Kansas may be best known for its vast, open prairies, but it also offers great dog-friendly swimming spots if you just know where to look. From Kansas City in the north to Wichita in the south, these cities and towns in Kansas offer plenty of activities for both you and your pet to enjoy. Book a Kansas vacation rental near one of these top pet-friendly beaches, and show your best four-legged buddy that he or she deserves a break, too.

Dog standing in the woods by a pond.
Source: Flickr/jeffeyw

1. Shawnee Mission Dog Beach

If your dog loves to swim and retrieve in the water, consider a vacation in Shawnee. The 53-acre off-leash dog area in Shawnee Mission Park gives your pooch access to a wide swath of lakeshore as well as a variety of winding natural-surface and wood-chip paths suitable for hiking through the beautiful terrain together. This off-leash beach also has a dedicated parking area and restrooms for the people in your party. Although the park is open year-round during daylight areas, the off-leash area is closed in the early mornings a couple of times a week for maintenance. After your dog has his fill of off-leash fun, snap the leash back on, and check out the rest of the park. Beautiful picnic areas, fabulous nature trails, and an extensive play structure provide plenty more to explore.

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2. Mill Creek Streamway Park

Book a vacation rental in Lenexa, and explore the nearby Mill Creek Streamway Park alongside your canine friend. This former railway bed runs along the banks of Mill Creek, stretching 17 miles south from Nelson Island on the Kansas River. There are plenty of areas that provide easy access to the river for your best buddy, and he is welcome to be off-leash if he is well-behaved and under voice control. Three parking lots in Lenexa provide access to the Streamway from different parts of town, and there are picnic areas with grills, drinking fountains, and restroom facilities near each parking lot. Some areas also include playgrounds for your kids. Although you are welcome to hike the Streamway every month of the year, from November through March, the water is likely to be partially frozen and too cold for play. For dog-friendly dining in town, head to Hayward’s Pit BBQ for Texas-style specialties. Be sure to sample the cheddar-crusted jalapeno corn nuggets for a delicious deep-fried treat. Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is another option for casual meals or cooling off with a frozen treat.

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3. Chisholm Creek Pet Resort Pup Park

For a real special beach vacation, get a vacation home in Wichita, and head to Chisholm Creek Pet Resort Pup Park. This full-service dog beach offers you and your pet unlimited access to an extensive trail system plus a beautiful pond for water play. This for-fee park is fully staffed, but you are still required to stay with your pet during your visits. The park is open year-round with the exception of major holidays. Secure fencing keeps your dog safely inside, and agility equipment, shade trees, and benches help keep you both entertained and comfortable during your visits. While at the park, sign up for a dog massage to give your best buddy the ultimate in relaxation. After dark, head to Central Standard Brewing for some truly special craft beers and some more quality time with your pet. This establishment allows dogs both outside on the patio and inside in the dining area. For breakfast, check out Fetch Bistro, another Wichita eatery that lets your pet join you at an inside table. From homemade raisin-bread toast to top-of-the-line grilled steak and eggs, this restaurant offers delicious down-home favorites.

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4. Wyandotte County Lake

With fantastic eateries, nearly too many picturesque fountains to count, and an active nightlife, Kansas is a great vacation choice for anyone, and the Wyandotte County Lake Off-Leash Area helps ensure that your pet-family members also have a great vacation. This dog-friendly park offers a well-tended dock and lake area for your pet to enjoy, and owners are welcome to wade along with their furry friends. Take a hike around the lake on the hard-packed dirt WyCo Single Track Trail to enjoy the beauty of the natural surroundings. Outside of the off-leash area, this large park has picnic areas, playgrounds, and restrooms for your convenience. Be sure to snap your dog’s leash back on when outside of the off-leash area. If your dog just can’t get enough exercise, head to South Kansas City to hike the Blue River Parkway Trails. This trail system follows the Blue River for more opportunities for your dog to jump in and cool off. Both Wyandotte County Lake Park and the Blue River Parkway Trails are open year-round.

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5. The Pet Ranch Private Dog Park

Treat your dog to a special experience with a stop at the Pet Ranch Private Dog Park in Olathe. This 13-acre pet wonderland includes a beautiful pond that is completely within the fenced area, making it more secure for even the most boisterous or impulsive pets. Pack a picnic lunch at your vacation rental in nearby Olathe, and spend the whole day relaxing with your best buddy. Picnic tables and trash cans are available for your convenience. After lunch, take a lazy stroll along one of the mulch trails the meanders through the park, or let your dog try his paw at the agility course. Shade trees help you stay comfortable, and a large grassy meadow is perfect for relaxing games of fetch. An outdoor wash area gets your pup clean before you return to your vacation home. This dog park is open year-round, perfect for a getaway in the heat of summer or in the colder winter months.

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