Dog-Friendly Vacationing in Des Moines, Iowa

October 1, 2009
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Think there is not much in Des Moines, Iowa? Think again! There is plenty to do with your dog here, whether you’re taking a culture-filled or nature-filled vacation. Des Moines is the capital and most populated city in Iowa, at 200,000 people, so it is a good place if you want city convenience but not the crowds of major urban centers.


Des Moines Botanical Center

This popular spot is located on 14 acres downtown, and it provides educational, recreational and community resources to locals and visitors. It is a beautiful area on the riverside. It is open every day, and leashed dogs are allowed on the grounds, but not in the buildings.

Fort Des Moines

This is a great spot for history enthusiasts. It is a historical, educational and military center with many photos, archives and events. Dogs are allowed on leash throughout the nicely manicured grounds.

Salisbury House and Gardens

This is a beautiful estate that represents the charm of 16th century England, changing times of the American 1920s, all tied in with the culture of the 21st century. They often hold historical and cultural events as well, and have a library with rare books. Dogs are allowed on leash on the grounds, but not the buildings.

Historic Valley Junctiondesmi

Located in West Des Moines, this spot hosts many community events, such as gallery walks and parades. There are many cute shops, cafes and restaurants in this area too. Leashed dogs are allowed to stroll around here, but you must ask the shop owners if they can enter.

The Great Western Trail

This is a 17-mile stretch of trail that goes through many urban areas, and also through nature areas. Great place if you and your dog like strolling or jogging together. There are some facilities located around the trail heads. Dogs must be leashed.


Three Dog Bakery

This chain store has two locations, in West Des Moines. They offer specialty natural meals, gift boxes, natural baked goods and cat treats for your pet. Leashed dogs are welcome to come in and shop for treats.


Ritual Cafe

This is a vegetarian cafe, that has beer and wine, and often live entertainment. Dogs are allowed on leash at outdoor tables.

Mama Lacona’s Restaurant

Located in Urbandale, Iowa, this restaurant serves Italian and American food. They also have a nice selection of wine and beer. Dogs are allowed on leash at outdoor tables.


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