Spring has finally sprung in Northwest Arkansas. The sunny days are coming more frequently and the temperatures are slowly creeping toward tolerable. On those sporadic 60 degree days that tease you happily into the outdoors, there is no shortage of things for you and your best furry friend to do together. Whether your kind of “outdoorsy” means drinking on a patio, cavorting in a park, or hiking a trail, I’ve got you and your dog covered with this list of easy to find favorites in our little corner of the world.
Dog-Friendly Patios in Northwest Arkansas
Northwest Arkansas is chock-full of bars and restaurants that welcome dogs. In my original post from 2019, I only included six. This 2022 update has those six plus four more, and it is by no means exhaustive. We have so many great places that it would be impossible to cover them all.
Whether brunching or just hanging out in the sun with a cold beverage, you’re sure to find exactly what you need in this very dog-friendly area. For a complete list of dog-friendly drinking and dining, check out Dog Friendly Fayetteville, Visit Rogers, or Dog Friendly Bentonville. You can also just follow us on Instagram. We love to travel, but when we aren’t on the road, we live and play in Northwest Arkansas.
Sassy’s Red House, Fayetteville
A perennial all-star and boasting one of the best dog-friendly patios in NWA, you just can’t beat the big deck at Sassy’s Red House. There are two Sassy’s locations, but the one on College Avenue is our preference. On a sunny day, this place is likely to be crowded, but the spacious area never feels too congested. You should anticipate seeing several other dogs enjoying time with their people, so if your pup is easily over-stimulated, he might do better elsewhere. I’ve never been here when the waitress didn’t offer to bring Henri a water bowl, and sometimes I get him his own order of brisket. He also digs the fried pickles, but maybe it’s just the ranch.
Mockingbird Kitchen, Fayetteville
Looking for ‘Modern Ozark Cuisine’? Don’t know what that is? Visit Mockingbird Kitchen for lunch, dinner, or Saturday/ Sunday brunch. You will NOT be disappointed. Longtime friends (so I’m completely biased), the owners welcome well behaved pooches on their patio. Everyone I know who eats here has a go to favorite menu item. Mine is the Duck Tacos.
Reservations accepted. Tell them Henri sent you.
City Pump, Rogers
With the exception of only serving beer and wine, this is what I always imagined my dog bar would be like. Located in a refurbished gas station with outdoor seating in the front and back, City Pump is a favorite spot. Drinks are served from the inside bar and stainless steel water bowls are available for your dog. Several food trucks border the perimeter of the front patio making it perfect for groups of friends who don’t necessarily all want the same thing. During warmer weather, local musicians are featured on the out door stage.
Havana Tropical Grill, Rogers
I have one word for you- MOFONGO! And if you don’t know what that is, get yourself to the dog friendly patio at Havana in downtown Rogers stat. This dish will take a bit longer, but you can tide yourself over with appetizers. I love their ceviche, Cuban tamales, and mariquitas, and sometimes I just get a variety of appetizers. I suggest you wash all that goodness down with a Caprihaina. Made with Cachaca, it’s the national cocktail of Brazil.
Bentonville Brewing Company, Bentonville
This is a two-FUR that you and your dog can’t help but love! Bentonville Brewing Company has a dog friendly patio and an off-leash dog park.
If your pup isn’t the sit quietly under the table type, then this is your place. BBC has a fenced, off-leash area where you can enjoy a beer with your friends while your dog runs and plays with his. Adjacent to Osage Park (featured in the dog park section), this is a prime pooch location. Soak up your beers with delicious German food from Burg der Gastropub, or one of the local food trucks. I really dig the Bavarian Pretzel, the Mini Corn Dogs, and the Sausage Dog featuring a pretzel bun. Food and drink orders are placed at the counter/bar inside. Technically, dogs aren’t allowed in that area, but if it’s just you and your furry drinking buddy, they’ll look the other way long enough for you to make your selections.
