There’s nothing like the look of joy in your dog’s eyes after a nice afternoon at the dog park. With summer right around the corner, now is the perfect time to scope out the best locations to take your dog for exercise, playtime and much needed socialization. Since most shore towns have restrictions about bringing dogs on the beaches during the summer season, here's a list of some great parks and beaches where your dog is more than welcome to romp and play.

  • Robert J. Miller Airpark

    901 Route 530, Berkeley Township, NJ

    Located at Ocean County’s independently managed airport, the off-leash facility at Robert J. Miller Airpark is a popular place among the local canines. Besides the dog park, RJ Miller Airpark has an exciting playground and picnic area and is home to the annual Ocean County Fair.

    Flickr User DonDeBold
  • Thompson Park Dog Run

    805 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft, NJ

    Historical Thompson Park is one of Monmouth County’s best kept secrets for dog lovers. Built in 1896, the park houses 14 miles of multipurpose trails, a playground, tennis courts, a lake, a picnic facility, a Creative Arts Center, and the best part for your canine friend – an off-leash dog park!
  • Ocean City Dog Park

    45th Street and Haven Avenue, Ocean City, NJ

    This fenced-in, off-leash dog parkin Ocean City of Cape May County is great for beach-goers and locals who want to treat their dogs to a day of fun in the sun and playtime with other dogs. Dogs who visit this park can enjoy the sand between their paws while owners can relax on the park's benches.

    Flickr user arrtx
  • Wolf Hill Recreation Area Dog Park

    3 Crescent Place, Oceanport , NJ

    Wolf Hill Dog Park is a great place for dogs who love the freedom of no leashes and lots of free space to run and play. One of the largest dog parks in the area, Wolf Hill has a separate area for small dogs, with picnic areas in both the large and small dog sections. Beach lovers can celebrate – located across from Monmouth Race Track, this park is just minutes from the ocean at Long Branch!
  • Barnegat Light Dog Park

    W. 10th Street & Bayview Avenue, Barnegat Light, NJ

    Situated at the northernmost tip of Long Beach Island, this dog park is perfect for pet-owners who enjoy a peaceful beach and bay side location with an off-leash area for dogs. The pet-friendly park doubles as a ball field but don’t worry, your pups are safe with the double-gated fence just for dogs.

    Matt Cardy, Getty Images
  • Ocean County Park

    659 Ocean Ave. (Route 88), Lakewood, NJ

    The 4-acre dog area at Ocean County Park is one of the greatest dog parks in New Jersey. Divided for large and small dogs, the dog park has a cool wooded area with cleanup bags and water supply. Within the park is a fun layer of sand that our four-legged friends love. Plus, just outside of the fenced dog area is the beautiful park loaded with great trails that both owners and dogs can also enjoy.

    Justin Sullivan, Getty Images
  • “Malibu Beach” Wildlife Management Area

    Egg Harbor Township, NJ

    It’s a New Jersey dog owners’ best kept secret and simply stated, it’s a dog’s paradise. If you and your pooch can make it to the far end of the Ocean City – Longport bridge in South Jersey, it’ll be more than worth the trip. Malibu Beach is the only beach area where dogs are welcome all year long. The area is also known as “doggie beach" and although not necessarily promoted, you’ll find dogs off-leash, swimming and playing with the open air along the sand and ocean at the Jersey Shore.

    Tim Boyle, Getty Images