This is the fourth installment in our series on pet friendly parks around the United States. We previously covered parks from Alabama through Georgia, Hawaii through Maryland and New Mexico through South Carolina, as well as parks recommended by the Onpets community. This installment covers parks from New Mexico through South Carolina and all states in between. Get out there and explore and let us know which parks YOU most enjoy visiting with your four-legged companions.
White Sands National Monument
Located in the middle of the Tularosa Basin, White Sands is one of the world’s great natural wonders. Gypsum sand has engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world’s largest gypsum dunefield. White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of this unique dunefield, along with the plants and animals that live here. Pets are allowed everywhere except the visitor’s center if they are kept on a leash no longer than six feet, and are under the control of their human companions at all times.
Gateway National Recreation Area
Gateway is actually made up of three locations at Sandy Hook, New Jersey; Jamaica Bay and Staten Island, New York City. The NYC side includes Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Fort Tilden, Riis Park in Queens, Floyd Bennett Field and Canarsie Pier in Brooklyn. Staten Island has Great Kills Park, Miller Field and Fort Wadsworth. Together with Sandy Hook, they comprise Gateway’s 27,000 acres. Pets are allowed in most areas of the Park on a leash no longer than 6 feet. Pets are not allowed in any of the Park campgrounds or on the ocean-side beaches at Sandy Hook from March 15 through September 15 for the Piping Plover season. Pets ARE permitted on bay-side beaches at Plum Island and Horseshoe Cove throughout the year; swimming beaches at Staten Island’s Great Kills Park from Memorial Day through Labor Day; Jacob Riis Park, Fort Tilden and Breezy Point Tip (all within Jamaica Bay Unit) between March 15 and September 15; and ALL parts of Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge at ANY time of year.
Cape Lookout National Seashore
A quick three-mile boat ride brings you to the barrier islands of Cape Lookout National Seashore. It’s known for its horse watching, shelling, fishing, birding, camping, lighthouse climbing and historic villages. Be sure to bring all the food, water, and supplies you need when visiting the remote beaches! Pets on a leash no longer than 6 feet are allowed on the beaches of Cape Lookout National Seashore. The leash requirement applies on all islands including Shackleford Banks
Dakota Prairie Grasslands
Stretching over 1,259,000 acres, the Dakota Prairie Grasslands is home to elk, antelope, mule deer, bighorn sheep, coyote, eagles, falcons, and many more furry critters! It’s open for a wide variety of activities including hiking, camping, horseback riding, photography, canoeing, fishing and backpacking. Pets are allowed but must always be restrained or on a leash while in developed recreation sites, and they must stay out of swimming areas.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Situated between Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, the Park has more than 100 miles of multi-use trails. The winding Cuyahoga River cuts through deep forests, sprawling hills and flatlands. You can also walk or ride the Towpath Trail to follow the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal. Pets on a leash no longer than 6 feet are allowed in the Park, but are not permitted in Park buildings or on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
Chickasaw National Recreation Area
If it’s water you’re after, Chickasaw is worth checking out! Pets on a leash no longer than 6 feet are allowed in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. Chickasaw is famous for its springs, streams, and lakes. Just make sure you keep pets out of the trails east of the Travertine Nature Center, within the Travertine Nature Center, and in all swimming areas along Travertine Creek east of US 177, south of the Northeast Perimeter Road, and north of the Southeast Perimeter Road east of Sycamore Crossing, including the swimming areas known as Little Niagara, Bear Falls and Panther Falls. If you can follow these directions, you deserve a Compass King or Queen Badge of Honor!
Deschutes National Forest
Encompassing 1.6 million acres, Deschutes covers central Oregon’s Cascades, home to many trails, streams, lakes, mountains, and rivers. Over 95% of the Deschutes National Forest trails are open to dogs off-leash in the summer and there are 1,200 miles of summer trails on the forest. However, 54 miles of designated trails require dogs to be on-leash. In winter, dogs are allowed off-leash on 99% of national forest lands managed by the Deschutes National Forest.
Gettysburg National Military Park
An incredible epicenter for American history, Gettysburg was the location for the Battle of Gettysburg, the Union victory that ended General Robert E. Lee’s invasion of the North, and was also the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln’s immortal “Gettysburg Address”. Pets are welcome at Gettysburg National Military Park. Pets are not allowed in the Museum and Visitor Center, the Soldiers’ National Cemetery or other Park buildings at any time.
Rhode Island (TBA)
Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park
Blackstone River Valley is still being established, so the rules and regulations are still being decided. Once they establish a pet policy, we’ll update our piece accordingly. Blackstone is one of the newest and biggest national parks in Rhode Island, and boasts an incredible history dating back to the industrial revolution.
Congaree National Park
Congaree National Park is home to the largest intact expanse of old growth bottom-land hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States. Waters from the Congaree and Wateree Rivers converge on the floodplain, supporting the ecosystem and growth of the national and state champion trees. Congaree National Park preserves the largest tract of old growth bottom-land hardwood forest left in the United States. Pets on a leash no longer than 6 feet are allowed on all trails, including the boardwalk, as well as in the campgrounds.
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