While pets may be the new kids—an empirical fact here in Seattle, where dogs outnumber children—canine parents don’t need to fight over kindergarten admissions or slog through summer camp waitlists. (Class photos, we’ll leave up to you.) Instead, the poop bag toters among us can focus on finding their four-legged family friends, fresh air, and the biggest luxury of all: open space.
Puget Sound is home to ample outdoor locales, but Fido isn’t welcome everywhere. Athletic fields, beaches, and playgrounds are strictly off-limits to dogs, enforced by fines of $50–500. (For the record, alcohol, running, and water fights aren’t allowed on beaches either, but we’ve seen our fair share of all three waterside.) Dogs must also be on a leash until safely inside one of Seattle’s 14 off-leash areas or others located in King County.
And dog parks carry their own dos and don’ts: Pinch or choke collars, puppies younger than four months old, and female dogs in heat are all prohibited. Owners should maintain voice control over their pets, carry a leash for each dog, and obey scoop laws. There’s no mention of running or water fight bans, so go crazy and let the tails wag at these dog parks and play areas of note.
Central District | 1.7 acres
Right next to I-90, a wide fenced-in field perfect for ball chasing and hill repeats awaits, but beware of mud during rainy seasons. Parkside water stations can wash those dirty paws before returning home. Blue Dog draws its moniker from one of the many art sculptures dotting the landscape, as a giant metal hound guards the entrance.
South Lake Union | .105 acres
Its spatial offerings may be meager, but you sure can’t beat that location in Amazonia. A small, gravel-covered plot among towering high-rises gives city-dwelling dogs space to run free. The wheelchair accessible park is surrounded by trees that provide shade and a bit of drizzle protection.
Lake City | 1.5 acres
Talk about a park with real perks for humans. This cross between a bar and a dog park creates an indoor-outdoor space for pets to mingle while their people indulge in cider, beer, or wine. Yes, memberships and punch cards are available for frequent Fidos.
Beacon Hill | 4 acres
This is the spot for a social media–worthy photoshoot of your pooch amid the Seattle skyline. Plus if the gate-protected off-leash area doesn’t provide enough stimulation, the park’s walking paths with stunning views just might.
Seward Park | 2.7 acres
The flat expanse makes it easy to keep an eye on frolicking dogs, and gravel in the center two acres of the park protects against that ubiquitous winter mud. For the less socially inclined canines, a separate area is designated for small and shy dogs.
Ballard | 1 acre
The wood chip–covered lot on a hillside above the iconic park lacks the radiant views of the beach but comes through with an obstacle-heavy doggie playground. Dogs will be so occupied by ramps, hoops, and jumps that they’ll soon forget they aren’t allowed to romp about on the sand below.
Eastlake | .5 acre
Why leave the house just to stand under an unceasing rumble of traffic? The draw comes from the concrete rain barrier. All that overhead protection combined with a mud-free gravel surface makes this park a choice spot on rainy days.
Magnolia | .5 acre
Atop a former reservoir, an off-leash area is designed for active pups, with a designated “chuck it” game zone and canine drinking fountain.
Sand Point | 8.6 acres
With unparalleled space within Seattle proper, this park rivals any pup’s suburban backyard daydream. Wide, wheelchair- and stroller-accessible trails wind to several open areas for a mix of scenery. The dogs even get their own fenced-in beach to take a sanctioned dip in Lake Washington.
Delridge | 4 acres
This spot is for the dog who pulls up in a Subaru with hiking boots at the ready. The expansive park features wide open meadows, skyline views, and walking paths through towering trees for a nature hike sans that pesky leash.
SeaTac | 37 acres
Dogs and their humans alike soak in the views of Mount Rainier from this spacious off-leash area south of Seattle. Pups can find an obstacle and agility course, scenic walking paths, and fetch-worthy open areas.
Redmond | 40 acres
Dubbed “Doggy Disneyland,” this spot has it all: open fields, six miles of wooded trails, five river access points, and stretches of beach. Located just two miles from the main Microsoft campus, pups just might come home with new tech-savvy friends.
Edmonds | 1.5 acres
Think Golden Gardens, but dog friendly. This spot also scores killer sunsets toward the Olympics and allows canine friends to swim in the chilly waves. A rinsing station helps keep all that rocky sand from entering the car on the way out, but the area isn’t fully fenced and not recommended for adventurous pups with their own agenda.