Having a dog in the city can be challenging because it always has to be on leash. Here are some areas where you can take Fido out for a walk, run or play without having him chained to your side.

3 Fox Vineyard
10100 Three Fox Lane
Delaplane, VA 20144
(540) 364-6073

Escaping out into the countryside can be a nice time for both you and your dog. Less than an hour’s drive from DC, 3 Fox is a gorgeous vineyard to spend a day with your best friend. Fido will be allowed into the tasting room, though you may want to keep him or her on a leash as a courtesy to the other guests. After you’ve selected a bottle to spend the rest of the afternoon with, take the short walk down to the picnic tables by the creek where the wide hammocks just beckon you to enjoy a lazy afternoon. You can allow your dog to roam around as you like, but be aware there is no fence, so you’ll want to be sure you have a reliable off-leash recall. If your canine is a water dog, it will love the creek. Lazy dogs can just lounge in the shade under the trees.

Glencarlyn Park Dog Run
301 S. Harrison St.
Arlington, VA 22204
(703) 228-6525

For the ultimate off-leash, fence-free exploration area, Fido wants the Glencarlyn Park’s dog run. This off-leash area is wooded with plenty of rocks to climb, creeks to wade in and trees to mark. This off-leash park is quiet and there aren’t too many dogs around, but be sure that you have a reliable off-leash recall as the complete lack of fence means that your pooch may take off if it finds something it would like to chase. It’s also ideal for human exercise as you can walk through a series of trails and paths while your canine companion runs along freely at your side.

South Street Dog Park
South St. & 17th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 673-7647

In the heart of Dupont Circle, dogs of all breeds and sizes abound in this cozy dog park. Although the area isn’t so large, it does boast a great place to let Fido play, bark and have fun with so many dogs in the heart of the northwest DC quadrant. It’s also an ideal area for owners to socialize with other dog owners. Lined with astro turf, this fenced-in park looks lush and green despite the parade of dogs that come through. Despite its size, the park offers benches for humans to sit in the shade, water bowls for the pooches and poop bags to keep the place clean.

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Shirlington Park
2601 S. Arlington Mill Drive
Arlington, VA 22216
(703) 228-6525

Unlike most urban dog parks, the Shirlington Park feels more like the great outdoors with lush landscaping and a shallow stream that both you and your best friend can wade in. There are wooded paths that allow you to walk peacefully in the shade while your companion may search around the area. For those with smaller breeds or puppies, there’s a dedicated area just for you that offers picnic tables to relax at while your pooch plays with other dogs of the same size. This large area is fenced in, so you don’t have to worry about your dog if it is a runner. There’s a DIY pet bath next door if your pooch is just way too dirty to get into the car afterwards.

Dewey Beach
105 Rodney Ave.
Dewey Beach, DE 19971
(302) 227-6363

If your dog loves to play in the ocean and dig up the sand, then Dewey Beach is one of the few places to go where Fido can roam freely. Great for a day trip or overnight, Dewey beach is located about three hours from the DC area. Off season, you can wander the beach with your dog as much as you like. All dogs are required to have a license, which can be obtained at the town hall or visitor center and are good for the life of the dog. Dogs are banned between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. during the summer season of May 15 to September 15.

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Jamie Hardin is the counter-culture Washingtonian in the know. Inspired by food, sustainability issues, and public health, she prides herself on finding DC’s off-the-beaten path treasures. When she isnt enjoying organic food or reducing her carbon footprint, Jamie’s traveling on her scooter or walking her two pit bulls. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.