Louise at Thaden Field, Bentonville
I’ve always had a thing for watching airplanes. You, too? Then you’ll love Louise. This dog friendly restaurant is sandwiched between Osage Park and Bentonville Municipal Airport. When the weather is right, it’s a great spot to watch planes do touch-and-gos while sipping a glass of wine or reading a good book with your best furry friend. Outdoor seating includes tables on the covered patio, or you can plop yourself in one of the wooden Adirondacks on the lawn. It’s easy to relax here.
Louise is a full service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch on the weekends. It is not a large space and they do not take reservations. If brunch is on your mind, go early or expect a wait.
Ramo D’Olivo, Bentonville
Wine lovers, this is for you! Located just off the square in downtown Bentonville is Ramo d’Olivo or simply “Ramo.” Wine shop and wine bar, they also carry organically grown olive oils, and a variety of flavored balsamics and vinegars. Out back you’ll find the dog-friendly garden area that’s shared with Oven and Tap pizza. Feel free to order something from the pizza menu to enjoy outside, while ordering your wine from Ramo. Offering over 200 varieties of wine by the bottle, and always something interesting by the glass, you’ll have no trouble finding just the right vintage for your doggie date night.
Bike Rack Brewing Co., Bentonville
Since the original writing of this post, Bike Rack Brewing closed it’s Springdale location. They still operate the Bentonville spot at 8th Street Market and will soon be opening a second Bentonville location, The Beacon, next to Peddler’s Pub (another dog friendly spot with great pizza) in downtown Bentonville. Since they don’t serve food, dogs are allowed both indoors and out at Bike Rack. This makes it one of the few winter options for you and your four-footed pal, but you’ll want to go during the summer, too.
The large outdoor area at 8th Street features a stage, food trucks, and picnic tables for eating and lounging. It’s pretty hopping on summer afternoons and evenings. If that’s when you go, make sure your dog is well behaved and socialized. If you need a dog trainer to go with you, call me.
Local Flavor, Eureka Springs
Located in downtown Eureka Springs is a restaurant so dog friendly they have a special doggie gate entrance by the front door. Local Flavor has two patio areas, both dog friendly, and the larger patio is accessed from the side opposite the front door. You’ll need to poke your head inside to let them know you are there to be seated. The white sangria is the perfect afternoon sipper when you’re tired of shopping, and the patio overlooking S. Main Street is great for people watching in this quirky little art town. The patio isn’t very big, so if it is a pretty day expect to wait for your seat or call for a reservation.
Creekside Taproom, Siloam Springs
We discovered Creekside Taproom when I drove past it on the way home from the dog park. It looked like it ought to be a dog-friendly place, so I went back to check it out. I’m glad I did. This family-friendly taproom serves Arkansas craft beer and wine. It’s the perfect spot for out of towners to put their hands on the best of Arkansas’ beverage scene, and it’s a great place to lounge with your pooch after burning off some energy at the dog park. Join them for live music on Friday nights.
Northwest Arkansas Dog Parks
Northwest Arkansas boasts 12 dog parks,13 if you count Lake Wilson (mentioned in the trails section), 14 if you count Bentonville Brewing Company (mentioned in the dining section). While I’m not really a dog park person, and thankfully, Henri has never been much of a dog park dog, I know a lot of you like and need them in your dogs’ lives. Hopefully, you’re using them responsibly, following the rules, and PICKING UP YOUR POOP.
For real, y’all. Pick up your poop!
Good Dog Cafe, Fayetteville
Part dog park, part dog friendly cafe, there is no other place like it in Northwest Arkansas. I said I don’t like dog parks, but I like this one. It’s arguably the wine, and the fact that the owners are SO nice.
