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Boston’s Best Off-Leash Dog Areas

August 10, 2013 6:00 AM

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(Photo credit: Carl Stevens)

(Photo credit: Carl Stevens)

During the “dog days” of summer in the city, both man and beast deserve a chance to cool off and have some fun. Exercise and recreation are as important to pets as they are to their owners. Boston’s off-leash dog parks offer dogs and their people a wonderful opportunity to enjoy some time together to socialize, play and meet new friends. Dog parks have also been shown to promote community safety and spirit. Here are some of our top picks for you and your pooch.
Peters Park Dog Run

(credit: peterspark.org)

Peter’s Park
Washington St. and E. Berkeley St.
Boston, MA 02118
www.peterspark.org

Peter’s Park in Boston’s South End is a dog owner’s delight. Located right in the middle of the city, this fenced-in park allows dogs to roam leash free. The park offers two big pens for dogs, one of which is just for smaller breeds. There are also benches for owners to take a break while the pooches play. Dog-friendly features include a water fountain especially for dogs and a rock course for doggie playtime. Dogs can also make new friends since the park can attract up to 40 canines on a good day, without crowding. The park also features five acres that offer activities for children and families, including a baseball field, a gated playground for kids, lighted basketball courts and a tennis court.

Fresh Pond Reservation
250 Fresh Pond Parkway
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 349-4770
www.friendsoffreshpond.org

For Cambridge dog owners looking for an off-leash area for their pets, the Fresh Pond Reservation is a good choice. The area offers 162 acres of land with a 155-acre pond. This is a prime recreation space for dogs, walkers, runners, rollerbladers and bicyclists. The main caveat here is that only dogs that are licensed in the city of Cambridge can roam off leash. Park rangers are usually on hand to check IDs. Owners with unlicensed dogs and dogs from out of town without a leash can be fined. Having said that, for those dogs and their owners with the proper license, this is a haven for off-leash fun. Dog owners and their four-legged companions may also use the park’s trails if the animal is leashed. Owners and dogs can get into the park from Concord Avenue, Fresh Pond Parkway, Blanchard Road or Huron Avenue.

Related: Boston’s Best Dog Breeders

(Photo from Somdog/Facebook)

(Photo from Somdog/Facebook)

Nunziato Field 
Summer St. and Vinal Ave.
Somerville, MA 02143
www.somdog.org

This park is one of two off-leash dog parks in the city of Somerville, just outside of Boston, and has the distinction of being the first park in Somerville designated for off-leash dog recreation. The Nunziato Field dog park is designed for dogs to cavort without being restricted by a leash. It features a fenced-in area of sand and gravel with a double gate, located next to a grassy field. However, owners should take note that dogs are not allowed to roam around on the field. Still, the dog park is a popular place for pet owners and their pooches to have some off-leash fun and is known for its open and friendly community spirit. Another plus is that the park offers bags and disposable slots to clean up doggie waste, water bowls for dogs and picnic tables for their people.

Ronan Park

(credit: friendsofronanpark.org)


Ronan Dog Recreation Space
133 Adams St.
Boston, MA, 02122
www.friendsofronanpark.org

Ronan Park is the home of the Dog Recreation Space (DRS), a 6,000-square-foot area of the park that is fenced in to give the canines of the Dorchester area of Boston plenty of room to get some exercise without a leash. A special feature of this popular dog park is the double-gated entrance which keeps dogs from running away when they are not on leash. The park is noted for its cleanliness. Dog owners can also use a cool water fountain in the shape of a fire hydrant to refill their pet’s water dish. The park provides gravel on the ground to minimize mud. Pet owners can sit and relax in a special shaded area while their dogs take a break in the “doggie lounge area.” What makes this park special is that it was created in what was once a run-down and unsafe area. Community leaders worked with the City of Boston to clean it up and make it more safe for people and their pets. Learn more about the rules and guidelines of the Ronan Dog Recreation Space.

Larz Anderson Park
63 Newton St.
Brookline, MA 02445
www.brooklinema.gov

Larz Anderson Park is one of the most scenic parks in greater Boston. Dogs are allowed off leash here as part of Brookline’s Green Dog Program but are only allowed in the Avon Hill area of the park. There are also fees for off-leash dogs, so a call to the park or a visit to the website is a good idea before embarking upon a visit. Dogs and their owners can enter the park from Newton Street, Avon Street or Goddard Avenue. No off-leash dogs are allowed in the play area for kids, the pond or the garden area. For those seeking other off-leash options in Brookline, the Green Dog Program has set up 14 off-leash areas throughout the town, each with its own hours. For more information, call The Green Dog hotline at (617) 879-4850.

Related: Boston’s Dog-Friendliest Work Places

Mari DeAngelis is a freelance writer covering all things Boston. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.

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