There are several things that Richmond, Virginia, is known for. The first is that it was the home of Edgar Allen Poe. It was also where the first can of beer was made in 1935. Also, it has a river (the James River) that is one of the longest rivers that begin and end in the same state. Besides all that, the city was incorporated in 1742 and is home to more than 226,600 people, making it one of the most populated cities in Virginia.
With a humid subtropic climate, Richmond has hot summers and mildly cold winters. The high in July is 89 degrees F, while the high in January is 48 degrees F. With warm weather most of the year, outdoor activities are popular. There are 173 city and community parks and recreational spaces in the city, including the 8,000-acre Pocahontas State Park and James River Park, which has 600 acres. They are both dog friendly. We also found some off-leash dog parks where your canine companion can have some real fun! Here are the top 15 dog parks in Richmond, Virginia, in our opinion.
Church Hill Dog Park at Chimborazo Park
In southeastern Richmond, a few blocks from the James River, Chimborazo Park is a popular park with over 30 acres. Down the hill, you will find Church Hill Dog Park. The wide open space in these fenced areas is wonderful for letting your fur baby get rid of those zoomies. It is also a great place to play fetch or toss around a frisbee with your best buddy. There is not a lot of shade or seating for the pet parents except for one pavilion with seating in each area (big dogs/little dogs).
The rest of the park is also pup popular. Just put your canine companion’s leash back on, and he can join you on a walk up the hill to the historic city park. Here, you will find the Richmond National Battlefield Hospital monument, where the world’s largest military hospital once stood. There is also a unique statue of the Statue of Liberty, but much smaller, of course.
Phideaux Field at Forest Hill Presbyterian Church
On the other side of the James River in southwestern Richmond, Phideaux Dog Park is a hidden gem in the city. The fenced off-leash Fido fun space is next to Forest Hill Presbyterian Church on Forest Hill Avenue. You will hardly ever see a crowd here, maybe because not too many people know that it exists. However, after church on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, there are usually quite a few fur puppies for your pooch to play with.
The park provides doggie bags for picking up after your pup, water bowls, and in the summer, there are one or two kiddie pools for the cuddly canines to cool off in. You should bring your own water and pack doggie bags just in case and bring some toys. There is plenty of space for a game of frisbee or fetch. Or, you can just have a seat on one of the shaded benches and watch your pup play with the other pups.
Barker Field at Byrd Park
Barker Field at Byrd Park is located in western Richmond and is a nice shaded play space for pups to run around off their leash. There is tons of space in this pup place, which is located in the middle of the main park between the Dogwood Dell Amphitheater and the Carillon Shelter. All dogs entering the park must have all their vaccinations and wear a registration tag on their collar. You will find lots of benches and water access for the pet parents as well as cleanup stations with baggies.
The rest of Byrd Park is pup-friendly too, as long as your dog is on a leash. There is more than 285 acres in this large park with all sorts of ball fields and courts, playgrounds, and several lakes. Swan Lake has lots of waterfowl, and Fountain Lake offers pedal boats. You can also fish at any of the lakes if you have a Virginia state fishing license.
Northside Dog Park
In northern Richmond, the aptly named Northside Dog Park has two large fenced spaces but they are not designated to any size or breed. One of them is clearly more pup popular than the other; not sure why, but you can see that is where almost all of the pet parents end up with their fur babies. It is right behind the Henderson Middle School and next to Henderson Sports Complex on Forest Lawn Road.
Each side of the park has several picnic tables, some with umbrellas for shade. Just outside the fenced area, there are also some benches for those who just want to watch from the other side. There is not much shade, but there is plenty of play space and room for a game of fetch. During the summer, there are doggie pools for your canine companion to cool off in but bring your own water and doggie cleanup bags.
Ruff Canine Club Park
A few miles southwest of Northside Dog Park, you can bring your playful pooch to the Ruff Canine Club to play with other pups. But this is not just a dog park, it is also a bar and grill that serves adult beverages as well as snacks for both you and your cuddly canine companion. After your fur puppy works up an appetite, let him enjoy some Moondog Treats while you have a beer, wine, and a sandwich, salad, or soup.
