Along with a healthy and nutritious diet, ensuring that your dog gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation is one of the best things you can do for your pup’s long-term health.
While making sure your dog gets all of their daily walks is important, taking your dog on new and exciting outdoor adventures is a great way to bond and stay healthy. Visiting dog-friendly beaches, off-leash dog parks, and dog-friendly hiking trails are all excellent ways for you and your pup to strengthen your bond and get some much-needed physical and mental stimulation!
We composed this list of dog-friendly adventures you and your canine companion can enjoy across the state of Virginia! Break the routine and start exploring the great outdoors with your dog.
The Best Dog-Friendly Adventures in Virginia
First Landing Beach is located along the coastline of First Landing State Park. While this beautiful park is a top destination for overnight campers, mountain bike enthusiasts, and hikers, it is also very pet-friendly, which is why it is such a great place to explore with your canine companion.
The beach consists of nearly 1.5 miles of coast along the Chesapeake Bay, and it is entirely open to dogs. The white sand and soothing waves offer stunning views and a relaxing atmosphere that you and your canine companion can explore and enjoy.
Your dog will love running up and down the gentle dunes and getting the chance to sniff some washed-up seaweed and driftwood. The park is also home to some dog-friendly campsites, so there’s a good chance that your dog will have the opportunity to socialize with some other beach pups!
Park admission is only $4 per vehicle and both the dog-friendly beach and hiking trails are open daily.
Phideaux Field is a privately owned off-leash dog park operated by the Forest Hill Presbyterian Church. While it is a relatively small off-leash dog park, the church fills the enclosed space with dog toys and splash pads. The park also provides poop baggies, and the 4-foot tall gated fence ensures your dog will have a safe space to explore and socialize.
Phideaux is rarely crowded and is situated beneath a beautiful church. There are plenty of benches, so you can sit back and enjoy a coffee or snack while your pup has the opportunity to run around and play.
The park is funded by the church and through donations from dog parents that frequent Phideaux Field. Overall, it offers an excellent location for you and your dog to break the routine of neighborhood walks.
Scott’s Run Nature Preserve offers dog-friendly hiking trails with stunning views and plenty of fun obstacles. There are a variety of trail types for you and your dog to explore. Whether you are looking for unchallenged nature paths or prefer more rocky and steep hiking trails, you will be able to find the exact type of adventure you and your dog crave!
While you should keep dogs on a leash at all times, you and your dog will have a blast navigating the trails and taking in the sights, sounds, and smells that the untouched landscape has to offer. If your pup enjoys the water, there are plenty of creeks and streams to splash through.
With cliffs, valleys, waterfalls, streams, and a dense forest, Scott’s Run Nature Preserve offers enough adventure that you and your dog will want to return for years to come.
Not only does Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park offer some of the lushest forests in the entire country, but it also has a reputation for being one of the nation’s most dog-friendly national parks!
Shenandoah consists of over 200,000 acres of protected lands and has four major entrances. The massive park has over 500 miles of trails to explore- whether you prefer a more rugged, backcountry hike or a gentle nature walk along a more manicured path, Shenandoah National Park will have something for you.
It is worth noting that dog leashes are mandatory on the trails, so you and your canine companion will be staying close. Some of the trails venture through a segment of the Appalachian Trail, so wear appropriate footwear and count on burning some calories if you plan on climbing and descending these rocky segments.
While Shenandoah features plenty of grassy fields, which are great spots for you and your pup to enjoy a picnic, there is another dining option nearby. For those that prefer to celebrate a successful hike with a sit-down meal and a refreshing drink, Triple Crown BBQ is a nearby- a dog-friendly restaurant that serves Virginia-style BBQ and ice-cold beverages.
The state of Virginia has plenty to offer adventurous dog lovers. Not only are there plenty of dog-friendly nature preserves to explore, but the state is also dotted with enclosed, off-leash dog parks and dog-friendly beaches.
Even if you are looking for a more relaxed afternoon, you will find dog-friendly wineries, historical landmarks, and restaurants. While the suggestions highlighted above are a great place to start, we suggest you hit the road with your pup and explore even more of what Virginia has to offer. While you are out exploring, you can access a vet virtually through Hello Ralphie if you need veterinary care. We’ll get you connected with a caring professional whenever you need it, wherever you are.
If you enjoyed this list, check out our favorite small and independently owned pet businesses across Virginia.