About 39 percent of U.S. households include a dog. If you share your home with canine companions and plan on visiting Illinois and Indiana soon, be sure to bring them along on the trip. Both states offer several pet-friendly outings for dog owners and their pets.
Stuart Dog Park
Illinois’ capital city boasts a large, friendly dog park on its northwest side. Stuart Park spans 37 acres and is located near Winch Road in Springfield, Ill., north of the Veteran’s Parkway and Jefferson Street intersection. There are two off-leash, fenced dog areas, one for large dogs and one for smaller dogs. The dog parks features a DogiPot disposal system, water sources, benches and a picnic table. The large dog park even has a shelter.
PAWS Chicago Beach Party
PAWS Chicago is the city’s largest free or affordable spay and neuter clinic, and the annual Beach Party Event is one of the organization's biggest fundraisers. Dogs and their owners can party on July 19 at the 10th annual event, held at Castaways at the North Avenue Beach Boathouse (1603 N. Lake Shore Drive). Tickets for the fundraiser cost $175 per person and $50 per pet. There will be an open bar, dinner buffet, entertainment and auctions. Visit beachparty.pawschicago.org for more information.
Windy City Pet Expo
A free event happening on July 21, the Windy City Pet Expo in Villa Park, Ill., encourages all pets and their owners to check out more than 150 pet-friendly exhibitors, rescue groups, demonstrations and entertainment. Shorty Rossi, star of Animal Planet’s “Pit Boss,” will be there as well. The expo runs from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the Odeum Expo Center located at 1033 N. Villa Ave. All pets are required to have proof of current immunizations and be on a non-retractable lead. Check out the full exhibitor list at windycitypetexpo.com.
Eagle Creek Park
Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis is one of the largest municipal parks in the country and features more than 3,900 acres of dry land. Leashed dogs are welcome on the hiking trails, and there is a dog park for free play as well. Located at 7840 W. 56th St., Eagle Creek Park is close to I-465 and I-65. There is an admission fee per vehicle. Fees and additional information can be found at indy.gov.
After a fun afternoon at one of Indianapolis’ four “bark parks," stop at the Taste Cafe for some good eats. A dog-friendly restaurant, the Taste Cafe is located at 5164 N. College Ave. near Butler University. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Illinois and Indiana also offer many pet-friendly hotels. Check out bringfido.com for complete listings.