Dog Friendly Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Dog Friendly Apostle Islands

Being avid travelers to the US National Park sites in addition to being loving dog owners, we were excited when we found out that unlike most US National Park System designations, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is actually rather dog friendly. Everything’s better with your dog, including vacation.  Being able to bring your dog on vacation with you is vital to helping you unwind and relax while visiting a new place.   We spent an extended weekend in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore with our pup Gordie and were so happy to find so many dog friendly activities to do with him while there.  Here is our guide on Dog Friendly Activities in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore area. 

Looking for another dog friendly vacation? See our Dog Friendly Door County, Wisconsin Guide and our A Day at Starved Rock State Park guides.   

FYI This post is written based on a trip taken in Mid-August. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!

Hike the Meyers Beach Sea Caves Trail with your Dog

Our top dog friendly recommendation for Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is to hike the Meyers Beach Sea Cave Trail.  We loved hiking this trail with our pup!  Unlike most trails at other National Lakeshores, such as Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, you can hike here with your dog.  Our dog loves a good hike so he was in heaven.  

Meyers Beach Sea Caves

The Meyers Beach Sea Cave Trail leads you to Lake Superior’s waterfront cliffs where you can see some of the Apostle Islands sea caves and Lake Superior from above.  This trail goes through the woods and is mainly shaded (we love a shaded trail) until you reach the sea caves at 1.8 miles. 

At 1.8 miles, you reach the Crevasse, an impressive 100-yard-long fracture in the rocks.  We actually got to Kayak into this sea cave on our kayak tour of the lakeshore (see all the detailed about sea kayaking Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in our What to do Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Unfortunately, sea kayaking is not dog friendly, hence why it did not make it into this guide). 

You can continue on the trail for more sea cave views until the 2.2 mile point but after that, the trail only leads to some remote campsite through the woods and there are no further views of the sea caves.   

Dog Friendly Apostle Islands

Not too hard of a hike for your or your pup

We did this hike with Natalie’s parents and our dog.  It was a really nice hike as it was not overly strenuous and had some great views of the sea caves without kayaking.  Natalie’s parents, who do not do much hiking at all, felt it to be very manageable for beginners.  They also were not disappointed with the views.  On the hike back from the sea caves, Natalie’s Dad was sure to tell each hiker we passed about the cool views.  It was adorable.   

Caution: Be careful as the edges along the trail may be undercut/slippery.  You don’t want you or your pup to fall into the water from the trail.  It’s not a short fall! 

4.6 miles round trip, 269 feet of elevation gain, out & back

Cost: $5 fee to park (cannot use America the Beautiful Pass) 

Hike Lost Creek Falls with your Dog

Our next top dog friendly activity for the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore area is to hike Lost Creek Falls.  Our pup loved, and we mean LOVED, hiking this trail.  This trail brings you through a peaceful wooded setting to a more impressive than we expected waterfall and small pool area. Our dog LOVED running through the pools of water around the waterfall at the ‘summit’ of this hike.  He was really living his best life zooming back and forth. 

Dog Friendly Apostle Islands

The trail is well-maintained with some boardwalks. We did this hike in the morning and had the waterfall/pool area all to ourselves.  It was so pretty and serene! 

2.2 Miles, 216 feet of elevation gain, out & back

Cost: Free to park

Dog Friendly Apostle Islands

Tip: Bring good bug spray and tick wipes for your dog.   

The bugs were actually not bad at all during our trip (we all got less than 3 mosquito bites on our 5 day trip) and found no ticks on our dog while there.  However, this very wooded trail with water at the end is typically notorious for both.  We think our bug spray and tick wipes helped prevent us having an issue here.  These are the tick wipes we use with our dog.  This is the non-chemical bug spray we use with our daughter.   This is the deet bug spray we use on ourselves. 

Take the Madeline Island Ferry with your Dog

Our third dog friendly activity recommendation for the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore area is visiting Madeline Island/taking the ferry to Madeline Island.  Again, our dog was living his best life on the ferry to the island and on the island itself.  The pictures speak for themselves. 

