A Bucket List of Dog Friendly Activities

From cuddle buddy, security guard, travel companion or just plain wingman, our dogs play many different roles in our lives. And that’s why it’s important to treat our furry friends to fun, pet-friendly activities.

There are a lot of those along the Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway. So break out the doggie bags, beds and bones because it’s time to put together a bucket list for you and your four-legged friend.

Riverview Park in Alton, IL

1) Riverview Park

Riverview Drive at Bluff Street, Alton, IL

Grab a picnic blanket and a doggie bag because Riverview Park is the perfect place to bring your pet for a relaxing afternoon. This peaceful park is tucked away on top of the bluffs and has spectacular views of the river that you and your pet won’t want to miss.

2) MCT Confluence Trail

MCT Confluence Trail offers a paved pathway, stretching between Granite City along the Chain of Rocks Canal and the eastern banks of the Mississippi River to the City of Alton.

There are 23-miles filled with beautiful views of the boats along the river, and even views of the Clark Bridge for you and your best friend to enjoy. Stop off at Lewis and Clark state Historic Site, Lewis and Clark Confluence Tower and Melvin Price Locks and Dam for water breaks and to see the sites.

Pere Marquette State Park in Grafton, IL

3) Pere Marquette State Park

Take a drive with Daisy down the river road to Pere Marquette State Park, which has nearly 8,000 acres of scenic beauty to sniff around and explore. It is one of the most picturesque and beautiful parks on the Illinois River located at 13112 Visitor Center Ln., Grafton. Your pet will enjoy hiking trails, fishing holes and scenic drives, all of which can be found on maps at the Visitors Center as you pull into the park.

4) Spa Day

After a long hike, your dog will probably need a nice bath. Sham Pooches has professional groomers who will pamper your pooch with one-on-one attention and care. They offer anything ranging from basic haircuts to nail clippings to luxury shampoo and conditioning treatments to suit your dog’s needs.

The appointments are relaxing for the dogs and provide them with a level of comfort, compassion and safety that they deserve. When you bring your fur baby to Sham Pooches, you can be confident that your pet will be treated with love and leave looking flawless, from head to paw. Sham Pooches services can be received at their location in Alton, 1735 Main Street.

Great Godfrey Maze in Godfrey, IL

5) Dog Friendly Activities

You and your pup are invited to attend many pet friendly events throughout the region. In May, Downtown Alton hosts a Pup Crawl that allows you to stroll the streets and visit different pet-friendly patios to receive food and beverage specials, there will also be vendors.

In October, two and four legged friends are invited to wag their tails while they get lost in the twists and turns on Dog Day at The Great Godfrey Maze located at 1401 Stamper Ln. in Godfrey. Make sure to bring your pets leash to ensure they are on their best behavior, to guarantee every person, fur or no fur, has a ball.

Best Friends on Chez Marilyn's Pet-friendly Patio in Alton, IL

6) Pet Friendly Restaurant Patios

Spend some quality time with your furry best friend as you sit on the patio and enjoy a bite to eat. There are many locations throughout Alton and Grafton that encourage you to bring your dog and sit outside while you enjoy a tasty meal. In Alton there is Bossanova Restaurant and Lounge, Chez Marilyn, Duke Bakery, Gentelins on Broadway, The Old Bakery Beer Co., Ragin Cajun Piano Bar, State Street Market of Alton, Tony’s Restaurant and 3rd Street Café.

In Grafton there is 3rd Chute Bar and Grill, Drifters’ Eats and Drinks, Grafton Pub, Grafton Winery the Vineyard, Hawg pit BBQ Barn, and The Loading Dock. You can read our feature story about Pet-Friendly Patios for Pooches for more details about the restaurants and locations.

7) Dog Park

Have your companion play and socialize with other dogs at the Alton Dog Park located at Russell Commons Park. There are three acres and three separate dog runs along with multiple obstacles and play stations to sniff around all day (must register before playing).

8) Sleepover!

Don’t let the fun end there! Stay at Alton’s Best Western Premier located at 3559 College Ave. The hotel is pet friendly and has great amenities for the humans. It offers an indoor pool and hot tub, exercise room, and the very sought after bar and restaurant, Great Rivers Tap and Grill which is located in the hotel.

You can also enjoy a peaceful stay at the Green Tree Inn, located in the heart of the historical village Elsah, Illinois. The village is situated between the beautiful limestone bluffs and hills next to the Mississippi River. Part of what makes the Bed and Breakfast Inn such a unique place to stay with your furry friend is the village it’s in, which is known as the ‘town where time stood still.’ The pet friendly bed and breakfast is located at 15 Mill Street, Elsah, IL.