BEST DOG PARK Miami 2005 - Amelia Earhart Park
The City of Miami Beach There are a lot of good dog parks in the area, which, given the population density, may be surprising. Nonetheless, in a crowded, ruthless, and sometimes lonely city, dogs, aside from wanting to run your life and have you catch a delicious bass for them, don't ask much. Whether you share your recreation time snoozing on a bench with a drooling, pulmonarily incapacitated English bulldog or chasing Frisbees with an agile whippet, the time spent with a pooch is time spent in the company of somebody who loves you. So it's natural, even for a scofflaw, to want to show a canine a good time. Law-abiding citizens and their pets can find enjoyable, shady dog parks in Coconut Grove -- there's a little one on Virginia Street and a big one at Kennedy Park on Bayshore -- but the crme de la crme of Miami-Dade legal dog parkdom is at Amelia Earhart. The five-acre Bark Park is a puppy paradise, but humans love it too because it's completely fenced and thus safe for escape-minded, car-chasing beagles. There's even a special area for smaller dogs. Amenities include paved walkways, benches, shade trees, waste stations, and specially designed drinking and spray fountains for thirsty pooches and their owners. Better yet, Bark Park admission is free (after a four-dollar parking fee to Amelia Earhart). However, the Atlantic Ocean is nearby, and dogs love the sea. Though the law against dogs on the beach is in fact enforced when there are lots of humans there, Miami Beach is really the place to roam with a dog. Older dogs and dogs with joint problems can run on the sand without risking injury, and younger dogs can really zoom along the shore and sometimes even surf the waves or wade through the breakers. And there are lots of clumps of seaweed, the occasional dead fish, and many other interesting smelly things for dogs to unearth, bury in the sand, or just roll in. Lifeguards will not and cannot enforce the no-dogs law, but the cops will. A still beachy tried-and-true alternative is the informal "dog beach" on Virginia Key near the Seaquarium, a dog-friendly patch of sand for decades.