Traveling with your dog can be a lot of fun. It can also be stressful. Often, planning ahead is what makes the difference. After all, not everywhere is dog-friendly. But, by planning ahead, you can make sure you have plenty of dog-friendly stops throughout your trip. If you’re planning a trip to “The Natural State”, use this Arkansas dog-friendly travel guide to start your research:
7 Dog-Friendly Activities in Arkansas
Dog parks can be a great place for your dog to run around and release some energy. But, you probably want to include some other cool things to see and do in your trip. If you’ll be traveling near any of these dog-friendly activities in Arkansas, consider setting aside some time to check them out:
1. Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway
If you and your dog like train rides and you find yourself near Eureka Springs, check out the Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway. Although dogs are not permitted on dining tours, they are welcome to join you on the excursion train as long as they are leashed and well-behaved. The excursion train is a short trip that includes narration about the area.
2. Crater of Diamonds State Park
Located in Murfreesboro is the Crater of Diamonds State Park. This park is one of the only places in the world that allows public visitors to search for real diamonds and minerals in their original volcanic source.
The 37-acre field is located on the eroded surface of a volcanic crater. You can find a variety of minerals, gemstones, rocks, and more. And, anything you find in the field is yours to keep. Plus, your leashed and well-behaved dog is welcome to join you on the grounds and in most of the facilities.
Even if you don’t plan on digging in the mining field, there is still plenty to do. The visitor’s center has interactive exhibits where you can learn about the area. There is also a Diamond Discovery Center where you can learn more about the minerals, rocks, and gemstones found in the area and also some techniques for searching for diamonds.
If you’ll want to explore the mining field, you’ll want to book ahead and reserve your spot. Current guidelines limit the park to 1,500 people per day and tickets are required for entry. Also, tool rentals are not currently available, so it’s better to bring your own if you’re planning to dig. Things may change before your trip, so make sure you check the guidelines for the park before you go.
3. Crystal Bridges Art Trail
If you find yourself near Bentonville, the Crystal Bridges Art Trail is a great stop for you and your dog to stretch your legs. This trail is half a mile long. It’s great for all skill levels and will take you from the Museum of American Art into downtown Bentonville.
Along the way, you and your leashed dog can see over a dozen outdoor sculptures. Additionally, the trail features native plants and also access to a few springs. Just make sure you bring your own doggie waste bags as well as some water for you and your pup.
4. The Gangster Museum of America
If true crime and the notorious gangsters of the 20s, 30s, and 40s interest you, take a trip to Hot Springs and visit the Gangster Museum of America. This museum and informative tour features seven galleries of information about some of the most notorious criminals and their interactions in Arkansas during the early 1900s. Plus, your leashed and well-behaved dog is welcome to join you on this interesting audiovisual tour.
5. Garvan Woodland Gardens
Also located in Hot Springs is Garvan Woodland Gardens. These botanical gardens feature acres upon acres of beautiful scenery that you can explore with your leashed and well-behaved dog.
You can rent a golf cart for a guided tour or take one of the many paths to explore on your own. There is even a pet fountain featuring a natural spring coming out of a rock where your dog can grab a drink. There are picnic tables available if you bring your own lunch. There is also a restaurant on the grounds called the Chipmunk Cafe that has a dog-friendly outdoor patio.
6. War Eagle Cavern
If you like to explore caves and your travels will bring you near Rogers, set aside some time for a tour of War Eagle Cavern. This is one of the only caves in the area where your leashed and well-behaved dog is welcome to join you.
The tour is informative and about an hour long. You’ll learn about the cave itself as well as how to view caves, what is or isn’t allowed in caves and why, and more. And, if you want to walk some more after the tour, there are some scenic trails on the grounds you can explore with your dog.
7. Natural Bridge of Arkansas
The Natural Bridge of Arkansas is located in Clinton and is a great place for you and your leashed dog to take a break and walk around. There are some picnic tables where you can enjoy a meal and plenty of room to stretch your legs.
On top of that, there is an interesting natural structure to see. Although it is located on private property, you are allowed to walk around and take a closer look at this 120-foot natural sandstone “bridge”. You just can’t walk or drive across it. Plus, you’ll get to see at least one antique cabin on the site as you have to walk through it in order to get to the bridge.
3 Dog-Friendly Hotels in Arkansas
Not every hotel is dog-friendly. Even if one is, dog-friendly rooms tend to go fast. So, it’s important to do your research and book your room early to make sure you and your dog have a welcoming place to stay and rest. Here are a few dog-friendly hotels in Arkansas to help kickstart your research:
1. Residence Inn Little Rock Downtown
If you’ll need to stay overnight in Little Rock, consider booking a room at the Residence Inn Little Rock Downtown.
Not only does it have a convenient location, but it is also dog-friendly. Two dogs of any size are welcome to join you for your stay. There is an additional pet fee, which is $75 per stay.
2. Embassy Suites Hot Springs Hotel & Spa
Should you need to stay overnight in Hot Springs, take a look at the dog-friendly Embassy Suites Hot Springs Hotel & Spa. At this hotel, up to three dogs up to 75 pounds are welcome to stay with you.
There is an additional pet fee, which is $75 per stay. There is a grassy relief area on-site with a waste station for your convenience. Also, as long as your dog will be quiet and well-behaved when you’re not around, you are permitted to crate them and leave them unattended in your room.
3. La Quinta Inn & Suites Bentonville
If you’ll need to stay in Bentonville overnight, La Quinta Inn & Suites is a dog-friendly option to explore. Two dogs of any size are welcome to join you for your stay. Also, there is no additional pet fee.
There are a grassy relief area and a waste station on-site for your convenience. If your dog will be quiet and well-behaved when you are not around, you can crate them and leave them unattended in your room – you just need to notify the front desk.
3 Dog-Friendly Restaurants in Arkansas
Although you can always rely on the food you bring with you and on fast food and convenience stores, it also means you miss out on the local flavor. Instead of missing out, consider stopping by one of these dog-friendly restaurants for a meal if your travels will bring you nearby:
1. Bentonville Farmer’s Market
A farmer’s market is a great way to explore the local culture and flavor. If you will be near Bentonville on a Saturday late April through October, stop by the Bentonville Farmer’s Market. You can check out handmade crafts and art and also sample local produce, cheeses, meats, baked goods, and more.
Plus, your dog is welcome to join you as long as they are leashed and well-behaved. Although all the market days are dog-friendly, there is a Dog Day Farmer’s Market once a year that is all about dogs.
2. Bark Bar
Bark Bar is located in Little Rock and is definitely worth a stop. You’ll have to plan ahead as you’ll need to submit some shot records and such for a day pass. But, your dog will love this indoor/outdoor off-leash play area and you’ll love the on-site bar.
While your dog runs around, you can sample the beer and order some food to enjoy off of the menu. You can even order something for your dog off of the dog treat menu. There are treat options available for them to eat immediately and bags or boxes for you to take home.
3. Good Dog Cafe
If you’ll be in Fayetteville around breakfast or lunch, consider stopping at the Good Dog Cafe. This cafe features coffees, teas, breakfast food, and lunch items. They also gave a menu of dog snacks too. Plus, they have a fenced-in dog play area that is attached to the restaurant.
Although this Arkansas dog-friendly travel guide is a good start, it certainly doesn’t cover everything that could be available to you. If you find something else you want to do, just make sure you check that they are dog-friendly ahead of time before it makes it onto your trip itinerary.
If you’re headed somewhere else, check out the other dog-friendly travel guides available. Here’s to safe travels and wagging tails no matter where your adventures take you!