A Dog Day in the Park

It’s no surprise that dogs are called  “man’s best friend” for a multitude of reasons. They are ideal exercise partners, great snugglers, loyal companions, and you can take them just about anywhere. As the state with the one of the highest rate of pet ownership in the nation, Burlington has made it possible for community members to share their experiences with their canine friends at many different locations in the area. Below is a comprehensive list for Burlington dog lovers who are curious to learn more about these publicly accessible sites.

But let’s begin where they are NOT permitted, since that seems to be most frequently asked question.

Dogs are NOT allowed on 3 of the City’s main beaches:

Oakledge Beach

Location: Blanchard Beach and the Cove on the bike path.

Leddy Beach

Location: On sandy shoreline below the stairs.

North Beach

Location: On any area of beach touching sand.

Recently updated rules signage clarifies, NO DOGS

Dogs are welcome at all of our park locations however a leash is most often required.

Why A Leash? Leashing your dog is for their safety, your safety and others in the community, and for the preservation of our luscious wildlife.

Read the following list to learn all about the nearby designated locations in our parks that welcome your four-legged friends!

Three Off-Leash Dog Areas

  1. Starr Farm Park

Details: A regional park in the New North End with various amenities including a fenced in dog park, a newly redesigned playground, community gardens, a soccer field, and easy access to the bike path and beach.

Times of Operation: May be used year round when the gates are unlocked (thanks to our dedicated volunteers)

Starr Farm dog park in spring

  1. Urban Reserve (Waterfront Dog Park)

Details: North of the Waterfront Park and south of North Beach, this area offers dogs and their owners a great view of Lake Champlain and a large fenced in space. Access to the water is across the path via the new steps!

Times of Operation: May be used any at time of the day and year.

Newly renovated Waterfront Dog Park
Water access near Waterfront Dog Park
  1. Texaco Beach

Details: A non-fenced area located south of North Beach, north of the Urban Reserve and Waterfront Park for public access with a great view of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks.

Times of Operation: May be used during the summer period.

Sandy beach access



Other Off-leash Dog Areas

The City Ordinances list other locations as off-leash areas Schmanska Park, Oakledge Park, and a portion of land at the Intervale. Since we do not have designated site coordinators nor posted signs, those are are NOT to be used for off-leash dogs at this time.


  1. A person taking a dog into an off-leash area shall have control of the dog by means of physical restraint (leash, cord, chain, etc.) when entering and leaving the off-leash area.
  2.  A person taking a dog into an off-leash area shall maintain voice, hand or other appropriate control over the dog at all times while the dog is in the off-leash area. Such person shall also have in their possession at all times a means of physical restraint.
  3. A person taking a dog into an off-leash area may only do so during the times set forth by these rules.
  4. All dogs present in an off-leash area shall be licensed and vaccinated and shall display valid license and vaccination tags attached to a dog collar.
  5. A dog present in an off-leash area shall be the responsibility of a person who is present in the area with that dog. A person responsible for a dog in an off-leash area shall not leave the dog unattended in the off-leash area. A person responsible for a dog in an off-leash area shall be legally responsible for its actions.
  6. A person shall not take a female dog in heat into an off-leash area.
  7. A person taking a dog into an off-leash area is responsible for removing that dog’s feces from the off-leash area. A person taking a dog into an off-leash area shall carry equipment for removing such feces and shall place feces deposited by such animal in an appropriate receptacle.
  8. A person taking a dog into an off-leash area shall stop that dog from digging holes and shall fill in any hole created by the dog prior to exiting the area.
  9. A person may not take more than three (3) dogs at a time into an off-leash dog area without a special permit given by the parks and recreation department. Professional dog trainers shall not use off-leash dog areas for their commercial activities.
  10. Vicious dogs as defined by Burlington Code of Ordinances section 5-13 are not allowed in an off-leash area.
  11. There shall be no eating or smoking in the off-leash area.
  12. Glass containers shall not be allowed in an off-leash area.
  13. Any gate to an area shall be closed upon entry and exiting.
  14. Person in control of a dog in an off-leash area shall not permit the dog to engage in excessive barking, howling, or other noise.
  15. Persons under the age of twelve (12) years shall not be allowed in an off-leash area without the accompaniment of someone at least eighteen (18) years of age.


Why Scoop the Poop? Dog waste on the beach is a key contributor to bacteria in contaminated waters, posing a serious health risk to beach-goers. Rain washes waste down storm drains and into the waterways like rivers, lakes, and beaches which can make people sick from salmonella & E. coli. The most important thing to bring along when walking a dog are poop bags or a pooper scooper so that it doesn’t end up in the lake or on the bottom of someone’s shoes!


To learn more about rules and regulations for the city of Burlington, check out