BringFido's Ruff Guide to Iowa

Posted by Billy Francis

Thinking of chilling with your Chihuahua on a trip to Iowa? If so, he’s one lucky dog. The editors at BringFido have dedicated themselves to digging up the dog-friendliest things to do in The Hawkeye State, as well as the rest of the country. And we've assembled it all in the 2021 edition of our book, Ruff Guide to the United States.

Now in its second edition, the book features over 365 of the best places to stay and play with your dog in all 50 states. Order your copy today and save 50% off the retail price when you use the discount code HAWKEYE.

For a preview of the book, here are a few of our editors' top picks for dog-friendly things to do in Iowa.

A Walk in the Park

Madrid, IA
"This is my happy place." Photo by BringFido

On your next visit to the Hawkeye State, bring Fido to the Iowa Arboretum, an attraction featuring 160 acres of gardens, forests, and prairies populated with century-old oak trees and native grasses. You and your dog are welcome to explore the picturesque grounds and gardens that are home to more than 6,000 catalogued specimens of trees, plants, and shrubs. Exercise your leashed pup on the 0.8-mile outer loop and woodland hiking trails. Waste stations are positioned on the property for proper cleanup. Visit in the autumn and join the annual Woof Walk for a chance to meet and socialize with fellow dog lovers as you hike trails and marvel at the colorful fall foliage.

You and your furry companion will find comfortable accommodations at the GrandStay Hotel & Suites in Ames. Spacious suites offer separate living areas and full kitchens, and property amenities include a complimentary daily breakfast, indoor swimming pool, and an outdoor sports court. When it’s time for dinner, make your way to the dog-friendly patio at The Mucky Duck Pub.

Live Iowa History

Urbandale, IA
Farm living is the life for Fido. Photo by Living History Farms

Take your pup on a stroll through the past at Living History Farms in Urbandale. Visit exhibits designed to engage and educate you on life in the Midwest during the 1700s, 1800s, and 1900s. Each site is authentically farmed according to the time period and features interpreters dressed in period garb. The 1700 Iowa Farm boasts gardens, bark lodges, and demonstrations in tanning, cooking, and making pottery. At the 1850 Pioneer Farm, you might see men cultivating the fields while the women work on domestic projects inside the period cabin. See how farming changed with the arrival of machinery at the 1900 Horse-Powered Farm, or take in the sights and sounds of a bustling frontier community at the 1875 Town of Walnut Hill.

In keeping with the pioneer theme of Living History Farms, the Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center in Johnston features Western-style suites with stone fireplaces. Two dogs up to 50 lbs are welcome. Those traveling with larger pups should head to Best Western Plus Des Moines West Inn & Suites, where two dogs of any size are welcome.

Stay and Play in Davenport

Davenport, IA
“Doga in the park.” Photo by BringFido/Katelyn

Located on the Mississippi River, Davenport is a pretty city full of dog-friendly activities to enjoy with your best friend. Start your trip just outside the city at Crow Creek Dog Park in Bettendorf. This fenced space is a firm favorite among four-legged residents thanks to the well-maintained grassy surface and shady trees. Swing by nearby Crawford Brew Works for a pint on the patio before a jaunt along the Great River Trail, a 34-mile pathway that runs alongside the river through riverfront communities. Take a detour from the pathway to Credit Island Park for a sandy stroll along winding trails to areas of historic interest, including a Native American trading post and the site of a battle during the War of 1812. As the sun starts to set, park up at Blue Grass Drive-In Theater for a movie under the stars.

After a jam-packed day in Davenport, you and your pooch will need a good rest. Reserve a stay at My Place Hotel Davenport Quad Cities. Conveniently located off I-74, it makes a great pitstop if you and your pooch are on a road trip.

Ready for a Road Trip?

Photo by Linda Segerfeldt


If this Ruff Guide to Iowa preview left your dog drooling for more, we hope you check out our new book - Ruff Guide to the United States. Remember to use discount code HAWKEYE to save 50% on your copy. Happy Travels!

What are your favorite dog-friendly things to do in Iowa? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

BringFido is committed to providing authentic dog-friendly content that our readers will love. We may at times receive compensation from our partners or use affiliate links to promote products and services featured on our blog. Banner photo by Living History Farms.