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Everyone loves to go on vacation, but if you’re like me you hate leaving your pets behind. It can be difficult (and expensive) to travel with animals but luckily Southwest Michigan is a very pet-friendly place. You can find many hotels, restaurants, wineries, breweries, distilleries, trails, beaches, farms, campgrounds and shops that will welcome your pets as they would any other member of your family. To help plan your pet-friendly vacation, here are some places I would recommend staying and visiting while you’re here. You can also download the pet-friendly guide for more information.

Where to stay

Super8These hotels & motels welcome pets. Some may charge an additional fee so be sure to ask when booking.

Where to Eat

MasonJar 2397804These restaurants serve delicious food and allow pets on a leash in their outdoor seating areas, however, outdoor seating is seasonal. Check out more to-go options here.

Where to Shop

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  • FuzzyButz- St. Joseph
    This is a pet bakery located right in downtown St. Joseph and will be one of your pet’s favorite stops! They sell their own homemade dog and cat treats, pet supplies, and gifts. You can even order personalized cupcakes/cakes for your pet’s birthday. My dog’s favorites are the cupcakes and mini hamburgers. 
  • Third Coast Surf Shop- St. Joseph
    Owned and operated by Great Lakes surfers, this shop has everything you need for the water. They offer a full line of surf and skate gear, clothing and accessories, rentals and even lessons. 
  • Apparel from the Past/Shawnee Road Antiques-
    This antique shop in Baroda sells vintage pieces from the mid-1800s to mid-1900s and welcomes you and your pups. 
  • Watervliet Fruit Exchange- Watervliet
    The Country Store has so much to choose from including a garden center, Amish furniture and decor, local craft beer, wine and ciders and seasonal produce as well as Michigan made gifts. 
  • The Sandpiper- Bridgman
    Located in downtown Bridgman, this gift shop has fun, unique fashion, michigan-made gifts, hand-dyed yarns and natural spinning fibers. Pets are allowed in the shop and they offer treats and water.
  • Crystal Springs Florist- Benton Harbor
    Pets welcome at this floral shop, gift shop, garden center and tropical greenhouse.

What to Do

Attractions

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  • St. Joseph Lighthouse Tours- The Heritage Museum & Cultural Center offers historic walking tours of the North Pier and Inner lighthouses. Pets are welcome if they are kept on a leash but keep in mind that you will have to climb a ladder if you want to see the lantern on the 2nd floor.
  • Dewey Cannon Trading Company- Located in Three Oaks, the Dewey Cannon Trading Company has tourist and cycling information, bike rentals, t-shirts, and the Three Oaks Bicycle Museum.
  • Third Coast Paddling- Benton Harbor/New Buffalo
    Bring your four-legged friend on a paddling adventure! Third Coast offers kayak and SUP rentals on the Paw Paw River in Benton Harbor or the Galien River in New Buffalo.
  • Pier 1000 Marina- Benton Harbor
    This family owned, full service marina and boat rental is open 7 days a week. 
  • thirdcoastpaddling Instagram 1957 ig 18084154795054762Scooter Joe’s Wheel & Water Rentals- St. Joseph
    Rent Surrey bikes, a beach cruiser, fat tire, tandem & electric bikes, as well as kayaks and canoes. Small non-shedding dogs considered.
  • Hidden Pointe Fun Park- Benton Harbor
    Bring Fido along to this 18-hole miniature golf course with batting cages, Jumpshot basketball, arcade, go-karts ice cream and snacks. Dogs are allowed in the park on leashes.

Beaches/Parks: 

Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times, even in the water.

