As a dog parent in the area, I’m always being asked by friends and visitors, “What are the best dog friendly activities in Traverse City?” Admittedly, It’s not always easy to find these places, so we’ve done the research for you. We love when visitors come to town and bring their four legged friends along for the adventure. Whether you want to go for a nice hike, enjoy some local shopping, or go out for dinner – Traverse City has plenty of options for you.
*Remember to keep your dog on a leash for safety and as a courtesy to others.
This dog park is located right downtown Traverse City across from the beaches of West Bay. There is an area for small and large dogs. It’s about one acre of room to roam for your furry friend. Restrooms are located on the property as well. It’s a great place to go in the evenings to let your pooch run for a while, and then walk across the parkway to the beach for a nice sunset stroll.
This is a hidden gem that is just a short drive from downtown Traverse City. There is a nice fenced area for both small and large dogs. There are quite a few trees and ample grassy area for the dogs to run around. There are several benches and picnic tables for you to relax while your pup plays. There is a hose and bowls at one end of the park to make sure your dog stays hydrated. The park also offers paved trails, a kids playground, tennis courts, basketball courts, and covered picnic areas so there is plenty to enjoy for the whole family.
Dog Friendly Trails
The Traverse Area Recreation Trail (TART) is one of 1600 rail-trails supported by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that is working to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors. Previously an unused railroad corridor, this “rail-trail” is now a great place to walk your four legged friends. The map below shows a parking area with convenient access to the Traverse Area Recreation Trail (TART). One of the favorites is the VASA Pathway. To see the all of the Trail Maps and more information visit here.
Mission Point Lighthouse is an icon among locals and visitors alike. It is located at the north end of M-37 on Old Mission Peninsula. It is a beautiful drive out to the lighthouse so don’t forget to stop and enjoy the views along the way! Mission Point Lighthouse Park & Beach is pet-friendly, and any pet under control can be off-leash too for responsible pet owners. The trails and beach are dog-friendly but dogs are not allowed in the lighthouse.
Leashed animals are welcome on the paved walkways and open grassy spaces, however, they are not allowed on the beaches. The park has picnic tables, bike racks, TART trail access, seasonal snack bar and public restrooms.
This trail is a 3-mile, heavily wooded trail that wraps along the eastern and northern boundaries of the Boardman Lake. The best places for parking near the trail are located next to Oryana Co-Op on East Tenth Street or near Hull Park on Hannah Ave. You can walk, bike, or rollerblade with your dog around the beautiful trails here.
This natural area and preserve is located 11 miles southeast of Traverse City. It has over 1,300 acres with a plethora of wildlife and beautiful scenery. You can wander through 8 miles of trails either through the woods or alongside the Boardman River. This is a great trail to bring your dog all year round.
Located just northwest of Traverse City and within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, this gorgeous trail is worth the 30 minute drive. The overlook for the trail is only about 0.7 miles up a steep hill and is so worth it at the end! The 180 degree views of Lake Michigan and its islands are absolutely stunning.
This natural area is located just a short drive from Traverse City along US-31. This is a shorter trail that leads onto a beach along East Bay. Bonus – if you visit in the summertime you will see a gorgeous field with acres of sunflowers!
Located just southwest of Traverse City, this 6 mile pathway connects to Lake Dubonnet State Forest Campground. This trail is great for visitors all year round as there are trails for hiking, mountain biking, and cross country skiing. The path goes by 3 smaller lakes and ponds so there are plenty of scenic views for you and your dog. Camp out here and enjoy all that Northern Michigan has to offer!
This trail is accessible year round for you and your four legged friend. It features a great views of Lake Ann, Mary’s Lake, and even the Platte River. It connects to Lake Ann State Forest Campground. Visitors love to camp here and enjoy fishing in the nearby trout stream, take a dip in Lake Ann, and cross country ski in the winter months.
Dog Friendly Shopping
This entire Commons area is very dog friendly. The Mercato on the ground level of “Building 50” has small shops that offer souvenirs, Michigan-based apparel, a flower shop, jewelry, eco-friendly, knick-knacks, a bookstore, and much more. There are also a few restaurants within the building that will allow dogs on their patio.
