Dog Day Afternoon
Finding a spot to play with your four-legged friend
By Erin Bell

You’ve found play areas for you and the kids, but what about the other member of your clan – the family dog? Whether you’ve got a tiny dachshund or an enormous Great Dane, SJ is full of dog-friendly parks to take your pup to exercise and meet other dogs.

Many of these dog parks have additional rules about how many dogs you can bring and what the expectations are for owners (getting your dog registered is a must), so be sure to contact them for more information before you go. And the good news: all of these parks are free!

Timber Creek Park
1731 Chews Landing Road, Blackwood
Open 6 am to 10 pm
Cost: Free
856-216-2117
camdencounty.com
Fido has it made in the shade at Timber Creek’s nine acres of fenced-in woodland park. Dogs are free to roam unleashed along the trails and through the trees with you, or a swim in the private lake. The rest of the park’s 128 acres contains walking trails, an outdoor amphitheater and a tree-themed playground for the kids while you walk the dog.

Longport Dog Beach
Route 152 & Ocean Drive Bridge, Somers Point
Open sunrise to sunset
Cost: Free
609-525-9202
Having trouble finding an off-leash beach for the pups to play on? Longport Dog Beach has been leash-free for years. Dogs can play all year long in the sand and waves, under the shadow of the Ocean Drive Bridge. All you need to bring with you is water – and plenty of clean-up bags, just in case.

Freedom Barks

Freedom Barks

Freedom Barks
86 Union Street, Medford
Open sunrise to sunset
Cost: Free
freedombarksinc@yahoo.com
medfordtownship.com
Sure, dogs love a wide-open field to run around in, but sometimes they want a playground too. Freedom Barks is a 20-acre park that offers agility features for dogs like seesaws, ladders and jump bars. “USA Today” was so impressed that in 2015 they named it one of the Top Ten Dog Parks – in the country. Bring water with you (there are no fountains for dogs), and make sure your dog is trained in recall, as the park is not completely fenced in.

sunset-beach

Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach
Cape May Point
502 Sunset Boulevard, Cape May
Open to dogs from Sept. 15-April 15, 10 am to dusk
Cost: Free
800-757-6468
sunsetbeachnj.com
Enjoy a dog-day morning, afternoon and evening at Sunset Beach. Here, everything is dog-friendly, from the “Cape May diamonds” beach and the water to the Sunset Beach Grill, where dogs are more than welcome at the outdoor tables, You will have to keep your pets on a leash, but the flag ceremony at dusk is worth waiting for.

Connolly Park
Centennial Boulevard & Hermitage Drive, Voorhees
Open sunrise to sunset
Cost: Free
856-428-5499
voorheesnj.com
Dog owners can meet and greet and sit in the shade at picnic tables while the canines play in two fenced-in dog runs. Nervous pet owners can relax, because large dogs and small dogs are kept separated. Water, waste bags and some toys are provided, so just bring a water bowl and maybe a tennis ball or two.

Veterans Memorial Park
2206 Kuser Road, Hamilton
Open sunrise to sunset
Cost: Free
609-581-4124
njtrails.org
Sometimes a dog just needs a place to roam. Veterans Memorial Park – all 333 acres of it – will keep you and your dog busy for a entire day. The dog park is fenced-in and has play areas for both small and large dogs. When you want to explore beyond the dogs-only area, leash your pooch and walk the four miles of wooded trails through the rest of the park. Then fill up at the doggie fountain before challenging the other dogs and their owners at the park’s obstacle course, full of pipes, high jumps and more.

Barnegat Light Dog Park
West 10th Street & Bayview Avenue, Barnegat Light
Open 7 am to 7 pm
Cost: Free
609-494-9196
barnegatlight.org
Since dogs aren’t allowed on any Long Beach Island beaches during the summer months, locals and vacationers bring their pets to LBI’s only dog park. Let the dogs off the leash to play at the fenced-in park, which doubles as a ball park, in case you’re up for a game of canine baseball. (And if you are craving a seaside walk with man’s best friend, dogs can be walked on the beach in the off-season – with a leash – starting October 1.)

Washington Township Dog Park

Washington Township Dog Park

Washington Township Dog Park
1 Tagart Parkway, Sewell
Open 6 am to dusk
Cost: Free
856-589-6427
townshipnj.com
All dogs are welcome to play in one of two fenced-in areas at Washington Township Dog Park, but it’s the humans who have to follow the rules – no one younger than age 14 is allowed. If you want a brisk walk before or after you let your pet play (or the kids want something to do), follow the 1.35-mile nature trail past the outdoor amphitheater, koi fish pond, playgrounds, and plenty of soccer and baseball fields.

Laurel Acres Park Dog Run
1405 South Church Street, Mount Laurel
Open sunrise to sunset
Cost: Free
856-234-0001
mountlaurel.com
There are two dog runs – one for dogs 40 lbs. or larger and one for smaller dogs, so you don’t have to worry about different sizes and breeds getting along. But if you simply want to go on a leashed walk with your dog, the nature trails at Laurel Acres wind up hills, through the woods and by the lake for a scenic, quieter experience with your pet. Dog waste bags are provided at the dog run, but be sure to bring some water and a bowl.

Pooch Park
At Cooper River Park
North Park Drive & Cuthbert Boulevard, Cherry Hill
Open sunrise to sunset
Cost: Free
856-216-2117
camdencounty.com
Pets – and owners – will get a kick out of the dog fountain that pours water into metal dog bowls for big and small dogs. The fenced-in play area is sectioned off for big and small breeds, and toys and waste bags are provided. Though the official park hours are dawn to dusk, the lights surrounding the Pooch Park at Cooper River will keep the fun times going for you and your best friend for a little bit longer.

Clayton Dog Park
At Autumn Pasquale Memorial Park
29 East Avenue, Clayton
Open sunrise to sunset
Cost: Free
856-881-2882
claytonnj.com
The 1.5 acres of land was always there at Autumn Pasquale Memorial Park, but it took hard work from Girl Scout Elizabeth Culver, who petitioned the town and raised money to have a dog park fenced off so canines could play off the leash. (Read more about Culver at sjmagazine.net.) The dog park has a section for small dogs and big ones, plus you can leash your dog and walk the trails through the rest of the park.

July 2016
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