1. Dog Wood Park
Located at 5505 SW Archer Road, 1 mile west of I-75. Hours: 7 a.m. to sunset for members; Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m for non-members. This is a membership park and there is a charge for non-members to use the park for the day. Features: 15 acres, completely fenced with 6-foot high chain link fence, all entrances and exits are double-gated.
The park has a jogging trail, hammocks, picnic tables, lounge chairs, swinging benches, regular benches, two huge dog swimming ponds, kiddie pools, a fountain, a gazebo, an agility course, a sunny small dog area, a shady small dog area, a dog shower, indoor restrooms, soft drinks for sale, free bottled water, agility-type obstacles in the main park, park-provided tennis balls, multiple poop clean-up stations with bags and scoopers provided.
Dog Wood Park is part of Dog Central Station which includes a do-it-yourself dog wash called "The Dog Wash", a doggie boutique, called "The Spot Shop", a doggie day care, agility training, and obedience training.
"This is the most amazing place, I think I have more fun there than my two dogs and they absolutely LOVE it. It is nearly one hour drive, but we had to find a place for our doberman and cavalier to run since we just sold our farm and moved to 1/3 acre. This park is clean, beautifully kept and easily accessible from 1-75. I am so happy we found it."
"While both the small & large dog areas are pretty spacious, the trees that were planted there are very small so it will be years before there is any natural shade. However, there are shade canopies over the benches on both sides. There are also dog water spigots (as well as fountains just outside of the fenced areas for their human companions) and trash cans with poop bags. There is a double gate system but very small dogs (like one of mine) can easily squeeze through the gaps between both gates. Possum Creek Park itself has a mulched playground (which is nice & partially shaded), a very cool skateboard area, covered picnic benches and a shaded gazebo next to a short nature path. There is no entrance fee. Besides the lack of shade for the dogs, my other complaint about the dog area is the lack of grass near the benches. Hopefully they will mulch it because hard-playing dogs (or dogs who like to dig to China) will get dirty."
2. Forest Park
Located at 4501 SW 20th Avenue (just a bit north of all the apartment complexes on SW 20th.)
This dog park is also part of a larger park, which has several different sorts of playing fields. The dog park is on the west side of the park and is fairly open. The problem with this park is that the one side of the park that hits a creek is unfenced, which means dogs can get into the water where alligators may potentially be lurking (as with every other bit of water in the state of Florida). This park is popular, due to its location near a lot of apartment complexes, and is a bit on the small side. No entrance fee.
"This park is now completely fenced with two single gate entrances. There are some nice old shade trees, a few plastic lawn chairs, water fountains for people and dogs and poop bags."
3. Northeast Park
Located at 400 NE 16th Ave (adjacent to the northern edge of the Duckpond neighborhood.)
If you live in the Duckpond area, you can walk to this park if you go north towards 16th Ave. Northeast Park has several different sorts of playing fields, a running track, and trails. The dog park is on the south side of the park, where it meets the northern side of the northeast historic district (i.e. the Duckpond). It’s smaller than Squirrel Ridge (see below) and is mostly wooded, which can be a really good thing during those hot Florida summers. The park has a double gate system (to prevent dogs in the park from escaping when other dogs are entering) and trash cans for dog waste. No entrance fee.
"This is a great little neighborhood dog park. Lots of friendly dogs. I visit almost daily. There are poop bags, an active water spigot, bowl and short hose available for pets. There are two benches for people to sit on while the dogs romp. There are always plenty of tennis balls and sticks available."
4.Squirrel Ridge Park
Located at 1603 SW Williston Road, just west of where Williston crosses SW 13th Street. Open sunrise to sunset. There is an off-leash area within this park's 17 acres; fenced, trees, parking, water, trash cans. No fees for use.
"For travelers, this is an easy park to get to from I-75. Take the Williston Road exit and head east. It will be a ways down, on the south side of the road, just west of SW 13th Street."
"The dog park is located in the back of the park," she said, "It's a very spacious open field, there are a few large shade trees, and it generally has a good crowd of people and dogs. The park has a double gate system, trash cans for dog waste, a water spigot and the park itself has soccer fields and a playground."
5. Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
Located at 4700 S.W. 58th Drive. The entrance is on S.W. Archer Road (State Road 24) and is 1 mile west of I75.
This is not a dog park, but a lovely 62-acre facility developed and operated by the North Florida Botanical Society.
"The gardens offers beautiful, wide walkways, and dogs are permitted on-leash in the park. They even provide water for dogs at several spots along the trail. Kanapaha has long impressed me, because it was one of the first dog-friendly places to visit in Gainesville."
6. Possum Creek Park
Located at 4009 NW 53rd Avenue in Gainesville. Offers separate areas for large and small dogs. This park was opened in 2010 and is slowly adding amenities.
06-09-11: "A very good new park--we go several times a week. In the official dog park, there are separate areas for large/small dogs, double gates for each, waste bags and cans, and dog-height water fountains. Young shade trees have been planted, but they're still pretty small. In the meantime, there are shade canopies with benches. Lots of tennis balls and Frisbees live there. The area also serves as a retention pond for the adjacent skate park, so the bottom can have up to 6 inches of water after a big storm, and is very sandy when dry. The higher ground ground is grassy and stays dry. The rest of the park has a great skateboard facility, a playground, restrooms, picnic area, several open fields and (on-leash) trails. A fine park for the whole family."
NOTE: We can't visit every area on a regular basis, so if you have information about any dog parks or beaches, or any other animal recreation facilities, in the Gainesville area, please contact FloridaPets.net.