Right in the middle of North Carolina, Charlotte is a major hub for business as well as pleasure in the southeastern section of the United States. Famous for its NASCAR Hall of Fame, Carowinds Theme Park, barbecue ribs, and friendly people, the city boasts a wealth of opportunities for everyone who visits or lives there. Charlotte has an excellent climate, too, with the average temperature being 73 degrees F. Summers are hot, often in the upper 80s. But winters are mild, staying in the 40s even in January.
With such great weather, you would expect Charlotte to have lots of outdoor recreation opportunities, and you would be correct. In fact, the county alone has 375 parks, and that does not count individual village or neighborhood parks. But there are not as many off-leash dog parks as you may expect. However, many of the other parks allow your pooch to join you as long as he is on a leash.
Frazier Place Dog Park
Located in downtown Charlotte, Frazier Place Dog Park is a wonderful pup popular dog park in Frazier Park. It can be found in the northeastern section of the park between the basketball court and tennis court. In fact, you can probably find some stray tennis balls for your pup to play with. The 16-acre community park boasts several ball fields, a community garden, trails along Irwin Creek, and playgrounds for the human kids. There is also a Children’s Memorial Walkway that is like a park within a park dedicated to lost children.
The dog park is the best part as far as Fido is concerned, though. It is a large fenced area where you can take off his leash and let him run with the other dogs. There is a separate section for small and shy dogs as well as a staging area for safety. There are 1.5 acres in total with water access, shaded seating for pup parents, and lots of room to roam.
Skiptown is not a normal dog park. It is a bar and dog park combined where pet parents over 21 can bring their fur puppies to play. There are more than 24,000 square feet of off-leash play space indoors and out. But that’s not all. It also has a splash pad for hot days and an agility course where your canine companion can show off his skills. You will find it in the southwestern section of Charlotte between Wilmore and Brookhill, just south of Revolution Park.
Besides all the fun play areas for the fur puppies, there is also a lot of fun space for the pup parents. There are tables and chairs on the deck, dozens of picnic tables out in the yard on the stunning green turf, and two dozen beers on tap. They even have a dog bone broth beer for your cuddly canine to enjoy. And there are always food trucks in case you and Fido get hungry.
Barkingham Park at Reedy Creek Park
Known for its professional-grade golf course, Reedy Creek Park in northeast Charlotte also has a dog park where you can let your poochie play off his leash. Barkingham Park is a well-known pup playground with four acres of fenced space for your dog to enjoy. It is one of the largest in the city and has a separate space for small pups, lots of toys, and water stations for all the fur babies. There is also plenty of shaded seating, so you can have a seat and watch the dogs play.
Because it is so pup popular, the grass is worn down in some spaces, so your pooch may get dirty while he is there if it has rained recently. Outside the pooch park, Reedy Creek Park is also dog-friendly for leashed dogs and has 125 acres with ball fields, tennis and basketball courts, picnic areas, playgrounds, and several ponds where you can fish. They even have a cricket field.
William Davie Dog Park
In southern Charlotte, William Davie Park has a really nice dog park inside its 105+ acre park. Locals call it a hidden gem and claim it is the best dog park in the area, so this is one that you do not want to miss. It has five acres for unleashed dog fun, including two sections for large dogs and one for pups under 20 pounds. Be sure to bring a ball and frisbee to play catch with your fur buddy because there is lots of space for that, even when the park is crowded.
Your canine compadre is also welcome in the rest of the park as long as you get him leashed back up first. There are some really nice walking trails to explore, horseshoe pits, ballfields, basketball courts, and a playground for the little humans. The lake is also a great place to let Fido sniff around. You can even let him cool off in the water as long as you keep him leashed.
Up in the northwest section of Charlotte by the Latta Nature Preserve and Mountain Island Lake, Shuffletown Park boasts about 20 acres of recreational space running alongside Long Creek. It is more of an open natural space than the other parks in the area, with less amenities but more flora and fauna. However, there is a huge playground with monkey bars, swings, and slides that the kids love! There are also picnic tables, a ball field, and restrooms.