Open TH-SU 8:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. it’s the perfect spot for a late week work day lunch break or a Sunday Funday. Beginning in May, they will extend their Friday hours until 8:00 p.m. Good Dog Cafe serves breakfast, lunch, and a variety of beverages, including beer and wine. Leashed dogs are welcome inside the cafe; off-leash shenanigans are for the large fenced backyard which includes newly added obstacles. The outdoor space does not have separate areas for bigs and littles. So be sure your pup can play nice with everyone.
Observations: Small private parking lot, not usually crowded, one big place space, food, beverages, restrooms, and dog water available.
Iams Park, Fayetteville
Located at Bryce Davis Park, the Iams Dog Park is a 3-acre park comprised of two fenced yards in the middle of an open space. Public parking is located at 1595 N. Dartmouth Ave. From there you’ll follow the multi-use paved trail to the dog park.
Observations: Separate yards for bigs and littles, paved entry/pavilion area with picnic seating, human/dog water fountain, no shade, no children under 8 years of age, public restrooms nearby.
C.L. Charlie and Willie George Dog Park, Springdale
Part of the newly developed C.L. Charlie and Willie George Park located on Hylton Road in Springdale, I was pleased to discover agility equipment in this dog park. I was super-disappointed to find poop on one of the obstacles. Like, actually ON it. YUCK! I also noticed waste in the dog yard, and though there should be none, it wasn’t a gross amount. Overall this park is nice and fairly clean. There is bench seating throughout the yard and trees toward the back fence line should provide some shade in the summer.
Observations: Convenient parking directly in front of the park, two separate yards for bigs and littles, bench seating throughout the play yard, paved pavilion area with picnic seating, human/dog water fountain, agility equipment.
Shaw Park, Springdale
Shaw Dog Park is located in Northwest Springdale within the 120-acre Shaw Family Park. This park is a beautiful addition to the Springdale landscape with ample space to run and play, but there is absolutely ZERO shade. While tree have been planted, it will be a few years before they are mature enough to provide any sun protection. The dog park is small and clean. I was told by another visitor that park maintenance takes care of that. There is agility equipment and two separate fenced areas. However, my favorite part about Shaw Park wasn’t the dog park. It was sitting on top of one of the many hills and watching the breeze blow across the landscape.
Observations: Convenient parking near the dog park, two small fenced areas but but no shade, water available at public restroom.
Lake Atalanta Dog Park, Rogers
Finding this one was an adventure! Not because it’s hard to locate, but because I’m bad with directions and easily distracted. I didn’t know I could drive straight to the park. Instead, I drove to Lake Atalanta and parked at the Clark Pavilion. I took the wrong trail, lost cell service in the middle of an Instagram live video, tried again but my phone battery died. I went back to the truck to charge the phone. I then drove to the other side of the street to see if the park was over there. I found an access road—totally trespassing!— where I ran into a friend walking her dogs. She pointed me back in the right direction.
Facing the pavilion, take the trail to the left, NOT the one located directly behind it. You could also put 1615 Pleasant Ridge Road into your GPS and pull right into the parking lot, but then you’d miss all the natural scenery. This dog park is one large yard, and very popular with the big dog crowd.
Observations: Convenient parking, one area with no designation for bigs and littles, no seating, no water, some shade, public restrooms available.
The Railyard Dog Park, Rogers
Located just off the historic downtown area in the Railyard Bike Park, this Rogers park has two small, non-adjacent play yards, which makes it perfect for fence fighters. Active pups will enjoy the agility equipment and humans will appreciate the public restrooms. A parking lot is in close proximity, but expect it to fill up quickly on pretty days or any day there is a bike competition.
Observations: Close parking, two nonadjacent fenced areas, no water, no seating, some shade, public restrooms available.
