Indiana Dog-Friendly Travel Guide

brown and white border collie in car

Traveling with your dog can be stressful because you have to plan ahead to make sure your dog will be able to join you wherever you go. On the other hand, leaving your best buddy behind is also stressful – you have to arrange for care and it’s often stressful for you both to be separated. Instead of having to leave them behind, use a dog-friendly travel guide to plan a trip you both can enjoy together and bring them along for the adventure. If you’re headed to the Midwest to visit “The Hoosier State”, use this Indiana dog-friendly travel guide to start your research and planning:

6 Dog-Friendly Activities in Indiana

You’ll want to make sure you and your pooch have plenty of fun things to do on your trip. Take a look at some of these top dog-friendly activities in Indiana and consider adding them to your trip itinerary:

1. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is a state park that features 15,000 acres full of rivers, forests, prairies, marshes, swamps, dunes, and more. And, it includes 15 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline.

Your dog is not permitted on the beaches to the West, but if you stick to the East side, you can bring your dog with you to enjoy Kemil Beach, Lake View Beach, and Dunbar Beach.

Your dog has to stay leashed at all times, even as they’re swimming, but they are welcome to join you for a day of fun in the sun. Plus, there are tons of trails you can explore with your dog!

2. 100 Acres Art and Nature Park

If your travels take you near Indianapolis, plan for some time to explore The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, more colloquially known as the “100 Acres Art and Nature Park”. This park is free to visit and it’s open every day. Plus, your dog is welcome to join you as long as they are leashed.

In addition to a gorgeous lake and trails that wind through meadows, woodlands, and wetlands, this park is also one of the largest museum art parks in the country! As you walk the various trails, you’ll be able to see a wide variety of site-responsive artworks.

3. Monon Trail

Also located in Indianapolis is the Monon Trail. This is a former railroad corridor and is one of the “rail trails” that is sponsored by the Rails-to-Trails Conservatory. The 23-mile trail is paved and features a variety of scenery depending on which section of the trail you’re on.

Plus, your dog is welcome to join you as long as they are leashed. Depending on what you want to see, you can enter the trail in the heart of Indianapolis for an urban experience or go more suburban or rural if you want to experience more nature and greenery.

4. Falls of the Ohio State Park

Should your travels take you closer to Clarksville, the Falls of the Ohio State Park is a good stop. Your dog has to stay on a 6-foot leash, but they’re welcome to join you as you explore the park.

You can walk the trails to enjoy nature, visit the gardens around the Interpretive Center, and even explore the fossil beds that date back to the Devonian period. Plus, you can see the cityscape from the park without having to dive into the hustle & bustle of the city.

5. Muscatatuck County Park

Muscatatuck County Park is located in North Vernon. It features plenty of beautiful trails plus an old mill that you and your dog can explore together.

Your dog has to stay leashed at all times, but is welcome to join you as you explore the park. Plus, the trails vary in difficulty, so you can choose a rougher trail if you and your dog love hiking together.

6. French Lick Scenic Railway

If you find yourself near French Lick and your pooch is okay with trains, consider adding the French Lick Scenic Railway to your trip itinerary. This is a 20-mile scenic round trip aboard a historic train with a break in Cuzco where you and your pup can stretch your legs and grab a snack.

Dogs are not permitted on special event trains, but they are welcome on the regular train tours as long as they are leashed and well-behaved. If you purchase coach class seating, which is general admission, you will want to arrive early to get a seat in one of the air-conditioned gallery cars or choose a day with mild weather to make sure you and your dog are comfortable in the open cars or the cars without air conditioning.

3 Dog-Friendly Hotels in Indiana

After a day full of exploration and adventure, you and your dog will need a place to stay. Not every hotel is dog-friendly, so you’ll want to make sure you check and book your room in advance. There is usually an extra pet fee for a dog-friendly room, but at least you know you and your dog will be welcome at these hotels:

1. The Lighthouse Lodge

The Lighthouse Lodge is a dog-friendly bed & breakfast located in Monticello along the shores of Lake Shafer. At The Lighthouse Lodge, you stay in a cottage with your own private balcony. There is a rec room, where breakfast is served in the morning, a sunroom, a sundeck, a large lawn, sandy beaches along the lakeshore, and even boating on the lake.

There is an additional pet fee, which is $25 or $50 per stay depending on the cottage. Also, there is no limit on size – two dogs of any size are welcome to stay with you. As long as your dog is well-behaved, they can stay unattended in the rooms.

2. Homewood Suites Indianapolis

Should you need to stay overnight in Indianapolis, consider the Homewood Suites. You can bring two dogs up to 75 pounds with you and all of the rooms are pet-friendly! There is an additional pet fee, which is $50 per stay. And, as long as your dog is well-behaved and it is outside of housekeeping hours, they can be left unattended in your room for short periods of time.

In addition to standard hotel amenities, Homewood Suites has a 24-hour convenience store on-site among other perks. If you can’t find what you need in the convenience store, they also offer a complimentary grocery shopping service to help you get what you need.

3. La Quinta Inn & Suites Ft. Wayne

If your travels bring you near Fort Wayne and you need to stay overnight, add the La Quinta Inn & Suites Ft. Wayne to your list of hotel considerations. Not only is this hotel dog-friendly, but there is also no additional pet fee.

Plus, you can bring big dogs with you and, as long as your dog is crated and well-behaved, you can leave them in the room unattended for short periods of time.

3 Dog-Friendly Restaurants in Indiana

Packing food for you and your dog is essential for your trip, but it’s also a good idea to sample the local flavor when you can. Here are a few dog-friendly restaurants to check out if your travels bring you close to them:

1. Bone Appetit Bakery

You could eat here, but you may not want to as this stop is all about your dog. The Bone Appetit Bakery is located in Nashville, Indiana and offers over 20 different flavors of dog treats.

Plus, they have gluten-free and grain-free options for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Your leashed dog will be welcomed with open arms and given plenty of water as they try free samples. It’s a “barking good” stop for your dog and one they’re bound to enjoy.

2. Petite Chou Bistro and Champagne Bar

If you happen to be in Indianapolis when you need a bite to eat, the Petite Chou Bistro and Champagne Bar is a good stop where you and your dog can grab some food. Your dog is welcome to join you on the outdoor terrace.

There is a varied menu with plenty of delicious food for you to choose from and there is also a special menu for your dog. Your dog will be provided with water and you can pick Frosty Paws or some cookies from the Three Dog Bakery off the dog menu for them to eat while you enjoy your meal.

3. Sonka Irish Pub

Should your travels bring you near Terre Haute around a meal or when you need a break, consider stopping at Sonka Irish Pub. Dogs are allowed indoors and outdoors at this pub and water is provided for your thirsty pup.

They might even get some treats too! Plus, the menu features a bunch of great food, local craft brews and imports, and more for you to choose from.

With a dog-friendly travel guide on your side, there’s no need to worry about leaving your dog at home. Plus, by planning ahead, you’ll know both you and your dog will be welcome no matter where you go.

If you’re not headed to Indiana, check out the other dog-friendly travel guides available. Here’s to safe travels, happy trails, and wagging tails no matter your adventures take you and your pup!