Two fun-filled days for fido packed into one itinerary! Grab your pup and get ready to check out some of the best dog-friendly spots for dining, drinking and playing in Traverse City, Petoskey and Harbor Springs.

This article was in the April 2021 issue of Traverse Magazine.

Disclaimer: Unless otherwise specified, dogs must always be leashed when hiking on trails and in preserves and visiting public beaches and businesses. We recommend going online and checking regulations before heading out on your dog-friendly weekend adventure.

Your Northern Michigan Dog-Friendly Weekend Plans

Weekend plans featuring fido aren’t always the easiest to make since it can be difficult ensuring all of your activities are dog-friendly. Let us help you take the work out of planning with some of our favorite dog-friendly activities in Travers City, Petoskey and Harbor Springs. Enjoy a full weekend with fido without sacrificing quality.

Day 1: Hit up Traverse City.
Day 2: Cruise north to Petoskey and Harbor Springs.

Whether you stick to this itinerary or mix and match these dog-friendly restaurants, trails and beaches, you’re sure to have a tail-waggin’ time all weekend long. Check out our dog’s picks along with some honorable mentions below.

Dog at The Shed restaurant with water bowl.

Day 1: Dog-Friendly Activities in Traverse City & Old Mission Peninsula

Traverse City & Old Mission Peninsula Dog-Friendly Dining

The Shed Beer Garden
423 South Union St.

Dogs get their own menu at The Shed, with options like the Puppy Patty (an all-beef burger with cheddar cheese served with peas and baby carrots) and Hungry Dawg (brisket bits, bacon, peas, baby carrots and brown rice). Located behind Blue Tractor, The Shed has a beer truck—a restored 1955 Chevrolet with eight taps—a food truck specializing in sliders, fire pits, live music, outdoor games and plenty of shade.


The Filling Station Microbrewery
642 Railroad Pl.

  • Wood-fired pizzas and craft beer
  • View of Boardman Lake, plus access to Boardman Lake Trail and TART Trail
  • Ample room for doggos with picnic table seating

The Towne Plaza
203 Cass St.

  • Amazing menu that has something for everyone
  • Upscale casual (doggie date!)
  • Shaded cobblestone patio with twinkling lights at night

7263 N. Long Lake Rd.

  • Ice cream on a charming farm
  • Order a sweet treat for your dog, too
  • Picnic tables and plenty of scenic views

Dog-Friendly Spots for a Drink in Traverse City & Old Mission Peninsula

A pint of cider at Bower's Harbor Vineyards with a dog in the background.

Bowers Harbor Vineyards
2896 Bowers Harbor Rd.

The team at Bowers Harbor really loves dogs. A series of dog wines, named after their vineyard dogs, includes Otis (chardonnay riesling blend), Cooper (sweet white blend), Brix (sparkling white) and Winston.

A portion of the proceeds from the 2018 Winston, a blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot, benefits Cherryland Humane Society. Dogs are allowed outdoors on the winery’s gorgeous, vine-covered veranda where Adirondack chairs overlook the vineyard.

Higher Grounds Trading Co.
806 Red Dr.

  • House-roasted coffee
  • Great patio
  • Located at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons (dog-friendly hiking trails, winery and more)

Silver Spruce Brewing
439 E. Eighth St.

  • Specializes in lagers… for humans
  • Dogs are allowed inside and out
  • Picnic tables and cozy fire pit

Traverse City Whiskey Co.
201 E. 14th St.

  • Makes a mean Manhattan
  • Dogs are allowed inside and out
  • Within walking distance of The Filling Station for pup-friendly dining; connected via a 0.9-mile stroll along the Boardman Lake Trail

Dog-Friendly Hikes in Traverse City and Mission Peninsula

Lighthouse Park
Parking lot off Center Road (M-37)

Almost 10 miles of trails offer both spectacular views of Grand Traverse Bay and deep forest quiet (maps are posted in the park). Historic Mission Point Lighthouse is set within the park, and picnic tables are available for a post-hike lunch.

There’s also access to a beach, where your pup can cool down in the water. Plus, you can stop by Bowers Harbor Vineyards on your way home for a glass of wine or a bottle to go. The park closes at 10 p.m.

For official leash rules, view the Lighthouse Park website.

Dog on the trail at Lighthouse Park.

