Surrounded by water on three sides, Waterford is a shoreline town that boasts beautiful views and sandy beaches. The former rural farming community also offers a number of parks for Fido to enjoy. Serving the needs of Waterford's four-legged residents and tourists are two animal hospitals.
You and Fido will find plenty to do in the center of town, starting with Stenger Farm Park, which houses an off-leash dog park where your pooch can socialize and run around to his heart's content. There are separate areas for big and small dogs but no water fountains, so be sure to bring water. Since shade is limited, it is best to go in the early morning or late afternoon.
If Fido doesn't feel like making new friends, you can take a leashed walk on the trails around Stenger Farm Park instead. The trails, which include an old horse and buggy track, will take you and your dog through high meadows, wooded areas, and along the edge of the central pond.
Another puptastic green space located in the heart of Waterford is Civic Triangle Park, where you and Fido can spend a relaxing afternoon together. The park features athletic fields, picnic areas, a playground, and a pond that various wildlife call home.
So come and stop by Waterford with your best pal!
A popular venue for weddings and other events, Harkness Memorial State Park is an amazing attraction that you and Fido shouldn't miss. This 230-acre, former summer estate features landscaped gardens, picnic areas, a beach, and a 42-room Italian mansion. Harkness Memorial State Park is the pawfect place to go for leashed stroll, take in views of Long Island Sound, and watch the sunset with your best friend. It's easy to spend the whole day here, but another gem that's worth checking out is the adjacent Waterford Beach Park. This well-kept secret offers a clean and quiet spot to walk Fido while you listen to the sound of the waves.
Thinking about going for an early morning jog with Fido? Head to Leary Park to get in some exercise. This park contains several athletic fields and more than enough space for you and your dog to run around. There's also a playground and a picnic area where you can take a break and munch on some snacks. For a proper breakfast, drop by the Panera Bread in Waterford Commons, located a short drive away from the park. The cafe and bakery has a spacious patio where Fido can join you while you eat. Another pup-friendly eatery in the Commons is Cold Stone Creamery, which has a couple of outdoor tables.
For unobstructed views of the Niantic River, proceed to Mago Point Park in Mago Point, Waterford's only commercial waterfront district and considered by locals to be the town's “lost jewel.” This small park features walkways and benches, and from here, you and Fido will also be able to see the vehicles traveling up and down the Rope Ferry Road Overpass. Just a stone's throw away from the park is The Dock Restaurant, where your pooch is welcome to sit with you on the deck. Enjoy dinner while watching the boats come in and out of Niantic Bay at this dog-friendly restaurant.
The neighboring town of East Lyme is home to one of the most woofderful waterfront walkways in the state. Furtunately, it is just a bridge away from Waterford. The Niantic Bay Boardwalk in Eastern Niantic is a mile-long seaside walkway that overlooks Niantic Bay and Long Island Sound, making it a nice spot to take your pup for a leashed stroll. Note that Fido is not allowed on the boardwalk during summer, however. When that's the case, head straight to Cini Memorial Park, the eastern terminus of the boardwalk. This small waterfront park has an observation deck and benches where you can enjoy views of the Niantic River.
Located in the adjacent city of New London and easily accessible from Waterford, Fort Trumbull State Park is a historic coastal defense fort that sits on the bank of the Thames River. The site of the Naval Underwater Systems Center during the 20th century, the park now houses a visitor center and a 500-foot fishing pier. Step back in time with Fido as you explore the fort grounds and ramparts, follow the walking paths, read the informative markers, and admire the historical monuments and displays, all with the Thames River and Long Island Sound in the background. Admission to Fort Trumbull State Park is free.