There aren’t many places in the ol’ Big Apple where dogs can frolic and play in the water and catch a Frisbee on the beach. Except Prospect Park, where that’s exactly the case. Just off the Long Meadow Beach at the Pools, dogs can run off-leash and catch a cool down during the hottest summer days. And trekking there from Manhattan is a worthy day trip – there’s more to do at Prospect Park than just throw ball. The huge amount of space welcomes picnics and games, and there are 585 acres of woodlands, waterways and trails to explore with your pup, family and friends.
It’s easy to get there – whether in a car or a cab, it’s about a 15-20 minute ride from Manhattan. The hours when dogs can play off-leash are specific, though, and the rules are strict, so be sure to plan ahead. The park welcomes dog paddling and off-leash playing between the hours of 5 am and 9 am, and then is closed until 9 pm, when it reopens again until 1 in the morning. You can read more about the rules and regulations of off-leash playtime at the beach here: www.fidobrooklyn.org/features/dogbeach.html
The best thing about the Prospect Dog Beach is that it feels like an escape from the city, into a smaller town somewhere upstate. The dog beach itself is somewhat secluded by shady trees, so you don’t feel surrounded by a massive park and hundreds of other people. It’s an opportunity to spend time with your dog without going too far, but at the same time feeling like you’ve “gotten away.”
(Here is a video that, while a bit dated, gives you an idea about the grass and dog beach in Prospect Park)Prospect Park dog beach - yes it's a swimming hole just for dogs,