Polo is a rural, friendly community in the northwest corner of Illinois -- a pawfect place to find a retreat with Fido and get to know the locals! The residents are really proud of two things in Polo: the local library and White Pines Forest State Park, located just 5 miles west. The library, un-fur-tunately, isn't pet-friendly, but the state park is! There are also a couple of dog-friendly parks, a trail, and a pet-friendly cafe right in town! Plus, Polo even has an animal hospital to keep your pup tip-top in case of accident or emergency.
Joe Stengel Trail is a 7-mile walking trail converted from an old railroad corridor connecting Polo to the community of Woosung. You can find the end of the trail in Polo, near the small cemetery north of the city. The trails are not groomed, but they offer an amazing adventure through a rural environment! In some places, the trail may be tough to navigate, so make sure you are ready for some physical exercise!
Dad’s Bar & Grill, also known as Pinecricker Café, is a pet-friendly joint with outdoor tables for doggie diners and their humans.
Polo might be small, but it's simply pawfect for pet owners who love living in a rural community complete with dog-friendly amenities!
Flagg is a small community and a part of Flagg Township just south of Rochelle, Illinois. The majority of this area is sparsely populated, but if you're traveling through Flagg and into Rochelle, you'd be barking mad not to stop by VFW Park. This is a great family-friendly facility with a designated dog park where your pooch can stretch his legs after a long ride. You'll find plenty of pet parents to chat with and other dogs to play with at this pupular park! Please note that this is a members-only park; you can obtain a permit from the Park District Office.
Lockwood-Searls Park is a northern neighborhood in Rockford, just west of Central Park. Hidden behind Cottonwood Airport, the area is home to two public parks with perfect walking trails for strolls with Fido! Lockwood Park is a popular recreation spot for family gatherings and just loafing around. Searls Park, on the other paw, is perfect for active puppers and people! This large neighborhood park offers miles of well-maintained trails and paths that are popular with dog walkers and joggers. Don't forget to bring plenty of waste bags and water with you -- responsible pet owners always pick up after their pups!
Loves Park is a wonderfully small city tucked to the northern part of Rockford, just 15 minutes away from downtown. Rock Cut State Park is a huge recreation area located at the intersection of Harlem Road and North Perryville Road. This place is pawfect for outdoor lovers and enthusiasts! Open year-round, the park hosts more than 3,000 acres of woodlands and forest filled with sports fields, open spaces, and miles of trails! An added bonus: two beautiful lakes and a small café where you can grab a quick bite. Nearby, you'll find Canine Corners Dog Park, a pawesome fenced facility with tons of room to run! You'll need to obtain a pass to play here, though.
Schoonmaker Park is a riverfront community in the northern portion of Machesney Park, just north of Rockford. Named after the main recreation facility in the area, this residential neighborhood is home to a nice surprise for all pet-owners and visitors! Schoonmaker Park is a huge playground for every family member, including the ones with paws and tails! Apart from the main public places, the park has an extensive off-leash enclosure only for big mutts and a smaller area for petite pups. This is the perfect place to sniff out some new furry friends! A membership is required, and the price is usually a bit higher for non-residents for the yearly pass.
Set in south Rockford, Melwood Heights is a sparsely populated neighborhood centered on a huge golf course that attracts thousands of players yearly! Bordering with the Cherry Valley community and mostly residential, the area may not strike you as a pet-friendly place -- unless you know where to look! Just a skip and a hop away from the golf course, you will find Elliot Dog Park, a nice fenced enclosure for off-leash playtime. Although the area isn't huge, there’s enough space for everyone. The locals are extremely friendly and you won't find a better place to socialize. Bathrooms and drinking water are available on-site, but you may need some towels -- this park gets muddy after a rain.