For many dogs, a quick walk around the block just isn’t enough exercise. If you’d like to let Fido run off-leash for a while, consider taking him to a dog run in Chicago and the suburbs. An off-leash area is a great way for your four-legged friend to socialize with other dogs, and can give you an opportunity to meet other dog owners in your area. Don’t grab that leash just yet, though. Many off-leash facilities require a permit and other information from your dog’s veterinarian before your canine friend is allowed to step a paw inside the off-leash area. Check the venue’s website so you can be prepared for your visit. You should also keep your dog on a leash prior to entering the off-leash area and follow the rules and regulations for the off-leash area. For an additional list of places to take your pooch for some exercise, check out this article.

(Photo Credit: Forest Preserve District of DuPage County's Facebook)

(Photo Credit: Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s Facebook)

Forest Preserve District Of DuPage County

Intersection of Highway 56 & Naperville Road
Naperville, IL
(630) 933-7248

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County offers six off-leash areas where Fido and Fluffy can run and play. An off-leash dog permit can be purchased in advance. While annual permits are available for purchase, you can purchase a daily permit to see if the off-leash area is your dog’s cup of tea (or kibble). Amenities include fenced areas and a training pond. A full list of locations as well as rules and regulations are available on the organization’s website.

Forest Preserves Of Cook County

Beck Lake
1000 N. East River Road
Des Plaines, IL
(800) 870-3666

Let your dog run — and run, and run — at the off-leash dog areas available in the Forest Preserves of Cook County at Beck Lake in Des Plaines and Bremen Grove in Tinley Park both offer off-leash areas so your pooch can get some exercise and plenty of room to roam; these areas are the only ones in the Forest Preserves of Cook County that offer this amenity. Miller Meadow in Maywood is scheduled to open an off-leash dog area later this year, too. You will need to purchase an annual membership prior to exploring the dog area. For additional registration information, check out FPDCC’s website.

(Photo Credit: Hoffman Estates Park District's Facebook)

(Photo Credit: Hoffman Estates Park District’s Facebook)

Hoffman Estates Park District

Freedom Run
6150 Russell Road
Hoffman Estates, IL
(847) 285–5440

Head out to the northwest suburbs and let your dog run off-leash at Hoffman Estates Park District’s Freedom Run and Bo’s Run. You can chat with other dog-owners and cool your heels at the picnic benches in the parks, and there are areas designated just for little dogs, too. Other amenities include agility equipment, so your dog can do more than simply run off-leash. Contact the park district for the full rules and regulations.

Related: Best Dog Walking Trails In Chicago

Lake County Forest Preserves

Duck Farm Park
Route 132, East of Route 83
Lake Villa, IL
(847) 367-6640

With four off-leash areas, your dog won’t lack for choices in the Lake County Forest Preserves. Duck Farm Dog Park in Lake Villa, Independence Grove Dog Park in Libertyville, Lakewood Dog Park in Wauconda and Prairie Wolf Dog Park in Lake Forest all offer off-leash areas so your dog can run and get some exercise. You will need a daily or annual permit for you and your dog to enter the park. A full list of rules, regulations and other information is available through LCFPD’s website.

Park District Of Oak Park

Maple Park Dog Park
1105 S Maple Ave.
Oak Park, IL
(708) 725-2304

If you live in Oak Park, then consider purchasing a dog park pass through the Park District of Oak Park. The park district offers two off-leash areas: Maple Park Dog Park and Ridgeland Common Recreation Complex Dog Park. Your four-legged friend can run and play, and stop for some water at the dog-friendly water fountains. More details are on the park district’s website. (Water fountains for people are available, too.)

Related: Best Dog Parks In Chicago

Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at