Founded in 1829, Decatur is the largest city in Macon County in the state of Illinois. Bordered by Lake Decatur and the Sangamon River and dozens of parks and recreational areas, it is right in the middle of the state. There are many dog lovers living in Decatur, with over 10,000 households owning at least one dog, so there are a lot of fun things to do with your furbaby when you visit.
The city of Decatur has two dog parks in town where Fido can run off-leash. Fido Fields on Wood Street is a fenced two-acre place where you can let your furbaby get rid of all that excess energy that you wish you had. FF has an electronic double gate for safety, and there are separate areas for small and large dogs. Nelson Dog Park on Nelson Boulevard has three acres of fenced-in area with separate areas for big and small dogs, lots of seating, and restrooms available. They are connected to Fairview Park; which has hiking and biking trails, a lake, ball fields, pavilions, a skate park, and even an aquatic center.
Rocksprings Conservation on Nearing has some excellent trails and amenities. The prairies, forest area, and riverbanks offer plenty of opportunities for Fido to scare up some critters for you to see on your walk. But, you have to keep him on a leash so he does not scare them too much.
At a woof-worthy three-acres, Nelson Dog Park remains the largest dog park in Decatur and the surrounding area. Your hound will have a good time no matter its size or breed; there’s designated areas for larger dogs and smaller dogs. An electronic fence allows your dog to roam freely and safely. Visiting Nelson Dog Park does require registration, though, at the Decatur Indoor Sports Center (DISC) at 1295 West Wood Street. It’s a $37 annual fee for your first dog and $15 for each additional dog. You must complete a registration form (with the help of your vet) and provide proof of current registration, veterinarian certification of current rabies, Bordetella, distemper and parvo vaccinations, and proof of spay or neuter. Membership to Nelson Dog Park also allows you to visit Fido Fields, another one of Decatur Park District’s facilities. The park is open sunrise to 10 PM year-round.
Fido Fields is a barktastic two-acre off-leash dog park that includes an electronic, double-gated entrance. It boasts a separate area for small dogs and large dogs. Accessing Nelson Dog Park does require registration, though, at the Decatur Indoor Sports Center (DISC). You must complete a registration form (with the help of your vet), pay the annual fee, and provide proof of current registration, veterinarian certification of current vaccinations, and proof of spay or neuter. Membership to Fido Fields also allows access to Nelson Park, another dog park in the Decatur Park District. Visit the park anytime from sunrise until 10 PM, year round.
Millie and Bo's Pet Barkery is the city’s ultimate stop for your dog. Founded and owned by a local veterinarian, Millie and Bo’s has become a staple in the Decatur dog community. What began as a small dog treat shop is now a canine-centric business, which sells everything from holiday-themed dog biscuits to dog collars and dresses. Swing by to grab your beloved fur baby a tasty goody or to snag a creative gift for one of your dog-loving human friends! And for the rest of your pooch’s needs, you really don’t have to go far; close to Millie and Bo's Pet Barkery are the Humane Society, a dog training school and groomers.
Located 25 miles northeast of downtown Decatur, Allerton Park and Retreat Center gives you 1,500 acres of hiking trails, woodlands, meadows and gardens to explore with your dog. This free park will please both your pup and your bank account. And because it’s not strictly a dog park, you don’t need to register your pup. The park’s only requirements? Just keep your dog on a leash at all times and clean up after it takes any bathroom breaks. While it might not interest your dog too much, on the park sits a Georgian mansion and other historic buildings, where events (some of which are dog-related) are held throughout the year.
Load up your pup and head to Robert Milligan Memorial Dog Park, located 30 miles outside of Decatur in the neighboring city of Monticello. Unlike Decatur’s off-leash dog parks, this one is free to the public (although donations are appreciated) and does not require membership. The park features two fenced-in areas: a half-acre for small dogs and over an acre for larger dogs. There’s a shade structure for when you and your furry companion need to escape the sun, and there’s both dog and people-friendly fountains for you to enjoy. Make sure your dog is legally licensed and vaccinated, along with wearing a visible license. And as usual, you’re responsible for cleaning up after your pooch while at the park.