Although you have to have a membership to join, they do have daily guest passes for just $10. It is a large outdoor area with two fenced spaces as well as a patio with tables and chairs near the bar. You can have fun with other pup parents while your fur puppy gets out there and plays with the pups. All dogs need to have a pet profile with vaccination records and a waiver before visiting the park.
Ruff House Dog Park at Rockwood Park
Ruff House Dog Park can be found in Rockwood Community Park, about 14 miles southwest of downtown Richmond. Right in the middle of the park, Ruff House is a fenced space with separated areas for both small and large fur babies. Your pooch will have to be at least four months old and be non-aggressive. No food or glass is allowed, but the park has water fountains and pools during the summer where all the poochies can cool off. Bring your own water during the colder months.
Rockwood Park is also fun for leashed dogs, with more than 170 acres. It bears the distinction of being the oldest park in the county, but it has mostly modern amenities like a fun kids’ playground, nature center, garden, and concessions. There are also tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts, horseshoe pits, trails, and picnic areas where you and your cuddly companion can have a bite to eat.
Hanover Dog Park
Taylor Park is where you can find the Hanover Dog Park, also known as Taylor Dog Park, in northern Richmond by the Hanover County Animal Shelter. This is one of the most pup popular pet parks in the area, with one whole acre of fenced green space that includes some fantastic agility equipment like a ramp, tunnels, weave poles, and climbing obstacles. The six-foot fence keeps all the dogs safely inside, and there are water fountains and waste stations for public use.
They even have a time-out pen for those pups who get too excited and need to take a break. Your furry friend is also allowed in Taylor Park as long as you put his leash back on. The park has a fun playground for little humans with swings, slides, and climbing, as well as walking trails you and Fido can explore. There is also a large multipurpose field where many sports activities and other events are held.
Pole Green Dog Park
Hanover County in northeast Richmond has a 1.2-acre pup park in Pole Green Park just north of Pole Green Elementary School. It is the second off-leash dog park in Hanover County and boasts a tall fence for keeping fur babies inside where they belong, two water stations for cooling off your pups, and a few waste stations for cleaning up. Like the other Hanover dog park, it also has a small separate section for pooches that get overwhelmed.
The dog park provides numerous kiddie pools for the dogs in the summer, which is really fun for the dogs, and there are plenty of benches in the shade for the pet parents. Put your fur puppy’s leash back on, and he can join you in the rest of the park, where they have pickleball, baseball, and a cross-country running track as well as a horse riding ring, two playgrounds, a volleyball court, walking trails, and a skate park.
Short Pump Dog Park
Short Pump Dog Park can be found in Short Pump Park in Henrico, which is about 20 minutes northwest of Richmond next to Pocahontas Middle School. Located in the southwestern corner of the park next to the spray ground and kids’ play area, you will not have to worry about mud or messy grass stains here because they have artificial turf in each section. There is a separate section for small dogs so they do not get overwhelmed or stepped on, as well as benches, dog pools, and waste stations.
The spray park is fun for the kids, but pets are not allowed, so he will have to cool off in the puppy pools. However, leashed fur babies are allowed in the picnic areas, ball fields, and to see the historic two-room schoolhouse from 1902. Pack your own lunch or grab something in the concession area after you work up an appetite walking along the trail that goes over the creek.
Chester Dog Park at Goyne Park
Southern Richmond has several dog parks, including Chester Dog Park at Goyne Park, by Ecoff Elementary School. The fenced dog area can be found at the northern end of the park in a nicely wooded area. Big dogs and little dogs are separated here, too, and each side has its own agility equipment, including ramps, tunnels, and climbing obstacles. Chester Dog Park also has lots of shade with picnic tables and benches for the humans, water access, and doggie bags.
You can bring Fido outside the dog park on a leash, where they have a playground for the kiddos, soccer fields, tennis and pickleball courts, ball fields, and a disc golf course with 18 holes. There is a picnic shelter with lots of tables for all with amenities like barbecue grills, restrooms, and water fountains. Bring a cooler of food and drinks, or you can get some at the park’s concession pads.
