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Where to take your dog for some fun this weekend
Laurel Bark Park at 3100 Old Cleveland Highway in Gainesville has two large fenced-in areas, one for big dogs and one for small.

North Georgia Dog Parks

  • Laurel Bark Park, 3100 Old Cleveland Highway, Gainesville
  • Mulberry Creek Dog Park, 4491 JM Turk Road, Flowery Branch
  • Fowler Park, 4110 Carolene Way, Cumming
  • Newtown Dream Dog Park, 3150 Old Alabama Road, Johns Creek

Many North Georgia families may be interested in spending the long Fourth of July weekend outdoors with their loved ones and furry friends.

While it is inadvisable to bring dogs to firework shows, as the loud sounds and lights can scare them off, people can enjoy the great outdoors with their pets in several ways.

“It’s my understanding that the Fourth of July is the number one day of the year pets are lost,” said Julie Edwards with the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia. “And July 5 is the number one day for intakes. Even the best dogs can be spooked by the sound of fireworks.”

But the region has other opportunities for dogs to get outside.

Laurel Bark Park at 3100 Old Cleveland Highway in Gainesville has two large fenced-in areas, one for big dogs and one for small.

“And it is actually right on the lake, and sometimes people will just walk their dogs down to a little area to let them cool off and swim,” said Elsa Alvarez with Hall County Parks and Leisure.

Pet owners are asked to remember no pets are allowed on the athletic fields at any Hall parks.

A short trip down the road to Flowery Branch is Mulberry Creek Park with a leash-free dog area.

The park has two fenced-in lots, one with a higher fence for large dogs and another for smaller dogs. Both have moderate space available, according to the website is a dog travel directory that provides online reservations and unbiased reviews of more than 25,000 pet friendly hotels, bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals and campgrounds through a partnership with Travelocity.

Mulberry Creek provides a box of doggy bags and trash cans nearby to dispose of your pets’ waste. No water hose or bowls were visible, but a water fountain is outside the gate with a doggy bowl fountain at the bottom for a slow water supply.

The area is on property of the community center, and is safe and well-kept, according to a review on the website.

Those willing to drive a bit further can check out Fowler Park in Forsyth County at 4110 Carolene Way in Cumming. The park has two large, fenced pens for big dogs and small dogs, plus water fountains for the dogs.

Finally, a little farther in Johns Creek is the Newtown Dream Dog Park at 3150 Old Alabama Road.

While a lengthy drive from Hall County, the park is arguably worth checking out, with one fenced acre of artificial turf, sprinklers for dogs to play in, obstacles including tunnels and bridges to climb, water fountains for people and pets. Owners can also rest on benches, in covered shelters and under the shade trees.

Dog waste bags are provided and owners are required to clean up after their dogs on the artificial surface. The park is also divided in two for big and small dogs.

For owners not interested in a busy, social dog park but still wanting to spend the weekend with their pets, other opportunities to get outside exist.

The Lake Lanier Convention and Visitors’ Bureau has advice on its website about boating with dogs.

“Always be sure to use the proper flotation when bringing your pet to open water,” the bureau stated. “A leash and good-fitting life jacket are a must when planning to allow your pet access to the water. It’s the safest for them and for others enjoying the lake.”

Several parks on Lake Lanier allow dogs on six-foot leashes, including Bolding Mill Park, Duckett Mill Park, Keiths Bridge Park, Little Hall Park, Tidwell Park, Long Hollow Park and Thompson Bridge Park to name a few. These parks do not have off-leash areas.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does not allow dogs at all parks on the lake. Contact the Corps or parks directly to ensure if pets on leashes are allowed.

Finally, several walking trails in Gainesville-Hall County are dog-friendly. The Rock Creek Greenway, connecting Rock Creek, Ivey Terrace, Wilshire Trails and Longwood parks, allows dogs on-leash. In Hall County, the Highlands to Islands Trail System, which includes the Gainesville greenways, offers an easy, paved 30 miles for locals to walk their dogs.

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