Families with dogs often find that getting them enough exercise can be tough. Some parks do not allow dogs. Some are not big enough for a dog to get a chance to run and others still do not allow dogs off the leash, which can hinder their exercise. However, there are plenty of places to take furry friends south of Boston, be they leash parks, off-leash parks or even places to take a dog swimming. Dogs and their owners can get out and have the fun they need to stay healthy.
457 Lincoln St.
Hingham, MA 02043
Stodder's Neck is a dog park that is also part of Abigail Adams Park. Both are on reclaimed land that was once a gravel pit on the borders of Hingham and Weymouth. There are walking trails right along the harbor that are open from sunrise to sunset every day of the year. Dogs are allowed off leash, but owners are expected to clean up any messes they make. While not all owners are respectful of this unwritten rule, Stodder's Neck tends to be clean, has water for dogs to splash in and plenty of room to get in a vigorous game of fetch.
Corner of Rte. 6 and Shank Painter Rd.
Provincetown, MA 02657
Pilgrim Bark Park is a bit out of the way for an afternoon visit, but it makes for a great weekend day trip and is accessible via the Provincetown Ferry. Its location on the tip of the Cape also makes it perfect for dog owners who want to spend a day on the beach-filled peninsula, but do not want to leave their dogs behind. This park is very nice, though only an acre. It has a section for smaller dogs and dog poop cleanup stations. There is a strict set of rules posted by the Provincetown Dog Park Association for this off leash park, so be sure to read them before visiting.
Related: Boston's Best Dog Obedience Schools
204 Union St.
Hingham, MA 02043
Wompatuck State Park is a large park that is not strictly for dogs, but is perfect for them. It has a tent and RV camping area, miles of trails, several water features and bike paths. Bring the dog along on a camping trip, a day hike or a biking expedition. Dogs are allowed off leash in certain areas of the park, so become familiar with these areas. However, this is a large wooded space, so dogs that are not completely under voice control should not be allowed off leash at Wompatuck.
700 Lincoln St.
Franklin, MA 02038
Franklin Dog Park is a large gated park that allows owners to set their dogs free and let them socialize with other dogs. Of course, owners are expected to control their dogs, keep them on leash when leaving and entering the park and be legally responsible for their dog's behavior. The town asks that owners keep females in heat away from the park for obvious reasons. Other than the usual rules, Franklin Dog Park is a place where most dogs can enjoy a run with some friends and plenty of human supervision.
Hanson, MA 02341
The towns of Hanson and Halifax host a vast plot of unused cranberry bogs, wooded trails and a large, clean pond. There are easily more than 10 miles of blazed trails and an amazing array of birds and other wildlife. To the left after the Pleasant Street entrance, nearer the cedar swamp, there are quite a bit of turtles and frogs that will certainly draw the interest of curious pups, so beware. The policy is, "dogs must be restrained (by leash/chain or strict voice control) and all dog waste is to be removed." Burrage Pond provides a clean place for dogs to jump in to cool off during a long hike, but be careful they do not jump in the bogs because they will come out muddy and stinky.
Shelly Barclay is a professional freelance writer and amateur author. She writes on a variety of topics from food to mysteries. She loves to share the culture and rich history of her birthplace and home, Boston, with the rest of the world. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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