Dog-Walking Near Atlanta

Clayton and Henry Counties - Clayton County
A Dog Cartoon (Clayton County)

Clayton County, just half an hour from downtown Atlanta, has figured prominently in Atlanta's history for two reasons, both concerning the city of Jonesboro. The pivotal Confederate loss of the battle of Jonesboro during the Civil War was followed within 12 days by the fall of Atlanta, due to the capture of the last of the Confederate rail supply lines. Dozens of commemorative markers to critical events in the war are found in the county. Call the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce at (770) 478-6549 if you'd like a map to the historical markers.

Jonesboro was also used by Margaret Mitchell as the historical foundation for Gone With the Wind, and this county is the place to find every imaginable type of book, film, and memorabilia on the subject. Many fine antebellum homes and churches from that era still stand. Tours are generally scheduled in the spring and fall and are listed in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution's"Saturday Leisure Guide."

Laddie and Bandit simply aren't interested in either the Civil War or this great work of Southern literature, but there's plenty to please them in Clayton County, including the W. H. Reynolds Nature Preserve, one of the finest parks in the Atlanta area.


Jonesboro was the inspiration for Margaret Mitchell's Tara, the fictional home of the O'Hara's in Gone With the Wind. Tourists still come to Jonesboro to look for Tara, but it only existed on the back lot of a studio in Hollywood. No filming for the movie actually took place here. The famous fire scene in the book, when the Confederate troops burned their supply depots, is historically accurate, patterned after the same occurrence in Jonesboro, just before the Confederates pulled out and surrendered the city to the Union troops. Some 600 Confederate soldiers are buried here. If you're interested in Gone With the Wind or Civil War memorabilia, you'll find it in nearly every shop in the city. Your pooch won't be overly impressed by any of the parks in Jonesboro, but they're good for a quick stop when heading for other areas in the county.

Parks and Recreation Areas

Independence Park
This large park would be great if it had a path, but instead you and your leashed pooch must walk in the road or strike out on your own through the woods. If you do, be careful not to trip over the tangle of poison ivy and vines along the way. There's plenty of shade, which is much appreciated by longhaired dogs like Laddie and Bandit. Amenities for humans include tennis and basketball courts, baseball fields, picnic pavilions, and a playground if you have tots in tow.

Hours are daily from 8 A.M. to 11 P.M. To get to the park from Atlanta, take Interstate 75 south of Interstate 285 and exit on Highway 85. Turn south on Highway 85. Go left onto the Pointe South Parkway, also known as Flint River Road. Turn right onto Thomas Road, and then left on Independence Road to reach the park.

Panhandle Park
If nature's calling, go ahead and walk your leashed pooch around the baseball fields in this small park, but that's about all a dog can do here.

Hours are daily from dawn to dusk. To reach the park, take Interstate 75 south of Atlanta to U.S. 41 and turn south. Turn right on Tara Road, then left on Panhandle Road. The park is on your left.


Easter eggs for canines: Why should parents of two-legged children have all the fun when Easter rolls around? Well, the folks at the Atlanta Recreation and Fun Club for Dogs have remedied the situation by hosting an annual canine Easter Egg Hunt. The location for the event varies each year, so give the number below a call a few weeks in advance to find out where to go. The club usually holds the hunt in a fenced field, so your pooch can dash about in leash-free bliss and find the dog-safe treats. These include hard-boiled eggs (decorated with pooch-friendly food coloring) and plastic eggs filled with crunchy dog cookies. You might want to give your pup a head start by introducing him to a hard-boiled egg at home prior to the big event. Laddie wasn't at all interested in eggs until I partially peeled one for him. Once he found out they were food, though, he became an expert at locating the treats.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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