Whether you bring Fido on vacation with you to Virginia Beach or you live in the area, Virginia Beach has a wide array of dog parks, pet-friendly state parks, and beaches where your dog can enjoy running off some of that pent-up energy.
When both humans and dogs need to get a little exercise, head to one of Virginia Beach’s off-leash dog parks, where you all can meet a new friend. The local state parks, the oceanfront boardwalk, and local beaches all make great places to take your dog for a walk or run and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
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Dos and Don’ts with Dogs
As always, when you have your pooch out in public, please be considerate of others and follow these Do and Don’t Tips.
- Keep your dog on a leash when not inside a dog park fence, and only remove the leash once you are inside the park fence.
- Before heading to a dog park, make sure your dog has all its required shots and licensing
- Please, Please, Please, pick up after your dog.
- When in a dog park, continue to watch your dog.
- If your dog becomes aggressive towards other dogs, be courteous to others and leave the park.
- Don’t bring food for you or your dog into the dog park
- Don’t leave your dog unattended while playing in the dog park.
- If your dog is sick or in heat, don’t bring them to the park.
- Don’t bring puppies under four months old or children under eight into the dog parks.
- Discourage your dog from digging holes. If they do, please refill them immediately.
TIP: If you have a more aggressive dog or want to run them in the park by themselves, try heading to the dog park in the early morning or late evening when less crowded. You may have a chance to have it to yourself.
Best Virginia Beach Dog Parks
Virginia Beach’s five dog parks, run by the Parks and Recreation Department, are open from sunrise to sunset.
Bayville Farms Park
- Address: 4132 First Court Road, Virginia Beach, VA
In northern Virginia Beach, you will find the Bayville Farms Park in the Chicks Beach area. This 68-acre park not only has a dog park but a disc golf course, tennis courts, and a playground.
The dog park area has three sections, one for large dogs over 30 pounds, another for smaller dogs, and the third area is rotated out to repair the turf. The separate area for small dogs gives these owners peace of mind that a much larger pooch won’t trample their tiny dog. At the same time, owners of large dogs don’t have to worry about their dog wanting to roughhouse play with a petite pup.
The dog park area has plenty of benches and bathrooms for the dog owners and provides fresh water and poop bags for dog use.
- Address: 120 Marshview Drive, Virginia Beach, VA
Marshview Park is convenient and within a 30-minute walk of the surf and sand when visiting or near the southern half of the resort strip.
Marshview Park not only has four different fenced-in areas for dogs, but plenty of trees and shade are available in this 100-acre park. The park also has a large playground, small play areas, and a network of trails to walk, run, or bike on. After enjoying the trails, stay for a picnic at one of the three picnic shelters.
Redwing Dog Park
- Address: 1398 General Booth Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA
Both dogs and their owners will surely enjoy a visit to the beautiful 97-acre Red Wing Park. The dogs can frolic around unleashed in the 1-acre fenced area with their newest friends.
The park does provide water and poop bags for your dog and vending machines, restrooms, water fountain, and benches for the human owners.
Do be advised; this park can get a bit muddy after it rains.
If you spend time exploring the other 96 acres of this park, you will find three playgrounds, picnic areas with grills and horseshoe pits, tennis, basketball, volleyball, and badminton courts. Take time to explore the four gardens, including the Reba S. McClanan Fragrance Garden and the Miyazaki Japanese Garden. Fido might also enjoy taking you for a walk on the lovely nature trails. In the spring, be sure to visit during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.
Salem Woods Park
- Address: 1525 Salem Road, Virginia Beach, VA
The Salem Woods Park offers dogs a 1.72-acre shady dog park that has been divided into two to accommodate all sizes and levels of energy dogs. There is a dog water fountain on-site to fill your dog’s water bowl when it gets thirsty and needs a drink.
The park also has a paved walking track, a playground with swings, and plenty of benches to sit and rest or enjoy the scenery.
Do note that the park does not have a bathroom building but only a permanent Port-o-potty.
- Address: 5709 Providence Road, Virginia Beach, VA
Whether you live in or are visiting the Kempsville area of Virginia Beach, the 1-acre grassy dog park in Woodstock Park is fenced and is a lovely area for your furry friend to get off-leash and run around.
The dog park has a high fence, so your dog will not be tempted to jump over it and explore the rest of the park. The dog park area has poop bags and a dog water fountain. In the shade, you will find benches to sit and relax while your dog releases a bunch of energy.
Once done at the dog park, head to the skate plaza, tennis courts or enjoy a picnic. Woodstock Park also has bathrooms and vending machines.
Dog-Friendly Parks and Hiking Trails
City View Park
- Address: 2073 Kempsville Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23464
Even though City View Park doesn’t have a dog park, the 43-acre park is pet-friendly as long as Fido is on a leash. The shared-use path is the perfect place to walk your dog.
