U.S. state, Connecticut is also known as the Constitution State. Connecticut lies in southern New England and is primarily made up of rural areas with small towns and larger cities that are strung out along the coast.
It’s the coastal areas that are Connecticut’s main tourist draw, with the quaintly-named city of Mystic being famous for its Seaport Museum of centuries-old ships and the exotic fish that you’ll see on display at Mystic Aquarium. During your stay, you must take a trip down the coast to the 250-mile Long Island Sound and the city of New Haven to visit the Peabody Museum of Natural History. Yale University is located here too. Delaware is another Northeast State that’s popular with dog lovers.
Connecticut’s favorite dog breed is the beagle, but all kinds are welcome in this dog-loving state. So, if you’re planning on taking a vacation here with your pup, you’re both assured of a warm welcome.
In this article, we take a tour around ten of Connecticut’s best dog parks so that you’ll know what facilities are available here for your furry friend. But first, here’s some vital information that you’ll need to know before you and your canine companion set off on your road trip!
- 1 Licenses
- 2 Leash Laws
- 3 General Dog Park Rules
- 4 Dog-Friendly Accomodations
- 5 Our 10 Favorite Parks
- 5.1 Colchester Dog Park, Colchester
- 5.2 Stamford Dog Park, Stamford
- 5.3 Spencer’s Run Dog Park, New Canaan
- 5.4 Greenwich Point Off-Leash Dog Area, Old Greenwich
- 5.5 Central Bark Dog Park, Groton
- 5.6 Harwinton Conservation and Recreation Area, Harwinton
- 5.7 Clarke Park Off-Leash Dog Area, Old Saybrook
- 5.8 West Haven Dog Park (at Painter Park), West Haven
- 5.9 Eisenhower Dog Park, Milford
- 5.10 Newtown Park and Bark Dog Park, Newtown
- 6 Final Thoughts
In Connecticut, all dogs over six months of age must have a license. Note that your dog must be vaccinated against rabies and sterilized to be licensed.
Connecticut has a number of laws concerning dogs, and you can read them in full at this link.
In a nutshell, there is no general statute in Connecticut that demands dogs be on a leash at all times. However, you are not permitted to allow your dog to roam onto another person’s property or on a public sidewalk or road.
Local governments may create leash laws that apply in specific counties and state parks.
When walking with your dog in a state park, you must keep your pet on a leash. Dogs are allowed to play off-leash only in designated off-leash dog parks.
If you’re unsure of the leash laws in the region you plan to visit, check with a vet in that area or with the local government office.
General Dog Park Rules
Each dog park in Connecticut has its own set of rules that you must adhere to when using the facility with your pet. Here’s a summary of dog park rules that you’ll typically find here:
- Your dog must be licensed and vaccinated against rabies.
- Puppies under six months of age are not allowed in the dog park.
- Female dogs in heat are not allowed in the dog park.
- Aggressive dogs are not permitted.
- Electronic, spiked, prong and choke collars are not allowed.
- Dog treats, food, glass containers, and dog toys are not allowed.
- Skateboards, rollerblades, bikes, strollers, and prams are not permitted.
- Young children may not enter the dog park without an adult.
- You must repair any holes that are dug by your dog.
- You must pick up waste after your dog.
Note that although many dog parks do provide poop bags and water for owners and their pets, not all do, so it’s advisable to bring your own supply. Each state has their own rules, so make sure to be mindful of that.
There are many motels, inns, hotels, and resorts in Connecticut that allow families to bring their dog with them and offer pet-friendly hospitality. Note that some lodgings do place a limit on the size of visiting dogs and also ask for a refundable cleaning deposit.
Check out this link for details of some pet-friendly lodgings in the Constitution State.
Our 10 Favorite Parks
So, where can you go for some canine fun and exercise when you and your dog arrive in Connecticut?
Here are just ten of the very best dog parks that the state has to offer you and your furry friend. So that you can see what to expect when you get there, we’ve included some video footage of some of the dog parks too.
Colchester Dog Park, Colchester
Colchester Dog Park is located (here) in the city of Colchester.
