Arkansas is a state in the southeast of the U.S. The Natural State is bordered by the Mississippi River and is renowned for its many parks and pristine wilderness areas. If you take a vacation in Arkansas, a visit to the hot springs, taking in spectacular mountain scenery, exploring mysterious limestone caverns, and marveling at stunning waterfalls is a must.
Similar to Alabama, hiking and outdoorsy vacationers can enjoy kayaking, climbing, deer hunting (during the season), mountain biking, and geocaching. But what about your dog? Well, why not bring him too? The most popular dog breed in Arkansas is the poodle, but all varieties of mutts and pedigree pups are welcome here!
In this article, we take a look at ten of the most popular dog parks in the Natural State. But first, let’s cover some essential information you’ll need to know if you bring your canine companion with you.
- 1 Licenses
- 2 Leash Laws
- 3 General Rules
- 4 Our 10 Favorites in Arkansas
- 4.1 Lake Wilson Park, Fayetteville
- 4.2 Paws Dog Park, Little Rock
- 4.3 Hot Springs Bark Park, Hot Springs
- 4.4 Murphy Memorial Dog Park, Rogers
- 4.5 Fort Smith Dog Park, Fort Smith
- 4.6 IAMS Dog Park, Fayetteville
- 4.7 Bentonville Bark Park, Bentonville
- 4.8 Gulley Park, Fayetteville
- 4.9 Eureka Springs Bark Park, Eureka Springs
- 4.10 Bark Bar, Little Rock
- 5 Final Thoughts
Arkansas does not have statewide licensing law. However, every city and county have their own regulations regarding dog licenses that follow a common theme:
- All dogs over four months of age must have a license.
- All dogs must be vaccinated against rabies.
- The dog’s rabies vaccination certificate must not be due to expire within the next 90 days.
- Your dog license tag must be displayed on a collar that’s worn by the dog at all times.
To be sure that you’re on the right side of the dog licensing laws in the area or areas you plan to visit or relocate to, we suggest that you contact the local county government office for more information.
Arkansas does not have a statewide leash law, but suffice to say that your dog must be kept under control at all times.
In Arkansas, local governments are responsible for making leash laws for their municipalities, so you’re advised to check the local leash law for the areas you’ll be visiting or relocating to with a vet or local government office.
Dog park rules in Arkansas are typically based on the following:
- Your dog must be leashed when entering and leaving the dog park.
- Dogs must be supervised by their owner while using the dog park.
- All dogs must have current city licenses and vaccinations.
- You must pick up your dog’s feces and dispose of it in the specified receptacles provided.
- You may only bring in two dogs at one time.
- Children under eight years of age are not allowed in off-leash dog parks. An adult must accompany children aged nine through 13.
- Training treats are allowed inside the dog park, but other food is not permitted.
- Aggressive animals are not permitted.
- Dogs aged under four months are not allowed in the dog park.
- Dogs in heat are not permitted to enter the park.
- Spiked collars are not permitted.
All off-leash dog parks and state parks where dogs are permitted have their own sets of rules, which are on display at the entrance to the park. Other states have different rules so make sure to be mindful of that.
Our 10 Favorites in Arkansas
Now, here’s our list of ten of the favorite dog parks boasted by this outdoor lover’s heaven.
We’ve included some areas where dogs are welcome, provided they are kept on a leash. These areas may not have dog waste stations, so take a supply of poop bags, and be prepared to bring any doggy deposits home with you.
Lake Wilson Park, Fayetteville
Lake Wilson Park is located (here) in the city of Fayetteville.
This amazing off-leash area encompasses the whole of Lake Wilson Park; that’s an astounding 320 acres of glorious countryside! There are lots of walking trails and a decent-sized lake too. Your dog is allowed to roam off-leash anywhere in the park and is also permitted to take a dip in the lake. As well as trails, there are clear meadow areas where your dog can enjoy a good run or chase a Frisbee or ball.
