Running free through the forest, swimming through lakes, and chasing friends is something every dog dreams of. Lake County dogs are very lucky, indeed. The Lake County Forest Preserve maintains four amazing dog parks perfect for your furry family members. Open daily from 6:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. (or sunset), dog parks provide hours of excitement while also running your dog to exhaustion. And dog exercise areas encourage families to stay active together. Each park on our list offers 30-acres (or more) of pure, outdoor family fun.
Dog parks require an annual permit per dog, or a daily fee. Our 11-month-old dog is full of energy, so our family opts for an annual permit, since we often visit multiple time in a week. Check the Lake County Dog Parks Page for details about requirements and how to purchase a permit. You can even purchase a gift certificate for a dog park visit for the special dog in your life.
Independence Grove Dog Park
31531-, 32499 N. Milwaukee Ave.* | Libertyville
* The dog park has a separate entrance from Independence Grove Forest Preserve. Enter on Milwaukee Avenue (Route 21), north of Buckley Road (Route 137).
Tabbed as the “Best Dog Park” by Northshore Magazine, Independence Grove Dog Park is our family’s favorite. With a lake and shaded trails for dogs to explore, this park does not disappoint. In addition, you’ll find three beaches where dogs can jump in to retrieve tennis balls and Frisbees. Plenty of open space allows dogs to romp and roll. Enjoy the opportunity to make new friends, too–you may find that many visitors here are “regulars” at this park.
Lakewood Forest Preserve Dog Park
27473, 27511 N. Fairfield Rd.* | Wauconda
* Enter the dog park off of Fairfield Road, north of Route 176
The biggest of the four parks, Lakewood Forest Preserve Dog Park has a whopping 66-acres for your four-legged friend to explore. This is our family’s “home” dog park. We hike the wooded trails here, but this park is known best for it’s open, prairie-style trails. However, there is no water feature here to cool off dogs on hot days. With a recent addition of open space, this is the park where I log the most FitBit steps. A trip around the outer trails of this park usually nets me 5,000 or more steps. Rumor has it you can find quite a few Pokémon here, too!
Duck Farm Dog Park
Hwy 132 and Douglas Ln.* | Lake Villa
* Entrance is on Grand Avenue, east of Deep Lake Road
Whether you love the wide-open, grassy area at the park’s entrance, or you prefer to hike the long loop around the park, you and your dog will fall in the love with this park. Here, 48-acres of land are lined with grass trails and small creeks for dogs to take a swim. Another great feature here are hills for dogs to run up and down, and plenty of wetlands and open trails that will wear your dog out. The doggie drinking fountain also comes in handy on warm days.
Prairie Wolf Dog Park
1917-2075 S. Waukegan Rd.* | Lake Forest
* Entrance is on Waukegan Road (Route 43), north of Half Day Road (Route 22)
Last, but not least, this park is simply a dog paradise. From a huge pond, tons of trails through forest and prairie grass, to a drinking fountain and plenty of open space to run free, this park has it all. Offering 44-acres of space, one of this park’s unique features is the fenced-in training area which can also be used for smaller dogs to roam. While there is a lake, it is fenced-in, allowing owners to decide if they would like to take their dog for a swim. Not only does this park have a great location, it is absolutely beautiful to visit.
With four great dog parks to choose from, what are you waiting for? Pack up your dog for a car ride and explore a dog park with your family; they are open year-round, too. I’ll see you there.
Which dog park is your favorite in Lake County? Tell us in the comments section below.