Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, known by locals as the U.P., is bordered on three sides by Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. The region’s unique topography has etched out an epic backdrop for vacationers who want to check-in with nature and discover sublime coastline. This land of dense forests, awe-inspiring waterfalls, and historic sites is calling you and your canine for an epic adventure in The Great Lake State.
Posted by Billy Francis
Things to Do
Looking for a pet-friendly adventure on Canada’s border? It’s time to cycle, paddle and walk with your best friend around the sights of this stunning region.
Tour Mackinac Island
Setting off from Mackinaw City at the tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, Shepler's Ferry will take you and your pooch on a pet-friendly voyage to Mackinac Island. Once you disembark, head to Mackinac Island Carriage Tours to start your island day trip together. The horse and carriage journey lasts nearly two hours and takes you to some of the island’s most notable sites like Arch Rock and Fort Mackinac Avenue of Flags. Lap dogs ride for free and bigger pups pay a child’s fare. If you’d rather take the role of Fido’s tour guide yourself, rent a bicycle and trailer from Mackinac Cycle and ride the paved trails at nearby Mackinac Island State Park.
Pretty as a Picture
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Munising is home to colorful cliffs and a luscious forest. Leashed dogs are welcome to explore some of the most scenic sections of the park. Miners Castle is one of the area’s most iconic landmarks. Fido can join you as you stride up a steep trail to an overlook adjacent to the natural feature, or enjoy epic views of this castle-shaped rock that overlooks Lake Superior and Grand Island from the only cliff area in the park accessible by vehicle. Afterwards, visit Miners Beach to paddle the lake together, then wander along Munising Falls Trail to check out the waterfall.
Take a Sculpture Walk
For more than 25 years, local artist Tom Lakenen has been creating big, bold sculptures out of scrap iron to put on display at Lakenenland. People and pups are invited to take a walk on the Sculpture Trail through the 37-acre park that leads to more than 100 metal art sculptures along the way. In addition to Tom’s epic creations, the unique roadside attraction features a bog walk, picnic ground, two fishing ponds and access to the North Country Trail.
Fall in Love with the U.P.
Tahquamenon Falls Riverboat Tours & the Famous Toonerville Trolley begins with a 35-minute ride on the longest 24-inch gauge train line in the country, followed by a two-hour riverboat cruise to the upper Tahquamenon Falls. The Captain's commentary keeps passengers entertained along the way. When you reach the rapids above the waterfall, the riverboat docks and gives passengers a chance to hike the nature trail through the forest to a private viewing area at the falls.
Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Upper Peninsula at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park near Ontonagon. Here, you’ll discover 60,000 acres of beautiful Hemlock, roaring waterfalls, and breathtaking vistas. Experienced hikers can tackle the 8.4-mile Escarpment Trail, a difficult out-and-back trail that leads to stunning overlooks. For an easier hike, Lake of the Clouds is a wooded pathway that’s less than two miles in length. Presque Isle River Waterfalls Trail is a moderate pathway that shows off the park’s Manabezho, Manido and Nawadaha waterfalls.
Spring with your Springer
Located in Palms Book State Park, Kitch-iti-Kipi, or Big Spring, is Michigan's largest natural freshwater spring. Nicknamed ‘Mirror of Heaven’ by members of the Chippewa tribe, visitors can see how it earned this moniker on board a self-propelled observation raft that drifts gently across the spring. The fenced opening in the center allows people and pups to gaze down on the crystal clear water below.
For a supreme drive that’s “Pure Michigan,” experience the gently curving roads of Brockway Mountain Drive. There’s no scenic road higher above sea level between the Rockies and the Alleghenies than this epic thoroughfare, which promises visitors unparalleled views of Lake Superior and Keweenaw forest. If you're visiting from mid-April to mid-July, turn your eyes to the sky and witness the annual migration of thousands of birds-of-prey.
Places to Stay
From renowned resorts to cozy homes by the water, these lovely lodgings can’t wait to accommodate Fido.
Spend Time at the Resort
If you are venturing to Mackinac Island with your four-legged friend, book a stay at Mission Point Resort, a nominee for the most dog-friendly hotel in America. The resort’s ‘Pooch at the Point’ package includes a room in the resort’s historic Straits Lodge, breakfast for humans, a welcome gift for Fido, and round-trip ferry tickets to the island for the whole pack on Shepler's Ferry. During your stay, be sure to sip on cocktails prepared using herbs from the resort’s “Cocktail Garden” and explore the expansive grounds with Fido by your side.
