If you've been following Stephanie Lynne Photography on Instagram and Facebook or you're a regular subscriber to my blog, then you've likely already "met" Koda. To those of you who just found us, welcome to the pack! Koda is my sidekick, training partner, "security guard", hiking buddy and best pal -- she is how I got my start as a professional dog photographer and I take LOTS of photos of her - some might say too many!

I love to explore new places with Koda and Waukesha County offers many beautiful, well-maintained parks. One of our favorite things to do in the parks is hike! Now, when I say "hike", I'll be honest...it's not hiking in the sense that I need hiking boots, a daypack, a canteen, rope or carabiners. I wear comfy tennis shoes and bring along a few treats for Koda. Some trails are a *little* more strenuous than others, but any of the Waukesha County locations mentioned below are suitable for most people and dogs. Some parks even offer level, paved paths, benches and picnic areas.

Whether you choose the longest trails in the park with the most hills or the level paved paths, both you and your dog are sure to benefit in so many ways! It amazes me that I can be just a few miles from the Interstate or major state and county roads and be acres into a forest or strolling along a riverbank. It's our time to disconnect from the world, recharge, and soak in God's creation. Bonus - it's good exercise for both of us and walking together is a bonding activity that we both look forward to enjoying each day.

Here are a few of our favs...maybe some of these are your dog's favorites, too!

Mukwonago Park - Pine Forest Trails

Fox River Park - Picturesque River Walk

Menonomee Park - Awesome Trails around the Quarry and in the Woods

Fox Brook Park - Grassy Trails, Paved Trail & Dog Swim Area

Fox River Park - Meadows, Trails and Lots of Wildlife at this Park

Minooka Park - Best Trails!

Cushing Memorial Park in Delafield

Maybe your Dog Needs a Little More Exercise...

I get it! Sometimes a walk or hike just isn't enough to tire out our canine friends and they need a little more.

Does your dog love to swim? Many of the Waukesha County Parks have swimming holes and some allow dogs to swim or even cater to them with swimming areas just for dogs! These parks allow dog swimming in the beach area: Minooka, Mukwonago, Muskego, and Naga-Waukee Parks, while Fox Brook and Menomonee Park offer swimming in designated dog swim areas only. Keep in mind that none of these areas are fenced, so your dog should have a reliable recall and be social with children, adults and other dogs. Never place a dog in a situation where he is not 100% comfortable.

For dogs that enjoy a little more privacy - there is another option! Thank you to one of my clients, I recently learned about the HAWS Shallock Center for Animals in Delafield. This place is amazing and includes a 5-acre fenced in dog run and a large, aerated pond that is also fenced in. Best of all, both of these dog parks are PRIVATE! For a $20 donation to HAWS, your dog receives 45 minutes of play time in the dog park or in the pond. So Much Fun! Bring your dog's favorite toys (be sure the toy floats if your dog is swimming) and bring a life jacket for dogs using the pond as they may need a little help getting out of the water and the handle on life jackets is perfect. Click here to learn more or to book a time at this lovely park.

Private Dog Park in Delafield

Mukwonago Park Beach - Yes, your dog CAN swim here!

This is the tip of the iceberg. There are SO many great places to spend time with your dog. Maybe you frequent others that I haven't mentioned here...drop me a line to share your experience. I love to explore new locations with Koda!

If you like to take pics of your dogs while you're enjoying the park together, I would love to see them!

Feel free to tag @WIpetphotographer in your Facebook and Instagram posts of your dogs enjoying Waukesha County Parks.

I hope to see you and your dogs out and about at the Waukesha County Parks!

~Stephanie & Koda