The off-leash dog park is a work-in-progress that is run by volunteers from the town. Currently, there’s only one fenced area where dogs of all sizes and ages can meet and play off-leash. Although there’s no fee to enter the dog park, any donations are gratefully appreciated, as the park operates solely on donations.
Comfortable benches are provided for owners to relax under shady trees while they watch their pets playing together. However, there are no public restrooms on the property. Also, there’s no water provided, so you’ll need to bring some for your pet and yourself. Poop bags are supplied, but you are advised to bring some with you in case the park’s supply runs out.
Stamford Dog Park, Stamford
Stamford Dog Park is situated in the town of Stamford within the grounds of Courtland Park (here).
The park is open from sunrise until sunset every day. There are two fenced areas; one space for small, timid, or senior dogs, and the other for larger, more energetic pups who enjoy a good game. Water fountains are provided both for dogs and their owners. There’s lots of seating in shady areas of the park, and poop bags are provided too. For your own convenience, restrooms are available in the grounds of Courtland Park.
If you have a nervous dog, you need to be aware that the main road nearby does cause excessive noise. All dogs visiting the park must be vaccinated and licensed with the city of Stamford. Also, if you bring dog toys with you to the park, you should be prepared to donate them for everyone to use.
Spencer’s Run Dog Park, New Canaan
Spencer’s Run is a membership-only dog park, so you’ll need to contact the custodians via the link above to find out more about joining if you’re relocating to this beautiful area with your dog. Visitors can pay a non-resident’s membership fee so that guest dogs can play with the locals!
As well as the dog park, Waveny Park has 250 acres of space to explore, including over three miles of walking trails, a seasonal swimming pool, tennis courts, softball fields, soccer pitches, and picnic areas.
The off-leash dog park covers 1.5 acres and is surrounded by secure fencing. There are no isolated areas for large and small dogs; it’s all in together for fun and chaos! Doggy drinking fountains are provided, as well as waste stations that offer complimentary poop bags. You’ll also find leash hooks on which to store your pet’s lead while he enjoys playing. Plenty of shaded benches are situated throughout the dog park area where you can take the weight off while your pet plays. There’s also a gazebo for extra shelter and shade.
Spencer’s Run is exceptionally well-maintained and kept neat, clean, and tidy. Consequently, the dog park is very popular with local dog owners, and it can get busy at weekends. If you want to bring your dog here when it’s quieter, the park is open every day from sunrise till sunset, so try visiting early.
Greenwich Point Off-Leash Dog Area, Old Greenwich
If you’re visiting Old Greenwich on Long Island Sound between December 1 and March 31, you can enjoy the beautiful surroundings on Greenwich Point Off-Leash Dog Area (here).
You’ll find Greenwich Point Park on the end of a peninsula that extends out into the Long Island Sound. The park is very popular with swimmers, anglers, cyclists, and joggers. Consequently, dogs are only welcome in the park during the off-season from December 1 to March 31. The park is open from sunrise to sunset.
Although dogs must be on a leash in all other areas of the park, the beach at Todd’s Point is a favorite spot for off-leash fun, as long as you restrict your dog to the area below the beach’s high tide mark. Your dog must be under strict voice control, and you may be issued with a citation if your pup is caught harassing birds and other local wildlife.
Away from the beach, your dog can enjoy a leashed walk along trails that meander through woods, marshes, and gardens. Please be aware that dog laws are strictly enforced in the park, so be respectful, and remember to take a supply of poop bags with you so that you can clean up after your pet.
Central Bark Dog Park, Groton
Central Bark Park is located within The Copp Family Park in the town of Groton (here).
The Bark Park has two separate areas, one for small dogs under 25 pounds and one for larger dogs over 25 pounds, so if you have a timid, tiny pup, he can enjoy a more relaxed vibe with others closer to his size. There are plenty of chairs provided where pet parents can relax while watching their dogs at play.
Poop bags and waste stations are provided, and there’s plenty of space for dogs to roam around, play, and chase a ball or Frisbee. There’s no water fountain here, so remember to bring a drink for you and your pet.
