The Great Lakes State is welcoming to all travelers, whether on two legs or four. Visit these dog-friendly spots this summer in the beautiful southwest region so that your best buddy can be a part of the memories, too.
Visit a Dog-Friendly Antique Shop
This region of Michigan seems to be overflowing with gorgeous antiques. After all, the area was a popular destination for wealthy Chicagoans to escape the city. One such stop is West Michigan’s oldest and largest privately own antique shop near the quiet little town of Baroda. Shawnee Road Antiques has three buildings of antiques: the white barn, the blue barn, and the main building. Yes, your dog can come along as you peruse all that beautiful old pieces and vintage apparel.
Afterwards, drive a short distance to the iconic Round Barn Winery. You’ll know it when you see it. Dogs are welcome to explore the grounds with you, on leash, however, they aren’t allowed in the 1912 barn, which now serves as the tasting room. Reservations are strongly required if you wish to have a guided wine tasting experience. If not, simply walk in and enjoy the smooth flavors of this well-known and well-loved Michigan winery. (And if you have more time and want to taste more Michigan vino, head over to Buchanan – about a 15 minute drive – to the dog-friendly Hickory Creek Winery, which specializes in European-style wines. Dogs must be on a leash, and the owner has three dogs of her own mulling around.)
Visit a Dog-Friendly Museum
Learn a little history, perhaps about someone you’ve never heard of before (but maybe you have!). The Dr. Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum in South Haven allows pets into the historic home as well as on the wildflower trail. Dr. Liberty Hyde Bailey is known as the Father of Modern Horticulture and Founder of the New Agrarian Philosophy. He was an educator with a high interest in changing instruction techniques in order to help students learn, and he was an avid horticulturist and botanist. The museum, the old family homestead, gives visitors a glimpse of the past and a history of this interesting man. The museum remains dedicated to outdoor learning (especially for children), gardening, and sustainable agriculture. Many events and activities are offered throughout the year.
Another history-inspired activity is to stretch your legs by going on a historic walking tour in beautiful St. Joseph. It’s the ideal activity to which to bring your dog along, as long as they are well-behaved and responsive to the leash. This is a self-guided tour so you can enjoy at your own pace. For a complete list of sights, visit the Southwest Michigan website. (P.S. – Make sure to stop at Kilwin’s for a sweet treat. Dogs are allowed at the outdoor table and bench area.)
Visit a Dog-Friendly Farm
Fruit Acres Farm Market & U-Pick in Coloma welcomes pets (on leash) in the picnic area at the market or at the u-pick picnic area, and on orchard walks. This 200-acre farm started its operation way back in 1846 – and it’s been passed down five generations. Depending on what’s in season, pick fresh strawberries, nectarines, peaches, and apples. Bring them back to the campsite to eat as a simple snack, or use them to make some favorite desserts. Most farms are dog-friendly, but make sure to check their website or call to ask to confirm.
Visit a Dog-Friendly City
Grand Rapids is pretty easy town to walk as well as to drive around. There are boardwalks, where dogs are welcome as long as they are on leash, and several dog parks around the city and nearby towns. If you feel like you need a refreshment, visit The Mitten Brewing Company on Leonard Street. Dogs are welcome to accompany their owners on the outdoor patio. Grand Rapids is Beer City, USA, so enjoy some of Michigan’s finest craft brews while you’re in the area (just you, not the dog). You can also have a delicious meal on the patio at One Trick Pony Grill and Taproom, a favorite choice for dog owners. A full list of restaurants, beaches, and shops that allow canine travelers to come along can be found at Nature of the Dog.
Not necessarily a city destination, but at AAA Rogue River Canoe Rental in nearby Rockford, you and your dog can escape the urban scene and go for a peaceful ride down the scenic Rogue River. The Rogue seems a world away from the urban jungle, but it’s really in the heart of it. Make sure your dog stays on the leash whenever you’re not in your boat.
Enjoy the these wonderful West Michigan destinations with your dog. Please tell us on Facebook where you like to go. We’d love to know!