(credit: PARK JI-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images)
The San Francisco Bay Area is a dog lover’s best friend, with loads of excellent dog parks around the region to prove it. Read on for five popular dog parks, rated tops by the Bay Area’s happiest canines.
Crissy Field Park
1199 E. Beach
San Francisco, CA 94129
Crissy Field is a 100-acre shoreline park that is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This park trumps all others with its pretty, scenic views of the Golden Gate Bridge – a definite highlight as you stroll, walk or jog the paved path that runs along the San Francisco Coast. You will meet lots of dog owners and walkers on this path along the coast that leads to the beach, as it is such a welcoming and dog-friendly place. Crissy Field is a stunning park to take your dog to enjoy the off-leash areas on the beaches along the waterline and the grassy landing field. Note: the West beach nearest to Fort Point is not an off-leash area. All off-leash dogs must be under strict voice control and leashed when not in off-leash areas. No dogs are allowed in the fenced restoration zones or lagoon area. Be sure to be vigilant and clean up after your pooch at all times.
Golden Gate Park
Ocean Beach to Stanyan
Between Fulton and Lincoln Way
San Francisco, CA 94117
A San Francisco landmark, Golden Gate Park is the city’s largest and best-known park. Loaded with something for everyone, including jogging paths, world-class museums, gorgeous gardens, sports fields and much more, Golden Gate Park is a definite user-friendly place for all. The park welcomes everyone including dogs that want to run free, which totally delights their owners. Though the park’s off-leash areas are not the biggest, within its boundaries are four dog areas spanning east to west for dogs to run and play freely and enjoy some dog socializing time. Just remember to leash your dog again before exiting dog park areas to do some park exploring for yourself while keeping a close eye on your pet. Visit the website for a map link that shows Golden Gate Park’s designated off-leash areas.
2701 Isabel St.
Richmond, CA 94808
Visitors to Point Isabel Regional Shoreline squeal with delight at this popular dog-friendly park. Point Isabel Dog Park is a favorite for its awesome views of the bay and San Francisco skyline, and most of all its large, open space for dogs to freely run off-leash and play with other dogs or splash and swim in the water. There are lots of bag stations around the park with disposable bags for dog owners to clean up after their dogs. Owners can walk or run with their dogs and enjoy the scenery and fresh air. Take a break and relax with an espresso at the Sit & Stay Café, located next to Mudpuppy’s Tub & Scrub, a dog washing spot that is especially welcomed when it’s time to take Fido home. Although dogs can be off-leash at Point Isabel, owners must have a leash with them, six-foot max, and have their dogs under voice control and always within sight. Note: dogs must be on-leash in parking lots and streets.
8th Street at Portola Ave.
Alameda, CA 94501
Here is a very pleasant park just for small dogs 30 pounds or less, and with no big dogs to contend with. Alameda Small Dog Park has it all: grass, trees, drinking fountain and a conveniently located public restroom that sits between the dog park and tennis courts. After your dog’s exercise and play time, the two of you can stroll along the walking path along the beach at Crown Memorial State park, just a short walk from the dog park. Alameda Small Dog Park is located in the lower section of Washington Park in Alameda, California (8th Street & Portola Ave). The parking lot is adjacent to the tennis courts, close to the dog park. Check out the Alameda Small Dog Park website for lots of information, and to contribute to its update.
13630 Sonoma Highway
Glen Ellen, CA 95442
Most California state and county parks allow dogs anywhere on a leash, but not within Sonoma city limits, including Sonoma Plaza, a destination immensely popular with tourists and residents. But fear not dog lovers, fortunately there is Elizabeth Perron Dog Park in Sonoma Valley Regional Park, a wonderful park for dogs to run, exercise and socialize with other dogs. This one-acre dog park within Sonoma Valley Regional Park is fully fenced with a double-gated entry, a drinking fountain just for dogs and a gazebo that provides shaded relief in the hot Sonoma sun. Open at 8 a.m. and closed at sunset, Sonoma Valley Regional Park charges $7 per vehicle for day use.