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A Dog Lover’s Guide to Hampton Roads

Question of the century: What did we do to deserve dogs?

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.

Note: Since there are so many different amenities for dogs in Hampton Roads, it is nearly impossible to list everything. So, I may have missed your favorite place or business to take your dog. If I did, let us know in the comments!


  • Downtown Dog Park Downtown Norfolk, next to Muddy Paws

A new addition to a growing downtown, the Downtown Dog Park was opened a year ago this October. 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

  • Ghent Dog Park 1310 Stockley Gardens, Norfolk, VA 23517
  • Red Wing 1398 General Booth Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
  • Ridgeway Bark Park 85 E Mercury Blvd, Hampton, VA 23669

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
  • 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

Local shops

  • Muddy Paws Downtown Suite B, 400 Granby St, Norfolk, VA 23510

Conveniently located right next to the Downtown Dog Park mentioned above, Muddy Paws opened a retail store and grooming facility. Whether you need to pick out a new toy, try out one of a wide variety of fresh treats, or get your dog looking good, Muddy Paws Downtown has you covered.

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 for the day, keep an eye on their facebook page for their daily upload of about 100 pictures of the dogs staying at the facility.

Other notable boarding facilities:

  • Muddy Paws 3700 Hampton Blvd, Norfolk, VA 23508
  • Wags 950 W 21st St, Norfolk, VA 23517
  • 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:

  • Happy Paws 5660 Indian River Rd #118, Virginia Beach, VA 23464
  • Merrimac Dog Training Club 15 Newsome Pl, Hampton, VA 23661