With the summer setting in, it’s easy to just pick up and go to the river and spend a week on the campground, but what about your pets?

Do they stay or do they go? Can someone watch them while you’re gone? Do you know the pet policy where you are going?

Several families have pets, and when it comes down to leaving them behind, it can be a challenge.

Luckily, several campgrounds in Missouri are pet friendly and encourage families to bring their pets as long as they follow the pet guidelines. 

Here are the pet policies of a few campgrounds in different parts of the state:

• Bearcat Getaway Campground, in Lesterville, has allowed pets on the campground for a very long time, and hasn’t seen any issues arise.

“We charge a $2 donation for every pet you bring for the day and $10 per night that they stay that goes to a no-kill animal shelter,” said Mary Bullis, office manager of Bearcat.

Every penny of the donation given will go to organizations like the ASPCA and/or The World Wildlife Fund.

Bearcat does require that all pets be on a leash at all times. Campground visitors are responsible for cleaning up after their pet, and are not allowed on the rafts while floating.

“We encourage you to bring your pets with you floating, but we ask that they not be on a raft in case of it getting popped or damaged,” said Bullis.

If you are planning on bringing your pet on the river, plan to be in a canoe.

“We occasionally have to remind them to put their animals on a leash but we haven’t had any major issues with allowing pets,” said Bullis.

Bearcat Getaway gets at least a couple dogs every weekend and the staff knows how important your furry friends are to you.

• Boiling Spring Campground, in Dixon, has a little different policy when it comes to pets.

“We allow pets if they are on a leash at all times, and are not vicious pets,” said Gale Helms, owner of Boiling Spring Campground.

Boiling Spring also offers cabin rentals, but the cabins are not pet friendly.

“Due to the health department, extra cleaning, and different allergies that our campers have, we have opted to not allow pets in the cabins,” said Helms. 

However, she said you can have a pet carrier for them outside the cabin, just not inside.

When floating, pets are allowed in the kayaks as well as canoes, but not tubes or rafts.

“We decided that because we are a pet family we would allow others to bring them as well, and we have allowed pets since the beginning,” said Helms.

Though campgrounds assume that all pets are up to date on their shots, there have been issues in the past at Boiling Spring.

“Over the years we have had to call the police and health department because someone has gotten bitten,” said Helms.

According to Helms, an issue like that doesn’t arise but every couple of years.

“There are positive and negative things about allowing pets and not allowing pets, but we love to bring our pets and know that others do as well,” said Helms.

• In Steelville, Bass’ River Resort is also a pet friendly campground as long as they are on a leash at all times.

“We allow pets on the campground and we also allow them to be in the cabins for an extra $25 for your stay,” said Julie Bass, owner of Bass’ River Resort.

Unlike several campgrounds, at Bass’ River Resort, pets are allowed in rafts, canoes, and kayaks.

“If you want to take your pet on the river, all of our equipment is okay to allow them on it,” said Bass.

She said the resort has always allowed pets, but not in the cabins.

“It wasn’t until a couple years ago that we started allowing pets in the cabins,” said Bass.

• Ozark Outdoors Resort, in Leasburg, is another very pet friendly resort that has never had problems with pets.

“We allow dogs on a leash and do not charge for them to camp or float,” said Tara Reed, office manager of Ozark Outdoors Resort.

They charge $15 for pets to stay in the small cabins and $25 for the large condos.

“We know how important it is to be able to bring your pets with you and we want to encourage you to do so,” said Reed.

Pets are also allowed on the boats, rafts, and kayaks at Ozark Outdoors.

• Circle B Campground, in Eminence, is a pet friendly campground to non-aggressive breeds. Pets must be kept on a leash at all times and never left unattended.

Circle B’s insurance prohibits dangerous, aggressive breeds from staying or being on the premises and owners of confrontational, aggressive breeds or dogs that bark excessively will be asked to leave and remove such dogs from the campground, and the acceptability is determined by management.

The types of dogs not acceptable to Circle B include, but are not limited to, pit bulls, American bull terriers, Rottweilers, chow, any wolf hybrid, or any dog with vicious tendencies or a dog who has bitten someone.

A dog of mixed breed, which includes any prohibited breed, is still unacceptable to Circle B.

In addition, each dog must be on a leash no longer than eight feet, and there is a limit of only two dogs per camp unless prior arrangements have been made with the office.

At Circle B, seeing-eye and service dogs are exceptions but need to be registered upon arriving. Pets are not allowed in the cabins and if a pet is found in the cabins or motel, there will be a $100 additional charge added.

Each campground is a little different and some are more specific than others. Before bringing your pets along, please call or visit the website of your campground to double-check the pet policy for that campground.

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