The off-leash area is unfenced, and there are no segregated areas for small and large dogs, so, you’ll need to have good voice control over your pet before you use the park. This is a large area with lots of trees and distractions, including the local wildlife that can cause dogs to get lost.
As much of the park entails dogs running through long grass and undergrowth, it’s essential that you have your dog treated for ticks and fleas, and it’s advisable to check him for unwanted passengers before you leave. To use the park, you must have a Fayetteville city dog license.
You’ll need to bring fresh water for your pet and a good supply of poop bags, although there are trash bins provided for dog waste.
Paws Dog Park, Little Rock
Paws Dog Park is part of Murray Park (here) in Little Rock.
Here you’ll find a dedicated off-leash dog area that’s within family-friendly Murray Park. There are two fenced areas for dogs to roam off-leash. One area, covering two acres, is for larger dogs over 30 pounds. The second enclosure is smaller at half an acre in size and is dedicated for use by smaller dogs under 30 pounds.
Water that’s suitable for drinking or playing in is provided in each section of the dog park. There are lots of shade trees here to keep you and your pet cool on summer days, and there are benches too where you can sit and watch your pet playing. Close to the children’s playground area, you’ll find restrooms. Also, poop bags are provided, so please clean up after your pet.
Although the park is a designated off-leash area, you must keep your dog on a lead when moving between the car park and dog park entrance. Also, you must carry a leash with you at all times in case of an emergency. Spike, pinch, and choke collars must be removed before your dog enters the off-leash area. For the safety of users and their pets, food and drinks in glass containers are strictly forbidden in the dog park.
Hot Springs Bark Park, Hot Springs
Hot Springs is located in the Ouachita Mountains. The city is renowned for its natural hot springs and beautiful National Forest Park, and it is well worth a visit.
Right across the street from Hollywood Park, you’ll find Hot Springs Bark Park (here). This off-leash park is rarely crowded and is the perfect place for dogs and their owners to relax surrounded by lovely scenery. There are separate off-leash areas for large and small dogs, and there’s plenty of seating for owners too.
On warm summer days, you’ll love the two water fountains and hose that are provided for the use of dog owners and their pets. Also, there’s a fire hydrant, a spacious field, and a few tunnels for your dog to explore and play in. There’s a doggy waste station, and poop bags are provided. Note that all dog handlers must be 16 years old or over, and an adult must accompany kids under six.
Hot Springs Bark Park is one of the best and most popular dog parks in the area, but it never gets crowded. And when your pet has finished romping unleashed, why not take a leisurely stroll, on-leash, around nearby Hollywood Park.
Murphy Memorial Dog Park, Rogers
Murphy Memorial Dog Park (here) is located in the small town of Rogers. The park was created in memory of Ryan Murphy, a young boy who tragically died young from cancer. The Rogers’ Humane Society and the community group, Paws for a Good Cause maintain the park. Entry is free of charge.
There are three fenced enclosures with areas for small and large dogs, and a multi-purpose run. All the areas are designated off-leash zones, but you do need to bring a leash with you for emergencies. You’ll find shady picnic tables and benches where you can relax, and there are a dog bathtub and a drinking fountain too. A waste station and poop bags are provided, so please clean up after your dog.
You’ll also find dog agility equipment here, as well as plenty of space for your pet to enjoy himself off-leash.
Fort Smith Dog Park, Fort Smith
Fort Smith Dog Park is located (here) in the town of Fort Smith.
Fort Smith Dog Park is a vast, fenced area that’s just for dogs! You can follow the trail around the 40-acre perimeter if you want to exercise yourself too. There are also benches for owners to relax on after their exertions!
There’s a pond in which dogs can swim or paddle, but you can use the smaller fenced area away from the water if you don’t want your pup to get wet. There’s lots of shade provided by mature trees. The park is a favorite with locals on weekends, and the parking lot is very small, so come early! You will find a dog fountain here, but the park isn’t maintained, so you’ll need to bring poop bags and take Fido’s waste home with you for disposal!
