Did you know that Arkansans have more dogs than pet owners do in any other state? That must explain why it’s such a dog-friendly place, with tons of options for lodging and attractions that are just as welcoming to four-legged visitors as they are to their upright companions. Check out these terrific ideas for spending a beautiful day with your favorite furry friend(s).
Attend the grand opening “pawty” of Bark Bar in Little Rock, the state’s first-ever indoor-outdoor pet playground where dogs and their human companions can hang out together. While you’re noshing on specialty hot dogs and sipping “cockertails” with names like “Saucy Setter” and “Pit Bullini,” Bella can enjoy her own “Bowser Beer” (basically, fizzy bone broth in a dog bowl) and treats from the special canine cuisine menu. The pawty starts at 6 p.m.; sounds like a great way to end a day of frolicking at one of the capital areas many dog parks, such as Paws Park at Murray Park, MacArthur Dog Park, or the Dog Park at Burns Park, across the river in North Little Rock (which, coincidentally, is locally nicknamed “Dogtown”).
Visit Hot Springs National Park in Hot Springs, which is surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest and houses famous Bathhouse Row and offers over 25 miles of hiking trails that are a perfect pup destination. Dogs are welcome on leash on the trails and in the campground. This national park protects 47 naturally flowing thermal springs and has the distinction of being the first federally protected area in the nation. Nearby Garvan Woodland Gardens and Lake Catherine and Lake Ouachita state parks are also dog-friendly; if you want to make a weekend of it, check out Mountain Harbor Resort down the road in Mt. Ida, which offers pet-friendly accommodations. While in Mt. Ida, take Sparky to Wegner Quartz Crystal Mines, where he can help you dig for crystals—as long as he stays on leash.
Take a trip to the Buffalo National River, our country’s first national river, which was recently named Arkansas’s best pet-friendly site by GoPetFriendly.com. The 135 miles of the Buffalo that are managed by the National Park Service are very pet-friendly: leashed dogs are allowed on all campgrounds and gravel bars plus four hiking trails in the area, and it’s not uncommon to see a vested dog floating down the river with a canoeing companion. GoPetFriendly.com cited the tiny town of Gilbert—a popular base camp for exploring the Buffalo—for its dog-friendly cabin rentals and absence of leash laws.
Take Fido for a walk or run across the Mighty Mississippi River. Featuring stunning views of the Mississippi River, the Big River Crossing connects downtown West Memphis to downtown Memphis. The boardwalk is built alongside the historic Harahan Bridge and is the longest public pedestrian bridge along the Mississippi River. Village Creek State Park, just under an hour away in Wynne, has dog-friendly cabins. For a moving tribute to the loyalty of man’s best friend, make your way to the Maple Hill Cemetery in Helena-West Helena, where you’ll find Pedro, forever waiting for his master to return. The legend goes that Pedro was the companion of a local doctor, whose murder Pedro witnessed. Pedro sat on his master’s grave day after day, waiting for his return; after Pedro died, the doctor’s family buried him with his master and erected a statue in his honor.
For more ideas on pet-friendly activities and vacations in Arkansas, please visit our website, where you’ll find sample pet-friendly itineraries and information on pet-friendly accommodations. Happy #NationalDogDay!