Best Off-Leash Dog Areas In Detroit

August 10, 2013 8:00 AM

Loosen the reins and let Fido off the leash to play with new pals at the Canton Dog Park. (credit: PARK JI-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images)

For us humans, going to the park to play a bit can be a time of freedom, but for the dogs of the world, it is when they have to remain on a six-foot leash, that is unless it is at a dog park, where they can run free and interact with other pooches. Remember that before taking your pet to any of the dog parks listed, all documentation about required pet immunizations must be supplied to the communities where the dog parks are located. Here are some of the best off-leash dog parks in the Metro.

Loosen the reins and let Fido off the leash to play with new pals at the Canton Dog Park. (credit: PARK JI-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: PARK JI-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Orion Oaks Dog Park
Oakland County Parks
2301 W. Clarkston Road
Lake Orion, MI  48360
(248) 625-0877

One of the best park systems in Southeastern Michigan is the Oakland County Parks, and for Fido there is the 24-acre leash-free Orion Oaks Dog Park. There is a special area for small dogs, a picnic shelter for the dog’s humans, drinking water and two trails. With such a large area, the dog park is divided into three separate sections, with the open portion rotated monthly to maintain a clean and safe area for dogs and humans. Since each owner is responsible for cleaning up after their pet, waste bags are supplied courtesy of Pet Supplies Plus.

Related: Best Pet-Friendly Getaways Near Detroit

Swift Run Dog Park
Ann Arbor Parks & Recreation
Ellsworth and Platt Roads
(734) 794-6230

When you are in the Ann Arbor area and want to let your dog run free and safe, then stop in at the Swift Run Dog Park. Operated in partnership with Washtenaw County and the city of Ann Arbor, the park offers an enclosed 10-acre area where your pets can run and play. There is an area dedicated to smaller dogs to help keep them safe. To take advantage of the area, pet owners must have an Off-Leash Dog Permit from the city which can be purchased from the Ann Arbor City Clerk’s office. An online version of the application can be printed, filled out and then mailed along with the requested documents to the address listed on the form.

Birmingham’s Dog Park
2666 W. Fourteen Mile Road
Birmingham, MI 48009
(248) 530-1700

Located on the southeast edge of the Lincoln Hills Golf Course, just west of Cranbrook Road, the Birmingham Dog Park may be on the small side at just under one acre, but it offers residents the chance to exercise their pets in a secure location. There is a fee at this dog park or $50 for residents and $200 for non-residents, both of which must supply proof that the pet is current on rabies vaccinations. To enter the park, users must first obtain a Dog Park Key Fob which are available at the Birmingham Ice Arena, at 2300 East Lincoln Street, or at the Birmingham Department of Public Services at 851 South Eton. Both locations are open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and the dog park is open from dawn to dusk. For more information, download a copy of the Dog Park Rules.

Anne Fracassa Memorial Dog Park
Warren Parks and Recreation
Pauline St. and 12 Mile Road
(586) 268-8400

At Burdi Park, where the people will play, there is the Anne Fracassa Memorial Dog Park where the pets can play too. This secured enclosed area offers park benches for the humans to sit on, water for both people and pets, pooper scooper bags and secure access to the area. Residents and non-residents with currently licensed dogs may apply for a key fob. Fees are $10 for residents and $20 for those living outside the city. An online version of the application form can be downloaded, filled out and dropped off at the Parks and Recreation offices at the Warren Community Center located at 5460 Arden in Warren, which is just south of 14 Mile Road.

Edward Hines Drive Hawthorn Ridge Dog Park
Wayne County Parks
Located on Edward Hines Drive, just west of Merriman Road
(734) 261-1990

One of the first public dog parks in Wayne County, the Hawthorn Ridge location is the perfect place for human and dog to find enjoyment and relaxation. With Hines Park as the backdrop for the pooch play area, there are trails to walk, picnic areas to enjoy and wildlife to observe and this is before heading to the dog park. Now located closer to parking and restroom facilities along with the historic Nankin Mills, there is fun to be found in the enclosed dog park. A Dog Park Membership Form (the letter on the webpage is a bit out of date, but the form is still valid) must be completed and may either be downloaded or picked up from the offices at Nankin Mills located at 33175 Ann Arbor Trail in Westland where you will be able to receive your access card for the dog park.

Related: Upcoming Clinics Offer Affordable Pet Care

Award winning freelance writer and photographer Lawrence DiVizio is based in Southeast Michigan and works to convey in words and images the world around us. His work can be found at

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