You can take a walk around the trails outside of the dog park, provided that you keep your pet on a leash, and there are restrooms here for your comfort.
Harwinton Conservation and Recreation Area, Harwinton
Harwinton Conservation and Recreation Area is located (here) in the picturesque town on Harwinton. This expansive park is open from sunrise to sunset and provides a scenic, tranquil place to walk with your dog. Note that all pooches must be kept on a leash while in the park, and you must pick up after your pet.
The park is heavily wooded – great for shade and sniffing – and has a total of nine nature trails, six of which are excellent for hiking. There are a few easy trails in the north of the park that run for half a mile or so, past a pond and picnic area where you can stop for a breather and a drink. In the south end of the park, you’ll find more challenging hiking paths that provide a hard workout for you and are ideal for burning off a lively pup’s excess energy.
You’ll need to bring poop bags and water, as neither are provided. Other facilities in the park include a picnic pavilion, kids’ play area, and a sports complex.
Clarke Park Off-Leash Dog Area, Old Saybrook
Old Saybrook (here) is one of the oldest towns in the country. Situated close to the mouth of the Long Island Sound, the town enjoys wetlands, marshes, and plenty of green space that you and your canine companion are welcome to explore and enjoy.
Clark Community Park (here) is also known locally as the Town Park and is one of the area’s most popular venues for off-leash fun and frolics. The park is primarily marshland and has a playground, baseball fields, and a few miles of interlinking walking trails. The 180-acre park includes a fishing lake, skiing trails, and picnic areas, and is equipped with drinking water for you and your pet, as well as restrooms. Note that you will need to bring poop bags and clean up after your dog when necessary.
Your dog is allowed, on-leash, anywhere in the park except on the baseball field. The park is open from sunrise to sunset, all year round.
West Haven Dog Park (at Painter Park), West Haven
Open from sunrise to sunset all year round, West Haven Dog Park is situated (here) within Painter Park in the town of West Haven, close to West Haven High School.
To use the dog park, your pet must be vaccinated up to date, including for rabies, and you must have a dog license. Also, you’ll need to display the relevant tags on your dog’s collar when you visit.
The park is not segregated, so pups of all sizes play together in one area. Fresh water is not provided, so you’ll need to bring some along for your dog, as well as a bowl. Also, you’ll need to bring along a supply of poop bags, although trash cans are provided close to the dog park for you to dispose of any pet waste. There’s plenty of space here where your dog can burn off his excess energy and have fun meeting other pups.
The park is open every day from dawn until dusk.
Eisenhower Dog Park, Milford
Eisenhower Dog Park is situated here in the town of Milford.
The dog park is quite small, and everyone plays together. In other words, there are no separate areas for small and large pups. You’ll find a few benches located within the park, and there’s a lovely shade tree in the center of the dog run. However, there’s no water provided, so you’ll need to bring some with you.
The park area surrounding the off-leash dog area is beautiful and has pavilions with picnic tables. There’s a large playground, a lakeside area, and restrooms. Your dog is welcome to walk with you around the larger park area, but he must be leashed.
Newtown Park and Bark Dog Park, Newtown
The Bark Park has separate areas for small and large dogs. There are a few fire hydrants and items of agility equipment to entertain your pup, and you can enjoy a fine view of the adjacent forest scenery. Visitors to the park love the shady pavilions, benches, and laid-back vibe of this pleasant space. Sprinklers are provided to keep your pet cool and well-hydrated during hot weather. Also, the park has lots of poop bag dispensers and waste bins that owners are encouraged to make use of.
This beautiful, well-maintained park was created by the local community and is run by local dog owners. Check out the bulletin board for changes in hours, upcoming fundraisers, and other relevant doggy information.
A trip to Connecticut must be included on every dog-owning vacationer’s itinerary. This is a delightful rural state that also boasts a beautiful coastline.
All over Connecticut you’ll find plenty of dog-friendly lodgings to suit every pocket and lots of off-leash dog parks to visit too. And, if your pup is content to walk on his leash, you can both take advantage of some lovely walks through the peaceful countryside of the Constitution State.