Written by: Olivia Forgette

If you’re anything like me, your four-legged friend is part of the family. Finding the best spots to take your pooch can seem difficult when lots of places offer a “No Dogs Allowed” policy. Look no further for the expert scoop on the best dog friendly locations, including restaurants, activities, and overnight stays in and around McHenry County.

First things first, let’s discuss what makes a great dog friendly location. Of course, allowing dogs is the number one, but also, does the place have water bowls out for your furry friend? Is there a place they can roam free? Do you see other wagging tails around? Are there dog…uh-um waste…bags available? All these factors can create a top-notch spot for you and your dog to enjoy.

We have compiled all the best places to bring your dog no matter the activity you’re looking for!

Outdoor Parks & Hikes

Number one on the dog friendly locations list are outdoor spaces where your dog companion is welcome to play, walk, and enjoy time outside. McHenry county has lots of great options where you can bring your furry friend!

Dog Friendly Locations

1) McBark Dog Park

McBark Dog Park is located right in the town of McHenry and offers your pooch the freedom to explore and play off leash! McBark Park is dedicated to the dogs, so this is an obvious place to start on our list of dog friendly places to bring Fido. You can purchase an annual pass to visit the park, which offers a gate access control system.

2) Moraine Hills State Park & The McHenry Dam State Park

Get outdoors with your pup and enjoy the views of wetlands and beautiful hiking trails located in McHenry. Both places offer access to free dog waste bags, and welcome dogs on leash. Offering over 2,000 acres of land, these state parks deliver breathtaking nature and a place where your furry friends can explore and get tuckered out.

3) Veteran Acre Park

Veteran Acre Park is a great place for walks and hiking in the city of Crystal Lake. The hilly landscape is sure to wear out your furry friend, while large mature oak trees create a gorgeous landscape. The wooded trail system offers a variety of difficulty levels for any hiker looking to enjoy the outdoors with their dog.

4) Bark Park

Located in Lake In The Hills, Bark Park delivers a puppy friendly spot with 10 acres of space. Offering easy shade, a large running area for the furry friends, and dog and human friendly water, Bark Park is an essential place to check out.


Pooch Friendly Restaurants

Going out to eat is a family affair, so it’s only natural to want to bring your tail wagging pup along with you. Check out some pet friendly restaurants for you and the puppies to enjoy.

1) Buddyz Pizza

Not only is Buddyz Pizza one of the best spots for some authentic Chicago-style pizza (and new the menu is breakfast fare!), but they also are dog friendly. Nestled right on the McHenry Riverwalk, Buddyz offers a quaint patio space that welcomes your furry friend. They also often offer live music on the outdoor patio, so we recommend checking the schedule if that is something you’re interested in.

2) Sandbar Bar & Grill

Situated in Antioch right on the Chain o’ Lakes, Sandbar Bar & Grill is the perfect spot to bring your pup for drinks and grub. Put your feet in the sand and enjoy pretty water views and good, dog-approved company.

3) Crystal Lake Brewing

Although they don’t serve food, Crystal Lake Brewing is a perfect spot to bring your pup for some cold, locally brewed beer. They offer loads of fun games, and a large outdoor area where your dog can enjoy kicking back with you and your friends.

4) Ortmanns Woodstock

Ortmanns is sweet local spot in the heart of Woodstock that is pup-approved and always a good time. With a large outdoor space that your furry friend is welcome in, Ortmanns offers good vibes, cold beers, and often a new and exciting food truck parked outside.

5) Oakfire Pizza

Located on picturesque Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Oakfire Pizza offers beautiful views and honestly delicious woodfire pizza. They have wonderful outdoor seating that is pooch approved. Plus, they even offer water bowls for your furry friend.

Dog Friendly Locations, Restaurants


Pup-Approved Stays

Looking for a night away with your dog? Check out these great pup-approved stays and dog friendly locations for your next visit to McHenry county!

Dog Friendly Locations

1) Airbnb

An easy, fuss-free way to get a stay that is pet friendly is to rent an Airbnb that allows animals. There are loads of rentals available for short or extended stay that welcome your furry friend with open arms.

2) DoubleTree By Hilton Libertyville Mundelein

Located just outside of McHenry County is the nice and accommodating Double Tree by Hilton hotel in Mundelein. They offer pet friendly rooms so your pup can feel right at home during your stay. The hotel allows pets up to 75 pounds, so most pups can stay and enjoy tail wagging accommodations!

3) Grand Geneva Resort & Spa

This pet friendly hotel sits just 30 minutes outside of McHenry County with the primary goal of creating a memorable experience for you and your dog. They offer special bedding and food bowls for your pet, plus they have designated pet walking areas outdoors.


We hope you found these suggestions for dog friendly outdoor areas, restaurants, and lodging to be helpful! Your four-legged friend will be ready and welcomed for their next big outing here in the McHenry County area.

If you or someone you know are interested in buying or selling real estate, contact Maureen Forgette with CENTURY 21 Roberts & Andrews in McHenry! 815.354.4236 | mforgette@comcast.net