Enjoy a Pet-Cation in Southwest Illinois

Does your dog ever look at you like they are tired of running around in the same yard day after day? Do you ever get tired of doing your everyday ordinary routine?

Then it sounds like you both need a vacation together! Why not make your next vacation a pet-cation and bring your best four-legged friend along for the ride. Here are just a few ideas where you and your pup can enjoy an overnight adventure, great meals and all kinds of fun activities.

Take a break from the everyday hustle and bustle with your best buddy in Grafton. Dogs are welcome at The Loading Dock Guest Houses including The Riverside Cottage and Tree Tops. Both offer comfortable places for both you and your pup. There you can spend countless hours watching the mighty Mississippi or snuggling up to a warm bonfire and sharing a dog friendly s’more. If you are looking for something a bit more of the “I’m on a vacation” feel to it, The Best Western Premier Alton is just the place for you. Both dogs and cats are welcomed. Here you can put on that comfy robe and order room service to have the perfect night in with your dog. Both options will give you a chance at great night sleep so you and your pup can have the best day ever!

The day you have both been waiting for is finally here, the endless fun can begin at Whisker Bones Supply Co. in Edwardsville, there you can find the coolest toys, and the tastiest bakery treats just for your dog. Whisker Bones is operated by dog people so they know exactly want you and your dog want and need for a fun filled day. Just a few miles down the road you will find Brent Leh Dog Park that has the coolest equipment and a nice space where your pup can run and play with their new toy.

If you wanted to get some exercise and experience the beautiful nature that this area has to offer, drive on up to Pere Marquette State Park in Grafton where you will find a myriad of different hiking trails. You can also check out our Madison County Trails including the Sam Vadalabene Trail for your new favorite spot. P.S. there are lots of big sticks at both places that will make your pup feel like they are in doggy heaven.

Where to eat

There are a lot of restaurants that offer dog friendly patios and one on our list even offers a DOGGIE MENU. How cool is that! Our list has many restaurants that are placed all over southwestern Illinois so wherever you and your pup end up on your day of fun, you can find one closest to you. And don't forget, many places offer pet friendly patios for outdoor dining delights.


Old Bakery Beer Company

This restaurant sits near the Mississippi River in Alton and is a perfect spot to relax, eat, and have your super cute pup get all the attention from all the other guests, because let’s be honest who doesn’t love seeing a dog out and about.

3rd Chute II

If you or your dog are sand volleyball stars then this is the place for you. Their outside seating area is jam packed with many fun games, a whole boat that has been turned into a bar, a great menu, and as always pitchers of water to make your pup feel like they are have a cold one with you.


Taqueria Z

Here you can find authentic Mexican food. Coined as a taco garage and tequila bar gives you a unique location and they are always welcoming to our four legged friends.

Global Brew Tap House

This trendy tap house offers a wide dog friendly patio with many water bowls all around and a long list of beer for you to choose from. Your dog may even meet their new dog best friend there out on that patio.


Camden Cellars

This pet friendly patio offers a great menu and a chance to enjoy some art along the way.


Friday’s South Bar and Grill

This restaurant serves up some interesting but delicious combinations of food and has a relaxing patio with plenty of drinking bowls for your pup.

Who Dat’s Southern Comfort Food

Do you remember me talking about the DOGGIE MENU? Here is the place! Who Dat’s offers comfort food for you and your dog. Order up a Soup Sucker (chicken broth, peas and carrots frozen on a milk bone) or the Barkin Bowl entrée that is topped with a beef cocktail. You surely will both leave happy and full.

Puppy S’mores

Top off your stay with this dog friendly S'more recipe

As the day winds down and your pup gives you that look, you know the, I want ice cream look. The Whole Scoop in Grafton or Shivers Frozen Custard in Godfrey is where they offer pup cups along with something sweet for you, and don’t forget you can always make those puppy s’mores at home. A vacation with your sweet pup may be exactly what you need when you feel that your world needs a slowdown. They will make you feel that you are the best human ever and you really are in your dog’s eyes.

About the Author

Delilah Donaldson

Delilah Donaldson is a senior at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She joined the Great Rivers & Routes tourism Bureau as the Fall 2020 intern. She is a very active person and loves being part of as many exciting things as she can fit into her schedule. she is currently working towards a degree in public relations and plans to guide that degree to the entertainment world of publicity following graduation. She is also an actress and plans to keep acting and remain involved with the arts for as long as she can!