Champaign, Illinois may be a city that has gone to the dogs! With almost 700 acres of grassy parks, numerous trails and paths, and year-round dog-friendly events, you and your pooch will always have something to do.
Looking to get off-leash? Look no further than the Champaign Bark District. Champaign's premier dog park, this seven-acre space offers ample room to run, jump, and play. You'll love the amenities, including double-gated access gates, areas for large and small dogs, and free doggie bags. Residents and non-residents can either purchase a full-year membership, or buy a one-day pass.
Several trails in Champaign offer a chance to explore the natural prairie surroundings. O'Malley's Alley Trail is a half-mile paved route that ends at a city-run Prairie Farm. To extend the journey, go east at the bridge and end up at the lakeside Kaufman Park. Or, try out the Greenbelt Bikeway. Almost 2.5-miles long, this trail boasts views of ponds, forests, a beautiful lake, and an Olympic memorial.
Want a chance to meet up with some of Champaign's other four-legged friends? Try the yearly Chase Your Tail Dog Jog/Walk. Open to dogs ages a year and over, this race starts at Centennial Park and features costume contests, vendors, and live entertainment!
Champaign is home to the Champaign Bark District. This “District” is a seven acre dog park which is located at 5001 W. Windsor. The fenced enclosure is a flat and grassy area where dogs can run and socialize leash-free. The dog park has a separate area for small dogs. Water fountains built for humans and canines are supplied. The dog park features a few picnic benches where the human companions can sit, socialize, and maybe snack while watching their pups at play. The city requires a registration and fee before using the dog park. Daily passes are also available. More information is available on the official city website.
Urbana adjoins Champaign, and has a dog park located at 1501 E. Perkins. This dog park has 10 fenced acres of ground for dogs to explore off leash. There is a separate enclosure for small dogs. The dog park has a varied terrain with part of it in grass and part in tall prairie grass. Trees dot the inside of the dog park, too, so your dog will have a howlin’ good time exploring. Water is available onsite. Waste receptacles with poop bags are also provided, so leave the park as clean as you found it and use them. A box of tennis balls is supplied by the park, so no pup is left behind! Visitors must register their dog and pay a fee before using this dog park. Check the city website for more details.
South Champaign is close to the regional airport. There are several hotels in this neighborhood that are dog-friendly. Hawthorn Suites located at 101 Trade Center Drive welcomes you and your dog. Hawthorn charges an additional fee of $25 per dog (2 dog maximum) per night. The hotel does not have any weight restrictions for your dogs. If you and your dog need a change of scenery and a stretch, check out Mayfair Park. This little 2-acre park offers a few nice walking paths, which your leashed dog is allowed to explore. A few picnic tables make this the pawfect place to enjoy a picnic with your best bud on a nice day.
The Northwest neighborhood of Champaign is home to Dodds Park, located at 1501 N. Mattis Avenue. This large park offers 100 acres dedicated to recreation. The park has numerous places for you and your dog to walk on leash. Picnic tables and pavilions make a picnic lunch or an afternoon barbecue with your pet a fine idea. While you're there, don't forget to explore the Greenbelt Bikeway Trail, which is part of the Rails to Trails Conservancy. You and your dog can explore a short distance, or see how much of the trail you can tackle. Don't forget to bring a leash, because your dog will need to wear one on the trail.
The West neighborhood in Champaign is home to Kaufman Lake, a public park managed by the Champaign Park District. This park offers several pawesome activities, including boating, fishing, and picnicking. Dogs can enjoy some on-leash exercise and share a barbecued hotdog or hamburger with their owner afterward. Fishing enthusiasts can spend some time with a companion dog while enjoying the sport. If you're just looking for a quick walk, there are several wooded hiking trails that you and your dog can explore. If barbecuing or picnicking isn't your thing, the nearby Sonic Drive-In will let you eat a hotdog with your pup on the dog-friendly outdoor patio.