Dog Friendly Spots: Hampton Roads and NENC

Where would we be without our beloved fur babies?

We will spend the rest of our lives without a concrete answer to the question. And we will also spend the rest of our lives keeping our pups happy and healthy.

Owning a dog includes a change in lifestyle. You start making life decisions based on how it affects your dog and their schedule. Most of us would probably choose a coffee shop that has outdoor seating over one that doesn’t, solely so we can bring our pups along. We may wake up earlier so that we can have a little extra time at the park or on the beach. And while we don’t like the idea of leaving them for any extended period of time, when we do have to leave town for a bit, we want to make sure they are thoroughly taken care of.

Lucky for us, we live in an area that focuses a lot of attention on dogs, and Norfolk even has the second highest number of dog parks per capita. Below is a quick guide to all of the things in Hampton Roads that can make your dog’s life better.

Dog Parks 

  • Downtown Dog Park Downtown Norfolk, next to Muddy Paws Norfolk, VA 23510

In the heart place of downtown, the Downtown Dog Park was opened in October 2018. With downtown Norfolk’s population on the rise, this park gives residents a place in walking distance to let their dogs off leash for a while and get some energy out.

  • Bea Arthur Dog Park 501 Front St, Norfolk, VA 23510

Right on the Elizabeth River, the Bea Arthur Dog Park is one of the bigger dog parks in the area. Sitting on about 1 acre, this park gives your pup plenty of room to run around. And, if your dog is a swimmer, there is a ramp leading into the river that allows for easy access in and out.

Other notable parks:

  • Red Wing 1398 General Booth Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
  • Ridgeway Bark Park 85 E Mercury Blvd, Hampton, VA 23669

If you are visiting or near Northeast North Carolina and looking for a place for your pup to unwind, check out this awesome dog park!

  • Maple Dog Park 150 College Way, Barco, NC 27917

Dog Friendly Beaches and Trails

  • Ocean View

The beach at Ocean View in Norfolk is nice because unlike other beaches in the region, it is open to dogs year round. Also, if your dog is new to swimming or is typically afraid of waves and shore break, Ocean View sits right on the mouth of the bay so there is virtually no swell. Makes for a nice leisurely swim for you and your pup!

  • First Landing State Park 2500 Shore Dr, Virginia Beach, VA 23451

The beach at First Landing State Park is also open to dogs year round. And on top of the beautiful wide open beaches, this park has plenty of nature and walking trails that you and your pup can go burn some calories on!

Other notable beaches and trails:

  • Sandbridge Beach 3128 Sandfiddler Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23456 (ONLY allows dogs before 10AM and after 6PM during summer)
  • False Cape State Park 4001 Sandpiper Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23456
  • Chesapeake Arboretum 624 Oak Grove Rd, Chesapeake, VA 23320
  • Grandview Nature Preserve State Park Dr, Hampton, VA 23664 (ONLY allows dogs September 16 – May 14)

Northeast North Carolina Dog Friendly Beaches

  • Nags Head Beach

Nags Head is the heart of vacationing on the Outer Banks and has been for more than a century! With it’s beautiful views and sunny beaches, you and your dog will experience a little slice of paradise! Luckily, on this beach dogs are allowed on the beach year-round as long as they are on a leash that does not exceed 10 feet.

  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore

This gorgeous national seashore spans over 70 miles and the first national seashore in the country! You are bound to witness some amazing wildlife and sunsets with your pupper. This shoreline allows dogs on the beach year-round as long as they are restrained at all times with a leash that is at least 6 feet.

Other notable beaches:

  • Southern Shores (ONLY allowed on the beach before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m. from May 15 – September 15)

Local Shops

Check out these local doggy shops for whatever needs your precious pupper may have! All are located

Other notable shops:

  • Pups n Stuff 4330 Holland Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23452
  • Mrs Bones 236 Central Park Ave, Virginia Beach, VA 23462
  • Doggstuff 564 N Birdneck Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23451

Boarding Facilities

Happy Tails 861 W 46th St, Norfolk, VA 23508

Happy Tails, made famous by their giant indoor dogs only swimming pool, is a wonderful place to leave your dog for the day, or overnight. While your dog is staying at Happy Tails, either overnight or just a few hours, they will be greatly cared for!

Other notable boarding facilities:

  • Cosmo’s Corner 505 Central Dr,Virginia Beach, VA 23454
  • Pet Resort at Greensprings 2878 Monticello Ave, Williamsburg, VA 23188


  • Playful Pups 404 Investors Pl #103, Virginia Beach, VA 23452

In Hampton Roads, we are lucky to have our very own version of Cesar Millan. Deborah at Playful Pups is truly a dog whisperer. If your puppy needs to learn basic obedience, or you want to get your dog into performance training, the staff at Playful Pups will amaze you with how quickly they can teach your dog new tricks.

Other notable trainers:

  • Merrimac Dog Training Club 15 Newsome Pl, Hampton, VA 23661