The Bayou City is home to several great fenced-in places where pups can run off-leash, splash in a pond or simply socialize with other dogs and pet owners. Here are the top five bark parks to check out in the Houston area.
Millie Bush Dog Park
Millie Bush Dog Park is located within George Bush Park and as such is absolutely enormous. The park is divided into two sections for small dogs (under 20 pounds) and large dogs (20 pounds plus), and the large dog section has a vast area for dogs to run free at high speeds. On hot days, owners can sit on one of several shaded benches while their pets splash around in the water play areas or chase after their new friends.
Tip: After Houston's notorious heavy rains, the park can get a little muddy. Bring dog shampoo and a towel to take full advantage of the dog wash stations to avoid a messy pup in your car or home.
16101 Westheimer Parkway
Houston, TX 77082
Daily, 7 a.m. until dusk
Congressman Bill Archer Dog Park
Congressman Bill Archer Dog Park is a perfect place for both pet owners and their pups to get a little exercise. The park itself is large, with a walking/jogging trail looping around the enclosed area, and an agility course is set up near the back of the park for dogs to go through some training or simply have a little fun. When it's too hot to run around, there are several shaded spots to sit and watch the animals run around or play in the ponds.
Like other great spots on this list, the park has a special area just for small dogs under 20 pounds that includes all the same amenities as the large dog section.
Tip: Bill Archer Dog Park is surrounded by a wooded area, and as a result, mosquitoes, snakes, and other woodland creatures can be a bit of a nuisance. Be prepared with bug spray, and keep an eye out for any critters that might pose a risk to your pet.
3201 State Highway 6 North
Houston, Texas 77084
Daily, 7 a.m. until dusk
Danny Jackson Family Dog Park
Danny Jackson Family Dog Park is the stuff of dog owners' dreams. The park is divided into two sections for large dogs and small dogs. Each side has ample running space, some grass, and a water play area, as well as wash stations to clean or rinse the pups after a joyful tumble in the dirt. Large trees provide some shade on hot days, and a trail surrounds the enclosure to allow the pet owners to burn off some calories while their pets do. The park is clean and well kept — no doubt because of the courtesy bags and waste bins available.
What makes this park truly great, however, is the community. Pet owners who frequent Danny Jackson are friendly and courteous, as are the pups they bring with them.
Tip: While the area is generally quite safe, thefts from vehicles have occurred in the past. As with any large city, it's a good idea to park in a space where you can keep an eye on your vehicle, never leave anything valuable in plain sight, and always be aware of your surroundings.
4828 1/2 Loop Central Dr.
Houston, Texas 77081
Daily, 5:00 a.m. until 10 p.m.
Johnny Steele Dog Park
Located near Allen Parkway and Waugh Drive in Buffalo Bayou Park, Johnny Steele Dog Park is a great spot for Inner Loopers who live in Montrose or the Heights. Like others on this list, it has separate areas for small dogs, as well as a water play area in each section, and there are plenty of shaded spots for owners on hot days. The large gated-in space offers plenty of room for dogs and owners alike to burn off some energy. Because the dog park is right off of the Buffalo Bayou Hike and Bike Trail, you can venture out and explore other great spots to let your pup dry off after splashing around in the pond.
Tip: Parking can be a bit of a challenge. There are some parallel parking spots available off of Allen Parkway or street parking along some of the smaller nearby side streets, but those can fill up quickly. Your best bet is to try to come during off hours, but if you don't mind a walk, there is a small parking lot by Eleanor Tinsley Park near Allen Parkway and Sabine Street.
2929 Allen Parkway
Houston, TX 77019
Daily, 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Deputy Darren Goforth Dog Park
Deputy Darren Goforth Dog Park has a little something for everyone — not just the pups. Sure, the ample hills and green space, doggy agility course and wash stations provide all the amenities of a great dog park. But what sets this location apart is that it's fun for owners, too. The entire park itself wraps around a pond — which the dog park comes right up to — and a walking and jogging trail lines the perimeter. There is a kids' playground, and shaded canopies and plenty of places to sit around the pond and enjoy the scenic view of the water. Bonus: Unlike many dog parks, Deputy Darren Goforth Dog Park has plenty of restrooms and parking available, making this park an all-around great place to bring the family.
The park is located in Cypress, a suburb about a 35-minute drive from Downtown when there's none of Houston's notorious traffic, that is. If you don't live in the area, it might be a bit of a hike to get to, but this park is definitely worth the trip.
Tip: Some frequenters of this park have complained about owners not always picking up after their dog. While the space is generally clean, be sure to watch your step. And, of course, please clean up after your dog.
9118 Wheat Cross
Cypress, Texas 77095
Daily, 7 a.m. – Dusk