According to the locals, Xenia is the largest small town in the world. Should you believe them? Located in Clay County, Illinois, Xenia is a small village of less than 400 and the heart of Xenia Township, one of 12 townships in Clay County. The town is in close proximity to Flora and Salem, and it's not exactly a bustling tourist destination. Close-knit, but welcoming, Xenia has a few recreation areas, but if you want to have fun with your fur baby, get ready to travel around. Even the closest veterinary clinic is located in Flora.
Stephen A. Forbes State Recreation Area is a beautiful public park located at the remote northern end of Kinmundy, near Omega. A short ride from Xenia will reveal the beautiful, untamed wilderness of this furrific park, complete with a lake, walking trails, and quiet spots for fishing, boating, or just relaxing in shade. Pooches are required to stay on their leash.
If you want to chow down after exploring this expansive state park, paw on over to Mount Vernon, IL, where you'll find plenty of dog-friendly eateries to satisfy even the pickiest of palates. Some swear that Mount Vernon is home to the best BBQ joint in Illinois -- see if your hound can sniff it out!
Salem is one of the closest of Xenia’s neighbors and is home to recreation areas, parks, and two reservoirs. If you drive along US-50 West, the trip will take no more than 25 minutes, and every minute of the journey is worth the fun you'll have here! Bryan Memorial Park is something nobody should miss out on when visiting Salem. Large and diverse, the park features a softball field, aquatic center, basketball courts, and an off-leash dog park. Salem Dog Park is a natural hidden gem with a roomy playground and plenty of grass to roll around in. Play fetch, exercise, or socialize with the locals, relaxing on the benches in the fenced area.
Another neighbor of Xenia, Flora is a small city that you'll pass through on your way toward central Illinois on US-50. The western part of town is mostly occupied by Charley Brown Park, a huge recreation area you and Fido will pawsitively love! Perfect for family gatherings and reunions, the park is a remote retreat on the lake where you can enjoy a day out and shake the stress off! Pooches, as furry family members, are also welcome to join their masters, picnicking or hitting the walking trails on-leash. Charley Brown Park also features a golf course, an attraction for families with children, and tables with seating in the picnic areas.
The southern part of Shiloh, IL features Shiloh Community Park and a sparsely populated area with a few residential blocks, churches, and two reservoirs. The most pawesome place in this neighborhood, though, is Shiloh Dog Park! This small but furrific park is the perfect place to stretch the legs before heading farther on your adventure. This enclosed park offers enough space to let your buddy off-leash and burn some energy, running, barking, and sniffing out some new pup pals. There may not be any visitors at this quiet park, so be sure to bring some toys to tire out your hound.
If you don't mind extending your trip along US-50 West beyond Salem, the eastern part of O’Fallon may be a good place to stop by with Fido! After a 2-hour ride, you will surely want to stop and stretch your legs somewhere. This is where Rock Springs Park comes in handy! The roomy boot-shaped area of this park offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, including miles of walking trails and a dog park! Hit the paved paths on-leash, or join the fun at the doggy spot. O’Fallon Dog Park is hidden within the main area and offers a fence and plenty of room to run! Just don't forget the water and doggie waste bags.
As a dog owner, you know that you'll often find pet-friendly places where you would not expect them to be. Scott Drive, located near Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, is no exception! Here, you'll find the Scott Air Force Base Dog Park within Warrior Park. Opened in 2015, this small, fenced, and clean dog park sits right next to the base’s borders and is open to the public. Please note that certain breeds are prohibited from playing at this park, and visitors must follow all posted rules. Dogs must be cleaned up after immediately, and they must be leashed when outside the fenced area.