The Most Splash-Worthy Lakes Near Pittsburgh to Take Your Dog Swimming

“Water” you doing this weekend? If it’s seeking out the best local lakes in western Pennsylvania, I’ve got you covered with the most splash-worthy lakes near Pittsburgh to take your dog swimming.

Brady’s Run Lake

I’ve got to kick this list off with one of my favorite session locations in all of western Pennsylvania: Brady’s Run Park. This Beaver Falls recreation park boasts everything from charming footbridges and lush wooded trails to a one-mile paved walking loop and meandering creeks throughout its nearly 2,000 acres; however, its prime time attraction is undoubtedly its scenic lake, which covers roughly 28 acres and is surrounded by towering trees along one end of its shoreline.

black and white dog swims with an orange ball at Brady's Run Lake in Beaver Falls

The lake features accessible shorelines giving your dog an easy entry and exit point, ensuring a safe and controlled swimming experience. It’s often one of the spots we’ll end your session at, too, if you’ve got a water lover you’d like to reward for a job well done!

Peter’s Lake

Peter’s Lake Park is a popular recreational area located at 560 Center Church Road in Canonsburg, Washington County, which offers several features that make it a great spot for dogs who enjoy swimming, most notably its gigantic lake for which the park is named.

An easy 1.7-mile loop trail winds around the lake beginning in the parking lot with a quarter-mile paved path that weaves through the second-generation timber woods before eventually turning into a wood chip/dirt trail. Because it’s relatively flat, it’s accessible for most dogs looking to stretch their legs with an on-leash stroll after a good swim sesh.

The lake, with water that is consistently clean and clear, offers a mix of shallow and deeper areas so you can safely encourage your dog to take a dip no matter his swimming ability or his size. (Insider tip: there’s a very small dock near the southern end of the lake where your pooch can also do a bit of dock diving. It’s also a neat spot to snap a few photos.)

Related: Helping Your Pet Beat the Heat During Summer Sessions

Moraine State Park

This Butler County park may be well known for its more than 28-mile network of scenic trails that are perfect for dog walking and hiking, but it’s the beautiful 3,225-acre Lake Arthur that earns this destination two paws up from dogs everywhere!

While dogs are not permitted in designated swimming areas, they are allowed in other areas of the park, including the shoreline. As the water quality is regularly monitored, you’ll find it to be among the cleanest and safest in the region. You can feel confident jumping in with your dog who will delight in his newfound confidence and security of being able to see through its clear water.

black Labrador shakes off after a swim in a western Pennsylvania lake

Once you’ve had enough splishing and splashing, leash up for a walk along the shoreline or venture into the woods on the popular 14.8-mile Glacier Ridge Trail or the Butterfly Trail.

Moraine State Park offers a variety of dog-friendly camping options, allowing you to extend your day trip and fully immerse yourself in the park’s offerings. A campground with designated pet-friendly campsites where dogs are permitted provides a great way to spend quality time with your dog in a beautiful natural setting while numerous picnic areas and open spaces await picnic meals and or playtime.

Moraine State Park is roughly a 40-minute drive north of Pittsburgh, easily accessible via various routes, including Route 422 and I-79.

Related: Beat the Heat: What You Need to Know About Short-Nosed Dogs & Summer Sessions

Lake Erie at Presque Isle

If you’re up for a day trip, head a few hours north to Presque Isle State Park in Erie. Dogs are allowed on certain beaches at Presque Isle, but there are specific rules and regulations that must be followed to ensure the safety of pets and other visitors to the park.

Dogs are permitted on its unguarded beaches not marked as designated swimming areas. Hunter and I particularly enjoy the stretch of sand between Barracks Beach and Beach 6. The sandy terrain of Lake Erie’s shoreline is gentle on puppy paws and provides a typically cool and feel-good surface for them to walk and play on. There are also some excellent photo-op spots such as rocks that jut out into the water and even fallen trees that lead down to the beach.

It is important to keep in mind that swimming in Lake Erie can pose some risks due to its unpredictable currents and waves even given the lake’s proximity to the Presque Isle Peninsula, which helps protect it from strong waves and currents. If your dog is a less experienced swimmer or prefers to stay closer to the shore, stick to shallower swimming spots. Should you allow your furry friend to venture deeper into the lake, stay mindful of water conditions and keep him within your line of sight at all times.

Are you ready to dive into your dog’s photography session with portraits that’ll make a splash? Choose your adventure below to begin.

Did you enjoy this post? Great, there’s more coming your way because it’s part of a photography blog circle featuring pet photographers from all over the world! This week, it’s the photographer’s choice, which means you can expect plenty of variety from our participants. To kick it all off, Kim Hollis of BARKography explains how she photographs nervous and shy dogs. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here. If you get lost along the way, just look for the trail of dog hair. I won’t be far off…

8 thoughts on “The Most Splash-Worthy Lakes Near Pittsburgh to Take Your Dog Swimming

  1. Kim Hollis says:

    I love photographing dogs doing what they love! It’s great that you have so many lakes nearby for all the water-loving dogs.

    • Bark & Gold Photography says:

      Me too! I think seeing a dog swim is the truest expression of happiness…unless that dog is like mine and dreads water!

    • Bark & Gold Photography says:

      The greater Pittsburgh area has so many dog-friendly lakes and swimming areas. Now, if only mine liked to swim…

  2. Carol says:

    So nice you have all these swimming options! I’m a swimmer and by default my eldest pup has become one too. Unfortunately there’s only one body of water in Milan and it’s not the prettiest. It’s the old hydroplane landing strip next to the airport that’s been transformed into a lake. There’s a lovely fenced-in dog beach, but if the humans go in past their ankles you get flagged! Totally jealous of all your options!

  3. Darlene says:

    Nothing like a great water spot for some swimming pooches! Looks like blast! I love Brady swimming with that bright orange ball. Happy dogs!

    • Bark & Gold Photography says:

      I believe few things make a dog happier than a good splash and a favorite ball. Combine the two and it’s pure joy!

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