Dog Friendly Apostle Islands

Fun Fact: Madeline Island is the largest and most developed of the 22 Apostle Islands. It is well known for its beaches and hiking trails/biking trails.  It also has some eclectic shops and restaurants.  

Dog Friendly Madeline Island Ferry

The journey to Madeline Island with your dog is half the fun. To access this island, you take the Madeline Island Ferry from Downtown Bayfield.  This ferry ride offers scenic views of Lake Superior, Bayfield, Madeline Island and some other of the Apostle Islands in the distance.  And you can soak in all these views with your pup as the ferry is dog friendly.  

Cost: $17 per person round-trip, $30 per car round-tip.  Dogs ride for free.  The ferry is a bit pricey but again, part of the experience.  See the Madeline Island Ferry Rates for the most up-to-date prices. If you are interested in more ferry ride experiences, see our, coming soon ***, Two-Week Fjords of Norway Road Trip. 

Also, unless it is an extraordinarily busy weekend, you typically do not need to book this ferry in advance.  Just arrive about 15-20 before the time you would like to depart and you should have no problem getting on the ferry you want. See the Madeline Island Ferry Schedule for the most up-to-date times. 

Dog Friendly Madeline Island

On Madeline Island, explore the downtown area with your pup.  A particularly good spot to visit is the Pub Restaurant & Wine Bar at the Inn on Madeline Island as they will serve dog treats while you dine on the patio.  You also can go hiking on some of the trails in the area.  However, note that, unfortunately, not all the trails in the parks on Madeline Island are dog friendly.  The casper trail (1.2 miles one-way) near downtown is dog friendly though so be sure to check that one out!  See the map below for all the Madeline Island trails.

Explore Cornucopia with your Pup

Our next dog friendly Apostle Islands area recommendation is visiting the small artsy and eclectic town of Cornucopia.  Cornucopia is located not far from Meyers Beach and the sea caves hike.  There are several small boutique and resale shops in this town as well as a few restaurants on the main street, many being dog friendly.  The harbor area is very picturesque here too.  

Dog Friendly Apostle Islands

For a dog friendly dining experience in Cornucopia, try eating at the Fat Radish Restaurant.  This restaurant is known for its tasty farm-to-table dishes and is of course dog friendly.  Note: this restaurant has limited evening hours (Wed-Sun) and brunch hours (Sun only).  

We actually visited Cornucopia during Cornucopia days (mid August) and there was also a flea market and fundraiser food sale going on.  Our pup was welcome here too.  

Explore Downtown Bayfield with your Dog

Bayfield is a charming small-town on the largest Great Lake.  This town is very walkable with many cute small shops and restaurants, many that are also dog friendly.  Bayfield reminded us of the shops and restaurants in the small towns in Door County. Plan to spend a morning or an afternoon here. Here is a list of dog friendly spots to eat and shop in Bayfield: 

  • Big Water Coffee Roasters 
  • Big Water’s Bakery (get ther Rhubarb Ginger Scone!)
  • Greunke’s First Street Inn & Dining
  • Portside Bar & Restaurant
  • Pier Plaza Restaurant & Lounge 

Where to Stay near Apostle Islands National Lakeshore with your Dog

We highly recommend staying at Mission Springs Resort while visiting the Apostle Islands area with your dog.  We stayed here and had a great extended weekend with our pup and family.  This resort, located right on Lake Superior, offers you superb lake views while also offering plenty of outdoor areas for your pup to explore.  We loved walking down to the lake in the morning with our pup at our side and a hot beverage in our hands.  Mission Springs Resort truly offers you a serene place to unwind and have a great time with your family, including your dog, around the campfire.  For more details on staying here, see our Where to Stay Near Apostle Islands National Lakeshore post.

Call or text Katie at 715-209-8321 for availability or visit the Mission Springs Resort website for the best price and most up to date availability.  Katie is a great resource while visiting the area and during your stay as well.  She is a fantastic host, allowing you your space yet is available for any questions!  

If Mission Springs Resort is fully booked, some other places to stay with your dog in Apostles Islands include the Inn on Madeline Island and this Bayfield Condo.  There are also campsites on the mainland/islands that allow dogs. 

Looking for another dog friendly vacation? See our Dog Friendly Door County, Wisconsin Guide and our A Day at Starved Rock State Park guides.   