The park has baseball fields, a playground with therapeutic cradle swings, tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts.
False Cape State Park
- Address: 4001 Sandpiper Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23456
False Cape State Park is a bit more challenging for pet owners to get their furry friend in, but the primitive, undeveloped 6-miles of beachfront and 15 miles of trails is genuinely a fantastic back to nature experience.
Pets are welcome, but only for those who boat in (year-round) or hike the beach trail from the North Carolina border (November – March) since the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge does not permit dogs in the refuge.
False Cape State Park not only has excellent hiking trails, but offers environmental education programs, bike trails, untouched beaches to enjoy sunbathing and swimming, guided kayak trips, and beachfront primitive camping.
First Landing State Park
- Address: 2500 Shore Drive, Virginia Beach, VA
With more than a million visitors annually, First Landing State Park is Virginia’s most popular state park. The 2,888-acre park on Virginia Beach’s northeast corner offers 19 miles of pet-friendly hiking and biking trails, beautiful unguarded, pet-friendly beaches, an educational center with activities throughout the day.
A boat launch area at the 64th Street entrance has access to the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. This area of First Landing also has a little beach called The Narrows and is excellent for dogs who love to play in calm water. It is also a terrific place to paddleboard since it is usually pretty flat water.
The 6-mile Cape Henry Trail that meanders through the woods and the 5-mile Long Creek Trail, where you can stroll along the bay and salt marsh, is the perfect trails for a dog walk.
On the Chesapeake Bay shores, First Landing State Park offers campsites, cabins, and yurts along 1.25 miles of beautiful shoreline where the English colonists first arrived in 1607. Yes, pets are welcome to join you during your stay at First Landing.
Lake Smith / Lake Lawson Natural Area
- Address: 5381 Shell Road, Virginia Beach, VA
In the Bayside area of Virginia Beach, the 1.6-mile Lake Lawson Loop Trail is a beautiful place to take a stroll with your leashed dog. Along your route, enjoy the 42-acre preserve and chances to see a variety of wildlife.
Pleasure House Point
- Address: 3957 Marlin Bay Dr, Virginia Beach, VA 23455
When looking for a short, easy trail to walk with your dog with beautiful views of the Lynnhaven River and opportunities to see marsh wildlife, head to the Pleasure House Point Trail near the Lesner Bridge over Lynnhaven Inlet and the Chesapeake Bay.
The 0.9-mile trail is peaceful as you stroll along the quiet beach peninsula through the maritime forest and marshlands. Along the way, take time to take some of the cutoffs that will lead you to viewpoints of the Lynnhaven Inlet.
Your leased dog is welcome to join you as long as you clean up after it. Remember to water and bags since none are on site.
TIP: Avoid walking the trail at high tide since there is one spot that gets pretty wet at that time.
Stumpy Lake Natural Area
- Address: 4797 Indian River Road, Virginia Beach, Virginia, 23456
When you want to get away from the resort area and busy city life, head down Indian River Road to Stumpy Lake’s dense forest. Here you and your leashed dog can have a wonderful time exploring the Stumpy Lake Natural Area’s 970 acres of forests while bird watching. See if you can spot one of the resident bald eagles, great egrets, or a prothonotary warbler. Stop to spend a little time fishing along the 278-acre lake. If you have a canoe or kayak, there is a boat launch area near the Stumpy Lake Golf Course.
The natural area offers opportunities to walk two soft surface loop trails. Combine the 1 mile and 0.65-mile loops for a longer 1½-mile hike.
Virginia Beach Boardwalk and Beaches
What would be a better dog park or place to run than the 35-mile long coastline of Virginia Beach? The sand and surf is a terrific place for your dog to release some of that pent-up energy and romp in the sand, and get a workout doggy paddling in the ocean.
Even though your pet is always welcome to join you on a Virginia Beach vacation, they sometimes have to stay behind when you head to the oceanfront.
Below are Virginia Beach’s seasonal rules concerning dogs along the Resort Strip and oceanfront.
During the summer – Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend:
- In the following areas, dogs can play on the beach and in the water before 10:00 AM and after 6:00 PM:
- The North End – 42nd Street and north
- Chesapeake Bay
- Leashed dogs may stroll the Virginia Beach Boardwalk daily between 6:00 and 10:00 AM.
During the offseason from after Labor Day to the Thursday before Memorial Day:
- Your dog is welcome to join you for a stroll along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, in the sand, or even play in the water. During this time, there are no time restrictions.
- While on the beach, well-behaved and supervised dogs can frolic in the sand and water unleased.
- Leashed dogs may walk the boardwalk.
West Neck Creek Natural Area
The West Neck Creek Natural Area offers dog owners a great place to take their leashed dogs for a stroll. The 217-acre wooded area in the southern portion of Virginia Beach has a 0.3-mile paved ADA compliant trail and about 2 ½ miles of soft paths.