Have a “Wheely” Good Time
Looking for an excuse to try out a dog-friendly Airbnb on wheels? This awesome pet-friendly RV in Sault Ste. Marie is parked at a local campground that offers private fenced yards, so pups can play off leash. Inside, the camper has hardwood floors for easy cleanup, a shower, a full kitchen and a spacious living area.
Your Place or My Place?
My Place Hotel Marquette offers large rooms on the first two floors allowing pet owners to gain easy access to the grassy relief area outside. If you need to make a dash to Mares-Z-Doats Feed Pet & Garden for another bag of treats, Fido can stay in the room on his own. Treat your good boy to an evening on the pet-friendly patio at Big Boy Restaurant, within walking distance of the hotel.
Bird’s Eye View
High up in the Porcupine Mountains sits The Way UP Cottage, a pet-friendly escape with Fido’s name on it. Get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy respite at this remodeled cottage surrounded by beautiful birch and evergreen trees. Dogs with good recall are free to run around the spacious backyard that borders a dense forest. Adventure awaits just beyond the backdoor of this incredible home away from home.
Cheap and Cheerful
For an affordable stay in the Upper Peninsula, reserve a room at the Sunset Lodge Escanaba. Four-legged guests stay for free at this super clean, budget hotel situated a short drive from Escanaba highlights such as Sand Point Lighthouse and Ludington Park. Pups receive treats at check-in, have space to stretch out in the large rooms with hardwood floors and are free to explore the grassy relief area on the premises.
Stunning Home with Lake Views
Valo House is a breathtaking property located five minutes from downtown Marquette. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow the bright interior to be bathed in natural light and frame the wooded park surroundings. Play the piano in the living area and allow the high ceilings to transport the tune to the balcony seating area. The dark hardwood floors are not only cool underfoot in the summer months, but give dog owners peace of mind.
On the Water
Built in the 1920s, this cabin on the lake in Copper Harbor offers serenity with a backdoor that opens up to a dock leading right onto the water. During summer, dock diving dogs can launch themselves into the water or join you on the covered patio to enjoy the sunrise. Be sure to visit the pet-friendly trails at nearby Fort Wilkins State Historic Park to learn about one of the first lighthouses on Lake Superior. Guests should bring their own fresh water for pups as the cabin draws its water straight from the lake.
If you like to match your meal with a view or pair lunch with a pint, dine out with your dog in Michigan’s mouthwatering Upper Peninsula.
Pet-Friendly Patio on the Island
Take a day trip with your pooch to Mackinac Island, and stop by Round Island Bar and Grill for a bite to eat on the beautiful summer patio. The view of Lake Huron from the covered tables is the cherry on top of the classic comfort food menu. The pet-friendly patio is open April through October.
Water Views and Tasty Food
Sip a cocktail with your Cockapoo on the deck overlooking Munising Bay at Tracey's at Roam Inn. This fine-dining restaurant invites well-behaved dogs to accompany their owners on an eclectic culinary journey with classic dishes like steak and frites, Scottish salmon, and chocolate cake for dessert.
Grab a Beer in the Sun
Upper Hand Brewing in Escanaba is Bell’s Brewery’s U.P. offering. Founded by Larry Bell in 2014, they are proud that every can of beer is “brewed by a ragtag crew of hikers, bikers, campers, dog-walkers, anglers, hunters, and outdoor-loving Yoopers who live for getting lost in our own backyard.” Sample the seasonal, year-round and specialty beers on tap at the brewery on the expansive pet-friendly patio with a large grassy space for Fido to explore.
Great View and Good Vibes
If you’re searching for a restaurant with a view that welcomes dogs in the Upper Peninsula, look no further than Harbor Haus in Copper Harbor. Located on the shore of Lake Superior, the most frequent request Harbor Haus hosts receive is for a table with a view. Fortunately every table outside on the patio adorned with flowers and trees can accommodate. The menu includes local fish, seafood, steaks and more.
Another Day, Another Deck
Portside Inn is a hit among BringFido users who have visited Marquette. This nautical-themed restaurant is lauded for its welcoming atmosphere, relaxing vibes and delicious American menu. Place your order for a Portside Pizza or Barge Burger and enjoy it on the spacious deck. Keep the “pawty” going at nearby Ore Dock Brewing Co., where you can sample fine beer on the patio.
Munch at Lunch
C.J's Grub Stop in Mackinaw City is an ideal place to fuel up with your pup before hopping on the ferry to Mackinac Island. The menu includes bacon cheeseburger baskets, Philly baskets and more hearty handheld offerings. If you have time before your voyage, hop on the North Western State Trail that runs alongside the restaurant and enjoy a walk with your leashed pooch.