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Old 07-25-2017, 10:00 PM
122 posts, read 91,945 times
Reputation: 213


Hey all. Just moved here a couple weeks ago from Raleigh. Even though I'm still unpacking, I'm starting to look for new parks to take my border collie.

One of the things we loved about the Triangle were all the great parks nearby! Our 3 favorites were Lake Johnson (great urban park with a ~3 mile paved trail around the lake. Lots of families and dog walkers), Umstead State Park (EXCELLENT hiking trail. ~6-7 mile loop that followed a creek, so it was great to let the pooch swim. We spent HOURS there), and Falls Lake which is a large nature area with several trails. Our favorite was a portion of NC's Mountains to Sea trail. It was so remote you could let your dog off-leash and not worry about bothering anyone. And they were all free and within 30 minutes of us. And all had bodies of water the dog could swim in.

So far in Williamsburg we've been to York River State Park and New Quarter Park. York River State Park has decent length trails...but they charge $4 for parking! We went on Taskinas trail and I'm not sure if it's safe to let a dog swim in the water accessible from that trail? It looks a little stagnant and swampy.
We went to New Quarter Park the same day, and walked from the parking lot to the canoe launch. It's a nice park that doesn't charge, but the trails are more 'walking' trails than 'hiking' trails. I want to try Waller Mill Park some time this week. It sounds promising, and from what I read it has a dog park so that's cool. But again I'm balking at the $2 fee. Is there an annual pass for residents? Why do so many of the parks here charge?

Someone recommended Colonial Parkway to me and I drove down it today. It's a lovely scenic drive...but I don't know how much hiking/dog walking value it has? Is there a trail that runs parallel to the road or something? I noticed some people fishing in the water. I didn't get a chance to pull over into the parking areas. Are there larger parks/trails that branch off from there?

If anybody else has an active breed dog or is also outdoorsy, please let me know where your favorite hiking spots are! Preferably free. I'm willing to drive up to an hour if I have to.

(Lots of great birding here though. I'm very impressed on that front)
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Old 07-26-2017, 12:15 AM
302 posts, read 188,712 times
Reputation: 112
It's about a 25-35 minute drive from Williamsburg, but I would recommend the Noland Trail in Newport News (it essentially circles the Mariners Museum). It's free to park and free to hike. The trail itself is about five miles long though it does have a shortcut or two that you can utilize. It will also take you by the Lions Bridge, which is a pretty cool landmark itself.

You could also check out Sandy Bottom Nature Park in Hampton. It has a good number of trails, though would be a bit of a drive from Williamsburg.
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Old 07-26-2017, 12:54 AM
979 posts, read 761,578 times
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Williamsburg-Freedom Park, intersection of Longhill and Centerville Roads
VA Beach-First Landing Park on the bay.
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Old 07-31-2017, 12:38 PM
Location: Paradise
2,405 posts, read 1,733,428 times
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You can always walk in the historic area - you might be limited in swimming areas, but you will make some good friends with the dog lovers who work there.
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Old 09-20-2017, 12:27 PM
Location: Greater LA area
15,363 posts, read 11,286,824 times
Reputation: 29416
I used to go to the ferry place/jamestown settlement/Jamestown beachpark. Right where the ferry goes, on the right side is a little parking lot, picnic area. The water is not salty and it is very shallow and my dog used to love it. You can walk into the water for a long time and play around with the doggy.

I used to live in Norfolk until 2010.
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