Whether your pet loves time in the country or enjoys being the center of attention in town, Southwest Michigan is the pawsatively perfect place to spend some time together with your best friend.
Start your day with a bite to eat from Froehlich’s Kitchen & Pantry which is one of the newest stars on the local foodie scene. Leashed pets are welcome at the outdoor tables in warm weather. Come for lunch, dinner or a snack, choosing from the locally-sourced sweets and savories on the deli menus. Gather up jars of homegrown fruit jams, preserves, jellies and salsas. Then, cross the street to the 27-year-old original store, now called Froehlich’s Bakery, for made-from-scratch artisan breads, pies, pastries, unique desserts and special occasion cakes.The Bakery opens at 7:30 a.m., closed Tuesday and Wednesday; and the Kitchen & Pantry opens at 11 a.m., closed Wednesday.
Next, a 10-minute drive north will feel like a world away for you and your dog.
19 and 26 N. Elm St, Three Oaks
This scenic park is home to three miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and a spectacular dune that towers 260 feet above the beach. A pup paradise with six miles of hiking trails that feature beach and forest scenery. It is a lovely destination any time of year, but the fall foliage is particularly striking. On hot days, dogs and their owners will enjoy frolicking in the water, chasing a ball on the beach or strolling along the boardwalks. Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach north of the northernmost beach parking lot as well as on the hiking trails, boardwalks and in the campground.
After a wild time in nature, switch gears and drive up the shoreline for three miles and cut east on Lake St. in Bridgman. Then, follow your nose down a bucolic country road for seven miles through fragrant wine country.
12032 Red Arrow Highway, Sawyer
Located on a country estate, with a rustic yet contemporary feel, Free Run Cellars provides a lovely wine country setting to relax for you and your pet. Enjoy a glass of wine or share a bottle on the patio where pets will enjoy plenty of attention. Fall brings an outdoor Sunday afternoon concert series, where soothing acoustic jams provide the soundtrack to an idyllic day. Check the winery’s website for more information about occasional epicurean dinners. Pets are allowed outside at tables. Open Friday through Sunday.
Amble northeast for about four miles, along roads lined with sun-dappled orchards, then look for the big red barn.
10062 Burgoyne Road, Berrien Springs
Pick your produce fresh from the tree, learn about the 23 different varieties of apples and leave with a new favorite family recipe. Pets will enjoy spending some time trying out life as a farm dog. They are welcome anywhere except inside the 165-year-old Michigan Bank Barn that houses the farm market.
You and your furry pal can be together in the orchards and fields, hunt for arrowheads or take the farm tour. Go on a walk through the woods and try spotting birds, raccoons, fox and a variety of other wildlife at this family-owned Centennial farm. Please keep your pet on a 6-foot or shorter leash.
Dog treats and water are provided. Open early June to late October. Closed Sundays. Open early June to late October. Closed Sundays.
7837 M-139, Berrien Springs
Stay at either of the hotels below in Stevensville. This will place you and your furry family member right in the middle of your destinations.
Baymont Inn & Suites, Stevensville (I-94 Exit 23)
Candlewood Suites Extended Stay, Stevensville (I-94 Exit 23)
Keep in mind that most hotels will not allow pets to be left in the room unattended, so check your hotel’s website for more specific details. There are excellent doggie daycare providers in town that offer both full- and half-day options.
Your dog will love the opportunity to get off its leash, socialize and run free for a while in this sprawling park located right in the city. Surrounded by large trees on sloping hillsides, you will also find playground areas, a skate park and a picnic pavilion.
Drive or walk your leashed dog up the hill into St. Joseph’s lively downtown and visit the pet-friendly shops and eateries, parks and beaches.
The intersection of Langley & Pearl Streets, St. Joseph
Conveniently located in the middle of our quaint blocks of shops and eateries, the St. Joseph Today Welcome Center offers tourist and visitor information, area maps, local guides and brochures and public restrooms. Get the inside track on all of the best spots in the area to enjoy with your pet. Open seven days a week, 9 am on weekdays, 10 am on Saturday and noon on Sunday.
