Where to Take Your Dog in Atlanta

Atlanta is becoming more pet friendly than ever. Bring your furry friend to these parks, trails and restaurants.
  • Piedmont Park is one of the city’s most popular spots for spending time with your dog. (Lisa Panero, flickr)
    Piedmont Park is one of the city’s most popular spots for spending time with your dog. (Lisa Panero, flickr)

Dog owners don't have much trouble finding pup-friendly patios, trails or parks in and around Atlanta. You’ll find plenty of public spaces where it's actually encouraged to bring your furry friends. The only problem here is a good one: The overwhelming selection means it’s difficult to choose which to try out first.

We've highlighted three great options for getting outdoors with your dog. Remember to pack water, a dish, treats and a leash then head out with your pet to any of these spots. You're bound to get a warm welcome from fellow dog-loving locals -- most of them with their own four-legged friends in tow.

Pet-Friendly Trails You can spend time with your dog on the trails in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area—or on the river itself. You can spend time with your dog on the trails in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area -- or on the river itself. (Steve Harwood, flickr)

An inarguable go-to outdoor paradise for dogs, the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area boasts tons of trails near Atlanta, many of them reaching the riverbank -- the stuff of doggy dreams. An uncontested favorite is the Vickery Creek Trail, a 4.7-mile round trip that crosses historic mill ruins, travels through a rolling forest,and reaches a rushing spillway waterfall. While it doesn't actually meet the Chattahoochee River, the hike hits an even bigger dam-made waterfall at Vickery Creek, where there are sizable rocks perfect for sitting -- and toe or paw-dipping -- while you take in the view.

Explore Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, about 30 minutes from Downtown in Lithonia, for a unique combination of territories: Grassy meadows to run through, mirror-like lakes to splash in, loads of boulders to climb. The mountain-top finale of the eponymous 1.3-mile trail is an otherworldly granite floor, pocked with craters that pool rainwater -- doggo will love those -- and often sprout striking crimson-red plants. And there is a panoramic, far-reaching view.

Sweetwater Creek State Park in Lithia Springs offers a tucked-away refuge from the bustling city, and it's just a bit short of a half-hour drive from Downtown. The shortest option is the Sweetwater Creek Red Trail (2 miles), which invites hiking along the banks and historic ruins and rock outcrops. (If your dog loves climbing, try this one.) For a longer run, combine the Yellow and Orange trail loops to hit nearly 5 miles, which includes an overlook of Sweetwater Creek as you stroll down a metal bridge, plus an adventure through a flower-filled forest broken up by spurts of creek that pups absolutely love. When the weather's clear, you'll get a faraway -- but picturesque -- skyline view, too.

The Best Dog Parks in the City You’ll find lots of canine companions in Piedmont Park. You’ll find lots of canine companions in Piedmont Park. (TimothyJ, flickr)

There are so many cool places to take your dog in Atlanta. If your dog is super social, head to Piedmont Park, home to the most popular of Atlanta's dog parks. The grounds are separated for large and small breeds, but there's loads of room -- seriously, it's a huge park -- for off-leash running and co-play.

Spending any part of the day at Oakhurst Dog Park in nearby Decatur is made incredibly convenient by access to a wooded area for shade during sunnier hours. A water fountain is on-site, and poop bags are provided for easy clean-up.

Back in the city proper, there's Renaissance Park Dog Park along Piedmont Avenue and Renaissance Parkway, the first-ever off-leash space for pups in the Old Fourth Ward. Built three years ago in an underutilized park, this initiative has truly transformed the grounds, and it is now a haven for dogs and a place for their owners to connect and build community. Not far from there, you'll find a rooftop in Grant Park that's doggo-ready at Six Feet Under, a seafood spot overlooking historic Oakland Cemetery.

There's another locale, however, that undeniably wins top honors for most dog-friendly: ParkGrounds, a coffeehouse-and-dog park combo located on Flat Shoals Avenue. Fuel up, grab a bite to eat and relax -- all while your pup gets a full-scale workout in the fully fenced adjacent park.

Dog-Friendly Restaurants On the lookout for dog-friendly restaurants. On the lookout for dog-friendly restaurants. (TimothyJ, flickr)

There are lots of dog friendly restaurants in Atlanta. Hot wings and low-cost booze draw a crowd at the Local, but it's the wooden booths on its Ponce de Leon-facing patio that pull in Atlanta pet owners earlier in the evenings. Midway Pub in East Atlanta boasts an even bigger outdoor area, overflowing with tables and illuminated by string lights overhead.

Another perfectly fit-for-pups option is Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall, the campfire-and-lodge inspired restaurant in the Old Fourth Ward that's custom made for outdoor lovers. The patio is paramount at Ladybird -- it even includes a cocktail-serving camper -- and it's conveniently located along the BeltLine, too.

Originally written by RootsRated for Atlanta CVB.

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