The city of Antioch in Contra Costa County, California is in the Easy Bay and San Francisco Bay area and runs along the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta. Founded in 1872, Antioch is one of the oldest cities in California. The city is very fond of the outdoors and has 31 parks with 910 acres, maybe because the average temperature is 60.7 Fahrenheit all year long. Out of the estimated 108,930 people living in the city, approximately 24,467 own at least one dog, so there are several great dog parks in town to take your fur baby.
Markley Dog Park on James Donlon Boulevard is the favorite among locals with two acres for small and large dog areas, picnic area, playground, restrooms, and benches. Gravel instead of grass makes it a good place to go in the rainy season. No mud! Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve on Somersville Road is amazing with trails, beaches, and wildlife area. Fido can be off-leash in most places, and he will love the friendly fur kids.
Highlands ARF Park on Buchanan Road has 10 acres of space to run off-leash with other fur kids. There is a double-decker fountain, dog waste station, and even some playground equipment like tunnels and ramps. The attached Highlands Park has tons of fun for the whole family with ball fields, playgrounds, tennis, volleyball, picnic/barbeque areas, and restrooms.
Over time, pressure on the coal industry forged this historic mining district into a new type of gem. The Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve is 6,096 acres of former stocking stuffer beauty. Bipeds and quadrupeds alike appreciate the chance to stretch their legs on 65 miles of mostly off-leash trails. A variety of terrain and vegetation beckon upward, leading to vistas of the Bay past Berkeley and Oakland. Springtime rewards visitors with vast wildflower displays. While the park does have grazing cattle and horses along with a plethora of wildlife, Fido is free to roam as long as he’s under full voice control once you’re 200 feet in from a trailhead or away from developed park areas. Other amenities include campgrounds, a visitor’s center displaying historic artifacts and photos, naturalist programs, and a guided 90-minute mine tour.
While you’re far from Hollywood or Pacific coast swells, Big Break Regional Shoreline offers a different kind of break for you and your pup -- relaxation. Formerly a huge farm, any semblance of work has literally been drowned, as the old farm is now entirely submerged beneath the flow of water created by two rivers draining half of California. Known as the “Inland Coast” this area forms the largest estuarine environment on the west coast. This mix of fresh and salty water results in a diverse habitat, supporting over 70 species of birds and other wildlife. Although dogs must remain leashed, you can kick back and take advantage of cool summer breezes while fishing, hiking, bird watching, or watching river otters forage and play.
We’re pretty sure Contra Loma means something along the lines of “against the knoll” in Spanish. Unfortunately, we can’t tell you what to make of that. We can, however, tell you all about Contra Loma Estates Park in Antioch, California. Located off Highway 4, this 5-acre neighborhood park is lushly landscaped with green grass, making it a perfect mid-day spot for families with pets. Dogs on leashes are welcome to join their people in exploring this cute fenced-in play spot. Children will love the playground and dogs will love the paved path snaking through the grass. While this isn’t a designated dog park, it’s a great place for a lunch break. If you’re looking for some rigorous hiking, you’re not far from those opportunities. Just remember to give Contra Loma some love every once and awhile.
In the Highlands ranch subdivision, Highlands Ranch Dog Park offers lots of fun for dogs from all over, not just this little neighborhood. The dog park is nestled inside of a 10-acre human park. Think Russian nesting dolls. Dogs are privy to a grassy, fenced-in area with tons of open space for running and chasing. There are buckets and fountains for drinking. Small pups and big pups will play in separate areas, while children look on from an external playground, wondering why they had to be born human. But these cognizant beings won’t fret for too long before they return to their game of “the floor is lava” at the playground, which offers bouncers, climbers, and baby swings. This park is also home to baseball, football, soccer, tennis, beach volleyball, picnic tables, a lighted walking trail, benches, and restrooms. We can’t forget about the two BBQ pits open to the public. When in use, the tasty smells wafting over the highlands draw dogs and humans from all directions.
West of Antioch, in the town of Pittsburg, La Veranda is serving tasty bites to hungry folks from all over the area. Since Californians love their dogs so much, this restaurant thought it would be wise to open their patio up to dogs. It seems to have been a wise choice. The only thing people love more than eating is being with family, and a since La Veranda offers the chance to do both, it’s a hit. Stop by after work for some pizza or pasta, or swing on in on a Saturday night for something a little fancier. This restaurant offers a nice spread of choices. Grilled trout may or may not come with french fries. Pack a snack for your pup so he can enjoy a treat as well. Sunday is a great day to visit Brown’s Island across the water, before heading to the patio for a beverage at the one and only La Veranda.