Bentonville Bark Park, Bentonville
Right off the highway on North Walton Blvd., many think this park is in Bella Vista. It’s not. It’s on the border in what I call “Double North Bentonville”. Three separate play yards offer plenty of options for all size dogs, but the proximity to a busy highway could be a problem for pups intimidated by traffic noise. Parking is located on either side of the dog park with public restrooms nearby. If the yard becomes too rough or crowded, the walking trail offers a nice alternative for burning off excess energy. The Bark Park is open sunrise to sunset and closed on Wednesday mornings from 7:00 – 10:00 a.m. for maintenance. The website says there is agility equipment, and there used to be, but it’s not there anymore.
If you and your dog are the super-social type check out the Yappy Hour fun presented by Bentonville Parks and Recreation on the third Thursday of the month from March- May. Treats, pet vendors, and microchipping services will be available from 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Observations: Convenient parking, three separate play yards, a few bench seats, no shade, near busy highway, dog water fountain located at public restrooms.
Osage Park Dog Park, Bentonville
If you visit Bentonville with your dog and only take him one place, Osage Park should be it. I’ve already mentioned it twice due to nearby dog friendly restaurants, Louise and Bentonville Brewing. The park really needs it’s own category, but I don’t know what I’d call it.
Yes, there is a large fenced dog park at Osage, but there is SO much more to explore. Henri and I much prefer the trail system and floating boardwalks that meander through the 12-acre wetland ecosystem. We also love Lake Bentonville, a convenient pace to throw the paddleboard and get in some exercise without having to drive all the way out to Beaver Lake. With food trucks, a shaded pavilion, live music, and a dog park, what’s not to love?
Observations: One large fenced space, no shade, parking and public restrooms nearby
Orchard Park Dog Park, Bentonville
Scheduled to open in June 2022, this new park is part of the Play Bentonville Plan, which calls for dog parks in each quadrant of the city. The dog park will feature fenced areas for small and large dogs with shade structures, rock outcroppings, trees, water stations, and play options. This addition will be located across from the entrance of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. You can view plans for the park here. It looks FANTASTIC!
K-9 Corral, Bella Vista
Located on the north end of Bella Vista, on backside of the Scottsdale Golf Course near the ball fields, the K-9 Corral is another well-maintained private park. If you use the Google Maps address it will take you to someone’s house, but the park is behind that cul-de-sac. Just get in the vicinity and look for the ball fields. The park is closed each Wednesday from 1:00-3:00 p.m., April through October for mowing. Every second Wednesday the park closes at 1:00 for flea and tick treatment donated by West Termite & Pest Management and re-opens on Thursday morning.
Observations: Private park for members and guests, well-maintained by Bella Vista POA, two yards, seating, shade, water source, no smoking, public restrooms nearby.
Tails & Trails Dog Park, Siloam Springs
Located at Bob Henry Park, Tails & Trails is Siloam’s first dog park. Sponsored by Simmons Foods, this tidy park spans a little more than two acres and boasts three separate play yards labeled for small, large, and agility. The park is open from sunrise to sunset and closed Wednesday from 7:00 a.m.- 10:00 a.m. for maintenance. City leaders plan to host events for pets and people year ‘round. There’s no seating, and though there might be shade in the late afternoon, this park is mostly in the sun.
Observations: Convenient parking, three yards, regularly maintained, no seating, no water, public restrooms.
Eureka Springs Bark Park, Eureka Springs
Just minutes from downtown Eureka and several dog-friendly patios like the one mentioned above, we arrived at the Eureka Springs Bark Park just in time for the rain to start. Looking more like an Ozark woodland area than a dog park, you hardly notice the black fencing surrounding the park and separating dogs under 30 pounds from dogs over 30 pounds. With public restrooms, bench seating, and plenty of shade, this hillside gem is perfect for hot Arkansas summers. There is even a brightly colored mural painted on the wall near the bathrooms. SO very Eureka!
Observations: Convenient parking, separate yards for bigs and littles, bench seating, LOTS of shade, hillside terrain, water fountain, public restrooms, no children under 8.
