dog in a park

Pet Friendly National Parks, Part II: Hawaii – Maryland

This is the second installment in our series on pet-friendly parks around the United States. We previously covered parks from Alabama to Georgia (in alphabetical order) as well as parks recommended by the Onpets community.  This installment covers parks from Hawaii to Maryland and all states in between.  Get out there and explore and let us know which parks YOU most enjoy visiting with your four-legged companions.


Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park

Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park is located in the Kona District on the island of Hawai’i. It provides an excellent chance to enjoy and learn about the Hawaiian culture and the natural history of Hawai’i through numerous programs and special events held throughout the year. Your dogs are allowed if they are kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet, and you can explore the beaches and trails together!


Nez Perce National Historical Park

The Nez Perce National Historical Park is actually comprised of 38 separate sites. They are located in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington, on the traditional aboriginal lands of the Nez Perce people. You can adventure with your furry friends if they are on a leash no longer than 6 feet on the trails, but they aren’t allowed on the trails at Big Hole National Battlefield and Bear Paw battlefield.


Shawnee National Forest

Photo by the USDA

Shawnee National Forest

The Shawnee National Forest covers the southern tip of Illinois where six distinctly different ecosystems meet, creating a region which is strikingly beautiful in its diversity of landscapes.  It is possible to traverse the National Forest in one day and experience vast oak-hickory forests, flourishing wetlands, and razorback ridges.  In addition, there are swamp lands and hill prairies or barrens where native wildflowers thrive. Your pets are welcome in the National Forest, but you have to keep your buddies leashed in recreation areas such as campgrounds, picnic areas and on developed trails.


Indiana Dunes National Lake-shore

Indiana Dunes National Lake-Shore occupies a 15 mile stretch of  the south shore of Lake Michigan, encompassing 15,000 acres.  You can traverse over 50 miles of trails over rugged dunes, vast wetlands, sunny prairies, meandering rivers and peaceful forests. Your dogs are allowed on the beach east of Indiana Dunes State Park as long as they’re on a leash no longer than 6 feet.  However, make sure you keep them off the beach west of the State Park (Highway 49).


Harpers Ferry: Effigy Mounds National Monument

This site is located in the Upper Mississippi River Valley and is home to over 200 prehistoric mounds built by Native Americans. These mounds are considered sacred by many Americans, especially the Monument’s 20 culturally associated American Indian tribes.  The partk provides a unique opportunity to experience the mounds and learn about the people who built them.  Your pets are allowed on the Monument’s trails as long as they are kept on a leash.


Strong City: Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

This preserve was built to provide a window into the tallgrass prairie ecosystem that used to cover the entire area. Tallgrass prairie used to cover over 170 million acres of North America, but less than 4% remains today, so take the opportunity to walk through a rare outdoor experience. Feel free to explore with your furry friends as long as they are on a leash and kept to the parking lots, picnic areas, in the areas surrounding the historic buildings, and on the Nature Trails.  Unfortunately, most of the hiking trails do not allow pets but there are still plenty of other areas in the Preserve that do.


Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park is comprised of the cave system, from which it gets its name, part of the Green River valley, and the hilly country of south-central Kentucky. Mammoth Cave National Park is the world’s longest cave system, with more than 400 miles uncovered to date. You can explore the Park and hiking trails with your dog on a leash, but you just can’t take your fur baby into any of the caves.


Hodges Gardens State Park

The Park was created after the Hodges Foundation donated 948 acres to Louisiana. In addition to the gardens, it includes a 225 acre crescent shaped lake, a 5.3 mile loop road, and an abundance of wildlife. Feel free to explore the gardens but make sure your pup is kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet.


Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park hosts a vast array of plants and animals, and is home to the tallest mountain on the Atlantic Coast. You’ll find plenty to do between its high granite peaks, historic carriage roads, and breathtaking scenery. Acadia is home to over 100 miles of hiking trails and 45 miles of carriage roads that are pet-friendly. Blackwoods and Seawall Campgrounds permit pets, but the Isle au Haut allows pets for day hiking only. Just make sure your pets are kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet.


Thurmont: Catoctin Mountain Park

Catoctin offers a unique chance to see America’s rich history. There are quarries that were used for the production of lithic (i.e. stone) tools, remains of the charcoal and iron industry, farms, sawmills, and an old moonshine still. Your furry friends can explore with you as long as they are kept on a leash under 6 feet, and they are allowed in Owens Creek Campground and on park trails.

We will publish Part III of our pet-friendly parks series at the end of January so send us your favorites and we may just include them in our round-up.  In the meantime, have a great time exploring the great outdoors with your four-legged companions.  When you do, make sure you take plenty of water for both of you and plenty of baggies to scoop that poop.  We want our parks to keep welcoming us AND our fur babies so let’s make sure we don’t do anything to antagonize visitors who don’t have four-legged companions.



©Onpets, LLC 2016.  All rights reserved.

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