Lake Metroparks offers pup-friendly, outdoor fun for you and your best furry friend to discover

Lake Metroparks Jul22
Photography: Al Miller

By Mimi Vanderhaven

After doing a little Google research, Mimi discovered that the “dog days of summer” are a real thing. Who knew?

According to the Farmers’ Almanac, they occur between July 3 and August 11 each year, signifying the “most oppressive period of summer” in terms of heat. But the name doesn’t have anything to do with the heat. During this period, Sirius—also known as “the dog star”—occupies the same region as the sun, so the ancient Romans dubbed these the Dog Days.

Enough of the history lesson, darlings.

Now is the perfect time to grab your favorite four-legged friend and hit the Fido-friendly trails and parks of Lake Metroparks.

Mimi caught up with Interpretive Naturalist and devoted dog lover Tony Gazso.

“We hope dog owners keep their pets behaving and on-leash on the trails, realizing that not all people might want to interact with them,” he adds. “And of course, please pick up after them to leave nature as you found it.” Here are few of his insider’s tips at the parks:

  • Chagrin River Park, Willoughby: Excellent for bigger, more adventurous dogs. Since it’s right by the river, this park offers a chance for dogs to jump in and cool off or get a drink.
  • Lakeshore Reservation, Perry: With paved paths in a loop, ideal for smaller dogs.
  • Lake Erie Bluffs Park, Perry: Take any of the paths down to Lake Erie for an off-leash swim.
  • Canine Meadow Dog Park, Kirtland: With more than three acres of off-leash socializing, running and adventure space with two separate areas for big and small dogs, this park also features a wide-open swim area. Owners can socialize, too, on benches. Don’t forget your frisbee. It’s open daily from sunrise to 30 minutes past sunset.

Tony also reports that dog are allowed in all the Metroparks, except for the Farmpark and in any of Lake Metroparks’ indoor facilities, including the Penitentiary Glen Nature Center, the Environmental Learning Center, and Painesville Township Park Community Center.

Lake Metroparks provides more than 4 million annual visitors with countless recreational and educational experiences at diverse facilities including an agriculturally themed park, a nature center, education and wildlife rehabilitation center, two golf courses, more then 50 miles of trails, and six parks on Lake Erie’s shoreline. Visit for more information.