BringFido’s Ruff Guide to Wisconsin

Posted by Jason Halliburton

Thinking of voyaging with your Vizsla on a trip to Wisconsin? If so, he’s one lucky dog. The editors at BringFido have dedicated themselves to digging up the dog-friendliest things to do in the Badger State, as well as the rest of the country. And we've assembled it all in the 2021 edition of our book, Ruff Guide to the United States.

Now in its second edition, the book features over 365 of the best places to stay and play with your dog in all 50 states. Order your copy today and save 50% off the retail price when you use the discount code BADGER.

For a preview of the book, here are a few of our editors' top picks for dog-friendly things to do in Wisconsin:

Cruise the River With Milwaukee Boat Line

Milwaukee, WI
Taste that fresh river air! Photo by @herschel.kirby.champ.theboxers

The Milwaukee Boat Line invites canines to join its crew for a 90-minute cruise down the Milwaukee River to Lake Michigan. Departing from the Milwaukee RiverWalk in the historic Third Ward district, the company’s popular sightseeing tour combines history and trivia with gorgeous views of the city. Live narration is provided by entertaining tour guides and the captain. Snacks, soft drinks, beer, and cocktails are available for purchase on board. Tours are offered several times a day from early May through the end of September. There’s also a ‘Happy Hour’ cruise at sundown with lively music and drink specials on the menu. After the tour, take a leisurely stroll along the scenic three-mile RiverWalk or head straight to Estabrook Beer Garden to enjoy a beer and bratwurst with your pooch.

Motorcycle enthusiasts will be in hog heaven at The Iron Horse Hotel, a boutique property geared toward bikers and their furry friends. Guests arriving in Milwaukee on two wheels will appreciate the covered motorcycle parking, self-service bike wash, and industrial loft-style guest rooms designed with boot benches and custom hooks for hanging leathers.

Explore the Outdoors at Justin Trails Resort

Sparta, WI
Try to keep up! Photo by Joe Michl

With over 200 acres of open fields and forests, your pooch will have plenty of space for off-leash frolicking at the Justin Trails Resort in Sparta. Fido can fetch Frisbees on one of two 18-basket championship disc golf courses or go for a hike on the property’s 10-mile trail system with the resident Siberian husky, Heidi. In the winter, the same trails can be enjoyed on a snow tubing, snowshoeing, or skijoring adventure. Not sure how to skijor? The owners, Don and Donna Justin, can give your dog a private lesson. In less than an hour, he’ll be pulling you along the 3/4-mile groomed ‘Dog Loop’ on skis! Sparta is also home to the nation’s first Rails-to-Trails bicycle path. To ride the 32-mile Elroy-Sparta State Trail with your pup, rent a bike and dog cart from the Tunnel Trail Campground.

With accommodations ranging from primitive campsites to deluxe cabins with full kitchens, Justin Trails Resort offers a lodging option for everyone’s budget. Rates include most on-site activities and a hearty four-course breakfast featuring organic eggs, pancakes, and Donna’s famous homemade granola. Pups are free to explore the resort’s fields and forests off leash, but they must be leashed around the main lodge and cabins.

Enjoy a Show at the Northern Sky Theater

Fish Creek, WI
Northern Sky Theater presents, "Hello, Doggy!" Photo by Northern Sky Theater

Door County’s Northern Sky Theater brings original musical theater to the dogs! All summer long, the professional nonprofit theater company performs a variety of Wisconsin-centric, family-friendly musicals in the outdoor amphitheater at Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek. Your pup is welcome to take in one of the shows, which are offered nightly (except Sundays) from mid-June through August. Dogs aren’t allowed to sing along with the show, so guests with pets are simply asked to find a spot for Spot at the back of the amphitheater (in case you need to make a quick exit). Bring a picnic to enjoy during the show or purchase snacks and beverages at the concession stand. Average temperatures can dip into the 50s at night, so wear layers and bring a blanket for your pooch.

Located just a short drive from Peninsula State Park, the Edgewater Resort is nestled on a private shoreline overlooking Wisconsin’s beautiful Eagle Harbor in Ephraim. Choose a one- or two-bedroom cottage with a kitchenette, gas fireplace, and private entry for a cozy and relaxing stay. When the sun goes down, bring Fido to the nightly ‘Fish Boil’ (reservations required) at the resort’s Old Post Office Restaurant.

Ready for a Road Trip?

Photo by Linda Segerfeldt


If this Ruff Guide to Wisconsin preview left your dog drooling for more, we hope you check out our new book - Ruff Guide to the United States. Remember to use discount code BADGER to save 50% on your copy. Happy Travels!

Have you been to dog-friendly Wisconsin? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

BringFido is committed to providing authentic dog-friendly content that our readers will love. We may at times receive compensation from our partners or use affiliate links to promote products and services featured on our blog. Banner photo by iStock/Skyhobo.