1. Al Lopez Park
Located at 4810 N. Himes Avenue
Alligator warning! Use extreme caution if you visit and never allow your dog to roam off leash here.
"We as dog owners should be ashamed of the Al Lopez dog park. I saw owners watch their dogs leave large piles of waste and do absolutely nothing. Worse thing, It was common among most all the owners that day. When I offered one man a plastic bag to pick up after his large dog, he said 'I have one' then walked away from the large pile. One man with 3 very large dogs told me that it was the parks fault as there were never any waste bags in the holder at the park. It is our responsibility as dog owners to clean up after our furry friends. When a dog park is properly taken care of, it is a joy for the pet and the pet owner to walk around. The only repercussions these people face is that eventually, it will be in such a sickening state that their dogs will get sick. For me it is disheartening. A once beautiful place where dogs and owners can walk around without leashes is now so filled with feces that you have to throw away your shoes when you leave there. I guess what makes me saddest is this, all you have to do is carry some bags with you, bend over and clean up after your dog and throw it in the waste can."
"...we go to the above-mentioned dog park about twice a week. Unfortunately, it has become overrun with people who do not scoop after their dogs. This is not a singular event, either. I have been going for about 5 months regularly now. It is very sandy in places, with good grass cover in others, has a concrete slab water spout with a broken bucket as a bowl. The people who go there are very, very friendly, and I have never seen anyone when I was there not pick up after their dog, but someone isn't...it's a shame that this lovely park, with bathroom facilities, a small/large dog area, picnic tables, and huge playground for kids can't be cleaner."
"This is a very nice large park where all dogs are allowed if on a leash. There is a good size dog running/leash free area with limited seating, water, and shade. The park has water and restrooms and free parking. It is a nice area to bring the whole family. There's a great trail to walk or run with a leashed dog. There's also a lake with fishing, but, park-goers with dogs and kids will need to beware of alligators.
2. Gadsden Park
Located at 6901 S. MacDill Avenue. Offers large trees for shade, picnic tables, a water spout, bucket, and poop bags.
"This park still has a lot of sand spurs and that when they go, they try and stay in the places the dogs have worn out already. The reader said this park also has a nice track around the lake where you can walk your leashed dog, but people are abusing it by not picking up after their dogs."
3. Davis Island Dog Park
Located near the boat ramps on the east side of the Seaplane Basin in south Tampa. This dog park/beach is fenced on three sides, the fourth side being the water of Tampa/Hillsborough Bay. At this beach, your dog can have the freedom and safety to run while having access to the water and you can relax and enjoy yourself without worrying about your dog running away.
This dog park has a small beach of white fluffy sand with some small rocks going out to the shallow rock-free water of Hillsborough Bay. It has no time-out or small dog area and it's a popular park with limited seating. NOTE: There's another separate dog park across the parking lot, but it has no water access or shade.
Web Mistress Note: As further clarification of the reader below, we contacted Tampa Parks & Recreation Department and this is what they told us about dogs and Davis Island:
"There is a public beach area on Davis Island as well as a dog park, which includes an area for the dogs to play in the water. The signs which state 'No Dogs On Beach' refers to the public beach area, as we do not allow dogs on any of our public beaches. The dog park has a dry area, and to the left of that area on the other side of the driveway is the area where dogs can play in the water. This area is on the channel side at the end of the airport property."
4. Mango Dog Park
Located off exit 10 of I4 and I75. Local folks refer to this as the "Mango Recreation Center Dog Park in Seffner." Offers two fenced acres, one for small dogs, the other for large dogs, pavilions, picnic tables, a dog wash/pool area, drinking fountains for both dogs and their people, some shade trees, poop bags. To get there after coming off the exit, go to the second stoplight, which is Clay Pit, turn left, make the first right into the Mango Recreation Center which is also the parking lot for the dog park.
"We have just returned from Florida and visited Mango Dog Park every day with our two golden retrievers. What a wonderful park. Lots of room to roam and play with water pools for the dogs to cool off, drinking dishes and toys to play with. It is very clean and the people we met were very friendly and very responsible dog owners who always kept an eye on their dogs."
5. Palma Ceia Park
Located at the intersection of West San Miguel & Marti. The dog park is positioned on the North East corner of the grounds. This park is about 3/4 of an acre and is surrounded by a four-foot chain link fence. Offers a double gated entry with a concrete slab, dog and human drinking fountains, dog doodie pickup bag dispensers and waste containers and shade trees. (We are told to beware of parking illegally here as police sometimes show up to write tickets!)
"The dog section is on the small-ish side and does not have separate sections for large and small dogs. There was a large amount of poop in the back of the park. If someone in Tampa was looking for a dog park, I would not recommend this one - tell people to go to West Park [see #7 below]. The people there are much more conscientious about their dogs."
6. Picnic Island Beach Park
"This park now has a leash-free area near the boat ramp. While a great addition, it still needs improvements. After opening, a water station with a hose (no concrete slab) and trash cans with doggie bags were added. The main downfall of this dog park is that it is not completely fenced in so you must have a well-mannered dog to avoid having to chase him/her down. On the other hand, the advantage to this park over Davis Island Park is that it is bigger and cleaner and a lot less crowded, although that could change as more people find out about it."
