The dog is like a member of the family for many of us, and we're always looking for the perfect restaurant, event or hotel so we can bring our four-legged friend along.

It's fun to bring the dogs to the special events, and Hendricks County, Indiana, offers several throughout the year. With a wide variety of dog parks to get outside on a nice summer day and local stores and restaurants welcoming your best buddy more often, you might be surprised at all the dog-friendly locations.

Dog Parks Cardinal Bark Park (Courtesy of Brownsburg Parks Facebook)

The dog park is a great place to allow your pet to run free, make other four-legged friends and for the humans in the bunch, you’ll find other dog-lovers like yourself to socialize and perhaps pick up a training tip or two. Not only is this a great option for socialization, it’s also the best place to give your dog a place to exercise.

The three dog park locations in Hendricks County require memberships, registration and vaccination updates for the safety of everyone.

Cardinal Bark Park

The Brownsburg dog park is the newest in Hendricks County. With two sections of the park, there’s a spot for the big dogs and a spot for the little ones. Each side has benches and shade for both pups and their owners. Just outside the park, pet owners will find a rise station to wash off those muddy paws. Cardinal Bark Park is located at 3443 Hornaday Road, just a short walk from the B&O Trail.

Paw Park

The first dog park in the county is located in Washington Township Park. The park includes plenty of space to run, agility equipment like climbing and jumping apparatus’, waste stations, a water supply and a large, shaded area. Paw Park is located at 115 S. County Road 575 East in Avon.

Bark Park

The Plainfield Bark Park also has separate sections for dogs based on size. They can play off-leash in the dog park and the adjacent Swinford Park is dog-friendly when kept on a leash. Agility equipment in the park can challenge your pup, including tunnels, ramps and more. Benches, shade and water fountains for both humans and dogs are available. Bark Park is located at 1007 Longfellow Drive in Plainfield.

The Shops at Perry Crossing Shops at Perry Crossing in Plainfield, IN

Did you know the outdoor mall in Plainfield is dog-friendly? First of all, it’s outside of course, allowing any leashed pup to join you in the outdoor areas.

There are even restaurant patios that make this easy. However, many stores in the mall are dog friendly as well.

A sticker on the door or window will indicate those that welcome your well-behaved and leashed dog to join you as you shop for the perfect pair of shoes at DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse or peruse the aisles at Barnes and Noble for that summer beach read to name a few.

Check out more about The Shops at Perry Crossing here

Events Beasley's Dog Days (Photo Courtesy of Beasley's Orchard Facebook)

Throughout the year, events in the county focus on our favorite pets while giving visitors something fun to do with the entire family.

Misty Eyes Animal Center hosts an annual Bow Wow Bash in Brownsburg in the fall. One of the county’s largest adoption events features a day full of contests, a massive tennis ball drop and silent auction to benefit the adoption center.

Dog Daze at the Maze is a favorite, hosted annually by Beasley’s Orchard and features fall fun with a hayride, corn maze, pet costumes and talent contests. The annual tradition is one of the special weekend events throughout the fall season and includes local animal rescue groups with animals to be adopted and all of the typical fun offered at Beasley’s like Barnyard Bonanza, apple cannons and more.

Dogtona! is a Hendricks County Humane Society sponsored event typically held in late January. The family event includes games for dogs, talent shows and other contests. Rescue groups will be on hand as well as informational booths for pet care, responsibility and supplies.

A Special Treat for the Dogs Paw Street Bakery

Want to stop in for a special snack, specifically made for dogs? Paw Street Bakery in Plainfield offers a variety of delicious treats in flavors, colors, sizes – all safe for the pup.

They even offer birthday and celebratory cakes for the fur babies in your life, made with pumpkin and peanut butter icing.

In addition, Paw Street Bakery is a great place to find your favorite dog swag, including bandanas, mugs, dish towels and kitchen supplies.

Pick up a dog-friendly frozen yogurt or a package of dog-approved snacks on your visit.

Paw Street Bakery is located at 1647 E. Main St., Suite A, Plainfield. Find out more here.

Cooling Off on Hot Summer Days Dog at McCloud

Hendricks County has an amazing parks system and through many of them, visitors will find a creek for the entire family to enjoy. While the kids splash in the shallow water, find tadpoles and other creatures and search for ‘fossils’, the pups can cool off their paws and roll around in the water.

White Lick Creek runs through Hummel Park in Plainfield and includes a beach area at the end of several walking trails.

Ellis Park in Danville is the home of the west fork of White Lick Creek and offers a wide creek bed below the swinging bridge.

My personal favorite is Big Walnut Creek at McCloud Nature Park in North Salem. The park offers fishing, wading, canoeing and kayaking, making it the perfect place to spend the day creek stomping.

All parks ask that dogs are kept on a leash, and we clean up after them.

Want more?

Check out the dog-friendly restaurant patios and hotels or vacation rentals in Hendricks County!