Holly Springs is growing fast. Just a small town of 3,000 people in the year 2000, Holly Springs is already over 11,000 residents and in the middle of a major construction boom. With a growing community of Atlanta suburban families, the dog pawpulation is skyrocketing, too!
Considering the beautiful rolling green hills that surround Holly Springs, it’s no surprise the area has plenty of parks. With grassy lawns, a gazebo, and a pet-waste station (but unfortunately no human restrooms), Barrett Park in eastern Holly Springs is an inviting place to play. For more room to explore, J.B. Owens Park in Canton is just a mile farther on Hickory Road. With its paved paths and trail through the woods, Owens Park is a favorite with the area’s canines. For some free-range party time, though, the Woofstock Dog Park in Woodstock is a 10-minute drive south. This lush spot has two fenced areas, shade, and access to the creek and trails.
With so much to do nearby, it’s easy to forget there’s a huge metropolitan area just a short drive south. The Piedmont Dog Park and miles and miles of stunning landscape in Piedmont Park are always worth a visit, and Midtown has plenty of dog-friendly restaurants where you can wait out rush-hour before heading home. Or, try the dog-friendly Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area just off GA-400. There is a shallow stretch of river perfect for splashing, plus trails and lots of interesting smells and new doggy friends.
You won’t have to drive into Atlanta for good veterinary care, though. There are multiple vets to choose from in both Canton to the north and Woodstock to the south.
Hickory Flat is just next door to Holly Springs. Less than 4 miles from home, Hickory Trails Park is and has a scenic 0.75-mile walking trail. On the other side of downtown, Sequoia Park has a 1.5-mile wooded walking trail and a pawpular disc golf course. Then, have dinner on a patio at one of the four dog-friendly restaurants in Hickory Flat, including two sports bars where your dogs can watch you enjoy a beer. (It’s okay, they don’t judge.) Or, enjoy the wholesome goodness of Family Tradition, right beside Sequoia Park; with classic home-style Southern food, this locally-owned spot is happy to welcome your pups at their outdoor tables.
Canton is the county seat and largest community in the immediate area. If your pack can’t wait to get off-leash, head 6.5 miles north to the Canton Paw Park. With separate areas for small and large dogs and a water station, this fenced public park is a great place to make friends (of both the furry and less-furry variety). As long as you’re in Canton, the string of riverside trails at Boiling Park, Heritage Park, and Etowah River Park are all worth sniffing out. On-leash dogs are allowed in all three, and a trail connects the manicured paths of Heritage Park with the wilder nature trails of Etowah River. With more than a dozen dog-friendly restaurants nearby, your pack can make a whole day of it.
The Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park gives you a glimpse into Georgia history and your dog a place to work out all that weekend energy. There are 18 miles of trails to explore, but your Top Dog will head straight for the 2.4-mile round-trip Big Mountain Trail, peaking at the top of Kennesaw Mountain for a phenomenal view of the Atlanta skyline. The park's scenic natural environment was also the site of a temporary setback for General Sherman’s Union Army on its march to Atlanta in 1864, but please assure your pups that all loud booming noises are long over (although you can still see some Civil War cannons on display).
Red Top Mountain State Park on Lake Allatoona is a 1,700-acre playground for you and your water dogs. With boat launches and rentals, it’s easy to grab some gear and spend an afternoon dog-paddling around this 12,000-acre lake. Back on land, though, you’ll find 15 miles of hiking trails. The one-mile White Tail Trail is also a stop for members of the Tails on Trails Club. An initiative of the GA State Parks, this club will reward your pup with a bandana — and you with a matching t-shirt — if you hike seven of Georgia’s most beautiful state park trails together. Just pick up a passport at the ranger station and get it stamped at each of the seven parks.
Downtown Marietta is a good compromise when you want an in-town day but aren’t prepared for Atlanta traffic. Less than 18 miles from Holly Springs, the quaint-but-bustling Marietta Square is a popular spot for weddings and even a filming location. (Fun fact: Marietta Square played the role of Amsterdam in the first season of the reboot of MacGyver.) It’s also a nice place for a walk in the sunshine and a sniff of the neighborhood. Grab a snack for you at one of the restaurants around the square and then a snack for the pack at Bark Street Petopia, purveyor of high-end pet food and supplies. Less than a mile from Marietta Square, your pups can play off-leash at Lewis Dog Park (although notice that the park lacks a separate small-dog area and restricts certain large breeds).