Yes, Washingtonians are ecstatic! After days and days of historic record making rainfall in the Washington, DC metro area, it's hard not to get excited about Memorial Day Weekend and the lovely weather we have been promised. So go ahead and make some outdoor plans, but don't forget to include your dog in some of your excursions. Remember, they have been cooped up in your house or condo for most of May 2016 with you. It's supposed to be close to 80 degrees on Saturday, so it might be perfect day to take your dog for a swim. And if your dog is swimmer, you probably already know it’s not that easy to find a perfect place for dogs to swim in DC, MD, VA that doesn’t get the “Rules Police” all grumpy. However, there are some locations that are more pet-friendly than others.
Here are the Best 4 "Swimming Holes" for Dogs in the DC Metro Area
(Of course, we're obligated to write that pets should be kept on a six-foot leash at all times.)
Widewater C&O Canal Trust, Potomac, MD - Just off MacArthur Boulevard across from Old Anglers Inn in Potomac, MD is where this water adventure for your dog may begin. There is a great, easy hike around Widewater that offers spectacular views. Berma Road, an abandoned dirt road, runs on the east side, high above overlooking Widewater. The C&O towpath parallels it on the west. On the Berma Road on the upper side there is a wonderful place where large rocks with paths gradually make their way down to Widewater. This is the best place for your dog to swim. After your pet has finished swimming and shaking off you all can make an easy, 5-mile loop by crossing from Berma Road to the C&O Canal at the Stop Gate and the Anglers Bridge.
Cabin John Local Park, Cabin John, MD - This great little park is known for the terrific playground, tennis courts and baseball field. It is located off MacArthur Boulevard on the west side (Cabin John, MD side) of the Cabin John Bridge (one-lane bridge.) Park right past the tennis courts and take your doggy past the playground down onto a wooded trail. The path will immediately head down a steep embankment. Walk three minutes straight ahead to a beautiful wide, deep creek. Here your pup can swim about. If you have a little more time, you can head down the path to the left and within seven minutes you will come upon a large, deep swimming hole. This is a magnificent place for dogs to swim and romp around!
Columbia Island Marina, Arlington, VA – This beautiful boat marina run by the park service is located right off the George Washington Parkway across from the Pentagon. It is an ideal place to enter the Potomac River for fishing, kayaking and cruising by the monuments. It also is a perfect for your dog to go for a swim in late Spring before the Summer months and heavy algae collects on the banks. Relax and enjoy a burger and a beer from the Columbia Island Café while your dog has a happy time splashing about. They also provide pet disposal bags. It doesn’t get much better than this for a city dog and his/her owner.
Jump! Emmy!! Swimming at Columbia Island Marina in Alexandria, VA
**Turkey Run Park, McLean, VA - Located along the beautiful Virginia shore of the Potomac River just 7 miles from downtown Washington, D.C., Turkey Run Park contains over 700 acres of mostly forested land. There is easy parking and a wonderful walk along the Potomac River that is ideal for fishing and dog swimming. This is a hike, so wear shoes that can handle the steep, muddy terrain.** A note of caution, please do not let your dog swim in the river after heavy rains or flooding. Beware of potentially strong currents. Best time to enjoy Turkey Run is when the Potomac River's water level is low. Late Fall is an lovely time of year to try this. Enjoy!
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Editor's Note: This post was originally published March 2012 and has been updated for accuracy and new content.