Dog Friendly Trails In the Ozarks
Because Northwest Arkansas is square in the middle of the Ozark Mountains we have an abundance of beautiful outdoor hiking trails that range in difficulty from super-easy to OMG-why-did-I-come-out-here-alone-with-no-cell-service. The five trails I’m listing here, however, are no more than 30 minutes from their respective town, and are easy, novice hikes perfect for leisure strolling. You, your old dog, your kids, and probably your parents can do most, if not all, of these trails.
Lake Wilson Trail, Fayetteville
The only trail in NWA officially designated as an off-leash, dog-friendly trail, is at Lake Wilson. It’s pretty muddy in the spring and you should watch out for copperheads near the water’s edge, but it’s less than 20 minutes from downtown Fayetteville and more like a nature stroll than a heavy duty hike. There is a boat ramp that’s a perfect spot for fetch with your water dog, and I once hosted a Paddle With Your Dog clinic here. It’s a regular jaunt for Henri and me, with a lap around the lake taking no more than an hour. Just remember the area is leash optional. Don’t rely on others to control their dogs as well as you do, and be cautious of taking dogs with reactivity toward other dogs.
Lake Atalanta, Rogers
Lucky for you that I got lost looking for the dog park at Lake Atalanta or this wouldn’t have made my list. Paved trails meander around the lake and through natural areas that connect to the Railyard and the Lake Atalanta dog parks. The landscape includes crystal clear creeks, woods teeming with rustling ground critters, noisy birds, and rock formations. Man-made bluebird houses dot the path and placards denote key natural elements, including the story of an errant pet sheep. You’d never know you were only minutes from downtown.
Crystal Bridges, Bentonville
Located in downtown Bentonville, Crystal Bridges is situated on 120 acres and boasts more than 3.5 miles of trails that include natural and landscaped environments, easily accessed creeks that are perfect for a quick dip of the paw, outdoor sculptures, and artist James Turrell’s Skyspace structure, The Way of Color. Family events like Artosphere and the Forest Concert Series are fun for everyone and welcome well-behaved, art-lovin’ canines.
Tanyard Creek Falls, Bella Vista
Tanyard Creek Nature Trail in Bella Vista is less than a 20-minute drive from downtown Bentonville. The trail is dog-friendly, complete with a water station at the start, and boasts one of the area’s most easily accessible waterfalls. An easy walk, the entire loop is only about 2 miles. It’s perfect for families with young kids, older adults, and/or dogs. The trail is well-maintained and marked with metal placards describing a variety of species of plants and trees, and natural and man-made structures. For the trick to finding Tanyard Creek, click here.
Kings River Overlook, Huntsville
Located in the McIlroy Madison County Wildlife Management Area, 20 minutes from Eureka Springs, is a stunning overlook of the Kings River. An easy .5 mile hike down an old Jeep road will get you there. You will definitely want to keep a non-flexible leash on your pup for this one and hold the hands of young kids. The trail follows the bluff ridge, with plenty of drop-offs, and ends at the overlook on the edge of a tall cliff. There are NO barriers. If you are afraid of heights, this is not the view for you.
I’ve included all the dog parks in Northwest Arkansas, but only highlighted a few of our great patios and trails. The next update may require that dog parks get their own post so I can feature more restaurants and bars. Of course, there are also waterfalls, and I’d feel remiss in my duties if I didn’t mention them. They have their own post here.
For even more details about the dog friendly landscape of Northwest Arkansas and to get the scoop on a couple of favorite places not mentioned in this post, tune in as I visit with Randy Wilburn of I am Northwest Arkansas. In our podcast episode, I talk (and talk) about all things dog- places to go, upcoming events to attend, and the importance of early socialization and training. I Am Northwest Arkansas is a great resource for anyone thinking of moving to our area, and episode 164 is especially informative for pet lovers.
Whether you are new to the area, just visiting, or are a long-time resident, I hope you’ll take some of these suggestions and create an adventure with your dog in the Natural State. If you do, be sure to let us know what you dig up!