Maryland is an incredibly dog-friendly state. Dog parks abound, and there are plenty of places where your furry pal can swim. If your dog enjoys hanging out with you in breweries or ballparks, we’ve got you covered there, too.
Here’s a glimpse of the many ways you can have fun with your dog in the Old Line State.
Whether you’re in a bustling Maryland city or the quiet countryside, you’re probably near a dog park or beach. Some dog parks are restricted to member dogs and their owners, and others are reserved for city or county residents’ use. However, several of Maryland’s most popular dog parks and beaches are open to all, but charge a daily entry fee to help maintain the park.
Dog Parks and Beaches
Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis
Quiet Waters Park features a large, shady space with sections for large and small dogs. There’s a handy seasonal dog washing station near the dog park. Even better, Quiet Waters’ dog beach is a short stroll away. Turn left at the bottom of the trail or steps to reach the dog beach.
Ellicott City’s Worthington Dog Park
Worthington Dog Park is just a short drive from the city’s historic downtown area. The dog park has areas for small and large dogs. Howard County maintains this dog park well, closing off a third section of the park for replanting as needed so that dogs always have a lush lawn to play on.
Downs Park’s Dog Beach
Downs Park’s Dog Beach is one of central Maryland’s best known canine swimming areas. Located in Pasadena, this dog beach offers a lovely view of the Chesapeake Bay and plenty of space for dogs to splash and swim.
Although you’ll need to pay a $35 annual membership fee to use Paw Point Dog Park at Lake Roland, it is money well spent if you live nearby. This large lakeside dog park has just one fenced section, but it’s quite large. This popular, award-winning dog park also features a seasonal dog beach, plenty of open space, and nice views of the lake. It’s a good spot for birdwatching, too.
Remember to bring proof of your dog’s rabies vaccination and current dog license. You’ll need some cash to pay the park entry fee, too. Keep in mind that most dog parks do not allow young children to enter, and some restrict use to adults 18 and older.
State Parks and Rail Trails
Maryland’s state parks and rail trails are very pet friendly. Some even offer swimming opportunities for dogs. Patapsco Valley State Park, which encompasses 16,000 acres in Baltimore, Howard, and Carroll Counties, is a great place to walk and hike with your dog. Several trails offer access to the Patapsco River. Swimming is permitted; use caution near rapids and sharp rocks.
Calvert Cliffs State Park
Calvert Cliffs State Park in Lusby features 13 miles of trails (some trails include boardwalks in marshy areas) and a small but pretty sand beach known for its many seashells and fossils. Visitors of all ages love to hunt for shark’s teeth and shells.
The Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail
The Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail is part of Gunpowder Falls State Park, stretches 19.7 miles from Ashland in Baltimore County to the Pennsylvania state line. This rail trail is extremely popular with hikers, cyclists, horseback riders, and dog lovers. Hike the whole trail or just a section — either way, you’ll enjoy some lovely views and encounter friendly folks.
Tip: There are several parking areas along the trail. If you can’t find space in a parking lot, consider heading to the next one.
Harford County’s MA and PA Heritage Trail
Harford County’s MA and PA Heritage Trail is another rails-to-trails project, this one consists of 3.3 miles of trail in Bel Air and 1.7 miles of trail in Forest Hill. The Bel Air section of trail includes the MA & PA Dog Park, a good place to stop if your pup wants to socialize with trail buddies.
Check the park’s website before leaving home for up-to-date information. Remember to bring cash to pay the park entry fee. State parks are home to many species of wildlife, including bears, snakes, lizards, frogs, and deer, so state parks require that dogs stay leashed unless they are swimming in designated areas.
Variety is the (Dog) Spice of Life
Of course, there are times when you and your dog want to do something a little different. Here in Maryland, that’s easily accomplished. You can find 5K races, doga classes (yoga with your dog), and dog-friendly festivals, to name a few.
Whoofs on the Wharf
For fun on the water, Whoofs on the Wharf is open at Edgewater’s Pier 7 from late May through October. You can rent kayaks, paddleboards, and canoes that will accommodate you and your dog. Dog life jackets are available, and you can buy Fido a doggie ice cream after your paddle. Whoofs on the Wharf also offers Paint Your Pet events. Reservations for rentals are required, and a staff member can give you tips on canine kayaking best practices. You are welcome to rent equipment whether or not you have a dog.
Woof Wednesdays at Baysox Stadium
If your pup is a baseball fan, head to Woof Wednesdays at Baysox Stadium. Dogs are welcome to cheer (bark?) on the Bowie Baysox at every Wednesday home game. Be sure to bring your dog leash — dogs must be on leashes in the ballpark — and proof of your dog’s vaccination status. Canine Baysox fans and their humans will find water bowls in the stadium concourse and a pet relief area outside the stadium.
Draft doggie beer? That’s right!
Chesepiooc Real Ale Brewery
Chesepiooc Real Ale Brewery in Crofton offers a family- friendly atmosphere, specially made dog biscuits, and a non-alcoholic, yeast and hop free beer brewed especially for dogs. Ingredients include barley, bacon, peanut butter, and other flavors dogs love. There’s a grassy area in front of the taproom’s door if you prefer to sit outside. Stop by after a hike or swim and raise a glass to your four-legged friend.