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As the former county seat of Alexander County in Illinois, Thebes is home to The Thebes Courthouse. The building served as the county courthouse up until 1860. Today, it's the headquarters of the local historical society. Thebes is a riverfront village on the east bank of Mississippi River, right across the Missouri state line. You'll have a hard time finding dog-friendly amenities within Thebes, which is a pity for visitors with canine companions. Just across the border, though, there are plenty of pet-friendly amenities! Even the closest vet clinic will be miles away in Jonesboro.
Thebes is steps away from vast Union County State Fish & Wildlife Area. The area occupies the Lower Mississippi River Bottomlands Division of Illinois and features two lakes. A favorite spot for hunters and fishing enthusiasts, the park is home to a variety of flora and fauna. Pups will fall in love with the close-to-nature experience on offer here. There are acres of forest and woodlands available for sniffing! You have to keep Fido on-leash at all times. There are no designated walking trails, so you will have to blaze your own trail here! Hunting is also an option here -- just check the rules and regulations online before arrival, and avoid visiting during hunting season if you have a timid pup that's scared of loud noises.
Sprawling throughout the southern region of Illinois, Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge covers parts of four counties in the area. This is a well-protected habitat for many endangered species within the Cash River watershed and between Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. The refuge is 8 minutes east of Ullin via Shawnee College Road. The park is a great place to get close to nature and enjoy a stroll in the forest! It's pawsitively perfect for urban pups eager to reconnect with their inner beast. Dogs aren't allowed off-leash here, but even an on-leash experience in the refuge is snifftastic. You can get a closer look at more than 128 species, 43 of which are reptiles!
Anna is a small city with a population of about 4,500 residents located just east of Jonesboro in Illinois. The downtown area is centered on the intersection of S Main St and E Vienna St, home to shops, cafés, and more! The commercial sector is conveniently close to the residential quarters and Anna City Park. The latter is a cool spot to stop by with the family (and that includes your furry friend!). Although the park doesn’t have a dog park, it’s a vast, well-shaded area with walking trails to sniff and explore! You will also find a playground for kids, a baseball field, and seating for sunbathing.
State Forest Road is a part of the northwestern Jonesboro area in western Union County, Illinois. As its name suggests, the neighborhood is tucked away in the forest and features large mansions and secluded homes. Here, you're just steps from away Ozark Hills Nature Preserve! Seeking an adventure with Fido? Check out the Trail of Tears State Forest. This multi-purpose area offers more activities than you could shake Fido's favorite stick at! Puppies love the freedom and back-to-nature experience in this 5,000-acre spot open year-round. Keep in mind that pooches, no matter their size or temperament, should stay on-leash at all times. If you want to turn your trip into a retreat for a few days, there’s a cabin rental service available.
Pine Hills is an area in the heart of Shawnee National Forest, 20 minutes north of Wolf Lake in Illinois. Godwin Trailhead, a pawpular hiking area, offers a unique path through the dense forest to Inspiration Point, a spot with breathtaking overlooks! Ready to trek to the top? You'll be well-rewarded with scenic views, but you should also be well-prepared! Leash up Fido and pack some drinking water and trail snacks. If you are an advanced hiker, this path will not be a problem for you! If you are not used to walking a lot, consider a pit-stop or a picnic along the way. Have fun and sniff on!
Located near Carbondale and Makanda, Giant City State Park is a pure delight for visitors of all ages and species. Offering numerous recreational opportunities, the state park features about 4,000 acres of deep forest, as well as a nature preserve and a comfortable lodge with cabins and camping options. Pups are welcome! The trails are well-kept, making this the pawfect spot for hiking enthusiasts. (And their hounds, of course!) Don’t worry if you have never hiked or if Fido is young or small -- most of the trails are easy and suitable for beginners! You will have to keep pooches on-leash, though.
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