What better summer combo than kids, dogs, and the great outdoors? While the pandemic may have put a damper on many favorite summer activities, our city’s public parks remain open and safe, with plenty of space for socially-distant exercise. Get your energetic small beings out for a romp in one of Portland’s many kid-friendly dog parks. Read on for the details on our faves!

Photo: Terricks Noah via Unsplash

New to dog parks? Take a moment to review the city’s rules for dogs in public parks and off-leash areas, and help keep parks safe and enjoyable for everyone.

Unfenced Off-Leash Areas

 

Sellwood Riverfront Park

Just beneath Sellwood Bridge and along the Willamette River, this park has an open grassy area officially designated for off-leash pooches to play (but locals know that dogs run the show along the sandy beach area as well.) Dogs who love to splash, swim, and fetch are happiest here. After playtime, snap on the leash again for a wander with your kiddo through the wooded trails that depart from the riverfront park.

SE Spokane St. & Oaks Pkwy.

Online: portlandoregon.gov/parks

Laurelhurst Park

With a duck pond and meandering trails through deep shade, this is the perfect oasis for a summertime run with kids and dogs. Keep your dog on-leash near the pond while your kid scopes out the baby ducks, geese, and maybe even a tadpole or two. The off-leash area abutting Oak Street is unfenced and large enough for letting Fido get his crazies out.

SE Cesár E. Chávez Blvd. & Oak St.
Online: portlandoregon.gov/parks

Photo: Lents Park by Mark S. via yelp

Lents Park

This sprawling park in the unassuming outer Southeast neighborhood of Lents has a popular unfenced off-leash area, located right near the community garden. There are plenty of trees, squirrels, and other dogs to keep things interesting for playful pups. Bags and a water spigot are available. After running your dog, watch gardeners at work in the community garden. Ask politely to enter and walk respectfully through the paths to admire the lush gardens. Dogs must be leashed in the garden as well as uphill from the off-leash area, where a ½-mile wooded walking loop offers more room to wander with a wiggly little one. Check out Walker Stadium or play in the sun for a little bit before you head home.

SE 89th Ave. & Steele St.
Online: portlandoregon.gov/parks

Fernhill Park

With plenty of room for your dog to run, this unfenced off-leash dog park is close to open areas for tennis, horseshoes and softball. Bring trustworthy dogs and kids who know to keep away from cars, as the off-leash area abuts a busy street.

NE 37th Ave. & Ainsworth St.

Online: portlandoregon.gov/parks

Photo: Donald Teel via Unsplash

Fenced Parks

 

Mt Tabor

The fenced dog park at the base of this beloved Southeast park (and dormant volcano!) is on an incline that dogs love running up and down. Let ‘em run, then leash up and hike up the winding trails with your little one. Bring a stroller or backpack for tiny hikers so you can take in the spectacular city views from the peak.

SE 60th Ave. & Salmon St.
Online: portlandoregon.gov

Normandale

This city park in the Northeast offers a popular fenced-in dog park with water and a bag dispenser. It’s flat and well-shaded, making it a great option on hot days– and there’s even a separate area for smaller dogs. Trails, ball courts, and shaded open areas offer many options for outdoor play with your kiddo afterward.

NE 57th Ave. & Halsey St.
Online:portlandoregon.gov/parks

Photo: Another Beliver via Flickr 

Chimney Park

This large 5-acre off-leash area is off the beaten path and completely fenced, though it’s a low-enough fence that truly motivated dogs might be able to get out. Large shade trees keep active canines cool, with a water spigot inside the dog park. Bring your own poop bags. There’s a pedestrian bridge connecting Chimney Park to nearby Pier Park, so pack a lunch and explore with your little one. Both parks tend to be less crowded than other popular parks close to the city center.

9360 N. Columbia Blvd.
Online: portlandoregon.gov/parks

Brentwood Park

Just next to Joseph Lane School, this small fenced dog park has a bag dispenser. Bring water for your thirsty pooch! A great option for puppies and dogs who are still learning to listen. Bring wheels and scoot around on the tennis court or walk along the paths afterward (with puppy leashed, of course.)

SE 60th Ave. & Duke St.
Online: portlandoregon.gov/parks

Gabriel Park 

Under large shade trees, this popular 2-acre dog park has picnic tables and benches where your kiddo can color or read while doggy plays. Afterward, leash up and take a walk through the park’s trails.

SW 45th Ave. & Vermont St.
Online: portlandoregon.gov/parks

-Melissa Poulin

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