A Dog's Day Out in Prince William County:

As the weather warms up many dogs are eager to get out and have a day of fun and activity. Fortunately Prince William County has a lot of options for a dog’s day out. Among these are many local parks, National parks, dog parks, and even dog-friendly local businesses.

Locust Shade Park is a larger park at the Southeastern end of the county. It has a lot of trails running through expansive forests as well as a lake, playgrounds, soccer fields, batting cage, driving range, and more. This is probably the best county park for getting lost in the woods and away from a lot of people. On many days if you start near the entrance and head toward the southern end of the park you will be more likely to see deer than people.

Lake Ridge Park is a great option that is a little closer to many people since it is tucked in behind the neighborhoods between Dillingham Square and Hedges Run Drive. It offers trails, a playground, a golf course, and a marina. The trails are not as extensive as Locust Shade Park, but still offer a lot of walking and exploring time for you and your dog.

Veterans Memorial Regional Park is a great park on the Eastern side of Route 1 just south of Belmont Bay (close to Fairfax County). The park has a pool, baseball fields, soccer fields, and trails running along the water. There is even a pedestrian bridge over the railroads perfect for watching trains.

Leesylvania State Park is on the Potomac River. It has great views of the water from trails running up and down the shore. The park includes a visitor center, marina, playground, and more. The trails run down the shoreline, roam through the wetlands, and cut in to the wooded areas.

Manassas National Battlefield Park is a very large, expansive park with extensive trails. It is located around the intersection of Lee Highway (29) and Sudley Road (234) but runs quite a distance up and down 29. On days with great weather there are lots of people getting out to enjoy the weather and usually a good amount of dogs as well. The trails at Manassas Battlefield go through fields, woods, cross over streams, and can be relatively flat or hilly depending on the area you explore. It is not uncommon to see horseback riders using many of the trails as well. In addition there is obviously a lot of historical significance to the area with many placards along the trails that add an additional level of enjoyment to the park.

Merrifield Garden Center in Gainesville has a free dog park area. There is a section for large dogs and a section for small dogs. In addition, dogs are welcome inside and they have a pet product area. If you are doing any gardening or are just in the area it is a great place to stop to let your dog get some energy out and play with other dogs.

The Prince William Dog Park on Minnieville Road is a relatively new addition to the county and offers a large open area for dogs to play and get out a lot of energy. The open dog park allows dogs to play with each other, one of the best ways to tire them out. This also gives you a chance to meet other pet parents.

Nathan’s Dairy Bar is a great walk-up ice cream shop in Manassas on Mathis Avenue between Sudley Road and Liberia Avenue. This is a great place to stop on the way home for a refreshment for yourself and your dog since they offer a pup cup for dogs. They offer a great variety of flavors including an always changing flavor of the day.

Prince William Forest Park is a National Park in the southeastern part of the county between Joplin Road and 234. This is a large park with a lot of trails and you can get yourself lost if you want to (possibly even if you don’t want to). There are lots of trails with varying difficulty. We took a hike along a large stream that weaved in and out of the woods and at one point opened up to a very wide section of the stream with lots of bare rocks exposed which were great to explore.

So get out there and spend some quality time with your dog. They should be happy and exhausted at the end of the day with any one of these outings. Just remember that with any day out for a dog it is important that they are up to date with their flea and tick prevention, heartworm medication, vaccinations, and it is a good idea to talk to your Veterinarian about a Lepto vaccine.

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