Danville, Illinois is a little town that packs a punch. Because of the great shopping opportunities, a low cost-of-living, and the well-maintained parks that surround the area, Danville is quickly growing, bringing more new residents (and their pets!) each day.
Danville is home to the FETCH (Family of Espencheid – Totally Canines and Hounds) Dog Park, located at the end of North Kimball Street. The Epsencheid Park covers over 70 acres, and the dog park portion has a 1-acre small dog area and a 4-acre large dog area. The park is very popular with locals, who love the new fences and shelters, as well as the special events that the park hosts, such as dog training days. Membership does cost a small annual fee.
Just outside of Danville is the Kickapoo State Recreation Area, which allows on-leash dogs. The park covers almost 3,000 acres! In addition, there are almost two dozen ponds (some less than half an acre – some over 50 acres) that provide recreational opportunities for swimming, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and boating. Hiking paths are open year-round, and feature short nature hikes to trails that cover almost ten miles. There’s a very challenging 7.6-mile “Out and Back” trail that adventurous dogs and hikers will be sure to love!
Danville’s Fetch Dog Park is proof that the people of Danville love their dogs. This 5-acre park has an area for small dogs, large dogs, and an area set aside for members with special access needs. Water, waste receptacles, and sheltered places for the human companions are provided. Dogs run leash free in a grassy, forested, and secluded area. There’s also a 2-mile trail that dog and person friend can explore together. Visitors to this dog park must register and pay an annual fee. It is accessible to members only. More information can be obtained on the city’s website.
Let Fido hang his head out the window on the 30-mile drive to dog-friendly Urbana. Urbana has a dog park located at 1501 E. Perkins. The dog park has 10 fenced acres of ground for dogs to explore off-leash. There is a separate enclosure for small dogs. Dogs play in a bed of green grass or romp among some tall prairie grass that is part of the city’s restoration project. Water is available onsite. Waste receptacles with poop bags assist in clean ups. A box of tennis balls supplied by the park means that no pup is left behind, even if their owner forgot to bring their favorite toy. Visitors must register and pay a fee before using this dog park.
Thirty-two miles west of Danville is the city of Champaign, which is home to the Champaign Bark District. This “district” is a 7-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 also has 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 available.
Lafayette is an hour drive east of Danville, and is home to Shamrock Dog Park, located at 115 Sanford Drive. It has 4 separate fenced enclosures for off-leash fun and socialization. The park provides water, waste receptacles, and benches. The areas are grassy and level with an occasional tree good for shade. Keep in mind that the park is prone to flooding, so it’s a good idea to check the weather before making the trip. This dog park is for members only, but the Association has special free days for interested visitors to come and try it out.
An hour’s drive west from Danville is the lovely, dog-friendly town of Monticello. Monticello is home to the Allerton Park and Retreat Center. Allerton has 1500 acres of forest, meadows, and trails to explore, so lace up your best hiking shoes! Dogs are welcome on all parts of the property as long as they are on a leash no longer than 6 feet. Hotel accommodations in Monticello can be found at the Best Western Monticello Gateway Inn located at 805 Iron Horse Place. Dogs (2 maximum) are welcome to stay there for an additional fee of $10 (40 lbs or less) or $20 (more than 40 lbs).