Maybe Kokokmo, Indiana isn’t quite what the Beach Boys had in mind when they wrote their hit song, but your pets will think it’s paradise. What Kokomo lacks in palm trees, it makes up for in history and parks. Known as the “City of Firsts,” this Howard county city is the place where the “horseless carriage,” stainless steel tableware, canned tomato juice, and transistorized signal-seeking car radios were all introduced to the world. It’s also home to over 20 veterinary clinics and plenty of pet-fur-riendly places.
The Mehlig Dog Park is a puptastic place to take your pooch, with separate areas for small dogs to help make playtime a little less ruff for the little ones. Locals love the big space and the array of toys left for their fluffy friends. There two water fountains to keep your pouch from getting parched and dog waste stations. Mehlig Dog Park is open every day from sunrise to sunset.
Kokomo has great trails for those times when you need to be walked too. If you want to blend a bit of the industrial feel of the city with some natural scenery, try the Nickel Plate Trail. Once a rail line, this 36.9-mile converted trail can take you from the Cassville area of Kokomo through the nearby town of Peru, all the way to Rochester, but of course, you don’t have to walk it all! You’ll have a view of woods, water, and possibly wildlife. Park in the lot off of US-35 just east of the IN-931 intersection. You’ll find the trailhead there, as well.
If you need to place to curl up for the night, try the Comfort Inn Kokomo on Essex Drive. They allow two pets for up to three nights for a small additional fee.
Whether you want to take in the historic sites, get a dose of nature, or enjoy some chow with your dog, Kokomo has something fur everyone.
The Old Silk Stocking neighborhood is home to Foster Park, a 38-acre recreational open space, where you’ll find a playground, basketball and tennis courts, multi-purpose grassy space, and trails. If you’re looking for a great place for a walk, head over to Wildcat Creek, where you’ll find the Wildcat Creek Walk of Excellence. This 3.4-mile trail winds through some of the best the city has to offer, including scenic views of Wildcat Creek and historical landmarks, like the Chief Kokomo Monument. You can take it west to Miller-Highland Park, or east through downtown Kokomo. From the Walk of Excellence, you can also find the intersecting Industrial Heritage Trail, a more urban hike that takes you through a self-guided historical tour of the “City of Firsts.” While both the park and the trail are dog-friendly, they don’t have much in terms of amenities, so bring water and waste bags, and keep your pal leashed.
If your hound is hounding you for some playtime, try out Kokomo’s other dog park, the Dog Park at Mohr Park. The Mohr Dog Park was opened in 2010 after the great success of the city’s first dog park across town. With plenty of room to run, bark, and play tug-o-war, it’s a pawsome place to get some exercise. There are water fountains for pooches and their people, as well as some shelter from the sun. Keep in mind that Mohr Dog Park is one-size-fits-all, so if your small dog can’t handle big fun, you may be better off enjoying the Mehlig Dog Park, or one of the many leashed trails in Kokomo. If off-leash isn’t your style, venture over to Darrough Chapel Park for a tamer, on leash experience.
A short drive from the center of Kokomo is the town of Peru, home to one of Indiana’s woofderful state parks, Mississinewa Lake. The 14,386-acre park features the Mississinewa Lake Dam and the Mississinewa Reservoir. There are plenty of activities to enjoy, including walking trails, fishing, and wildlife viewing. Learn water safety from the park’s safety mascot, Bobber the Water Safety Dog (disclaimer: not a real dog). You might even catch some of the local wildlife. Plus, if you’re looking for a pet-friendly get-away, the 400-site modern campground is the purrfect place for your pack to spend the night (or several). A few things to know before you go: dogs must be on leashes at all times unless in your tent, and they are not allowed on beaches, swimming pools, or in public buildings.