The four-acre dog park is big and spacious with half woods and half sandy play area. The dogs love chasing each other through the trees and digging in the sand. It is even a great place for volleyball with the sand court. You can also find lots of seating, doggie bag stations, and kiddie pools for the pups to cool off in. Bring your own water bowl and go ahead and pack extra baggies, too, just in case.
Fetching Meadow at McAlpine Creek Park
Similar to Shuffletown but a lot larger, McAlpine Creek Park is more of a nature area with fewer amenities and a lot more natural space. There is a large open field where you can play ball or whatever, but there are no ball diamonds or soccer fields. What you will find is a popular 5k trek that holds runs and races for local organizations but is also a popular hiking trail as well as a fishing lake with a pier.
You will have to keep your cuddly canine on his leash while you are outside the dog park. But why not take your pooch to Fetching Meadow fenced dog park where he can run around unleashed? Even bigger than the others, this place has over five acres for your dog to explore, with a special section for dogs under 25 pounds. You can find the dog park in the western side of the park by the huge parking lot.
George Poston Dog Park
About 19 miles from downtown Charlotte, George Poston Park is a large recreational space with something to do for everyone who visits. There are several ball fields, batting cages, a pump track for bikes, horseshoe games, playgrounds for the kids, and 12 miles of trails, including a ½-mile paved greenway. For you anglers, there is also a fishing pier on a lake stocked with bass, catfish, and crappie. Be sure to bring a fishing license, though.
And the best part about Poston Park? The 5.5-acre dog park you can find in the northern section of the park. It has one acre for small pups and 4.5 acres for the bigger pooches. There are doggie bag stations, water fountains, and plenty of benches in and out of the shade for you to relax and watch your fur puppy play. Bring some toys too because there is lots of room for fetch and frisbee.
Tuckaseege Dog Park
Also known as Tuck Park, Tuckaseege Park is about 20 miles west of Charlotte in Mount Holly on the Catawba River and boasts a variety of activities. Although much of the park is wooded and looks like a forest, there are some amenities like a skate park, a walking trail, several baseball fields, a community rain garden, and a playground. Then, there is the dog park that makes it all worthwhile as far as your pup is concerned.
The fenced dog park has a separate area just for the smaller pooches as well as water stations, doggie cleanup stations, and lots of seating for pup parents. You should bring your own water and doggie bags anyway, just in case. There are almost always some other fur puppies to play with but bring a ball and frisbee anyway for some one-on-one time with your doggo. And your pooch is welcome in the rest of the park as long as he is leashed.
Dogwood Park is located about 20 miles south of downtown Charlotte at Westley Chapel in Waxhaw, across from the Weddington Optimist Park. The 22-acre park has a huge fishing lake that is popular in the area. You will need a North Carolina fishing license to fish, though. Your pup is allowed to cool off in the lake, too but swimming for humans is not allowed, sorry. They do have several walking trails to explore with your leashed pup and quite a few picnic areas with tables and barbecue grills.
The dog park can be found just south of the lake. It is completely fenced and has separate spaces for large and small dogs. Pup parents have lots of places to sit, including some benches and picnic tables under shelters to protect you from the sun and rain. There are water fountains and dog cleanup stations for your convenience, but it cannot hurt to bring your own anyway.
Canine Commons Dog Park
Just 15 miles to the southwest of downtown Charlotte, Canine Commons Dog Park is right near the border of South Carolina in Pineville Lake Park. The whole park is pup popular since it is dog friendly for leashed dogs. The lake itself is actually called Tutel Lake, but most of the locals just call it Pineville. Besides fishing, you can also let your fur puppy get his feet wet if he wants to but there is no place for humans to swim.
On the southern side of the lake, you can find Canine Commons Dog Park, where your cuddly canine can run and play without the constraints of a leash. There are separate spaces for large and small dogs, dog bag dispensers, and a tall fence to keep your pup inside where he should be. All dogs must be on a leash until they enter the fenced area, and they have to be accompanied by an adult.
