Dog parks are a top amenity on the ideal lifestyle list for many dog families.

A quick scroll through your Instagram or Facebook feed will prove that 21st century dogs are officially in the limelight, right where they belong. Many who are looking to relocate consider an area or community as much for the sake of their dog(s) as they do for themselves. Dog-friendly hiking or walking trails – check. Dog-friendly beaches – check. Leash-free dog parks? More and more checks guaranteed. As people become aware of the benefits of having a pet, they’re also coming to the realization that, in essence, “pets are people too”. Roaming outdoors, getting plenty of exercise and staying social are all as important to a dog’s health as they are to our own.

Master-planned communities across the country are heeding the healthier living calls of canines and their humans by creating spaces for dogs and their owners to mingle with other dogs…and their owners.

Here are a few communities that have gone above and beyond for their canine residents:

Keowee Key, a lake community just outside of Clemson, SC in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is full of parks. But, its latest addition may be one of the busiest. Residents are thrilled to have a place where they can plan doggie dates or schedule daily or weekly visits to so that dogs can play off-leash both on and off the “agility equipment” with new and old canine companions. Owners can also sign up for dog training sessions held at the park.

At Lakewood Ranch, the three acres of fenced-in, leash-free space at the Paw Park is every dog’s preferred stomping ground. Also a resident favorite, the Paw Park is a popular spot for neighbors to mingle. A doggie drinking fountain, a separate small dog and puppy area, benches and a bag dispenser are on site.

The folks at Hampton Lake in Blufton, SC are convinced that pet companionship can be vital to health and well being at all ages. So, they went all out for resident canines and their families. Sand pits, earth mounds, and grass fields allow dogs to do more than just stretch their legs. And, the six ft. fire hydrant and handheld shower is a hit with dog owners not so fond of mud-covered paws. The picnic shelter with tables and benches is a great space for neighbors to become friends and for good friends to spend time together.

The Villages at Citrus Hills on The Nature’s Coast in Florida has decided to integrate two and four-legged exercise spaces. At Rockwood Park, you can play basketball, bocce ball, run with your dog(s) on the fitness trail, or let them run free at the Rockwood dog park. Aside from the standard dog park amenities, bone-shaped sand traps and water-play features like the spraying fire hydrant keep dogs digging and diving, providing the ultimate in doggie aerobics.

At St. James Plantation near Southport, NC dogs are everywhere – hanging their heads out of golf carts, running with their owners, and paddling alongside swimmers in the surf. But running leash-free, socializing and relaxing at one of St. James two dog parks – Woodlands Park and St. James Drive Park – are dog and owner favorites. If access to a restroom is essential, then Woodlands Park is your best bet.

Master-planned communities are integrating parks and ample spaces for dogs to roam because a dog’s life is the good life. And, given the benefits of having them in our lives, communities and their residents want to do whatever they can to make a dog’s life even better.