Waldron is a small town in Arkansas that’s sandwiched in the middle of the Ouachita National Forest and is right near the border of Oklahoma. The town is a paradise for mountain lovers with its views of the Ouachita Mountains. There’s one small vet clinic in Waldron and a couple of parks where leashed dogs can join their families, but you may want to travel to either Fort Smith, about 50 miles north, or Hot Springs, about 80 miles southeast, of Waldron for more dog-friendly fun.
In Fort Smith, check out the Ben Geren Regional Park, a great place for disc golfing and horseshoe playing. Your leashed pup can join you at picnic pavilions, playgrounds, or even a canoe trip on the lake. The park also has a fitness trail for some intense exercise for both you and your pup. Worked up an appetite? Fort Smith has several paw-friendly restaurants, like AJ’s Oyster House, with outdoor seating for you and your pup.
The longer distance of Hot Springs may be worth a trip out of Waldron when you have more time to spare. The Downtown area is pawfect for pups with its unique attractions like Taussaud’s Wax Museum, which is dog-friendly! You can also take Max into the Gangster Museum of America for a tour.
The Ouachita National Forest is a massive park that takes over 1.8 million acres of land in Arkansas and parts of Oklahoma. The heart of the forest is about 33 miles from Waldron, making it a great spot for dog owners to head to for either a one-day trip or a multi-day getaway. The forest is known for its many wildlife species and watershed protection programs, but it also has plenty of recreation in store, and leashed pups are welcome in almost every area. Take Fido fishing in the forest’s streams or lakes, or go on a hike on one of several trails that will take you through forests or to incredible mountain views.
A little over 43 miles from Waldron is the Massard neighborhood of Fort Smith. The residential neighborhood sits next to the Fort Smith Regional Airport and is within minutes of shopping areas. Take your pooch to the Fort Smith Dog Park, a spacious area that has access to water for pups who love to splash. Satisfy hungry bellies with one of several nearby restaurants, like Grub’s Bar & Grille, which serves lots of casual favorites like burgers and sandwiches. Or try Slim Chickens for more casual options with a Southern twist. Both spots have outdoor tables that welcome dogs to join their owners.
Hot Springs National Park is a little under 84 miles from Waldron, so this may be a place you want to visit if you want to stay for a couple of days at the campgrounds with your pooch. Leashed dogs are welcome in several areas of the park, including the trails picnic areas, campgrounds, and some designated swimming spots! This national park has 47 natural thermal springs, which are its biggest draw for tourists and locals, and your water-loving pup will enjoy dipping his paws in with you. You’ll be only minutes away from the pupular Hot Springs itself, where you can grab some food at one of several dog-friendly restaurants.
Lake Hamilton is a neighborhood in Hot Springs that’s about 85 miles from Waldron and only minutes from Hot Springs National Park. This area is a popular place in Arkansas tourism, especially for watersports like water skiing and fishing, so there are several paw-friendly hotels here. You can also dine at a restaurant with outdoor tables with your pooch, like Bubba’s Catfish-2-Go, which serves up some of the tastiest seafood you can get your paws on. Or, take a ride on the Belle of Hot Springs Riverboat, a cruise ship that allows your pup to stay on deck with you as you travel the river.
The Shady Grove Rd area of Hot Springs is a little over 82 miles from Waldron and is a great place to check out if you’re already in the Hot Springs area with your dog. The residential area is right near the Hot Springs Golf & Country Club, and you can get to Downtown Hot Springs for shopping and dining in about five minutes. The Hot Springs Bark Park is a furtastic place to let Spot off his leash for a while to play and make some friends. The park has some agility equipment, too, for some extra exercise. You can also hop on the Hot Springs Creek Greenway, which will take you straight to Downtown!