These days, people are enjoying the outdoors in record numbers - and many of them are doing their exploring accompanied by man's best friend.
Although traveling with a dog is not a new phenomenon, our four-legged pals are welcome in more places than ever … especially when you're heading into some of the wilder places in Missouri.
Paul Furer and his dog Lacey are experts on the subject – in fact, this pair visited 24 parks in 10 days for his 60th birthday. They've explored the country together in their own travel trailer, but they've also been all over the Show-Me State. Here are just a few of their favorite places:
- Sandy Creek Covered Bridge State Historic Site, Hillsboro
- Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Lake of the Ozarks
- Rockwood Reservation and Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park, Wildwood
- Hawn State Park, Ste. Genevieve
- Echo Bluff State Park near Eminence
- Mastodon State Historic Site, Imperial
- Ozark National Scenic Riverways
- Katy Trail State Park
- Gateway Arch National Park, St. Louis
Although Paul and Lacey haven't tried it yet, leashed pets are also welcome on the scenic riverboat cruises at the Gateway Arch.
If you don't travel by trailer, be sure to check out dog-friendly accommodations like Cabins for Canines at places like Table Rock State Park or Roaring River State Park. And be sure to check out state park rules that apply to your pet.
Alan Loshbaugh's faithful companion, Annie, is a veteran at getting outside with her human. She loves running with his mountain bike and knows all the trails at Rock Bridge State Park and Three Creeks Conservation Area. In fact, she's so used to hitting the trails that she finds and sticks to the pathways at new places they go. And when Alan took up kayaking, so did Annie. Some of their favorite spots include:
If you prefer your adventures a bit more civilized, check out Bar K Dog Bar in Kansas City where you can enjoy your favorite adult beverage and meal while watching your best friend cut loose in a park designed specifically for fur kids. And soon there will be twice the fun, as Bar K is building a second location in St. Louis.
There's just no reason to leave your best friend at home when you go exploring Missouri's outdoors. After all, just watch their reactions when you pop the question, "Go for a walk?"