There’s plenty of long grass and brush around the park, so do check your pup for ticks before you leave.
IAMS Dog Park, Fayetteville
Follow a trail from Bryce Davis Park to the IAMS Dog Park, located (here) in Fayetteville.
This lovely open space offers two spacious off-leash dog parks, one for small dogs and puppies, and the other for larger dogs. The park is well-maintained and has picnic tables and a pavilion. Your dog is catered for with a drinking fountain and a pond to swim in too! Both the dog pens have a small jump that your dog can have fun leaping over, and the large dog zone also has a hoop.
IAMS is a busy dog park, and you must pick up after your pet. Poop bags and waste stations are provided.
Bentonville Bark Park, Bentonville
Bentonville Bark Park is located (here) in the city of Bentonville.
This 1.3-acre dog park is situated on the North Bentonville Trail and is a top-rated facility that’s loved by residents and visitors alike. The park is divided into three sections. There is a zone for small dogs and one for larger pups. In the center section, you’ll find agility equipment, including an “A” frame, jumps, and a tunnel, for those with dogs who enjoy a challenge.
There are benches where pet owners can relax and exchange doggy gossip with like-minded others. There are dog waste stations provided for clean-up.
The only small issue with this dog park is that the doggy water fountain is located outside the park gate. That means you’ll need to bring a bowl and fill it up for your pet as required. Note that training treats and tennis balls area permitted, but other food and toys are not allowed in the park.
Gulley Park, Fayetteville
Gulley Park is a beautiful space that you’ll find (here) in the center of downtown Fayetteville. During the summer, the park hosts events such as concerts. There’s lots of open green space, sand volleyball, and two kids’ playgrounds. There are restrooms, picnic areas, and a pavilion too.
Dogs are welcome to visit the facility on-leash, and you can enjoy a relaxing walk through the shady 27-acre park or around the 1.5-mile trail that encircles it. The paved walk is lit and safe for a nighttime stroll with Fido.
There are no dog-specific facilities here, so you’ll need to bring plenty of poop bags and a supply of water for your dog.
Eureka Springs Bark Park, Eureka Springs
Eureka Springs Bark Park opened in 2014 and is located (here) in the township of Eureka Springs.
The park extends for about an acre and is split between a small dog zone and a large dog area. Visitors love the park for its shade and woodland areas, as well as the fascinating natural features that their dogs love exploring. There’s a water fountain for thirsty pups and a dog waste station too.
Bark Bar, Little Rock
The Bark Bar is the first indoor and outdoor dog play area and bar in Arkansas, and it’s a brilliant place to bring your pet for a romp with his pals. While your pup plays, check out the bar with your dog-loving friends.
You can enjoy a coffee, a cocktail, or a local beer, but your dog needn’t feel left out! When he’s finished playing, treat your canine companion to a plate of Mini Carrots, a Spaniel Sundae, or a Dog’s Dog and a Doggie Ale to finish off the meal! Having dogs milling around the (high) tables while you’re eating and drinking is definitely a novel experience and not for everyone, especially if you don’t like beggars under your table!
The outside dog park area is super-clean, and there are “Bark Rangers” on duty to ensure that play is safe and reasonably orderly. There are splash pools, toys, and lots of space to play in. The grassed areas are synthetic, so your pup won’t finish up covered in mud.
To enter the Bark Bar’s play areas, you will need to buy a day pass or subscribe for a monthly or annual membership. The Bark Bar is open from 4 pm till 10 pm Tuesday through Friday, from 11 am till 10 pm on Saturdays, and from 12 noon till 8 pm on Sundays.
If you’re planning on vacationing or relocating to the state of Arkansas and bringing your dog with you, you’ll be pleased to hear that the Natural State has plenty to offer, wherever you go.
Take a leisurely stroll with your dog on-leash through beautifully-kept parks, get involved in the hurly-burly of a traditional off-leash dog park, or take your pet out to lunch at a Bark Bar. Whatever your pleasure, Arkansas has it all!