Here in Essex County, many pet parents wonder how their dogs will cope when work from home becomes a thing of the past. Many businesses are officially reopening their doors to employees come fall, so this summer could be the ultimate moment for bonding with a furry friend. Essex County visitors and residents alike have several wonderful dog parks within the county system to visit. Read on to explore exactly where you can “let the dogs out” before Autumn rolls around.
Brookdale Dog Park | Montclair
The broader Brookdale Park offers residents access to over a hundred acres of scenic views and walking trails. The park hosts a summer music series, and more active park goers can enjoy everything from tennis courts to an archery range. The off-leash dog park located within the larger park is a great place for your pup to join in on the fun. Locals claim that their dogs love to run about the park, which is fully fenced, making friends as they go. A separate small dog area keeps owners feeling comfortable when letting their furry friends off the leash. Complimentary rubbish bags and accessible water fountains complete the experience.
Read More: A Guide to Dog Walkers in Montclair + Beyond
Essex County Branch Brook Dog Park | Newark
Newark’s premier dog park debuted in Branch Brook Park in August 2019. At the time, county executive Joseph DiVincenzo Junior told Patch, “The development of the dog park transforms an underutilized section of the park into a vibrant location where community members and their canine pets can gather and socialize.” With the events of 2020, it is not surprising that dogs and their owners took advantage of the opportunity to socialize at the park. Those who frequent Branch Brook note that it is a lovely space with fenced areas that suit dogs of all sizes. Obstacle courses are open to the larger dogs, and public events, such as an annual canine costume contest held at Halloween, welcome community participation.
Hilltop Reservation Dog Park | North Caldwell
Like Branch Brook, Hilltop Reservation Dog Park is a relatively recent addition to the local system. The space was opened in the summer of 2018, taking up almost an acre of Hilltop Reservation (the overall park comprises approximately three hundred acres). Once again, pet owners can enjoy designated fenced areas that cater specifically to their pup’s size. And, great news if you live in the area: the designated dog park is within walking distance of four local towns. With this fact and the park’s ample play space in mind, a visit could provide an excellent opportunity for exercising your pet.
South Mountain Dog Park | Maplewood
South Mountain Reservation takes up just over two thousand acres, touching four towns: West Orange, Millburn, Maplewood, and South Orange. The park attracts hikers to the scenic overlook, historians to the Washington Rock Lookout, and fishers to the surrounding streams. A top-notch recreation complex and even Girl Scout campsites sit on the property. And, of course, look no further if you need a space to bring your four-legged friend. The South Mountain Dog Park offers large and small dog areas and agility courses within its well-fenced space. Disposable bags and fountains are again available. Have another type of furry friend? While the dog park is strictly for canine guests, South Mountain Reservation does feature trails for horseback riding excursions.
Watsessing Dog Park | Bloomfield
Watsessing Dog Park is the oldest of its kind in Essex County, it first came on the scene in 2005. However, the broader Watsessing park has much longer roots. According to the official website, the name was taken from the Lenni-Lenape words for “hill” and “stone.” The park landscape itself was first designed in 1899. So, you are stepping into a bit of history when you and your dog make the trip. The grassy gated dog park is well shaded, and benches provide a spot for owners to relax while their dogs play in sections dedicated to both small and large pups.
When visiting any of the above parks, remember to clean up after your pooch per the county rules!