Deer Park is a suburban village outside of Chicago that truly embraces a “small but mighty” mentality. Although slight in size, this community has plenty of options to keep local dogs and their owners entertained. A defining feature of this pawticular area is that it is fringed by nature preserves on two sides, giving the furry residents plenty of open space to stretch their legs.
If outdoor adventure is indeed what you are searching for, the 781-acre Cuba Marsh Preserve is a great place to start. This lush open space has loads of trails for you and Fido to investigate, as well as lots of wildlife to see and sniff (from a distance, of course).
Pooches looking for a tamer time may be interested in visiting Deer Park Town Center for some retail therapy. This open-air shopping mall is home to many popular retail chains and local stores that love their furry customers -- many even set out bowls of fresh water for thirsty shoppers. Most pup-friendly shops emblazon their doors with “Dogs Allowed” stickers or signage to let canine parents know their children are welcome.
The nice thing about Deer Park is that, even if there is an amenity it lacks, it can still be found just a few miles away. Though there are no hometown veterinary centers, groomers, or pet supply chains within the village, a plethora of them can be found just a couple miles away! Talk about convenient!
The Prairie Wolf Dog Park in Lake Forrest is sure to suit even the most persnickety of pooches. This 44-acre off-leash area offers several exercise options for dogs with a variety of needs. For starters, there are 2 fenced training areas for pups who need alone time or service animals who are learning to hone their skills with distraction training. The main area consists of several large fields pawfect for running and fetching. The highlight for most four-legged visitors (especially during the dog days of summer) is the park’s swimming pond! To participate in the leash-free shenanigans, your pup must have an off-leash permit. No worries, though! A daily pass can be acquired at the machine near the entrance. Passes are good for other local parks as well, so feel free to park hop!
Independence Grove Exercise Area in Libertyville is, without a doubt, one of the best places around for a leash-free frolic. This 30-acre expanse is a life-saver for local city dogs, giving them an outlet for both exercise and socialization. Not only is this a fantastic place for a game of fetch, but it's also a great swimming spot too, with river access for those sweltering summer days. Pets must be leashed on the walking trails, but other than that, they are free to roam the exercise area free of restraints (as long as they are well-behaved and under voice control). Parking passes are $5 a day or $44 for a yearly pass, but this fee is very much worth it!
Hawk Hollow Preserve in Bartlett, only a 30-minute drive southwest of Deer Park, is an exceptional place for some off-leash fun with the pack. This gorgeous 1,172-acre nature sanctuary is home to many species of plants and animals who thrive in its beautiful meadows and lush forests. The park has several trails that traverse this gorgeous landscape, and your best bud is more than welcome to accompany you on them if they are leashed. As far as the fluffy visitors are concerned, there is one spot here that stands above the rest: the 34-acre leash-free area! Here, pets with off-leash permits can romp freely until their hearts are content while also enjoying the company of the other four-legged regulars!
If your fashion-savvy Sharpei is looking for some new designer duds (or just enjoys a little window-shopping), then be sure to swing by Geneva Commons. This upscale shopping mall in west Geneva has everything you and your pet need to keep your style up-to-the-minute and your tummies full. There are a whopping 42 dog-friendly stores and eateries within the center, each marked with signs to let dog parents know their fur babies are welcome! Many stores even have water bowls for the furry guests! Before you leave, you MUST pay a visit to Wet Nose, a designer doggy boutique that is sure to liven up your canine's closet!
There is no better place for hungry pups and their parents than Historic Downtown Geneva. This neighborhood is home to many dog-friendly restaurants, but one funky favorite is Niche, an upscale bistro that specializes in what they call “glocal” cuisine. This eccentric eatery offers a varied rotating menu with mouthwatering selections like Szechuan beef, pan-seared stone bass, and endless cotton candy (yes, you read that correctly). Down the street is James from the Kitchen, a canine bakery that specializes in healthy biscuits, cakes, and custom creations for doggy birthdays or gotcha days! Their delicious selections will have members of any species panting!