While many public gardens in the U.S. do not allow canines, we’ve unearthed a selection of dog-friendly botanical gardens that welcome Fido.
Posted by Billy Francis
On your next visit to the Hawkeye State, bring Fido to the Iowa Arboretum. A featured attraction in the latest edition of our book, Ruff Guide to the United States, this verdant oasis boasts 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 cataloged 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 Spring Woof Walk for a chance to meet and socialize with fellow dog lovers as you hike trails and marvel at the beautiful spring foliage.
Oregon Garden welcomes you and your leashed pooch to explore 80 acres of botanical gardens and inside all buildings. The main attraction is a garden devoted to the canine community that highlights regional plants which are toxic to pets and others that can be used in “pawsitive” ways. Don’t forget to stop for a selfie at the statue of Bobbie the Wonder Dog, who traveled more than 2,500 miles on his own to return to his family in Silverton after he was lost in Indiana.
You won’t have to travel as far as Bobbie the Wonder Dog to find a homely place to rest your head. Silverton Inn & Suites is located just down the road from Oregon Garden.
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
At Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, visiting canines are welcomed with a delicious dog treat at the greeting desk. The good times keep rolling once your pup steps outside. Explore 24 major collections from the easy 1.5-mile paved walkway, including the largest herb garden in the Southeast. Bring along your best friend’s favorite snacks to enjoy at the picnic area. The best time to visit is June through September.
Keep the good vibes going at The Sunset House. This nearby pet-friendly Airbnb invites four-legged guests to roam off-leash in the fenced backyard while their owners soak in the hot tub.
The Butchart Gardens
The Butchart Gardens welcomes more than a million visitors annually. This National Historic Site changes with the seasons, offering visitors a different breathtaking experience every time. Wander through a winter wonderland covered in snow; discover blossoming flowers in spring, luscious lawns and bustling crowds in summer; and gaze upon a show of reds and browns during fall. Pause for thought at five canine water fountains conveniently located throughout, and don’t forget to stop by the reception desk to request a tasty treat for Fido.
True fans of flora will be happy to know that there’s not one, but two pet-friendly botanical gardens to visit in this area. The Gardens at HCP invites furry friends to check out 20 distinct green spaces, including the largest outdoor Bonsai Garden in Canada. Stay within fetching distance of both at the Quality Inn Waddling Dog.
Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens
Blaksley Boulder, at the center of the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens, is one of many big rocks deposited in the area by glaciers during prehistoric times. After inspecting the stone, hop on the dog-friendly trails that seamlessly transition between swaths of desert, redwoods and meadows. The secluded and idyllic atmosphere is accented by the canyons, creeks and mountains in the distance.
Take the lush garden surroundings home with you by reserving a stay at this quintessential Santa Barbara-style home.
Zilker Botanical Gardens
Located on the south bank of the Colorado River near downtown Austin, Zilker Botanical Gardens showcases a diverse selection of plant life from around the world, including the Hartman Prehistoric Garden and Isamu Taniguchi Japanese Garden. Leashed pups are welcome on trails, as long as they avoid the water features and don’t leave any mess behind.
After seeing its natural wonders, explore the historical sights of Austin. If Fido’s legs tire, head back to Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt for treats and a grassy relief area.
Myriad Botanical Gardens
Myriad Botanical Gardens is a verdant gem in the heart of Oklahoma City. Dogs are not allowed inside the large domed conservatory known as Crystal Bridge, but are free to wander the outdoor areas on a leash. This green space is used for events and gatherings throughout the year. While you and Fido wait for the rest of your pack to emerge from the impressive domes, blow off some steam at Myriad Botanical Gardens Dog Park.
The Colcord Hotel is just a block away from Myriad, making it a great choice for horticultural hounds.
South Carolina Botanical Gardens
Bring your pooch for a walk alongside streams and gorgeous floral displays at the South Carolina Botanical Gardens. This diverse space encompasses 295 acres of gardens and landscapes that can be viewed on various nature trails. Leashed pups are welcome to join you, as long as they don’t practice their favorite pastime of digging in the flower beds. The only trail that doesn’t allow dogs is the Natural Heritage Garden Trail.
Plan to spend a couple of days in the charming university town and book a stay at the dog-friendly Comfort Inn Clemson, conveniently located within a couple of miles of the botanical gardens.
Mobile Botanical Gardens
Plan your trip to Mobile Botanical Gardens in spring for a hike with your pup on the pretty trails through Longleaf Pine Treasure Forest. During this season, the pathways are lined with thousands of colorful, native wildflowers. Visitors will find several pet stations throughout the gardens and the forest. After a walk in the woods, make your way around the lake to Langan Park, a well-kept municipal area that’s home to a number of pet-friendly trails and a disc golf course.
Spring scents and fun in the forest will be sure to tire Fido out. Recharge your batteries at Residence Inn by Marriott Mobile. This popular stop-over for road-trippers making their way across Alabama is conveniently located on the I-65 corridor.
Pittsburgh Botanic Garden
Does Fido want a luscious garden of his own? The aim of Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is to inspire people to value plants, and perhaps take some of the design ideas home to their own outdoor spaces. Take note of the tulip fields, lily pad-covered ponds and tranquil woodland areas as you walk on the trails with your pooch.
If you want to keep Fido away from the crowds in Steel City, spend a few nights at the House That Love Built in Oakdale.
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens offers visitors the chance to wander with their leashed dogs through formal gardens, coastal bluffs, pine forests and fern-covered canyons. The mild coastal climate ensures that something is always in bloom. Treats and dog bags await canine visitors upon arrival.
Enjoy a cozy stay by the ocean at the Beachcomber Motel and Spa on the Beach. Furry guests are greeted with a welcome treat, doggie breakfast pack, bed sheet and towel, and waste bags. Fido can also meet other traveling canines at the on-site dog park.
Ready for a Road Trip?
The editors at BringFido have dedicated themselves to digging up the best dog-friendly things to do across the country. And we've assembled it all in our new book, Ruff Guide to the United States.
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