Best Dog Park - 2008
Rave about our wonderful dog beaches at Huntington Beach and Belmont Shore, and we'll certainly join you. Trouble is, a beach is a beach, which means typical beach hassles—for you, that means gunking yourself up with SPF-50, dealing with overcrowded parking lots, and rolling your eyes at tourists who think sporting cheap T-shirts that say, "I'VE BEEN TO THE REAL OC" is somehow stylin'. And when your mutt is with you, that means sandy fur and regurgitated seaweed (bad, Rufus—that was not a toy!) disgusting up your car on the drive home. This is why we love the relatively migraine-free environment of the county's myriad dog parks, our favorite being Central Bark in Irvine, next-door to the fabulous Irvine Animal Care Center. There are separate fenced-off areas for small and large dogs at their 3-acre off-leash haven, as at others in the county, but this park excels because of the plentiful shaded benches on which pooch parents can plant themselves while their hairy charges scamper about. And just in the past few months, the park has been freshened up with plenty of lush new grass just begging to be shat upon.