We hope this guide helps you plan your dog friendly trip to Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

Dog Friendly Door County, Wisconsin

Peninsula State Park, Dog Friendly Door County

Door County is one of the most dog-friendly getaways in the Midwest.  This northern Wisconsin escape, located along the shores of Lake Michigan, is well known for its scenic views, cute small shops and unique restaurants.  With a large number of dog-accommodating hotels, restaurants and parks, it’s really the perfect place to escape with your four-legged best friend for the weekend. Located less than 4 hours from Milwaukee, Madison and Chicago, you don’t have to travel too far with your dog to get there either. Are you wondering where to stay in Door County with your dog? What to do with your dog in Door County? Or where to dine with your dog in Door County? We’ve got you covered after visiting many times with our pup. Use our guide below to plan your own perfect dog-friendly Door County trip. 

FYI: This post was written based on several trips taken anywhere from late May through late August

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!

Looking for another midwest adventure? Check our our guides on Starved Rock State Park in Illinois as well as our Complete What to do Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Guide and Dog Friendly Apostle Islands Guide.

Dog Friendly Door County Activities

Hike at Peninsula State Park

Peninsula State Park, Dog Friendly, Door County Wisconsin

Peninsula State Park is our favorite state park that we have visited in Wisconsin.  The mix of bluffs, shoreline and hiking/biking trails makes it the perfect place to spend the day with your dog.  

Our favorite hiking trail here is the Eagle Trail (2.0 loop) with its beautiful shoreline and impressive bluff views.  However, be mindful that this trail has many uneven rocks.  It is somewhat technically challenging and steep in many spots but very pretty.  The picture at the beginning of this post is from the Eagle Trail.

Our second favorite hike, that we do almost every visit to Door County, is a combination of the Nicolet Bay Trail, the Skyline Trail and the Hemlock Trail.  This loop is about 5.0 miles in total by starting and ending at the amphitheater parking lot.  See this Peninsula State Park Map to map it out.  When we do this hike early in the morning, around 7am, we typically do not see anyone else.  We love the seclusion of this trail through the woods of Peninsula State Park.  And our pup loves it too! 

Tip: Peninsula State Park is the most popular park in Door County and can get very busy at times. We recommend visiting in the early morning or later afternoon to avoid the crowds.  If you want to camp here, make your reservations 6+ months in advance.  

Peninsula State Park

Looking for great hiking boots?  Here are links to the ones we’ve used for 7+ years and highly recommend: Men’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots & Women’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots

Dog Friendly Beach/Hike at Whitefish Dunes State Park

This park provides contrast to Peninsula State Park with its impressive sand dunes. For dogs that love sand, this Wisconsin State Park is heaven.  They have a dog friendly beach here where your dog can run around and swim in the clear northern Lake Michigan water.  Our dog truly lives his best life here.

Whitefish Dunes State Park

Cave Point County Park, Door County

Bonus: Visit Cave Point County Park. From Whitefish Dunes State Park, you can hike or drive to the very close, picturesque Cave Point County Park.  

Hike Potawatomi State Park

Potawatomi State Park, Dog Friendly Door County Wisconsin

Potawatomi State Park is located on the southern side of Door County on the shores of Sturgeon Bay.   This park feels like a hidden gem in comparison to Peninsula State Park as it has the beauty without the crowds.  Our favorite trail here is the Tower Trail as it offers a good amount of variety with shoreline, limestone cliff and forest views. 

Potawatomi State Park

Hike at Newport State Park

Newport State Park Dog Friendly Beach Door County

This park is located on the northern tip of Door County.  It is the most rugged park of all the Door County State Parks.  The trails here are peaceful and feel untouched. The dog beach was our pup’s favorite spot at this park. 

Tip: Beware of the mosquitoes here! They were viscous during our late June visit.  

Newport State Park

Skyway Drive-in Movie Theater 

A drive-in movie is a fun and nostalgic experience for the whole family, including your dog.  The theater typically plays two featured films, back to back, for one price.

