A chocolate lab laying in the grass

A chocolate lab laying in the grass (Photo by Wade Austin Ellis on Unsplash)

AUSTIN, Texas — As a dog owner, the quality of your pup’s life can weigh heavily on where you live. Dogs thrive in environments with fresh air, wide open spaces, and amenities like dog parks where they can run free and play with other furry friends.

In honor of July being National Lost Pet Prevention Month, LawnStarter compared 98 of the biggest U.S. cities to determine the spots with the best dog parks in the nation based on access, quality, and climate.

The most dog-friendly city is Boise, Idaho, with the best access to pooch-friendly green spaces. The City of Trees is followed by San Fransisco, California and Henderson, Nevada, to round out the top three.

The cities where you won’t find quality dog parks are Garland, Texas; Cleveland, Ohio; and New Orleans, Louisiana. Researchers say this was due to poor access to dedicated spaces for pets to play and unfavorable climates.

 Best Dog Park Cities
Rank City
1 Boise, ID
2 San Francisco, CA
3 Henderson, NV
4 Tampa, FL
5 Arlington, VA
6 New York, NY
7 Sacramento, CA
8 Las Vegas, NV
9 Portland, OR
10 Norfolk, VA
Worst Dog Park Cities
Rank City
1 Garland, TX
2 Cleveland, OH
3 New Orleans, LA
4 Laredo, TX
5 Columbus, OH
6 Kansas City, MO
7 Arlington, TX
8 Santa Clarita, CA
9 Newark, NJ
10 Irving, TX


The study also looked at other metrics for the perfect spot to raise a pup, including how a city’s dog parks are rated and how much sunshine a city gets each month.

You can find the best-rated dog parks in Toledo, Ohio, which boasts the highest average consumer rating at 4.75 out of five dog bones. Corpus Christi, Texas, and Buffalo, New York tied in second place for this category.

However, New York City boasts the most top-rated dog parks. The city’s 17 praised parks are almost double the number in Houston and Chicago, tied at nine each. Despite placing 18th for having the best access to dog parks, Laredo, Texas, placed fourth worst overall and second-worst in quality.

A sunny climate encourages owners to visit dog parks with their pooches more often. Among the 20 cities with the highest number of reviews, 16 are in the Sun Belt, a region of the U.S. known for its warm, sunny climate.

Seven cities in Arizona tied in receiving the most sunshine. On the other hand, don’t expect to get much vitamin D in Pittsburgh, which receives the least amount of monthly sunlight.

Where does your city fall? Let us know in the comments!

Study methodology:

First, LawnStarter determined the factors (metrics) that are most relevant to rank the Best Dog Park Cities. Then, a weight was assigned to each factor based on its importance and grouped those factors into three categories: Access, Quality, and Climate.

For each of the 200 biggest U.S. cities, data was gathered on each factor. Scores were calculated (out of 100 points) for each city to determine its rank in each factor, each category, and overall. A city’s Overall Score is the average of its scores across all factors and categories. The highest Overall Score ranked “Best” (No. 1) and the lowest “Worst” (No. 200).

About Sophia Naughton

Meet StudyFinds' Associate Editor, Sophia Naughton. Sophia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication directly focused in journalism and advertising. She is also a freelance writer for Baltimore Magazine. Outside of writing, her best buddy is her spotted Pit Bull, Terrance.

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StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

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Associate Editor


  1. John Cooper says:

    Great article. Come visit Durango, Colorado. A small city with the best dog park I have ever seen. We also have numerous restaurants that are dog friendly (outdoors).

  2. John Cooper says:

    Great article. Come visit Durango Colorado. We have the best dog park I have ever visited & numerous restaurants that are dog friendly (outdoors).

  3. Stumbling Duck says:

    Dog parks are like playing Russian roulette with your dog. You never know the temperament or training or care or health of the other dogs entering the dog park. I know from experience that many people race to the dog park after adopting a dog from the pound. Many of these dogs were at the pound for being aggressive but the new owner doesn’t realize/believe that, so they put that dog in the dog park like a new owner will magically cure the aggression. My dog was just attacked and we’re using a trainer who has educated me on the dangers of dog parks. We will never put our dog in that situation again and I urge all of you to never go to these places, if you love your dog.