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BringFido’s Best of Iowa

Posted by Lauren Barker

Looking for the dog-friendliest things to do in Iowa? Well, you've come to the right place. The editors at BringFido have dedicated themselves to digging up the most dog-friendly places to visit in The Hawkeye State, as well as the rest of the country. In the latest edition of our book, Ruff Guide to the United States, you'll find our collection of the best places to stay and play with your dog in all 50 states. You can order a copy today for just $10.00 (a savings of 63% off the retail price) when you use the discount code BEST.

Read on to learn about some of the Iowa attractions that rose to the top of our list this year.

Best Dog-Friendly Brewery

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Get the “beer necessities” at Big Grove Brewery & Taproom in Iowa City, the state’s best dog-friendly brewery. Four-legged frequenters are greeted at the hostess station with a delicious treat before they’re invited to sniff out a seat on the expansive pet-friendly patio. Chow down on fondue fries or a Big Grove pretzel accompanied by a Boomtown Premium pour or Iowa City Lager. Tag Dogs of Big Grove on Instagram to promote your pooch to thousands of beer enthusiasts. When you’re ready to move on, step out together onto the trails of Riverfront Crossings Park.

When you’re ready to call it a night, cuddle up with your pup at Graduate Iowa City.

Most Dog-Friendly State Park

Photo by @jokon

At Maquoketa Caves State Park, the most dog-friendly state park in The Hawkeye State, hiking hounds can wander along six miles of trails through hardwood forests, prairies, and the park’s many caves which were formed over many millennia by water erosion. Take time to explore geological features like the Natural Bridge, which stands 50 feet above Raccoon Creek, and the 17-ton Balanced Rock. Then check out the 1,100-foot Dancehall Cave, where dances were once held, along with Hernado’s Hideaway, Shinbone Cave, and Wye Cave. Don’t forget a flashlight!

Share your sleeping bag with your best friend at Maquoketa Caves State Park Campground and snuggle around the campfire, or cuddle by a private fireplace at Moon River Cabins.

Most Dog-Friendly Attraction

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Bring your four-legged film buff to the Field of Dreams in Dyersville. He’ll be left wondering if he’s in heaven when he gets to run the bases like “Shoeless” Joe Jackson at this renowned movie landmark and most dog-friendly attraction in Iowa. Leashed dogs are welcome to join their owners on the famous field and the outdoor areas surrounding the Kinsella House. Snap memorable photos of your pup standing on the pitcher’s mound, in front of the house, or emerging from the recognizable Iowa cornfields that surround the baseball field. The Stretch, located along the third baseline, sells refreshments to fuel another dash around the diamond.

From one piece of history to another, the T.F. Allen House welcomes four-legged guests to join their families for a stay. Built in 1856, this beautiful brick home has hardwood floors in select rooms and a backyard surrounded by a white picket fence.

Most Dog-Friendly Campground

Photo by @corydeal

Stay with Fido just outside of Iowa’s state capital at Timberline Campground, known for its country camping with city convenience. Snag a shady tent site, RV campsite, or one of 10 furnished or unfurnished cabins at Iowa’s most dog-friendly campground. You’ll have access to a catch-and-release fishing pond, picnic shelter, pet-friendly hiking trails, and a fully fenced dog park. Explore the area and check out nearby Living History Farms, a pet-friendly interactive museum. Dogs of any size are permitted at tent and RV sites for no additional fee and in cabins for an additional fee of $25 per stay.

Best Dog Park

Photo by BringFido/Lynette

Heading cross-country on a road trip? The Little Willow Dog Park in Missouri Valley near the Iowa-Nebraska border is a welcome break along the way. Located near I-29 and Highway 30, Iowa’s best dog park has been beautifully renovated with a variety of agility equipment, including a seesaw, tunnels, weave poles and more. Relax in the shade of the covered picnic area and watch your dog run freely around the grassy space, then snap memorable pictures next to the chainsaw-carved dog statues by the entrance.

Have a barnstormin’ time when you stay at this pet-friendly loft conversion in nearby Omaha. Guests are treated to a complimentary light breakfast, but can also upgrade to a home cooked meal with sausages to sneak into your best friend’s bowl.

Top Trail to Hike With Your Dog

Photo by @ourevolvingadventure

Named for the Native Americans who once lived in the region, Maquoketa Caves Loop in Maquoketa Caves State Park is one way to check caving off Fido’s summer bucket list. Dawdle with your doodle on Iowa’s most dog-friendly trail in the state’s most dog-friendly state park, and wind your way through caves of varying sizes. Squeeze through small spaces with your Corgi and listen to his bark echo against the walls on this unusual hike in The Hawkeye State. Maquoketa Caves Loop is under two miles and should be a comfortable hike for all four-legged fitness levels.

From a special hike to a special home, the Wapsi River Retreat is a round home situated steps away from a river with a big backyard and fire pit area.

Best Pet-Friendly B&B

Photo by The Oakwood Inn

Formerly part of an 80-acre homestead, The Oakwood Inn in Spirit Lake now serves as a luxury B&B in Iowa’s Great Lakes Region. Pet-friendly rooms are all at garden level for easy access to the exterior of the property, and each room features views across the expansive gardens and oak savannah. Guests at Iowa’s best pet-friendly B&B are invited to enjoy a gourmet three-course breakfast every morning on the pet-friendly outdoor patio. Afterwards, Fido can make a splash in the lake on the dog-friendly beach at Isthmus Park.

The Oakwood Inn permits two dogs of any size for an additional fee of $40 per pet, per night.

Can’t Miss Dog Event

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Located on the outskirts of Des Moines, the Renaissance Faire at Sleepy Hollow is a vibrant blast from the past. Each year, the pet-friendly renaissance festival welcomes a wide variety of animal companions from bearded dragons and ferrets to dogs. The full street cast might even make your pet part of their story. Her Royal Majesty, Queen Catherine, is very fond of dogs and has been known to knight the ones she finds especially gallant. At Iowa’s can’t miss dog event, the fairies and gypsies invite two- and four-legged visitors into dancing circles, and vendors often leave bowls of water out to keep pets hydrated.

Sleepy Hollow lives up to its name, especially after a long day of medieval fun. Rest up for another day at the faire at the Sleep Inn & Suites Pleasant Hill.

Ready for a Road Trip?

Life’s “ruff.” Photo by Linda Segerfeldt

If our Best of Iowa preview left your dog drooling for more, we hope you check out our book - Ruff Guide to the United States. Remember to use gift code BEST to get a copy for just $10. Happy Travels!

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