Thursday, 06 July 2017 13:31

Bark Park: Where to Let Your Dog Run in West Michigan

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Ozzy the golden retriever running at a dog park. Ozzy the golden retriever running at a dog park. Photo by Kerry Kibby

With winter finally off the brain, there is no better time to grab your best fur friend and head to one of the many local dog parks in West Michigan. With an assortment to choose from, dog owners can pick the park that fits Fido’s needs, whether that’s a large open meadow, shady woods, swimming ponds or exercise equipment. Just remember to keep your pooch hydrated and always read the posted rules to understand what areas are on- and off-leash. Here’s just a sampling of the many paw-filled parks around town.

Shaggy Pines (3895 Cherry Ln Ave., Ada)
Shaggy Pines is one of, if not THE, best dog park in West Michigan. The unique, 20-acre private park is surrounded by large pine trees, hills and wide-open green spaces. It’s your dog’s own “heaven on earth.” The large park features both human and pooch amenities, including a 15-acre fenced-in area, swimming ponds, a doggy mountain, dry dog areas (for when you don’t want to deal with muddy paws) and even a coffee bar.

Grand Ravines Dog Park (3991 Fillmore St., Jenison)
Tucked behind Grand Valley in Jenison, Grand Ravines Dog Park is a hidden gem. With more than 20 acres of walking trails, both you and your dog can rack up some decent exercise. Grand Ravines features two fenced-in, off-leash areas for large and small dogs. And best of all: It’s free. Recent updates include public restrooms (dogs allowed!), a washing station and vending machines. Check out the park’s Facebook page for frequent doggie meetup events.

Kruse Park (3205 W. Sherman Blvd., Muskegon)
The perfect park for dogs who love water. Located along the West Michigan shoreline, Kruse Park is a beach just for pups. Keep ’em on the leash in the sand, then take them to the water where they’re free to paddle around and cool off in Lake Michigan. The dog beach, which boasts 3,000 feet of shoreline, is clearly marked and easy to find.

Hillcrest Dog Park (1309 Lyon St. NE, Grand Rapids)
If you’d rather stay in the city, Hillcrest Dog Park is your best bet. Likely within walking (or biking) distance from your Grand Rapids home, Hillcrest features ample parking and two fenced-in areas for large and small dogs. With tons of trees offering ample shade, it’s a great option for a hot day.

Kirk Park Dog Beach (9791 N. Lakeshore Dr., West Olive)
Another killer choice for beach-loving dogs. Located a quarter mile walk from the parking lot, Kirk Park includes 600 feet of off-leash play area for you and your pooch to run and swim together.

Prairie View County Park (899 E. U Ave., Vicksburg)
Honestly, whether you have a pup or not, the 210-acre Prairie View makes for a great summer trip: a beach, picnic set-ups, hiking, volleyball, playgrounds and more! But don’t discount the seven-acre fenced dog park as well, with both shady grass and gorgeous wooded areas, along with a special spot for the little guys — dogs under 25 pounds.

Meadow Run Dog Park (900 S. 8th, Oshtemo)
Meadow Run isn’t just a dog park, it’s an exercise facility. Whether your dogs are all about those gold medals or just like to run around with their owner (that means you), this park has dozens of acres of open land, agility equipment, tennis balls and frisbees, a 12,000-square-foot swimming area, a dock for competitive jump training, and much more.

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