7. West Park Dog Park
Located at 6402 Occident Road. This Hillsborough County dog park is about 5-acres and offers separate large and small dog sides with separate entrances. Has a grassed area, wading pools for the dogs, water fountains, picnic tables for guardians to sit, covered shelters, clean up bags, trash cans.
Volunteers are on duty to help enforce rules which include: 1) Dogs must wear current rabies tags. 2) Children under 6 are not permitted. 3) Children ages 6 to 15 must be accompanied by an adult. 4) Humans in the park must be accompanied by a pet. 5) No food or treats allowed in the park.
"The volunteers take excellent care of this park. I have been in Tampa since 1979 and I think this is the best dog park I have ever been to. I don't know what day that other person visited, but I have seen almost everyone picking up after their dog and being very courteous to other people. Must have been an off day for them."
"We visited this park recently, but we only lasted about 10 minutes. People don't pick up after their dogs. It was like land mines of dog feces everywhere I looked. Not only that, but it was split up into 2 sections of course - one for 30-pound dogs and under, but there were a lot of larger dogs in that area. My dog likes to socialize, but when a 50-60 pound dog comes barreling up to him it's little intimidating. I won't be returning anytime soon. [In my opinion], West Park Dog Park, definitely not the best in Tampa."
"The regular attendees [of this park] managed to get the county to give them money for their own riding lawn mower so they could cut the grass and keep up the grounds on a regular basis. The park is closed on Wednesday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for lawn and ground maintenance.
"Since the regular attendees took over the maintenance the grass looks and feels like a carpet. It is very well maintained now and a very welcoming to newcomers. One can go to Yahoos Group: BARKERSOFWESTPARK for more information. You have to join the group in order to get the information. In my opinion, it is probably the best dog park in Tampa at this time. There is also a children's playground and little league baseball field, all in the same complex."
8. Hillsborough River State Park
Leashed pets are welcome, with restrictions, at this state park located about 12 miles north of Tampa and six miles south of Zephyrhills on U.S. 301. Open 8 a.m. until sundown 365 days a year. For more information, call 813-987-6771.
"This is a great place to take your dogs. They have several trails of varying lengths, and it provides a great place for leashed dogs to romp around! If you do visit the park, you’ll need to bring your own bags as they don’t have any there. We also bring bottled water for our dogs on the trails because there are limited fountains once you start. Don’t forget mosquito repellent for your pets if it has recently rained."
9. Rowlett Park
Located off 26th Street and Yukon.
"I must tell you there is no sign or if there is one, it is not easy to find. It truly is a nice place. They have all the amenities that you would want. They have the dog bag distribution, water places and even a bath type of receptacle. They have various dog obstacles too. It has picnic tables under shade and is safe and nice."
10. Land O' Lakes Recreation Center
"This park is behind the recreation center, by a basketball court and soccer field. There are small signs with arrows, sort of providing directions. She said the dog park isn't very big, but it's clean and does have separate sections for large and small dogs. It also has nice grassy areas for the dogs, baggies for pickups and bowls of water. She said the dog park is fairly new and sponsors are being sought to put in benches."
11. Giddens Dog Park
Located across the street from Giddens Park, near the intersection of 12th St. and E. Giddens Avenue in Seminole Heights.
Notes from readers:
"It's small, but a good place for locals and their pets to meet on a regular basis. It has one section for all dogs and it offers benches, poop bags, a water fountain with a bowl, lots of shade and toys left by the locals, like tennis balls, soccer balls, footballs. Most of the pet guardians are very friendly, courteous and pick up after their pets. It gets busy on the weekends and after work on the weekdays."
12. Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
Located at 600 N Ashley Drive, behind the new Tampa Museum of Art. There is a fenced dog park within this park where dogs can run off-leash. Offers toys, doggie water fountain, but no doggie waste bags, so take your own. There is no separate section for large/small dogs
13. Herman Massey Park
Located at 1002 N Franklin Street. Offers a small, but shady area for your on-leash dog to get some exercise.
14. Lykes Gaslight Park
Located at 410 N Franklin Street. Offers a nice wide open space, but still, requires your dog be on-leash.
15. MacDill Park on the Riverwalk
Located at 100 N Ashley Drive. Offers 3/4-acres of grassy comfort for feet and paws, benches and poop bags. Dogs must be on-leash.
16. USF Park
Located at 233 S Ashley Drive. This is a riverfront park with great paths and doggie waste stations. Dogs must be on-leash.
17. Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park
Located at 601 Old Water Street. This is the second largest park in downtown Tampa. A nice, open space, but dogs must be exercised on-leash.
18. Meridian Street
Located along Meridian. Not an official park, but has an open area for you and your leashed dog to romp a bit.
19. Dinosaur World
Located between Tampa and Disney World in Orlando. This is an outdoor park with big dinosaur statues and lots of walking trails. Leashed dogs are welcome on the trails. Tickets are $14.95 for people; dogs get in free. This location is open daily.