Swan, Iowa is a unique little town in Marion County. With just 72 residents, Swan definitely has that small town charm that visitors find so appealing. If you are traveling with your dog, you will love the look and feel of Swan. The locals are friendly and welcoming of both humans and dogs traveling through or coming to stay for a while. Sugar Creek is a local favorite water source, where you are welcome to spend an afternoon relaxing with your dog. You will enjoy all of the beauty this place has to offer; just make sure you take some time to observe the local wildlife that call Sugar Creek home sweet home.
A large part of Swan is undeveloped land. This land makes a great selfie opportunity with all of the natural lighting that will help your dog put his best face forward (just don’t ask him to hold the selfie stick!) There are no animal hospitals in the immediate area, so you will need to plan accordingly if your pup needs special care while you are in Swan. There are some animal clinics a short drive away in neighboring towns, so make sure you have a plan in place should a health emergency arise.
Central Swan is a simple town. There are just a handful of residential streets here where you can enjoy scenic walks or even bird watching if you have a very quiet pup with you who doesn’t mind sharing the binoculars. You will need a good leash and plenty of waste bags as you walk among the residences here. There are no structured parks, but the locals here can point you to common green spaces where they like to picnic with their families and dogs in case you are looking for a laid-back afternoon just relaxing and watching the clouds before continuing on your journey with your pup.
Runnels is a small village about 10 minutes north of Swan. A visit here should start with a drive through the local main street on your way to the well-known and well-loved Runnells Park. Your dog will adore the green space and room to walk and even jog with you. You will need to keep Fido on leash while in this park, and make sure you have your waste bags handy. Be sure to reward good social skills toward other park visitors with lots of praise and treats! There will be plenty of other dog owners here especially during mild weather, so be ready for sniffs and tail wags all afternoon.
Hartford is a town about 10 minutes to the west of Swan. Make sure you are ready to walk or run when visiting Hartford, as the open area is a great place for your dog to get out all of his energy from riding in the car all day. Bring your good sneakers if you plan on taking Rover on a leashed spin around the town during your stay in Hartford. In the center of Hartford, there is a large public unnamed park where you can spend some time. As this is a public area, the locals and visitors need to take care to keep it as clean as possible, so make sure you bring extra cleanup baggies with you.
Avon Lake is a true gem. It is found about 20 minutes to the west of Swan, but is well worth the short drive when you and Lassie get a glimpse of the pawtiful lake ahead of you. The namesake lake here is a popular attraction for locals and travelers who need a sight for sore paws after a long road trip. You can walk along the lake or visit the state office for a fishing license if you would like to fish in season. Just take care to look out for others who may be fishing, and teach your dog good behavior around fishing lines and other lake visitors.
Central Carlisle is a neighborhood in the city of Carlisle, about 20 minutes west of Swan, just after you pass Avon Lake. If you are looking for a faster pace, Carlisle has plenty to offer you and your dog during your stay. The main attraction here is the Carlisle City Park, where leashed pets are welcome. Take care to keep your cleanup bags handy in case you need to take care of a mess or two. The North River is another great spot if you are looking for a less busy spot in town to relax or stretch your legs with your dog. Just prepare for a shaking contest when you finally get your pup out of the water.