Who Let the Dogs Out? Best Off-Leash Areas for Pooches & Kids

“Big dogs, little dogs, red dogs, blue dogs….“ Dog parks aren’t quite as happening as P.D. Eastman’s Go, Dog. Go!, but they’re still quite a Dog Party. If you’ve got a pooch and a kid (or multiples of either), we’ve rounded up the best places around the city to spend the day with the fam, tails ‘n’ all. Flip through the gallery to get the poop, er scoop.

Off Leash Area Edmonds (OLAE)

The OLAE is a fave of pooches and kids alike - dogs can take the plunge into beautiful blue Puget Sound, run, jump and play on a driftwood-strewn beach, and try their paw at an agility course. This dog park is on the Whale Trail, so you can do some whale-watching while your pooch is squirrel-watching. There’s a grassy spot nearby, perfect for picnicking, and a small playground for younger kids (with no less than three slides). Afterwards, take those sandy paws and sneakers for a walk along the Edmonds Boardwalk, where kids can spot different kinds of boats and marine life and pooches can spot squirrels.

Good to Know: If you have more than one grown-up on hand, you can also explore the non-dog park part of the beach. You’ll need that extra grown-up to keep an eye on the dogs though, as Edmonds beaches are marine sanctuaries (no dogs allowed).

Insider Tip: If your little one is a train buff, this is the dog park for him or her – a train track runs right by the park and kiddos can get a close-up view of freight trains, the Sounder and Amtrak.

Off Leash Area Edmonds
498 Admiral Way
Edmonds Wa 98020
Online: olae.org

photo: Helen Walker Green

Dog Park Etiquette for Kids
Kids and dogs can have a very special relationship, but please use caution in the dog park. Remember that this is the pooches’ park and little ones need to know how to behave around dogs. Here are some tips to keep everyone in your brood safe and happy:

1. Never bring food or toys to the park (dog toys are fine, or course).

2. Keep a close eye on your kids, especially tots.

3. Discourage your kids from running, dogs may think they want to play chase.

4. Teach your tyke to always ask the dog’s human if it’s OK to pet their dog.

5. Dog parks are not the place to help your little one get over their fear of dogs – there’s too many dogs, and most are in that rambunctious,”Hey, wanna play?” mood. Setting up a quiet meeting with a friend or family member’s mellow dog is a much better place to start.

Where is your favorite off-leash area? Tell us about it in a comment below.

— Helen Walker Green


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