When I started thinking about Two Pitties In The City’s Be A Tourist In Your Own Town series, I had to laugh a little. We live in a tiny village in Illinois where there’s really not anything to do. Sure, we go for walks every day, and enjoy the village festival once a year from our front porch, but aside from that, there’s not much going on here. That doesn’t mean that we and the dogs sit at home and do nothing..It just means that most of our outings involve some travel. A lot of our weekend trips are day trips to some of our state parks. Unlike national parks, most of our state parks in Illinois are free and they allow dogs on leash to visit. It’s been great for us to get out and see a lot of the hidden beauty of our state.
Starved Rock is a beautiful place to visit any time of year and leashed dogs are welcome on the trails there. The same is true of Allerton Park, Black Hawk State Historic Site, Rend Lake and the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway has many nearby places where you can get out and admire things with your dogs, including Pere Marquette State Park.
Our travels have taken us to see some of the true gems of the state where we live. A few years ago, there was a contest to determine The Seven Wonders of Illinois. The residents of each of the seven sections voted to choose the area that they thought was the most noteworthy. Those seven attractions are all definitely worth visiting. We have managed to make it to five of them so far, and most of them are dog-friendly places. The Bahá’í Temple is in Wilmette, and is beautiful, but because it’s a temple for all faiths, only service dogs would be allowed inside. We did stop to admire it on a nice day at the end of March, but the girls rested in the van while we went inside to see the temple. Wrigley Field is a great place to visit and take photos.
Our oldest Greyhound is almost sixteen years old, and the Shepherd is the youngest at two and a half years old. The variety of ages in the dogs means that sometimes we have to be creative in planning our road trips.
Since we’ve taken a lot of trips with the girls, we’ve gotten pretty good at being able to pack what we need for the kind of outing we’re taking. For our hiking trips, we take the girls’ Wolf Packs, which have small water bottles, a portable water bowl, a bandana, poop bags, information from our Greyhound adoption group, treat, a first aid kit, and an ID badge that has their name, our vet’s name and contact number and the phone numbers of some of our closest family who can be found if the girls would be found wandering. I know some people feel differently about ID on their dogs, but we decided that if our dogs happened to be separated from us while we’re out hiking then the chances are very high that we are injured or caught, and most people who found them would call for help, so we want to keep them as safe as possible. We also carry our own backpacks with more water, human first aid kits, wildlife and plant guides, camera accessories, and sometimes towels if there’s a chance we’ll be somewhere where we might be walking through water. We’ve learned that planning for the weather and things we’ll run into on the trail are really important.
When we take day trips that involve all four of the girls, we put a couple of dog beds in the van, put the back seat all the way down, take plenty of water and treats and make sure we have their nice collars and leashes along. We make sure that we have the Garmin GPS along with us and that we know where we’re going. We have taken long, cross country trips with the girls several times. That involves a lot more packing, but it’s always been worth it for us once we get to our destination and have the experience of our trip. The main thing is to just anticipate what you might need and also try to figure out what you can live without if you have to.
You can read more about the ladies' adventures on their blog here. Seeing how easy they make it look, we're thinking we might try some of these trips with our pooches this summer. Again, we love hearing everyone's insider tips and things to do in their city with dogs. If you would like to share your hometown, please click here for more information.And in case you missed it, check out things to do with your dog in Nashville and Alaska.