Pet-Friendly Vacations in the Midwest
Dog-Friendly Columbus, Ohio Travel Guide
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by Extended Stay America. However, I will always offer my readers an unbiased and honest account of my experiences. However, I will always offer my readers an unbiased and honest account of my experiences. Your trust is very appreciated, and never taken for granted. ~Tonya, Dexter and Angel Nutter
Dexter the Dog and I love taking dog-friendly vacations and dog-friendly weekend day trips. Since we live in Northern Ohio, I thought it would be so much fun to grab our friends Levi The Dog and Chris and head south to Columbus, Ohio for a dog-friendly trip.
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By 4:00 a.m., we were all loaded and on our way to Columbus. I actually went to OSU, but in those days, I pretty much stayed on or around campus. This trip was going to be quite different. Our Columbus road trip was going to be geared all around the dogs.
Grange Insurance Audubon Center was the first dog-friendly attraction on our itinerary. The Grange Insurance Audubon Center is a bird sanctuary and educational center. The Audubon was created from a former urban and industrial site in the heart of downtown Columbus. The created a beautiful landscape with lush flowers, green spaces, and walking trails and is a perfect setting for nature lovers. Dogs are permitted to walk the grounds and trails but are not permitted inside the buildings.
Our morning arrival was the perfect time to witness the variety of birds and bees waking up as the morning sun reflected on the water. The dogs enjoyed a quiet walk around the paths, smelling the grass and probably some good critter scents. The Grange Insurance Audubon Center was the perfect start to our dog-friendly Columbus trip.
The Topiary Park was next on our must-see list. The Topiary Garden is located on the original site of the Ohio School for the Deaf. Unfortunately, the school was destroyed by fire in 1981, turning the area into rubble and debris. Now, the Topiary Park is a lush landscape inspired by a painting of a landscape. Georges Seurat’s painting Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grand Jatte inspired Columbus native James Mason to reinterpret Seurat’s painting in topiary. A far cry from the rubble it once was.
The seven-acre park in downtown Columbus, Ohio is dog-friendly. Dogs are also allowed off-leash in the area if friendly and under verbal control by their people. We took the self-guided tour and saw a variety of people walking their dogs, strolling the beautifully landscaped walks, and even a group of school kids doing homework while enjoying the park. Dexter and Levi enjoyed the water features and smelling the dog topiaries.
I wanted to look for a souvenir, so we decided to check out Columbus’s Short North. Quite a few Columbus stores are dog-friendly and even have Dogs Welcome Here signs on their doors. I was happy to see the welcome decal on HOMAGE Short North’s door.
Upon entering, we were greeted by happy and helpful staff. I was beyond thrilled to see an Ohio University PAW PRINT logo shirt. Did I mention, I went to Ohio University, too? When I attended college at OU, the pawprint was one of the most popular logos. However, years later when my last tattered shirt bit the dust, I found out that the pawprint was retired and no longer represented the university. But, there it was in its green glory. It seems a few select and Heritage collections are able to use the logo. HOMAGE turns back the clock and pays homage to old designs.
While in the Short North, we also visited Cub Shrub, a modern infant-to-toddler store. I know, strange, but we were looking for something for the pups to wear. Levi scored a nice pair of sunglasses. We then walked to Emi Pet Salon & Boutique for some tasty dog treats. Dexter is always happy to taste test some new snacks. Our bellies were starting to rumble, so it was time to look for a dog-friendly restaurant in Columbus.
We found Miller’s Ale House in Columbus, and I asked if the dogs were allowed on their outside patio. The nice host said their patio was dog-friendly and seated us in a pleasant shaded spot. Miller’s Ale House’s staff was very welcoming to us and our pups. This casual sports restaurant and bar offers a wide range of freshly-made food. Their menu offered their signature hand-breaded, boneless chicken Zingers, steaks, pasta dishes, salads, sandwiches, and a great dessert menu and full bar.
It was hard to choose, but I decided to go light and ordered the chicken salad croissant sandwich, fries, and an ice tea. The chicken salad was nice and cold, with a robust flavor. I loved that the salad was light on the mayonnaise and not drippy and gooey. The croissant was flaky and made the perfect bun.
After our dog-friendly lunch, we decided to head to our pet-friendly Columbus, Ohio hotel, to unpack and unwind. We were staying at The Extended Stay America Polaris in Columbus, Ohio. I have stayed at various Extended Stay Americas during my travels because they offer a lot of amenities that I look for when staying at a pet-friendly hotel. Extended Stay America hotels are designed especially for longer stays. Their dog-friendly studio suites feature a fully equipped kitchen with refrigerator, stovetop, microwave, coffeemaker, cooking utensils, dishes, and cutlery. Their rooms are large and include a seating area and desk. This makes this dog-friendly hotel chain a perfect solution when traveling with dogs.
After unpacking, we all got into our beds just to relax, unwind, and rejuvenate before our evening outing. The soft and cozy bed with the cool air conditioner was the perfect way to refresh. While we were relaxing in bed, we planned our next adventure.
Columbus, Ohio offers more than 20 metro parks located throughout the city and surrounding areas. With hundreds of acres of green space and so many dog-friendly park options, it was hard to choose. We decided to head to Sharon Woods. Sharon Woods Metro Park is a mixture of forests, trails, biking opportunities, picnic shelters, and fishing on the 11-acre lake and even offers a sledding hill during the winter months. Inside Sharon Woods park is the Edward Thomas Nature Preserve, which has seasonal pools that provide breeding habitat for amphibians and other wildlife.
We all enjoyed the peaceful nature of walking around the lake and even had a great groundhog show. This funny groundhog was so brave and would come out of the shrubbery, look around, nibbling on something, run back in, and come back out. He was quite a trip. Dexter thought he was pretty cool to watch, too. After our stroll, we enjoyed sitting at a picnic table watching the lake, ducks, and the families fishing on the lake.
On our way back to the Extended Stay America, we stopped at the Corner Bakery Cafe to order some dinner to go. They did have a dog-friendly patio that we went back to the next morning. For dinner, I ordered the Uptown Turkey Avocado sandwich. It was loaded with smoked turkey, smoked bacon, avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, and mayo sandwiched between slices of fresh harvest toast. I chose the Asian Edamame Salad as my side along with an old-fashioned lemonade. The food was fresh and delicious.
After our big dog-friendly day in Columbus, Ohio, it was time to curl up in our cozy beds, watch a little TV, and call it a night. We had more adventures ahead.
If you’re traveling with your dog and looking for the comforts of home, check out Extended Stay America. With affordable suites, you won’t feel cramped like other hotels and you’ll also get to enjoy the luxury of a fully-equipped kitchen, FREE grab-and-go breakfast, on-site laundry, and other amazing amenities.
Do you travel with your dog? Tell me in the comments.
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