing hiking, fishing, camping, canoeing, horseback and mountain bike trails, as well as picnicking for individuals or large groups in the park's many popular pavilions.

Ellicott City, MD

Kayaker at Pohick Bay Regional Park

Pohick Bay Regional Park

Pohick Bay is a water oriented park located on the Potomac River 25 miles south of the nation's capital. Pohick Bay offers canoes, kayaks, paddle boats and jon boats for rent on the weekends.

Lorton, VA

Point Lookout State Park

Point Lookout State Park

Once a prison camp for 52,000 confederate soldiers during the Civil War, Point Lookout State Park now serves as a peaceful place to enjoy recreational outings.

Scotland, MD

Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park

Rock Creek Park is truly a gem in our nation's capital. It offers visitors an opportunity to reflect and soothe their spirits through the beauty of nature along a tributary of the Potomac River, and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.

Washington, DC

Overlook View in Autumn at Rocks State Park

Rocks State Park

Rocks State Park features opportunities for fishing, hiking, picnicking, canoeing and tubing, as well as bow hunting, rock climbing and repelling. Playgrounds, shelters, and comfort stations are available at each of the three picnic areas.

Jarrettsville, MD

Rocky Gap State Park

Rocky Gap State Park

Rocky Gap State Park is encompasses over 3,000 acres of public land for visitors to enjoy. Rugged mountains surround the park, featuring 243-acre Lake Habeeb.

Flintstone, MD

Scenic Overlook of Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park is your escape to recreation and re-creation. Cascading waterfalls, spectacular vistas, quiet wooded hollows—plan a hike, a meander along Skyline Drive, or a picnic with the family.

, VA

Spruce Knob/Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area - Lonecellotheory/Flickr

Spruce Knob - Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area

Enjoy spectacular scenery and outstanding outdoor recreation at the headwaters of the Potomac River.

Seneca Rocks, WV

Hiawatha River Boat on the Susquehanna River

Susquehanna State Park (PA)

This 20-acre riverfront recreational area is in the city of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The park offers boating, fishing, picnicking and cruises on a paddlewheeler.

Williamsport, PA

Biker at Terrapin Park

Terrapin Beach Park

Terrapin Park sits on 276 acres of Bay front land north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The park includes over 4,000 feet of shoreline and 73 acres of wetlands, making it a destination for nature and wildlife enthusiasts.

Stevensville, MD

Windsor Castle Park

Windsor Castle Park

Windsor Castle Park is a riverside park that features a woodland trail system, picnic and open area space, dog park, kayak/canoe launch, fishing pier, mountain bike path, scenic overlooks and the historic manor house -- Windsor Castle.

Smithfield, VA

Hunters at Wye Island Natural Resource Management Area

Wye Island Natural Resource Management Area

Located in the tidal recesses of the Chesapeake Bay between the Wye River and the Wye East River, Wye Island offers 2,800 acres of habitat for wintering waterfowl populations and other native wildlife.

Queenstown, MD

August 11, 2017

Main image: Kids walking their dog at Pocohontas State Park in Virginia. (Image courtesy: Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation)
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