Trot across the street for a very special pet-pleasing stop.
301 State, St. St Joseph
Pets will feel the love at this shop with made-to-order birthday cakes and homemade treats that make any day feel special. Dogs can pick up a souvenir or a new toy to play with at the beach. The shop features lots of cute accessories that will tempt owners as well.
Once you’ve outfitted your pet and fueled up on some treats, head for the great outdoors. Walk up or down State Street and then turn west for one block toward the bluff.
306 State Street, St. Joseph
Lake Bluff Park is awash in monuments, memorials and lovely seasonal blooms, and your pet is always welcome. While you are boning up on local history and enjoying stunning views of the lake and lighthouse, your pet will find all kinds of fun along this grassy, tree-lined park.
A scenic walk south along Lake Boulevard takes you past the library and the Krasl Art Center. Turn right on Park Street toward the beach and cross over the railroad tracks. Tucked away on your left you will find a paved, wooded trail that follows the tracks. Follow the trail to Lion’s Park Beach, where you and your pet will be treated to a sand-swept path punctuated with a variety of native flora and fauna.
Follow the path back along the road to Park Street and steer your pooch to the left down to Silver Beach. Stay on the paved path and enjoy sweeping views of one of the top family-friendly beaches in the U.S. On a calm day, you and your pet can enjoy a walk on the South Pier and watch boats and freighters move in and out of the harbor.
Close the loop by following Broad Street past the Whirlpool Compass Fountain and up the stairs back to the top of the bluff. Saturday mornings offer a farmer’s market and frequent special events. Dogs must be on a 6-foot leash or shorter. The trail system features doggie drinking fountains. Bags are provided to clean up after your pet.
Load up Rover for a car ride and drive over the bridge to Benton Harbor where five miles east you will find more pet-friendly fun.
520-598 Lake Blvd, St. Joseph
Enjoy some of the area’s quirkier past at Eden Springs. The amusement park was established in 1908 by the Israelite House of David religious sect and attracted visitors until closing in the mid-1970s. In its heyday, the park featured a zoo and aviary, a miniature auto raceway, a bowling alley, an outdoor amphitheater and beer garden, glorious flower displays and steam-powered, 1904 Cagney miniature trains.
Currently, the park is being restored. However, its trains, terraced garden and vintage baseball diamond can be enjoyed by visitors.
Spend some time piecing together the park’s and sect’s history while strolling with your pet through the peaceful wooded grounds. Or take a weekend train ride with your pooch through the park in the summer.
In the fall, imagination takes over and the park is decorated for Halloween. You and your pet can hop aboard the Halloween train ride on October weekends! Or come on December weekends for the festive Christmas train rides. Dogs must be kept on a 6-foot leash or shorter throughout the park.
Once you’ve pulled back into the station and are ready for some R&R, drive a few miles northwest, back toward the lake, through the scenic golf community and wetlands of Harbor Shores.
793 M-139, Benton Harbor
After a day of sightseeing with your pet, nothing is quite as nice as resting those paws in a friendly place. Relax and reflect on your day together at this brewpub that creates a third-place style atmosphere. Your best friend is always welcome at this lively location near the beach and golf course where you will meet up with kayakers, bicyclists and the young at heart. Brews are crafted with an eye toward collaboration with local farmers and sustainability.
North Pier does not serve food, and as such, your leashed pet is allowed to join you in the brewery or outdoors on the large deck that has a cozy firepit area for chilly fall days. Feel free to bring in your own meal. A family-friendly environment offers shuffleboard, soft drinks and Nitro iced coffee on tap to energize you before heading out for your next adventure.
670 North Shore Drive, Benton Harbor
Nothing delights pets like a romp through the beautiful Southwest Michigan countryside.
Treats, trains, trails and happy tails
We hope you enjoyed your travels throughout Southwest Michigan. Check out other trips that you can take on our itineraries page. Happy trails!
There are more colorful roads to travel after sunrise tomorrow.