The Best Dog Parks from Sacramento to San Francisco

A view of the San Francisco Bay from Lafayette Park
A view of the San Francisco Bay from Lafayette Park | © Vince Viloria / Flickr
Gwen Purdom

When it comes to green spaces any dog would love, the North Bay Area throws its residents plenty of bones.

The inventory of dog-friendly and dog-dedicated parks that dot the nearly 90-mile stretch of land between Sacramento and San Francisco is long and diverse. There are beachfront play areas, hiking paths crisscrossing hilly fields, and urban oases crowded with wet noses and wagging tails. Here are a few pup-and-people-approved destinations worth sniffing out.

1. Lynn Robie Dog Park

Dog Park

Dogs of all sizes have room to play at Lynn Robie Dog Park, which is within Sacramento’s sprawling Bill Conlin Youth Sports Complex. The fenced-in area, which opened in 2015, is separated into a 0.21-acre small dog park and a 1.34-acre park for larger breeds. Both sections feature turf, drinking fountains, and adorable bone-shaped benches for humans and their climbing-inclined four-legged friends. The park gets busiest in the evenings.

2. Alston Park

Dog Park

The three miles of trails that slice through the open-space Alston Park in northwest Napa are popular paths for horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, and dog walking. At the top of one of the park’s many hills, an enclosed off-leash space known as Canine Commons welcomes dogs of all sizes in two different areas. There’s flowing water for thirsty pups, some agility equipment, and plenty of trash cans for cleaning up. Some visitors have noted there’s not a lot of shade, so owners should make sure their furry friends are hydrated and not overheated.

3. Lafayette Park

Dog Park, Park

Lafayette Park San Francisco
© Vince Viloria / Flickr
With panoramic views of the Bay and the city, and more than 11 acres of grassy hills, Lafayette Park in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood is a favorite for people. But dogs are big fans of the relatively new off-leash play area, too. The section is carpeted in synthetic turf—meaning humans don’t have to worry about muddy paws on rainy days and it is circled with metal fencing and features an improved gate, added as part of a major upgrade project in 2016.

4. Point Isabel

Dog Park, Park

Point Isabel
© Bill Williams / Flickr
Bark magazine once called Point Isabel Regional Shoreline in Richmond, California “one of the nation’s biggest and best off-leash parks.” And they have a point: the multi-use 23-acre park offers dazzling views of the San Francisco skyline, the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin County, and Brooks Island. And (well-behaved) dogs can run throughout the whole thing. There’s even a dog washing station and pet supplies shop called Mudpuppy’s Tub & Scrub on site. According to the East Bay Regional Park District, the park welcomes more than a million visitors a year, “most of them with their dogs.”

5. Fort Funston

Bridge, Park

Fort Funston
© Beatrice Murch / Flickr
Tucked into the southernmost point of Ocean Beach, the sandy dunes and network of trails that make up Fort Funston offer some of the best views in the city. Dogs are free to roam leash-free with their people here as they both take in the many horseback riders, hikers, native plants, and hang gliders that typically populate the area. In fact, the spot is one of the country’s most popular hang gliding destinations, so humans whose dogs may not be able to handle the site of bright-colored triangles sailing across the sky above them, beware.

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