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Brooklyn’s Prospect Park: On-leash, off-leash, dog beach

Before the memory dims too much, I want to tell you about our morning in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Designed by the same landscape architects responsible for Central Park, Prospect Park occupies a huge, 585-acre chunk of Brooklyn (Central Park, if you’re wondering, is 843 acres). When we went there, midmorning during the week, it was uncrowded and tranquil. Chloe, who loves Central Park, was in heaven here.

A view of (part of) the Long Meadow -- a 5-minute walk from the urban clamor of the Grand Army Plaza

It was also remarkably well-signed. How grateful I am for park managers who make the details clear for visitors with dogs! We entered the park from the Grand Army Plaza, at its north end, and were greeted with a park map that proposed a choice of colored trails to follow (here’s the online, PDF version). Because our time was limited, we opted to follow the green trail to the Picnic House, then turn left onto the blue trail and follow it out of the park. Even that walk, however, took us about 45 minutes.

We missed vast swaths of the park, of course, but the parts we saw were beautiful, and more of them than I could have imagined were dog-friendly. According to the park’s website, leashed dogs are allowed pretty much everywhere you can go, except for playgrounds, sports fields and the bridle paths, and there are generous off-leash areas (though you need to get up early or stay up late to use them). There are two places for dogs to swim in the park: the “Long Meadow Dog Beach at the Pools,” and “the water at the Lake adjacent to the Peninsula meadow” (but only during off-leash hours).

Another sign listed the rules (the bridle paths, by the way, are marked with gray dotted lines on the PDF park map — if you choose to follow one of the colored trails, you will not end up on them):

And a third sign provided a map of the off-leash areas, and a reminder about the off-leash hours:

The only thing these signs don’t include is the location of “the Long Meadow Dog Beach at the Pools.” It is on the website’s park map, however — to find it, click on the PDF I provided, and look just below the first “O” in “Long Meadow.”

Please note that pet dogs are not allowed in the Prospect Park Zoo, nor are they allowed in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which together occupy the northeast side of the park.


  • Edie

    Oh, Mary-Alice, you have made me sooo nostalgic. I grew up 5 minutes from Prospect Park (the Lincoln Road entrance). The Grand Army Plaza library was my childhood library and to walk there I passed the zoo (eh) and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, which are also lovely (pet friendliness was not a childhood concern of mine — as I often say, my mother hated all creatures great and small). I’m so glad you enjoyed your time there and it looks as beautiful as I remembered it. Maybe you can go home — or at least back to the neighborhood — again.

  • Edie, I had no idea that was home ground for you! I’m so glad to have reminded you of such a lovely place — I’m really looking forward to returning and seeing more than just a sliver of the park and its neighborhood.

  • ashton

    This is by far my favorite dog park in Brooklyn. I found a few random, smaller ones in my neighborhood when I was looking on City Maps, but I always go back to Prospect Park. I guess it just has the most to offer!

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