While commuters might appreciate Wayland, MA’s convenient location, this peaceful, semi-rural community has a lot more to offer than simply being eighteen miles from Boston. Best known as the home of the first public library in the state (and for being the birthplace of Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler) Wayland takes great pride in preserving its idyllic surroundings. The marshes, forests and fields around the Sudsbury River look almost untouched by human life -- and provide some great opportunities for fur-friendly hiking! In terms of pet care, there are three veterinary clinics in town to look after your four legged friend, with out-of-hours emergency services available a short drive away in Natick.
There’s no designated dog park in Wayland, but wagging tails are welcome on many of the scenic natural trails in the area. The Loker Conservation and Recreation area in particular is a pawesome spot for a hike -- just remember to bring bags to keep this beautiful preserve clean! There are a couple of community parks for leashed walks, and the beach at Lake Cochituate is pawsitively gorgeous in summer. You’ll need to drive a little to find somewhere to let your furry friend run free, but don’t fret -- you’ll find plenty of options for off-leash adventures in the surrounding area!
For dog-friendly hiking, look no further than the Hamlen Woods Conservation Area, located just off Rice Road in Wayland. This preserve is over 100 acres of wooded wonderland, and features a trail for just about every age and ability, from the fittest furry friend to the most committed couch pup-tato! The main walking trail is two miles long, and runs past a serene pond and a running spring. Be sure to look up a trail map before you go -- some of the paths that branch off the main trail are dead ends, or lead to private land.
Make no bones about it; a trip to Cat Rock Park in Weston is sure to get your pooch’s tail wagging! This off-leash area has its own wooded trail that leads to a huge, open green space ideal for playing catch. If your fur baby loves to swim, they’ll have a whale of a time splashing about in the pond. The area isn’t fenced, though, so you might need to keep an eye on your little tearaway! You’ll also need to bring your own bags and bottle. After your workout, you and your buddy can cool down at Dairy Joy, a locally owned ice cream place that welcomes doggy diners at outdoor tables.
Callahan State Park in Framingham is a real mutts-visit! This huge, wooded park contains seven miles of marked trails, and the riot of color in fall needs to be seen to be believed. More importantly, though, Callahan State Park has its own off leash area! To be more exact, it has several of them -- dogs are allowed to run free on several of the trails, and there’s a huge green field for playing and socializing. There’s even a pond for swimming! Like Cat Rock Park, you’ll need to bring water and bags with you, but unlike Cat Rock, parking can be scarce, so it’s best to get there early.