Long Island can be a great place to hike with your dog. Within a short drive your canine adventurer can be climbing seaside dunes that leave him panting, trotting in rolling pinelands, exploring the estates of America's wealthiest families or circling lakes for miles and never lose sight of the water.
BEST ONE-HOUR WORKOUT FOR YOUR DOG: Laurel Valley County Park (Noyack). A sporty loop takes your dog in and out of kettle depressions and across ridges for almost three miles.
BEST PLACE FOR YOUR DOG (any dog) TO SWIM: Wades Beach (Shelter Island). The sandy shore on the south side of the island is almost lake-likeand the sandy bottom continues out far into the water.
BEST PLACE FOR YOUR DOG (athletic dog) TO SWIM: Napeague State Park (Promised Land). The waves come fast and furious on the Hampton beaches and this one is no exception.
PRETTIEST HIKE FOR YOUR DOG: Prosser Pines County Park (Middle Island). The only attraction here is Long Island's oldest grove of white pines but that is enough to enthrall your dog during his adventure here.
BEST HIKE TO VIEWS WITH YOUR DOG: Shadmoor State Park (Montauk). You won't see anything but the sky above on this hike through dense beach heather but in short time your dog will be hiking on open bluffs above the Atlantic Ocean.
BEST BEACH TO HIKE WITH YOUR DOG: Fire Island National Seashore (Shirley). The Otis Pike Wilderness Area opens to your dog after Labor Day for seven miles of hiking on the wide, sand beach and behind the dunes.
BEST HALF-HOUR HIKE WITH YOUR DOG: Walking Dunes, Hither Hills State Park (East Hampton). This 3/4-mile loop travels over andaround 80-foot high sand dunes, moving past ghost forests buried in the shifting sands.
MOST HISTORIC HIKE WITH YOUR DOG: Camp Hero State Park (Montauk). From the Revolutionary War, when it was used as an artillery practice range, through the Cold War Camp Hero has hosted the United States military.
BEST PLACE TO CIRCLE A LAKE WITH YOUR DOG: Belmont Lake State Park (Babylon). The immortal racehorse Man O' War may have loped on the easy route around the park's centerpiece lake.
BEST PLACE TO LOSE YOURSELF IN THE WOODS WITH YOUR DOG: Edgewood Oak Brush Plains Preserve (Deer Park). No need to limit yourself to a pre-determined route on a hike with your dog around the grounds of a former hospital.
BEST PLACE TO HIKE AND SEE OTHER DOGS: Gardiner County Park (West Bay Shore). There is no reason to come to this park with a maze of short trails on the Great south Bay without a dog. Not many do.
Doug Gelbert is the author of over 20 books, including The Canine Hiker's Bible. To subscribe to his FREE Newsletter on hiking with your dog and receive a copy of Rules for Dogs in 100 of the Most Popular National Park Service Lands, visit http://www.hikewithyourdog.com - In the warmer months he leads canine hikes for hikewithyourdog.com tours, guiding packs of dogs and humans on hiking adventures. Tours, ranging from one-day trips to multi-day explorations, visit parks, historical sites and beaches.
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