  • Warren Dunes State Park- Sawyer
    The dunes are one of Southwest Michigan’s must-sees. This state park also has a designated 2-mile dog beach and has been named one of the top 10 pet-friendly beaches in the U.S. Open year ‘round, this stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline is usually less crowded than the adjacent dunes. 
  • ch pet photography Instagram 1957 ig 17950849408257956Weko Beach- Bridgman
    You can also access the Warren Dunes Dog Beach from Weko Beach in Bridgman. They have a dog trail from the boardwalk that leads down to the lake. This is the perfect beach to take your dog if they love to swim! You can also climb the dunes on the wooden boardwalk for an even better view.
  • Silver Beach County Park- St. Joseph
    Dogs are not allowed on the beach, however, you can walk your dog on the paved sidewalks and pier to get a beautiful view of Lake Michigan and the lighthouses.
  • Lake Bluff Park- St. Joseph
    Walk along the tree-lined bluff in downtown St. Joseph overlooking the Lake Michigan shoreline. You’ll pass by monuments and memorials, a bandshell, local art and drinking fountains just for your dogs!
  • Deerlick Creek Beach- South Haven
    A good place to avoid the crowds and walk the dog-friendly beach. You can also launch your kayak via the small creek opening into Lake Michigan.
  • Eden Springs Park & Campground- Benton Harbor
    Dogs are allowed on train rides, including Halloween & Christmas rides! 
  • Madeline Bertrand County Park- Niles
    Featuring an 18-hole disc golf course, this park is perfect for outdoor activities. Check out the hiking trails, river bluff observation tower, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing areas, playground, visitor center, and warming shelter.
  • Riverview Park- St. Joseph
    107-acre park located in a bend of the St. Joseph River. Your pet will love the nature trails!
  • Roadside Park- Coloma
    A good spot to stop and stretch your legs. There’s a short walk to the Lake and dogs are allowed on the beach and in the water.
  • Rocky Gap Park- Benton Harbor
    Although pets aren’t allowed on this free beach, they are allowed in the parking lot and covered picnic bench area where you can get a great view of Lake Michigan.
  • D NowickiTiscornia Park- St. Joseph
    Beautiful beach with access to North Pier and the St. Joseph lighthouse. Pets are allowed on the sidewalk and the pier to the lighthouse. No pets allowed on the beach or in the water.
  • Arthur Dodd Memorial Park- Niles
    Enjoy hiking, fishing, picnicking and canoeing. 
  • Dr. T.K. Lawless Park- Vandalia
    Leashed dogs are allowed on the trails.
  • Fred Russ Forest Park- Cassopolis
    Pets on an 8’ or shorter leash are allowed on the trails.
  • Grand Mere State Park- Stevensville
    Pets allowed on the beach & in the water if they are leashed! It’s about a  ½ -¾-mile walk over the dune to the beach. 
  • Hagar Park- Coloma
    Pets allowed on the beach and in the water.

Trails:

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  • Grand Mere State Park- Stevensville
    Climb the dunes and hike along the lakeshore in this 985-acre park.
  • Warren Woods State Park- Sawyer
    Hike 311 acres of quiet, wooded trails with a bridge overlooking the Galien River. 
  • Love Creek Nature Center- Berrien Center
    Hike over 5 miles of trails with your pet. Leashed dogs permitted on the trails when not open for skiing. 
  • Harbor Shores Nature & Fitness Trails- St. Joseph/Benton Harbor
    Weave your way through the Harbor Shores championship golf course, wetlands and up to the dunes at Jean Klock Park with your pet.
  • Howard Recreational Trail- St. Joseph
    See beautiful views of Lake Michigan and the St. Joseph River along this path. Start near Lions Park Beach, pass Silver Beach, walk through the Upton Arboretum along the St. Joseph River and end at the Bicentennial Bridge.
  • Kal-Haven State Trail- South Haven
    This 33-mile trail links the city of South Haven to Kalamazoo. There is an 11 mile parallel section that allows horses. The staging area for horses is at 67th street and Baseline.

Wineries/Breweries/Distilleries:

anovak4 Instagram 1957 ig 1727131607922712297 11992470Not only do these destinations welcome pets but some have their own on-site!

Farms & Markets:

  • Fruit Acres Farm Market & U-Pick- Coloma
    Pets are welcome in designated picnic areas or for orchard walks. They must be on a leash.
  • Jollay Orchards- Coloma
    Leashed dogs allowed on weekdays.
  • Lehman’s Orchard- Niles
    Pets are welcome as long as you keep them under control and clean up after them.
  • Nye's Apple Barn- St. Joseph
    Please keep your pet on a leash and clean up after them. Not all guests are comfortable around pets, so respect their wishes and keep your distance. Any injury is the pet owner's responsibility.
  • Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm- Eau Claire
    Pets are allowed on a leash outside of the sales buildings and on tours. Dog walk area and water are available.
  • Stover’s Farm Market- Berrien Springs
    Leashed dogs allowed on the farm tour, in the fields and orchards; NOT allowed in the barn. Treats and water are available.

Dog Parks:

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Campgrounds:

If your dog is anything like mine it loves to camp! Here are some choices for a more rustic stay. 

Additional Information

Boarding/ Doggy daycare: If you find something you want to do while you’re here that isn’t pet-friendly, there are many local places that offer boarding or daycare for your pets so you won’t have to miss out on those activities. Just be sure to travel with your pet’s up-to-date vaccination records.

  • Mutterly Love- St. Joseph
  • Stay & Obey- Stevensville
  • The Crate Escape- Stevensville

If your dog needs a quick clean up after all your adventures you can go to the self-serve Dog Wash at Sparkle Car Wash & Quik Lube. It’s open 24/7 and is conveniently located at 2109 Washington Ave in St. Joseph.

Tips for traveling with your pet

  • Make sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations and has an ID tag with your updated contact information in case they ever get lost.
  • Bring a 6’ or shorter leash for your pet. Most places require dogs to be leashed at all times, with the exception of dog parks. 
  • Never leave your pet in a vehicle during warm temperatures.
  • Please clean up after your pet. Most parks offer free waste bags so be respectful of public areas.
  • Carry water for your pet. There are doggie drinking fountains along the bluff in St. Joseph.  

For more information about pet-friendly accommodations or about Southwest Michigan, download our pet-friendly guide or contact the Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council at 269-925-6301.

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