A dog splashes in the water in Sonoma County

Water Bark for Dogs at Spring Lake Regional Park

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Dogs can run, splash, and swim without their leashes at the annual Water Bark, held on weekends each September in the swimming lagoon at Sonoma County's Spring Lake Regional Park in Santa Rosa.

Beginning with its first big splash in 2014, Water Bark reigns supreme as the 'must-do' tail-wagging event on Sonoma County's annual doggie calendar.

The park's swimming lagoon is open to humans from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. Throughout the summer season the lagoon offers people both lap swimming and unstructured water play, plus a multi-station floating playground water park where children and adults can bounce, climb, slide, and balance on a series of floating play stations. 

After Labor Day, it's time for Water Bark, when the swimming lagoon transforms into a weekend pooch paradise, with dogs free to swim and play off-leash. A temporary fence is set up, keeping the Water Bark dogs close at hand and out of other parts of the park. The lagoon water is slightly chlorinated and filtered to ensure it's safe for the dogs, and the lagoon is free of blue-green algae, which is sometimes present at the Russian River during the summer. 

Water Bark admission is a small fee per dog (regional park members), plus the park entry/parking fee of $7 per vehicle (free for regional park members). Water Bark is a fundraiser for the Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation, which raises money for more than 50 dog-friendly parks and trails in the Sonoma County Regional Parks system.

Together, we can protect and preserve the beauty and natural resources of Sonoma County for generations to come. Check out our page on Sustainable Travel, and look over the Leave No Trace Seven Principles.

Want to spend the night? Nearby dog-friendly lodging includes the iconic Flamingo Resort, the distinctively retro The Astro Motel, and the recently reimagined Hotel E

For more ideas of fun things to do with your dog in Sonoma County, check out Where to go With Your Pet in Sonoma County, Sonoma County Parks to Walk Your Dog, and Pet-Friendly Restaurants With Treats for Your Dog

Written by Sonoma Insider Suzie Rodriguez.