Take The Plunge! 7 Great Dog Parks with Lakes

Posted by Billy Francis

This article was updated in August 2021.

Dog parks come in all shapes and sizes. There are big ones, small ones, grassy ones and even indoor ones, but there’s a certain type that can’t be topped during the summer months: a dog park with a lake. Who wouldn’t love plunging into the water after an intense game of fetch on a sunny day? Check out these seven dog parks that all run on lake time.

1. Dog Wood Park

Jacksonville, FL
“I would go to Dog Wood.” Photo by Josey

Dog Wood Park is one of the most epic dog parks in America. It spans 25 acres of grassy fields covered in fun tunnels, tubes and agility equipment, but the main attraction is the 2-acre swimming lake and beach. Pups can cool off in the clean waters of the lake, meet other water hounds and make four-legged friends while sunbathing on the sand. You’d expect your pooch to leave the park grubbier than before she entered, but not at Dog Wood. Here, she can enjoy a rinse at the free rinse station, or get a full wash in the self-service warm bath with brushes, towels, shampoo and more starting at $8. Your dog is going to want to show off her shiny coat, so head to the coast when she’s cleaned up and hang out by the boat dock at Wicked Barley Brewing Company.

Dog Wood charges an $11 entry fee. After a full day of play, check in at Aloft Jacksonville Tapestry Park for a comfortable stay surrounded by pet-friendly eateries.

2. Chatfield State Park Off-Leash Dog Area

Littleton, CO
“You want me to go first?” Photo by BringFido

There’s an old saying among frequenters of dog parks around the world: “two ponds are better than one!” Chatfield State Park Off-Leash Dog Area checks that box and many more with its expansive offerings. Hop on one of the well-trodden trails throughout the space and do a lake crawl between the two main watering holes. Dogs are free to roam around the rest of the 70-acre park without a leash, as long as they are under voice control. A Dog Off-Leash Area (DOLA) daily pass ($3) or annual pass ($25) is required to play in the park. Passes are available at the entrance and park office.

Now that Fido’s lived his dream at Chatfield, you can do the same at Living The Dream Brewing, a super pet-friendly brewery that offers delicious beers on tap.

If your dog has any energy left, she can run and play in the large fenced backyard of this beautifully landscaped home away from home.

3. James Island County Park

Charleston, SC
“I hope you remembered a towel!” Photo by @sullyandroux

Historic Charleston is home to gorgeous and colorful architecture, a walkable downtown and James Island County Park. The main features of this large and luscious space include 4 acres of meadows, a dog beach and an inviting lake. Visiting pups are welcome to walk along the paved pathway next to the water and take a dive into the lake for free. Say goodbye to sandy paws at the wash station, then head to Lowdown Oven and Bar to hang out on the huge patio.

You won’t have to travel far for this pet-friendly private studio. Conveniently placed on the edge of the park, it’s also close to the ocean and Charleston’s lovely downtown.

4. Bow Wow Beach

Stow, OH
“Come on in, the water feels great!” Photo by Valerie

The 3-acre lake at its center has been putting the “Wow” in Bow Wow Beach since 2007. Four-legged aquanauts flock from miles around to show off their best swan dives and hang out with other water-obsessed pups at this park operated by the city of Stow. The beaches covered in clean sand are an attractive prospect for obsessive diggers, but it doesn’t look as great on your back seat. Fortunately, there are dog washing stations for cleaning up when the party’s over. Fido can splash in the park for free. After his aquatic adventure, grab a bite at the delightfully named Stownut Donut.

Dry off and chill out at nearby Staybridge Suites Akron Stow Cuyahoga Falls.

5. Kaukauna Dog Park

Kaukauna, WI
“You’re blocking our photoshoot, dude!” Photo by Kell

Kaukauna Dog Park is an award-winning leisure spot in the little city of Kaukauna on the Fox River. In addition to separate sections for large and small dogs, the pond is also fenced, so you never have to worry about Fido getting over-excited and running off into the neighboring fields. You and your pooch can stroll along the walking trail before diving headfirst into the water. The paved pathway crosses over two bridges that were constructed by a local Scout Troop. A visit to the park won’t cost Fido a dime from his allowance, either. Afterwards, roll up with your pup at Dick’s Drive-in on the other side of the river.

Come for the dog park, but stay for the sunsets at this gorgeous Lake Winnebago property.

6. Edmond Dog Park at Bickham-Rudkin Park

Edmond, OK
“Tongues out!” Photo by @finley.and.dunn

Sitting on 4 acres of land, Edmond Dog Park at Bickham-Rudkin Park is not the biggest attraction on our list, but the pretty pond makes up for it. Surrounded by greenery, this watering hole provides a refreshing dunk for panting pups who are exhausted from long walks on the park trail and fun games in the grass. The park is free to enter. Whenever Fido has finished his lengths, head into downtown Edmond for an all-American meal at Flat Tire Burgers.

Although the secluded nature of the dog park keeps it from getting too busy, it also means finding a place to stay nearby is difficult. Thankfully, La Quinta Inn & Suites offers affordable and pet-friendly accommodations in Edmond.

7. Barc Parc South

Myrtle Beach, SC
“You go in first!” Photo by Lori

Barc Parc South is Myrtle Beach’s original leash-free recreation area. The 14-acre park is made up of three different sections for large dogs, small dogs and all dogs to play together. In the park for all sizes of pup, Fido will find a large and inviting lake. After a refreshing dip, he can dry off on the walking path and grab a drink at one of the water fountains. Dogs play for free at Myrtle Beach’s first dog park, which is conveniently located near a handful of pet-friendly restaurants at the Market Common. Then, head up the coast to the “pup-ular” dog park’s sister location, Barc Parc North.

Located just four blocks from the ocean, Kelsey's Kottage is the ideal pet-friendly vacation rental for visitors to Myrtle Beach.

Which lake will Fido cool off in first? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

Banner photo by Facebook.com/jaxdog.