The dog days of summer in Door County don’t have to be spent indoors caged up. Consider the option of bringing man’s best friend along for the fun! Of course, not all areas of Door County welcome pets and it is best for you and your dog to do some research in advance to ensure fun for everyone—on two legs or four.
When it comes to having a cozy place stay, there are plenty of places in Door County that welcome dogs. Keep in mind that these options are pet-friendly with approval, so be sure to discuss the pet’s lodging when booking. Sometime size and number of pets will also be considered.
If you are a camping aficionado, consider one of the counties many campgrounds or campsites in the state parks. Most allow leashed dogs in all areas, while some require rental of specific dog-friendly sites.
Sometimes your pup may just need to shed the leash and go wild, and luckily there are several fenced dog parks that allow dogs to run and intermingle freely.
Located near Sturgeon Bay, the Shiloh Road Dog Park has two large areas for dogs to explore. You can find this park by driving south on County Road U/Clay Banks Road from Highway 42/57. Take the fork to the right that is Division Road, and keep right until you reach the park located to your right. The park keeps a container at the park full of balls and other dog toys to share, but bring your own water along.
Further north you will find Harbor Hounds Dog Park in Egg Harbor at the corner of Church Street & Harbor School Road, within walking distance of the heart of the village. The park is open year round and is donation based. The two acre area is partially wooded with a separate space for small dogs and each area has picnic tables.
In Sister Bay you can find a large fenced grassy area adjacent to the Sister Bay Sports Complex on Autumn Court. This park is fee free and welcomes visitors year round. You’ll often find lots of tennis balls for fetching too!
Across the peninsula in Baileys Harbor sits Captain Baileys Dog Park. Two fenced and shaded areas exist for large and small dogs. Lots of grassy areas and benches make it comfortable for dogs and their owners.
For outdoor fun, take the whole crew to one of the five state parks in Door County. Each park allows dogs on leash, but does restrict pet access in certain areas and times of year. Dogs are especially restricted in sandy beach areas except for one designated dog beach in Whitefish Dunes State Park. Dog Beach access is about a 0.75-mile walk from the parking lot near the main entrance. Hike down the Red Trail and then onto the beach off to the left.
Outside of the parks, you will find great hiking options thanks to the Door County Land Trust, which has designated 14 locations as preserved areas of land, each one providing visitors with hiking trails. Similar to the state park, dogs are required to be on leash and picked up after.
If your four legged friend also has sea legs, consider booking a sailing tour or kayak adventure. Check with tour operators to confirm the right tour for you and invest in a dog life vest. Paddleboard or pontoon rentals are also good options for getting everyone out on the water.
If your pup is more of a film hound, catch a movie (or double feature) at the Skyway Drive-In Theater. Well-behaved dogs are welcomed and must be kept leashed or in the vehicle. Theater goers can take their dog along to Northern Sky Theater as well, but come early to get a side or aisle seat to allow for potty breaks or easy exit if the pup lacks patience.
Many restaurants with outdoor seating welcome well-behaved dogs on leash. Reference our dog-friendly dining guide to find great options and call ahead to confirm availability.
Door County hosts festivals year round, and dogs can enjoy the festivities on leash as well. In some cases they are invited to participate, such as in the Fur Bal Pet Parade during Ephraim’s Fyr Bal Festival or the Parade of Scots (a parade of Scottish Terriers) during Maifest in Jacksonport.
In all cases, consider the enjoyment of your pet to make sure festivals or activities don’t overwhelm them or wear them down in hot weather. In festival situations in particular, loud music, strangers who want to pet them and other dogs will be common occurences to consider.
- The best rule of thumb for traveling with your dog is to call ahead or confirm on arrival the rules of each venue or activity.
- Invest in a good harness or gentle leader if your dog is prone to pulling or lunging when on a leash.
- During the hot summer months, don’t forget to pack along plenty of water for your pup. Heat can be harder on dogs who are not accustomed to being outdoors in the sun or those who have lots of thick fur.
- Always have more than a few waste bags on hand! There’s nothing worse than your dog deciding to go #2 twice and you only have one bag.
- Do a quick Google search to know the closest emergency vet options to you in case of an injury or accident.
- If your schedule of events won’t allow for your furry friend to come along, and you don’t want to leave them alone for long period at a time, consider a kennel like Appletree Pet Lodge or Idlewild Kennel, both in Sturgeon Bay. Arrangements and vet records will need to be made in advance.
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