Central Gainesville, located about 30 minutes west of Melrose, is home to Haisley Lynch Park’s dog park. This dog park has plenty of room for your pooch to run around and burn off some extra energy. Haisley Lynch’s dog park has plenty of shady seating for you to use while your dog pals around with his new four-legged friends, and there are even water fountains for both you and your pet. While the dog park allows for off-leash fun, the rest of Haisley Lynch Park requires one if you and your dog want to explore.
Located 20 miles west of Melrose is Gainesvilles’s Appletree neighborhood, where you’ll find Possum Creek Dog Park. Don’t let the name fool you, though; this park isn’t for possums! This dog park has two separate areas: one for large dogs and another for smaller dogs. Your pet can play in confidence with pooches his own size. There are water fountains to ensure that your pup stays cool while running around and playing with his new friends. There’s also plenty of seating for doggy parents. This is an off-leash, fenced-in dog park.
Palatka, which is a 30-minute drive east of Melrose, is home to Ravine Gardens State Park. This large state park has several trails for you and your dog to explore. Just make sure you bring along a camera to snap plenty of pictures; locals boast that the park is beautiful. Bring along a picnic basket to have lunch at one of the many shelters located in the park. Your dog must remain on a leash – one no longer than 6 feet – at all times, and you’re required to clean up any messes Fido might make.
Just 10 minutes north of Melrose is Keystone Heights, where you’ll find Tom’s High on the Hog. This local barbecue joint serves delicious ribs, chicken, and more alongside traditional barbecue side dishes, including baked beans, mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese. Tom’s High on the Hog also has a large selection of beer on top and ready to go. Not a fan of beer? Their sweet tea is also a popular option. The best part? Fido can join you on their patio, so long as he’s on a leash and is on his best behavior – no bones about it!