*Bonus* – The Grand Traverse Commons Natural Area has a system of trails on the back property as well. We typically like to park at the trailhead located just behind the water tower near Earthen Ales. This is a gorgeous 140 acre park that has a few hidden gems like the Hippie Tree, and scenic spots where you can even see the bay!
The majority of shops downtown on Front Street are very dog friendly. You will see most shops even have dog bowls or treat jars right outside. There are plenty of patios where you can stop to sit and enjoy local treats as well. Our favorite spots? Enjoying a coffee outside of Espresso Bay, an ice cream on the patio outside Milk & Honey, a bite to eat at Taproot Cider House, or reading a new book on the patio outside of Horizon Books.
Dog Friendly Wine Tasting
This vineyard is a short drive up Old Mission Peninsula along Center Road. It boasts incredible views of the bay with a large outdoor stone patio. Bring a blanket for a hillside picnic with your pooch or you can enjoy your wine on the patio. There is even live music to enjoy outside from time to time.
This is a great winery for all dog lovers. The thing that we love the most is that quite a few of the wines are named after the owner’s dogs. You can spot them walking around the property and even visiting the tasting room from time to time. There is ample seating outside on the beautiful grounds and even a few trails to walk. Don’t forget to go visit the shop to grab a dog-themed wine stopper and some yummy dog treats!
Bonobo Winery is home to dog lovers as well. While dogs are not allowed in the tasting room or on the patio, there are several tables on the lawn where you can hang out with your furry friends. You are also welcome to take your dogs on a walk through the vineyards.
This location is the original Black Star Farms located near Suttons Bay. It has a great outdoor patio where you can relax with your pooch at your side and enjoy a local beverage. It is set on a 160 acre estate that even offers hiking trails on the back of the grounds so if your pup is a little restless you can go for a stroll through the hills and trails.
On the property of the Grand Traverse Commons, this winery has a great selection of local wines and ciders. They offer a beautiful patio for you furry friends to relax on as well as a grassy area across the pathway to play a game of bocce and room for your pet to roam. Don’t forget about the trails right behind this location as mentioned earlier if you want more of a walk!
This vineyard is located east of Traverse City in beautiful Lake Leelanau. The tasting room offers wine by he glass as well as locally sourced small plates. In the summer months, you can enjoy service on the patio or around the fire pit with your dog. Reservations are recommended.
This winery was founded in 2006 on the gorgeous rolling hills of the Leelanau Peninsula. The owners here affectionately named their dogs the official greeters of the vineyard. While the “greeters” are not allowed in the tasting room, you can see the pups roaming the grounds outside. They welcome visitors to bring their dogs to accompany them in their wine tasting but the must remain on a leash outside.
Dog Friendly Restaurants
This brewery and restaurant boasts great food and drinks alongside a historic railroad. There is family-style seating on the patio right along the tracks. You can enjoy live music outside in the summer months. We absolutely love every single one of the flatbreads and salads here. If your pup is getting a little restless, or you just want to take an after dinner walk, you are only a few steps away from the Boardman Lake Trails!
This local coffee roaster and coffee shop shares a patio with the winery Left Foot Charley mentioned above. They offer amazing fair trade coffee and have a passion for working with their farmers. You can truly feel good about sipping and shopping here. They have plenty of outdoor seating so you can savor your coffee and enjoy the patio.
This traditional Jewish bagel shop will be the best bagels you or your dog can find here in Traverse City. There are lots of fresh bagels, homemade cream cheese, and fresh pastries to choose from. Dogs are not allowed inside the shop but they do have hidden treats for your furry friend! Make sure to ask for a dog bagel for them to enjoy while you wait.
Located at the end of Front Street right downtown Traverse City, this great spot has local coffee, tea, and baked goods. While the shop is small and pups aren’t necessarily allowed inside, make sure you ask about their homemade dog treats when you stop in!
This local co-op, around since 1973, has great local, organic grocery products and a deli with indoor seating as well an outdoor patio. You can find fresh products for you and “Fido” here. Oryana is located just along the Boardman Lake Trails so you can park here and take a walk around the Boardman Lake after your meal from the deli.
This beautiful location near the beaches of Glen Arbor is the perfect little escape for you and your pup. This location not only has a store with delicious cherry goods but also an ice cream shop, small bar, wine tasting, and great outdoor dining space. You can play yard games and walk around the grounds with your dog. Dogs are welcome all around the grounds as well as the shop and tasting room. Grab a local beverage and enjoy the patio with your pooch!
