With sporting events and stadiums, concert halls, and one of the largest recreational parks in the country, North Little Rock, Arkansas feels anything but little! Needless to say, it's also a great place to own a pet, with tons of pet-friendly attractions for all the members of your family to enjoy.
Need a little time off-leash after a long day? Check out the Burns Park Dog Park, North Little Rock's sole off-leash dog park. This large and well-kept park is loved by locals for its' size, shade trees, and layout. Three separate areas are used to separate dogs by size.
The North Little Rock Parks Department offers several trails for you and Fido to embark upon. For a short walk with big views, try the Highland Trail, a paved 2-mile path that overlooks the Big Rock Quarry. Or, there's the Arkansas River Trail, which covers 8 miles around the North Little Rock area and follows the meandering river - perfect for spotting wildlife.
The North Little Rock Animal Shelter often hosts dog-friendly events that promote and fundraise for the shelter. Every April there's a donation-only dog wash, run by volunteers who are more than happy to get your pooch squeaky clean. For the past eleven years, the shelter (in conjunction with the local parks department) has hosted a Bark in the Park event with a wide range of events and vendors, including pet psychics, training demos, meet & greets with sheep-herding dog teams, and demonstrations by the K-9 unit police force.
Burns Park is a great general park with a designated dog park inside. As the city’s largest municipal park, it’s sure to be a family favorite. There are 36 holes of golf and disc golf for Dad, indoor and outdoor tennis courts for Mom, and playgrounds for the kids. Other attractions include soccer fields, camping areas, a pre-Civil War log cabin, bridge, fishing pier, boat launch, trails that connect to the Arkansas River Trail, and an amusement park that’s open seasonally. The dog park is divided into three sections, for small, medium, and large dogs, about an acre each. Dogs will enjoy running through the shady play areas with their new mates, stopping to cool off in wading pools.
Jacksonville, Arkansas is a town located about 20 minutes north of downtown North Little Rock. Inside of Dupree Park, the Jacksonville Dog Park is off-leash and welcomes all mutts and wagging butts. Divided into two sections, small dogs can play on their own without the fear of being tossed like chew toys by larger relatives. The entire property is 2 acres and entirely fenced in. Open one hour before sunset to one hour after sunset, early risers can get a little play time in soft, quiet light. A trail runs through the park, passing under trees and stopping at park benches. Pet parents will enjoy the Jacksonville Dog Park as much as their fur babies will.
The Arkansas River Trail is a beautiful, 10 ft wide paved trail for walkers, runners, bikers, and dogs. Passing through six parks in North Little Rock, including North Shore Riverwalk Park, Riverview Park, Big Rock Quarry Park, Burns Park, Campbell Lake Park, and Cooks Landing Park, the trail runs through 88 parks in total. Snaking along the Arkansas River, it offers amazing views and lots of o-pup-ortunities to sniff. Along the way, see six museums and over 5,000 acres of public parklands, stopping to explore with eyes, ears, and noses. Should you attempt to walk or run the entire trail (in pieces), you will pass through North Little Rock, Little Rock, Maumelle, and Conway. Dogs must stay on-leash for the duration of the trail and owners must pick up their waste.
If you follow the Arkansas River southeast from downtown North Little Rock, you’ll come along a beachfront campground, close to the David T. Terry Lock Dam, known as Willow Beach Recreation Area. This triangular-shaped forested area offers riverfront access for two miles of protected beach. The whole family, including dogs, will enjoy exploring this campground and making use of picnic areas. One of the main attractions of Willow Beach is the fantastic fishing access. Fish from either the shore or a boat for bass, crappie, catfish and more. If you’ve never taken your dog fishing, you’ll be delighted to see their eyes light up at the sight of a great catch. Pack everything you need for a great weekend on the river and you won’t be disappointed. The park offers flush toilets, showers, drinking water, and electric hookups.
Diamond Bear Brewing Company is a craft-beer lover / dog lover / friend cheese curd lover’s heaven. Serving up house-made brews, this restaurant and brewery is also well-known for its burgers, brats, and bread pudding. Pop in on a weeknight after work and sit on the patio. It’s a great place to catch up with your dog and ask how each other’s day went. Servers will gladly bring a bowl of water out for your pup, possibly before you get your own water! Located only a few blocks from the riverfront, you’re close enough to take a walk by the Arkansas River before or after dinner (or maybe both, depending on how many fried cheese curds you eat).