Charlotte is a dog-friendly city, as evidenced by its 47 restaurants that welcome dogs in their outdoor dining areas and more than 60 motels and hotels that allow Fido to sleep next to your slippers. Charlotte, located in Mecklenburg County, also boasts eight dog parks dotted throughout the city. All county dog parks are free. Listed below are the most popular dog parks and recreation areas that allow dogs:

Reedy Creek Park

This public park in the university area of the city contains a four-acre fenced-in dog park where dogs can run off-leash. Locals like to call this part of Reedy Creek “Barkingham Park.” The rest of the park, which includes athletic fields, picnic facilities, and playgrounds, is also pet-friendly as long as your pet is on a leash.

McAlpine Creek Park

The canine-friendly area of this public park is called, fittingly, “Fetching Meadow.” Let your dog run off-leash in the one-acre, fenced-in area. Fetching Meadow is smaller than most dog parks, but it gets high marks from locals and tourists alike.

Shuffletown Park

The four-acre dog park located within Shuffletown Park is fenced-in, and it has a separate area for large dogs that weigh over 20 pounds. You can relax on a bench and let your dog run free, or stroll around the park on a gravel pathway. There is partial shade, and water and waste stations are conveniently located. Doggie pools are available when the weather is hot. The park hosts special events, including a Sunday night “Yappy Hour,” designed to bring pet-parents together for convivial fun and conversation. The park advertises its hours of operation as “sunrise to sunset,” but it’s wise to call ahead to confirm opening hours.

Frazier Park

This 16.5 acre park has a fenced-in area set aside for dogs, and a smaller pen available for puppies and small dogs. Located uptown near Sycamore Street, this dog run has abundant greenery and is very popular with the locals. Doggie pools and doggie fountains are available for the canines, and picnic tables, shade trees, and a bubbling creek are available for the pet-owners.

Ramsey Creek Park

Located in Northern Charlotte, this waterfront park has a dedicated area for dogs called Swaney Pointe K-9 Park. It consists of two fenced-in dog areas that comprise four acres. There are separate areas for large and small dogs, and pet-owners are welcome to take their dogs on-leash throughout the rest of Ramsey Creek Park.

William R. Davie Regional Park

Within this 107 acre public park is the five-acre Davie Dog Park, which has two fenced-in areas for off-leash dogs. One area is for large dogs weighing over 20 pounds, and the other separate area is for small dogs that weigh less than 20 pounds. Both areas are plenty large enough for dogs to run freely, play Frisbee, or a rousing game of fetch. Cooling off pools are available for larger dogs, and you’ll often find that other dog owners have deliberately left doggie toys for other pooches to enjoy.

Mallard and Clark’s Creek Greenway

This is a public park that doesn’t have a separate dog park, but features an easy 12 mile round trip trail that allows dogs on-leash. The well-maintained trail and lush greenery make this a great place to exercise your dog. The trail is a combination of crushed gravel and pavement that is ideal for walking, hiking, and running. The park is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and there is no fee. Download a printable map of the park to take with you.

All dog parks have posted rules; be sure to read the rules and be a responsible pet-owner. If you have an unruly dog, you can contact The Charlotte Dog Training Club (CDTC) or The American Kennel Club to learn about socialization, behavioral problems, and training programs for your puppy or dog. For all other information about any of the dog parks listed, contact the Parks and Recreation Department of Mecklenburg County.

For a list of other Charlotte attractions that are pet-friendly, such as the Carolinas Aviation Museum and the Carowinds Amusement park, contact for more information. Be sure to put the Bark in the Park Top Dog Festival on your to-do list. It takes place April 26, 2014 in Huntersville, NC, just 12 miles from downtown Charlotte.