This group of local food trucks is located right downtown on Front Street. There are 6 food trucks open year round with outdoor seating as well as a bar. Your four-legged friends are welcome to join you for a meal on the patio here 7 days a week! Seating is first come first serve so make sure you get here early on the weekends.
Our #1 Pick for Traverse City has to go to The Shed. You read that correctly! Finally, You can take your dog out to dinner! A lot of places are dog friendly but we’ve never seen a place where your dog can dine at the same time as you. Check out the full dog menu here. Don’t forget your Free SHED souvenir bowl with the meal.
Enjoy over 160 flavors of ice cream on this beautiful farm just a few minutes from downtown Traverse City. The best part? You can relax at the tables to enjoy your ice cream just outside the shop while your pup enjoys a dog friendly ice cream treat as well! Looking for other local ice cream spots for your pup? Check out Bardon’s Wonder Freeze, Culver’s, or Scoops 22 in Suttons Bay.
This Brew Pub is located right on the edge of downtown Traverse City in the Warehouse District. They offer local brews and great food like street tacos and nachos Tuesday – Sunday. You can sit on the dog friendly patio while sipping your craft brew and taking in the breeze from the bay. Enjoy live music? You can get it here 4 nights a week. There are no reservations so make sure you come over early on the weekends!
Jacob’s Farm is a 40 acre dog friendly farm located just a few minutes from West Bay in downtown Traverse City. In the summer, enjoy U-Pick Cherry Orchards, Kid’s Play Zone, live music and a full Kitchen and Bar. In the fall, come back for the Corn Maze, Yoga on The Farm, and U Pick Apples. No matter where you are on the farm you are guaranteed great views!
Dog Food & Supplies
This pet supply store has been a favorite of the locals for many years. All products are made in the USA and Canada. They have a great selection of food, toys, leases, and more. They pride themselves on being Northern Michigan’s only holistic dog supply store. Did we mention they have a full dog bakery? Click here to see the full menu at the dog bakery including Happy Birthday treats and seasonal treats.
This family owned business has been serving Traverse City since 1982. They specialize in all natural foods for dogs (and cats!) The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable about pet food. They have a variety of brands including raw food. Don’t hesitate to ask a staff member if you need help picking out something for your four legged friend!
Dog Boarding/Day Care
Sun Dog is an all-inclusive vacation for your awesome pup while you are away! they offer both Day Care and Boarding. The kennels they have were designed just for the dogs and are “cage free”. Most of the time during your dog’s stay they will be outside enjoying their 20,000 sq. ft kennel yard. Dogs get to choose whether they want to take a nap inside, a good belly rub lounging on the couch for story time, running around the yard with their new friends, chasing a tennis ball, or going on a walk to enjoy great Northern Michigan views. The owner, Allison, believes that dogs who get to play, socialize, and get plenty of exercise (physical & mental) sleep quietly during the night, eliminating much of the stress from boarding.
Diana offers a variety of services from pet daycare, overnight boarding, dog grooming, and special care for your special needs pets. They offer doggy daycare where all sizes and breeds are welcome. Your furry friend can have a great day playing with new friends while you are out enjoying the city. Had a fun day in the water? Bring in your dog for a Full Service grooming package complete with shampoo, nail trim, ear cleaning, scented cologne and full cut/brush.
Acme Creek Kennels has been caring for pets on their quiet 50 acre facility since 1989. They pride themselves on being of the the top pet boarding and day care facilities in Grand Traverse County. Being a family run business with two Veterinary Technicians on staff, you know that your pet’s wellbeing is always top of mind here. The family lives on the property so they are available to the boarders 24/7. Don’t forget to ask about grooming services during their stay!
Pet Lover ❤️ Cleaning Special
FreshTrippin loves animals. One of our owners even has an indoor pet pig! We offer a residential cleaning add-on for anyone with four legged friends. This pet lover package add on can include things like:
- Cleaning pet hair from furniture
- Wiping paw and nose prints from doors & windows
- Clean/sanitize doggie dishes
- Vacuum/clean dog beds
- Extra attention to corners and baseboards and vents
- Clean cat posts, cat “condos”, or kitty’s favorite spot
- When possible, mitigate cat scratch damage on furniture