Skyway Drive-In

Watch Sunset in Ephraim, Fish Creek or Sister Bay

Ephraim Sunset, Door County Wisconsin

The sunsets in Door County are breathtaking over Lake Michigan.  Make sure to take in the views from the bayside of the Door County Peninsula.  Our picture above is from a sunset in Ephraim.  

Dog Friendly Door County Restaurants

Harbor Fish Market & Grille

Harbor Fish Market & Grille Dog Friendly Door County

This place takes dog friendly to the next level–they have their own dog menu!  We loved our brunch here and our dog did too.  We have also gone to a lobster boil here which was a bit pricey but certainly a fun and unique experience.   

Harbor Fish Market & Grille

Wild Tomato Pizza

Wild Tomato Dog Friendly

This place is home to some of our favorite pizza.  We make sure to get it every time we are in Door County and have eaten at both locations (Fish Creek and Sister Bay).  The Veggie Pizza and Cherry Walnut Salad are our favorite menu items. 

Wild Tomato Pizza

Not Licked Yet Frozen Custard

Puppy Cone at Not Licked Yet Frozen Custard Dog Friendly Door County

You can get a free puppy cone here for your dog with any purchase. There are tons of unique custard Sundae options making this a fun experience not only your pup but you as well.    

Not Licked Yet Frozen Custard

Waterfront Mary’s Bar & Grill

This is located very close to Potawatomi State Park and is located right on the shores of Sturgeon Bay.  The food is simple bar food but the atmosphere is really why you go here.  We enjoyed eating lunch outside on the water after hiking at Potawatomi State Park.  

Waterfront Mary’s Bar & Grill

Dog Friendly Door County Accommodations

Country House Resort in Sister Bay

This resort is located on a private shoreline in Sister Bay.  Here, your pup will be greeted with a dog welcome basket.  There are also plenty of amenities here for your use as well . With your stay, complimentary use of kayaks, rowboats and bikes is included.  There is also a nice nature trail located on the property of this private resort.  We have never stayed here but Natalie’s parents have and loved it.  

Tip: Book this resort as far in advance as possible.  Since this resort offers more of an experience with all of its amenities, this accommodation books much further out than our other recommendations. We have never stayed here because we never plan our trips to Door County far enough in advance.   

Country House Resort

Beachfront Inn in Baileys Harbor

This motel is located right on the shoreline of Lake Michigan.  This location is within walking distance of the Harbor Fish Market & Grille as well as several other restaurants in downtown Bailey’s Harbor. 

Beachfront Inn

O’Malley’s Inn in Ephraim 

We have stayed at this simple motel-style inn several times.  The location of this inn is perfect, right off of Hwy 42 and less than 5 minutes from the north entrance to Peninsula State Park.  The rooms here have very pretty views overlooking a wooded area.  These woods behind the inn also have about 2.0 miles worth of hiking trails which we enjoyed walking with our pup.   

O’Malley’s Inn

Update: Since our last stay here, O’Malley’s has changed ownership and is now called Chatham Hills. You no longer can individually rent rooms here but instead rent out the ENTIRE place (13 bedrooms, sleeps 30) and it would be a great spot for a large family gathering or reunion. The place is more pet friendly than ever too with the property supplying crates, dog beds, bowls, leashes and more. However, this is now only a reasonably priced option if you have a very large group and are splitting the cost.

Run Away Lodge at Valmy

This motel is simple but a great place to stay if you are passing through.  It has a full efficiency kitchen (with an oven/stovetop and full size fridge).  There is also a firepit and all sorts of yard games you can use in the backyard area.  We found this to be the perfect place to cook a meal and have a low key evening filled with yard games and a fire.  

Run Away Lodge at Valmy

Use the Door County Website to find other dog friendly accommodations! 

Looking for another midwest adventure? Check our our guides on Starved Rock State Park in Illinois and our Complete What to do Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Guide as well. Or looking to spend more time in Door County without your dog? See our friend Janice’s Door County Weekend Itinerary.

We hope this guide helps you plan your Dog-Friendly Trip to Door County.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

Did you find this post helpful? If so, please share it with a friend, like our Always Have a Trip Planned Facebook Page, follow our Always Have A Trip Planned Instagram and subscribe to our emails below.

error: Content is protected