Dorey Dog Park
Another park in southern Richmond, Dorey Park, also has a fun pupster place for pooches to play. It is in the northern section of the community park and has about one acre of fenced space separated for small and large fur puppies. And this one has the most agility equipment compared to the rest of the doggie parks. There are hoops to jump through, tunnels to run through, and ramps to climb, as well as climbing obstacles, see-saws, and fire hydrants that spray water during the summer.
The rest of Dory Park is fun, too, but your cuddly canine will need to be releashed. You can take a hike on one of the trails, play a game of disc golf, watch the horses in the ring, and do some fishing. They have a trout fishing program as well as some huge catfish and bass to catch. You will need a fishing license, though.
Clover Hill Dog Park
In southwestern Richmond, Clover Hill Dog Park is right by the Swift Creek Reservoir between the soccer field and baseball fields. It is right behind the Chesterfield Career and Tech Center Campus, so you can park there if there are any spots and use the school for your GPS so you can find it. The park has lots of open space for pups to romp around together, ramps and other fun objects to play on, and benches all around the perimeter. You will also find pet waste stations with bags and water hoses.
If the sun gets to be too much, you do not have to worry. There are covered picnic tables where you can cool off with your pooch, and during the summer, they have kiddie pools where he can get wet if he wants to. There is more dirt than grass in some areas, though, so you may need to wash off your cuddly companion before heading back to the car.
Stony Point Dog Park
Located in northwestern Richmond, Stony Point Fashion Park is a Fido-friendly shopping mall where they absolutely love fur babies. There are over 45 retail shops and eating establishments, many of which allow leashed dogs. Your pooch is always welcome in the common areas, but if you want to take him on a shopping spree inside, look for the dog-friendly sticker on the window or door. There are also several dog waste stations with bags and water too!
In front of Sur La Table, Alchemists, and Panera Bread is the cutest dog park where you can let your poochie off the leash for a while. It has perfectly spotless synthetic grass, so it is green and clean all year long, as well as two tunnels designed to look like logs and a ramp for fur babies to run up and down. Let your cuddly compadre get all those zoomies out of his system so you can do some more shopping.
James River Park
Just a few minutes to the west of Richmond, James River Park has 600 acres of forests, meadows, river rapids, flora, and fauna. Your leashed dog is welcome to join you in the largest city park. From the Pony Pasture to the Wetlands, there is something fun for everyone in the family, no matter what their age. You can jump in a kayak, canoe, or raft to do some whitewater rafting. But make sure you have a life jacket for both of you.
If you are not a whitewater fan, you can still watch others brave the waves. It is the only river in the United States with Class IV rapids, so you really have to know what you are doing here. You can also do some hiking with your cuddly canine companion. There is one trail that is eight miles long, taking you through all the best parts of the park. They even have two rock climbing sites, but you should not do this with your pooch.
Pocahontas State Park
About 20 minutes from downtown Richmond to the southwest, Pocahontas State Park has 8,000 acres to explore with your leashed little buddy. There may not be any fenced dog parks for your pup to run around off his leash, but there is so much space and activities to enjoy here it will not be a problem. In fact, one of the main attractions is the 225-acre Swift Creek Lake, where you and your fur doggie can swim, fish, and boat.
You will also have 20 trails with more than 90 miles of trails taking you through every ecosystem of the park, from the creeks to the woods. If you want to stay overnight, there are cabins and campgrounds that are dog-friendly as well. However, they do charge a nightly fee for any pets unless you are camping outdoors. There are also hundreds of picnic areas with tables, grills, restrooms, and playgrounds for the kiddos. You can even rent a boat.
The Final Woof
Speaking of boats, why not rent one from RVA Paddlesports so you and your fur puppy can get out on the water? They offer guided tours as well for those who need more guidance. If you would rather take a tour on land, dogs are allowed to join their humans on the Richmond Capitol Sights Scavenger Hunt Tour. Learn all sorts of new things about the history of the area while enjoying the city. For something scarier, the Richmond Ghosts Tour is also pup-friendly. Hear stories of all sorts of crazy mishaps and murders of the city from those who know.