A Guide to Northeast Ohio's Best Dog Parks

After all the obedience classes and endless walks around the block, you're finally ready to take Rover to a paradise designed especially for pooches: the dog park. While state law prohibits having your dog off-leash on public property, for the safety of your mutt and others, there are several off-leash dog parks in and around Cleveland that will finally give Fido some well-deserved freedom.

With the Metroparks close at paw, dog-friendly attractions are plentiful, but you still need to optimize your time spent outdoors. Which ones are best for a scenic selfie? Is there even Wi-Fi access, or do you have to use your own data? How many Tinder matches are nearby? We narrowed the search and reviewed some dog parks in the area so you don't have to waste any time second-guessing.

As always, make sure you read each park's rules and PYOP (pickup your own poop). Be conscious of other dogs and confident your canine will get along with other playmates of different breeds and sizes. Most parks close at 9 p.m. unless otherwise posted.

Clark Field Dog Park

West 11th Street & Clark Avenue, near Clark Fields

Located near Cleveland Animal Control in the heart of the Steelyard, this is truly the workingman's dog park. What the park lacks in style, it makes up for in space, being one of the largest fenced parks we visited. A securely enclosed gravel lot is adjacent to grass fields with four shaded sitting areas at each corner of the park. Water bowls, a fountain (for humans and dogs), and bag dispensers (though empty) are on site. There are rumors about Clark Fields being toxic, but a trip isn't going to turn your pal into the Toxic Avenger or anything.

Zone Recreation Center Dog Park

2044 West 53rd St.

Two very minimalist gravel lots are fenced in near the Rapid tracks, one presumably for smaller and larger breeds. A thought-provoking bone sculpture acts as homage to Magritte as well as a bench to sit and rest. The close proximity to the street makes it accessible, but the increased foliage in the area was attracting a lot of bugs. The neighboring soccer fields and basketball courts were hopping with activity, but no other dogs were present on a weekday night to play with.

Downtown Cleveland Dog Park

Behind Settler's Landing

This dog park will make your hound feel like a star. The park boasts a beautifully decorated ramp and bridge for serious athletes to agility train or just look cute standing on. It's BYOW (bring your own water) but there are bag dispensers, trash cans for poo, and even a fire hydrant for that real "street" feel, all in a fenced gravel lot off the RTA.

Lakewood Dog Park

1699 Valley Parkway, Lakewood

Hand sanitizer, ropes, Frisbees, tennis balls, water bowls, and other luxuries are available in this smaller fenced park. Giveaways and breaking dog news are prominently displayed on their Facebook page. Offline, the park promotes friendly interaction between furry-friend owners and dogs sniffing butts. Pits need to be muzzled in the park to adhere to Lakewood City regulations.

South Euclid Dog Park

Monticello and South Belvoir Boulevard, South Euclid

Near Quarry Park North, this gravel park features a 4-foot high fence, double-gated entrances, poo bags, and a water spigot for hydration. An active dog community exists in South Euclid, lovingly referred to as FIDO (Friends of the Ideal Dog Park), where you can become a member and support the upkeep of the dog park. Events and activities such as a dog swim and other networking opportunities exist throughout the year.

Bratenahl Village Center Dog Park

10300 Brighton Rd., Bratenahl

As high-class as the surrounding neighborhood, the park is a completely enclosed grassy play-area for the elite dogs of the eastside with paws too tender for average gravel. Much of the park is shaded by big trees with running water on premise, and baby pools to spice it up during the summer. Make note that the city does not allow pit bulls to be un-muzzled or off-leash in the park.

Bow Wow Beach

Silver Springs Park, 5027 Stow Rd., Stow

A crowd favorite, this doggie utopia will take you a 30-minute drive south. But let's be honest: Nothing is too far for your best friend. The property spans 7.5 acres of grassy knolls, wooded trails, scenic views, a separate area for small dogs, a shallow pond (dogs only) and waste disposal stations. All dogs are welcome, but they are required to be licensed to attend Bow Wow Beach.

Columbia Park Dog Beach

Lake and Columbia roads, Bay Village

I used to think that this was the best beach ever because it was secluded with enough room to spread out, there was a waterfall, and an added bonus of friendly dogs swimming everywhere! As it turns out, it is an "unofficial" off-leash dog beach where you can take your buddy for a dip when it gets too hot outside to exercise on dry land. Be aware the area is not fenced and is near traffic.

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