Mar 28, 2024 - News
Scoop

Scoop: Huge off-leash dog park opens at Whitewater Center this weekend

Sunlight pours onto the Barley House at the Whitewater Center's new off-leash dog park.

Guest services will be at the Barley House at the Whitewater Center's off-leash dog park. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

A 70-acre off-leash dog park will open at the U.S. National Whitewater Center on Saturday, March 30.

Why it matters: Dogs at the 1,300-acre Whitewater Center have long been required to be on a leash. Now, pups of all breeds and sizes have their own space to roam.

If you go: The dog park includes lake and beach access with a dock. The 2,480-square-foot main building is called the Barley House, where you'll purchase your pass and check in, grab a beer, order food or buy a treat or toy for your dog.

  • There's also an 1,100-square-foot covered pavilion with picnic tables, bathrooms and a 1.5-mile loop inside the dog park called Lake Loop. You cannot bike inside the dog park, but you can bike on a 2.5-mile loop that's just outside the perimeter of the dog park called Dog Leg.
  • There's also a dog wash station, a water trough and a smaller area you can rent for doggy birthday parties. When that area isn't reserved, it's open to all.
  • Opening weekend hours are 9am until 8pm.

Cost: A day-pass for a dog is $10. An unlimited month pass is $20. A dog is also included in a regular annual Whitewater Center pass, which recently dropped $100 to $149.

  • Adding an additional dog to your annual pass is $50 per dog. One person may have up to three dogs on their annual pass.

Parking: Before you get to the main parking lots, you'll turn left down a gravel road, which will lead you to a new gravel road and the dog park. The lot has capacity for 100 cars, a Whitewater Center spokesperson tells Axios.

  • Parking is $12 for the day or $40 for an annual pass.
  • Off-leash is open to dogs only — no other pets.

Between the lines: The dog park has several rules intended to keep both humans and dogs safe, including:

  • Dogs must remain on-leash in the parking lot and until they are inside the dog park. You'll pass through a double-gate to enter the off-leash area.
  • One person may bring in up to three dogs, each of which must have a collar with an ID tag. The dog's off-leash pass must always be visible.
  • Dogs must be at least 4 months old and be up to date on vaccines.
  • Dogs in heat, aggressive or sick are not allowed. If a dog exhibits aggressive behavior, they will have to leave.
  • You must keep your dog(s) under voice control while off-leash. You are responsible for picking up and disposing of their waste.
  • Humans may not enter the lakes or ponds. There will not be lifeguards.
  • No one is allowed inside the park when it is closed.

The bottom line: The Whitewater Center is among Charlotte's most popular attractions, drawing 1.2 million visitors in 2023, per a Whitewater Center spokesperson. Adding an off-leash dog park gives people another reason to visit.

  • The Whitewater Center is at 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy. Check out our full guide here for details about everything from whitewater rafting and free yoga to where to grab a bite to eat.

Take a look around:

The Barley House.
The Barley House. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
View of the lake from the top of the stairs.
The view from the Barley House. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Inside the Barley House.
Inside the Barley House. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Outdoor biergarten.
The Barley House biergarten. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Dog on the lake at the Whitewater Center.
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Chairs facing the lake on the beach at the Whitewater Center.
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
A stone bench surrounded by trees just down from the picnic area.
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
A picnic pavilion at the Whitewater Center's off-leash dog park.
Off-leash includes a covered pavilion with several picnic tables and a view of the lake.
Treats and toys for dogs for sale in the Barley House.
Treats and toys for dogs for sale in the Barley House. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Treats and toys for dogs for sale in the Barley House.
More treats for dogs for sale at the Barley House. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Restrooms.
Restrooms. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
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