When you visit Tuscaloosa, you should bring your furbaby with you because there are so many pet-friendly things to do that you will both enjoy. The city was founded in 1819 and named after the chief of the Muskogean people that fought the Spanish Army. The city holds numerous awards and top-rated spots, including having been recently voted the “Most Livable City in America,” one of the “100 Best Communities for Young People,” “50 Best College Towns,” and “Best Place to Start a Small Business.”
Will May Memorial Dog Park is a favorite gathering spot for dogs in Tuscaloosa. The park, unfortunately, was named after a boy who died from a hunting accident in 2013. There are two and a half acres and three separate areas for small dogs, large dogs, and one for training. They are grassy and have paved walking paths around them, double gates, two pavilions, and benches.
Annette Shelby Park is a fully fenced-in park for dogs and people with ball fields, playground equipment, walking trails, seating, and restrooms. The trail is about one-half of a mile, and it is paved with a difficulty level of two. There is also a water park splash pad area where kids and adults can play, but Fido has to watch because "safety rules"... which means no dogs on the splash pad.
Munny Sokol Park was already a great place to hang out, and then they added the Will May Dog Park! One quick note - make sure your dog understands that you’re saying ‘Munny’ and not ‘bunny’. We don’t want to perpetuate the false rumor that's going around about the park being a bunny hunting reserve. Located off Watermelon Rd in northeast Tuscaloosa in the Northridge neighborhood, the campus is divided into three separate fenced-in play areas. One is for large dogs, one is for all dogs, and one is specifically for training. Go show off your sit and stay skills while all other silly pups are searching high and low for the elusive hares.
We’ve got to give it to them. Black Warrior Brewing Company could be the coolest dog-friendly bar in the South. They’re bringing in big bonus points for providing water bowls and keeping dog treats behind the bar. Only awesome people do that kind of stuff. Situated off University Blvd in downtown Tuscaloosa, the brewery is central to many activities, making it the perfect place to stop on your way back from a hike. While the bar doesn’t serve food itself, patrons are encouraged to order food from one of the many nearby restaurants that will happily deliver. Dogs must be well-behaved, as it’s a rather small facility, but they are allowed inside for the festivities.
Built in the 1930’s, the Queen City Park lives on the south side of the Alabama River, which runs through the middle of Tuscaloosa. Foot traffic follows the Queen City National Recreation Trail through the park. At just a little over a mile long, it’s the perfect place to walk your dog at lunch. Stop at historic “courting benches”, cross a stone bridge, and enjoy the breeze that rolls through the pine forest. Soon, the wading pool, originally designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, will be transformed into a museum of transportation for the state of Alabama. It will seek to educate visitors on the history and importance of the Alabama River to transportation and the economy. This quiet, clean trail, is open from dawn until dusk. Escape in nature with your dog, while still being in the heart of one of the state’s most interesting cities.
Located about 10 minutes east of the University of Alabama in an area known as Woodland Pines, the UofA Arboretum is a fantastic hiking spot. Pets on leashes are encouraged to join their owners on a walk or run through the 60 acres of natural preserve. In order to keep the park open to pets, managers ask owners to make sure their pets refrain from digging, as the grounds are first and foremost a sanctuary for wildlife. The arboretum is home to many different plants, from flowering dogwoods to persimmon trees. Admire the wildflower garden, where over 250 species of brightly-colored blooms stand tall as freedom flags in a world dominated by heartless hedges and tyrannical turf. Check out the ornamental plants, the experimental garden, two greenhouses, a bog garden, and an oak hickory forest. Dogs might not understand botany, but they sure do love a good time.
Just east of downtown Tuscaloosa in Twin Manor, Van de Graff Park is a burgeoning hotspot for recreational activities. Still under development, the park offers primitive camping areas and opportunities for fishing and hiking. Campfires are surrounded by tree stumps that function as chairs. Or, train your dog to jump up on one and spin around on their hind legs, because it’s never too late to join the circus. Pack everything you need for an adventure-filled weekend at the 141-acre preserve, and set out to see what you can find. Enjoy the pavilion, grills, swings, horseshoe pit, and kayak and canoe rentals. While there are no showers, there are on-site portable toilets, fresh water, and trash cans. If you and your dog plan to go fishing in the stream that connects to the Alabama River, make sure that you (the human) have a license.