Given the abundance of public and private dog parks in the nation’s Capitol, DC is a great place to own a dog. Your dog needs outdoor exercise just as much as humans, so finding a good dog park for them to run wild is important. Depending on what kind of dog you have, you might be looking for a large place for them to run off leash, or a smaller fenced-in area for them to do their business. Regardless of your pet’s needs, this list of the best dog parks in DC has a variety of awesome options so you can find one that works for you and your furry friend. 

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The Best DC Dog Parks

Shaw Dog Park

Park size: Large

Leash rule: Off-leash

Amenities: Trash bags and cans, shade in a small dog area, water fountains, lighting at night

Shaw Dog Park was the first official dog park in D.C., founded in 2003 by The Shaw Neighborhood Improvement Association. This spot is a spacious park with two separate enclosures – one for big dogs and one for small dogs, senior dogs, and physically-challenged dogs. The park is lined with gravel and has double gates at the entrance to avoid escapes. There’s an additional large area you can utilize if you have a hyperactive dog who wants to run like crazy. 

S Street Dog Park

Park size: Small

Leash rule: Off-leash

Amenities: Benches for owners, pools for dogs, turf ground

S Street is one of the most popular dog parks among dog owners in DC because it’s well equipped for both dogs and their owners. You can sit on a bench under the trees while your dog runs around with his furry friends on the Astroturf ground. Your pup can also also cool down in the summer in one of the park’s wading pools. This is a great (and much cleaner) way for your dog to enjoy the water, compared to swimming in a murky lake. Because of the parks popularity, evenings can get crowded, so if you’re a new dog owner, you may want to avoid the rush hours.

Newark Street Dog Park

Park size: Small

Leash rule: On and off-leash

Amenities: Water fountains, benches, waste bins, and trash bags

Newark Street Dog Park is close to the intersection of Wisconsin Ave & Idaho Ave NW in Cathedral Heights and it is quite popular among families who own dogs. Here, your dog can run around freely and safely in one of the two leash-free fenced play area. One area is for small dogs and the other is for big fur balls.

While your dog is getting our their energy, your kids can enjoy a picnic or gardening lesson in the Children’s Garden. The Newark Park has a capacity for 22 dogs per enclosure so if you arrive at peak hours, park officials will allow you 30 minutes. 

Glencarlyn Park

Park size: Medium

Leash rule: On and off-leash

Amenities: Water stream, family-friendly, restrooms

One of the best options for a family-friendly dog park, Glencarlyn is great for those looking for a hilly and grassy area. It’s also an awesome spot if your dog loves water, because the park has a water stream where your dog can play or swim on hot summer days. 

On the downside, the park lacks a fenced off-leash play area, making it difficult for new dog owners. If your dog is not yet trained to strictly obey your commands, we’d suggest a different park. There are also fast-paced cyclists on the trails, so be sure to keep a good eye on your dog to avoid an accident. However, if you have a well-behaved dog, this is a relaxing spot for you, your kids, and your furbaby to enjoy.

Langdon Dog Park

Park size: Large

Leash rule: Off-leash

Amenities: Water fountains, waste bags, trash cans, basketball area, skater bowl

Langdon Dog Park, located in the Brentwood neighborhood, is popular among locals due to its large space. At 11,500 square feet, it is the largest dog park in DC. Here, there are separate areas for big and small sized dogs, water fountains, and waste bags. The park ground is graveled by decomposed granite but not turfed. It’s a well-fenced park so you can play with your furry friend without worrying about them running off. After your dog is done playing, history buffs can go check out the Chuck Brown Memorial here. 

Shirlington Dog Park

Park size: Large

Leash rule: On-leash while entering and exiting

Amenities: Dog adoption center, poop bags, cleaning area

As one of the largest DC dog parks, Shirlington is a popular spot for dog owners who live in this neighborhood. It has all the necessary amenities for dogs, such as separate spaces for small dogs, water fountains, and waste bins. There’s also a separate cleaning area for you to freshen up your pup after they play in the water stream. Yes, it has a water stream too! 

While it’s mostly fun and games, the park does follow strict rules. So make sure to abide by them to avoid getting in trouble. We recommend going to this park on Wednesdays or Sundays because you can enjoy a beer afterward at the nearby New District Brewing Company, which you can bring dogs to on these days.

Swampoodle Dog Park & Playground

Park size: Small

Leash rule: Off-leash

Amenities: Water fountain, sitting area 

If you want to have a playdate with your pup in a fully fenced and turfed park, then Swampoodle is the right option for you. It is a small dog park that has various tunnels, obstacles, and stairs to keep your fur baby active and improve their agility. It also has a playground for kids, so you can keep both your dog and little ones occupied.

It’s overall a well-designed, small space that’s frequently visited by urban dwellers with their well-behaved dogs. Beware that it can get quite packed, as it’s a small yet popular space and  no one seems to obey the “10 dogs only” rule. Also, there is no separate area for pups to get some shade, so keep that in mind on hot days. 

Bundy Dog Park

Park size: Medium

Leash rule: Off-leash

Amenities: AstroTurf, fenced, spacious parking

This park is best for high-energy, big dogs to run off lease and socialize with other furry friends. This park is shaped like a long rectangle, making it great for playing fetch. If you frequent this park often, you’ll probably start to run into familiar friendly faces, both dogs and owners. The area is completely fenced in and has Astroturf, so your canine can run freely without getting dirty. Small pup owners might need to be more cautious here due to lots of big dogs roaming freely. If you do choose this park, don’t forget to bring your own water bottle. 

Montrose Park 

Park size: Medium

Leash rule: On-leash

Amenities: Water bowl, waste bins, paved pathway  

This is one of the best on-leash DC dog parks for lazy walks with lush green surroundings. Monrtrose is a 16-acre park founded in 1911 and it is a well-kept secret in D.C. Dog owners at Georgetown love this park for its historical importance and picturesque botanical beauty. It’s also popular with families, as it has a children’s play area. Other attractions here include Summerhouse and Boxwood Gardens, Perennial Garden, tennis courts, and a croquet court. Additionally, you can take a stroll at the nearby Dumbarton Oaks Park for a change of scenery. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind when visiting these DC dog parks:

  • Get your dog licensed and registered in the District of Columbia
  • Vaccinate your pup and keep up to date with their shots
  • Always bring a leash with you to the park 
  • Carry poop bags with you and always pick up after your dog