4 Favorite Dog Parks in Northern Virginia


If you have a postage stamp-sized backyard or your dog is tired of city living, here are 4 of our favorite dog parks in Northern Virginia. These are great places for dogs to run off some energy and make new friends. Our family loves trying out new-to-us dog parks. My daughters love watching our dog play and seeing other pups. Most of these dog parks are found in existing city parks and have playgrounds for children as well.

These dog parks are all off-leash

1. Shirlington Dog Park

2710 S Oakland St Arlington, VA 22206    

This dog park is one of my family’s favorites and it’s a delight to see so many dogs here in nice weather. As you enter, there’s a section for small dogs and puppies that is separate from the rest of the fenced-in dog park. 

My favorite moment there was when I was sitting at a picnic table enjoying a book. Two large dogs playing chase jumped on the table and left a slightly muddy paw print souvenirs on one of my pages. It’s now one of my favorite books.

My dog loves the stream section, though it’s not actually part of the dog park.

There are two gates that open to the stream where dogs love to play in the shallow to deeper water. This area is not fenced in, but there is a hill with rocks as a natural barrier.

Drinking Water: Yes, there are fountains for dogs.

Parking: Many free and some metered spots.

2. Benjamin Banneker Dog Park

6620 N 18th St Arlington, VA 22205

You’ll find this fenced dog park in the southeast corner of Benjamin Banneker Park. Dogs will love the areas to jump around in, things to hide behind, and places to play chase with new friends.

There are two fenced-off areas, for small and large dogs. The gravel here can get muddy due to the troughs of water getting in the area, so remember to bring a towel for mud and mess after rain.

Drinking Water: No: bowls are provided, but bring water to drink.

Parking: There is street parking and a small parking lot.

3. Ben Brenman Dog Park

4800 Brenman Park Dr Alexandria, VA 22304

This dog park is a mulch-covered fun zone for dogs in West End Alexandria. As a dog mom, I love the shade trees with benches for me and the abundance of tennis balls to throw for my pup. This completely fenced-in dog park is one large area for all sizes of dogs, with plenty of room to run and explore. One of our favorite things about this dog park is the train that runs parallel to the fence that my kids enjoy watching. This dog park isn’t fancy, but it’s enough space and we run into some of the same dogs which makes it one of our favorite dog parks in Northern Virginia. 

On Sunday mornings May-November the Farmer’s Market is open in the park so consider stopping by before or after the dog park. Ben Brenman Dog Park also has overhead lighting for evening playtime.

Drinking Water: No: bowls are available, but bring your own water.

Parking: Free and available across a small bridge at Ben Brenman Park.

4. Grist Mill Dog Park

4710 Mt Vernon Memorial Hwy Alexandria, VA 22309

This shaded dog park has a capacity of 64 dogs, but sadly I’ve never had the joy of seeing that many happy dogs there. The park has many mature trees and there is plenty of shade for tired pups. It’s easy to see why this is a favorite dog park in Northern Virginia. If you live near Mt. Vernon or are visiting with your dog, Grist Mill Dog Park is a great stop. 

The benches for humans are at opposite ends of the park, perfect for that introverted pup parent who is not there to make friends but wants their dog to. 

Drinking Water: Yes: Spigot to fill bowls.

Parking: Abundant and free.

Safety Notes

Check the signage and rules of the dog park to make sure what ages of children the park allows. I have found that most dogs are less interested in people and are most interested in meeting other dogs. I remind my kids to walk, not run and stay close to their adults since we are most familiar with our own dog. 

Per the City of Alexandria and Arlington websites:

  • All dogs must be under the handlers control.
  • No dangerous dogs.
  • Handlers must clean up after pets and place in receptacles.
  • Handlers are responsible for the actions of their dog(s) and damage to facilities.
  • Dogs are not permitted on athletic fields.