Swaney Pointe K-9 Park at Ramsey Creek Park
If you like water sports, this is the place for you. Located on Lake Norman in northern Charlotte, Ramsey Creek Park has all the water you need for everything from boating to fishing and even some swimming. The park is 43 acres and has a huge sandy beach where you can swim, sunbathe, or play volleyball. There is also a fishing pier, boat docks, and nature trails, as well as a horseshoe pit, picnic areas, and, yes, a dog park.
Swaney Pointe K-9 Park is in the eastern section of Ramsey Creek Park and boasts four full acres of fenced space for dogs to play off their leash. You will find picnic tables, a platform with running water, and a separate area for little and shy pups under 20 pounds. It is large enough for dozens of dogs and their dog parents with extra room for playing fetch, so bring a ball.
Crooked Creek Dog Park
Crooked Creek Dog Park is a fun place to bring your pupster in southeastern Charlotte to play without being restrained by a leash. Crooked Creek Park is a large park with access to the South Fork Crooked Creek. You can spend a hot day splashing in the cool water with your leashed pooch or just meander along the banks and let your pooch sniff the new scents. The park also has a disc golf course, barbecue and picnic areas, outdoor fitness equipment, trails, and a playground for little humans.
The dog park is located in the northwestern corner and requires a key card, which you can get by filling out an application online. This may seem inconvenient to some, but it also makes it a much better dog park because only responsible pet parents are allowed. There are two different parks separated for large and small dogs, and they are both well-cared-for and has fun dog agility equipment in each park.
Weddington Road Bark Park
You and Fido can find Weddington Road Bark Park in northeastern Charlotte on Weddington Road (obviously). It is located in Weddington Community Park, which has 56 acres of dog-friendly space where your pup is welcome as long as he is on a leash. Open from dawn to dusk, this park has everything you need for fun and then some. The playground is especially nice so bring the kids if you have any.
The dog area is fenced with a half acre for the small dogs and one and a half acres for the bigger dogs. Of course, little dogs are welcome in either side as long as they are able to play with the big dogs. There is plenty of space to run, lots of seating, and doggie bags to use. However, there is not much shade and no water fountain, so bring your own water and a bowl for your cuddly canine.
Purser Hulsey Park
In southeastern Charlotte, about 20 minutes from downtown, Purser Hulsey Park is popular for its hiking and biking trails, but it also has an outstanding off-leash dog park. It is considered to be a hidden gem because not very many people know about it. In fact, it can be difficult to find if you do not know where you are going. The entrance to the dog park is in a different section from the actual park where the trails are, but you can find it if you use GPS or look it up on Google Maps.
One of the coolest things about this dog park is its freedom. There are fences, but there is so much space your dog will never even know the fences are there. If your dog does not have good recall, you may want to keep him on a leash, or you could be chasing him around. There are separate areas for large dogs and lots of space to sit and watch your pooch play.
Mary Warner Mack Dog Park
Just 18 miles from downtown Charlotte, Mary Warner Mack Dog Park is in Fort Mill, South Carolina. You will have to have a membership here, but it is worth it because it has 12 acres of off-leash fun for dogs of all sizes to play, as well as an area for little and shy dogs. Like other membership parks, it pays to know that all dog owners have to show proof of immunizations, rabies shots, and their dog being spayed or neutered.
There is a lake where your fur puppy can swim or do some dock diving, hydration stations throughout the park, lots of cleanup stations with free baggies that are stocked daily, and a mile of lakefront trails. There is even a dog washing station so you can clean up your pup when you are ready to leave. Fill out an application online and go see it for yourself.
The Final Woof
If you and your fur puppy are into water sports, visit the National Whitewater Center, with 400 acres of fun on the Catawba River. They have dog-friendly kayaks, paddle boards, and hiking trails, as well as an outdoor restaurant where he can join you for a meal. For a spooky tour of the city, bring your canine companion to Carolina History & Haunts for a ghost tour. You and your pup will enjoy 75 minutes of fun terror, and you will even learn some Charlotte history. Or, take your pooch on a unique wine-tasting tour called Happy Tails Tours that is geared toward pet parents and their pups.