Grand Traverse Commons Natural Area

  • 140-acres with unpaved trails pass streams, wooded areas and panoramic views of Grand Traverse Bay
  • Parking and trailheads located on North Long Lake Road, near the intersection of Medical Campus and Orange drives; near Historic Barns Park; on the west side of the TBA Administrative building and on the northernmost side of the Copper Ridge development
  • Or, access the trail system behind Left Foot Charley and Higher Grounds Trading Co., both have dog-friendly patios

Timbers Recreation Area
Parking on Timbers Trail off N. Long Lake Road

  • 250 acres with 4.4 miles of trail, including a .5-mile universally accessible trail, take you through hardwood forests, fields and riparian wetlands
  • Fishing pier at Fern Lake and 2,000 feet of frontage on Long Lake
  • Just a three-minute drive to Moomers, which is also on N. Long Lake Road, for ice cream and dog treats

Grand Traverse Natural Education Reserve
1450 Cass Rd.

  • Seven miles of trail within the 505-acre reserve wend past marsh, swamp, upland and pine forests, creeks and the Boardman River
  • Picnic tables throughout the property; bring lunch
  • It’s a straight shot to Traverse City Whiskey Co.— drive six minutes on Cass Street and you’re there

Day 2: Dog-Friendly Activities in Petoskey & Harbor Springs

Petoskey & Harbor Springs Dog-Friendly Dining & Drinking

Dog sitting on owners lap at the Back Lot restaurant in Petoskey.

The Back Lot
425 Michigan St., Petoskey

This beer garden and food truck court not only allows canine companions, they embrace them! You and your doggo are welcome to grab a bite and a drink, whether that’s out in the sunny food court, or up at the bar (as long as the garage doors are open).

In the off-season, you can find Happy’s Taco Shop and The Reel Deal Fish and Chips truck holding down the fort, but come May, expect to see an array of food trucks return, including favorites like Cheese & Co., Mim’s Mobile Grill and Full Moon Pizza.

Pond Hill Farm
5699 S. Lake Shore Dr., Harbor Springs

  • Cute cafe with a fresh, farm-to-table menu
  • Great for dogs and kids alike— animals all over the farm + a petting zoo
  • Plenty of photo ops: beautiful scenery, including a vineyard

Stafford’s Pier Restaurant
102 W. Bay St., Harbor Springs

  • Dog-friendly seating puts you right on the water
  • Enjoy views of Little Traverse Bay
  • Try a cup of chowder with your perch or whitefish, or do brunch with your pup!

Crooked Vine Vineyard & Winery
8370 Lakeview Rd., Alanson

  • Vineyard with a tasting room, just east of Crooked Lake
  • Sit and sip on the patio with your pup, or roam the open fields with your furry friend
  • Bring your own picnic and enjoy a walking trail with picnic tables

Best Dog-Friendly Hiking in Petoskey & Harbor Springs

Dogs outside at Offield Family Working Forest Reserve.

Allan and Virginia McCune Nature Preserve
McCune Nature Trail, Petoskey (near Epsilon)

This 168-acre preserve features three and a half miles of well-marked, well-maintained trails to explore with your dog. The property is full of wild splendor to enjoy, including 3,400 feet of Minnehaha Creek frontage, hardwood forest, pine plantations, a meadow, a creek and a cedar swamp. (Little Traverse Conservancy offers “dog loops” at popular preserves like this one. The short, designated paths give pets a quick bathroom break before hitting the main trail.)

Hungry after your hike? Take a 10-minute drive into downtown Petoskey and check out Chandler’s dog-friendly patio for brunch (on the weekend), lunch or dinner (we recommend the sushi!).

Offield Family Working Forest Reserve
Quick Road, Harbor Springs

  • Nearly four miles of well-marked trails, both with and without hill climbing
  • Views of Little Traverse Bay and the inland waterway
  • Wind your way through meadows with your doggo
  • About four miles from downtown Harbor Springs— check out the dog-friendly patio seating
    at Paper Station Bistro

Goodhart Farms Nature Preserve
3264 Powell Rd., Harbor Springs

  • Six and a half miles of marked trails perfect for hiking with your dog
  • A mix of meadows, maple, beech and ash forest
  • Features views of old orchards, pine plantations and Lake Michigan
  • Just 10 minutes from Tom’s Mom’s Cookies— indulge with a homemade cookie and enjoy a stroll with your pup

Skyline Trail
3484 Krause Rd., Petoskey

  • Hike uphill to views of Little Traverse Bay and Bear River Valley with your pup
  • Part of the North Country Trail system
  • For those looking for a more challenging hike— hilly, with two switchbacks
  • A 15-minute drive gets you to Duffy’s Garage & Grille in downtown Petoskey for a post-hike pizza.

Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in Petoskey & Harbor Springs

Zoll Street Beach
Zoll Street (south of Main Street), Harbor Springs

Zoll Street Beach is THE dog beach in town. No leashes are required at this quaint sandy spot, allowing for plenty of swimming and romping along the shoreline. Amenities at the downtown park include a grassy area, picnic tables, a water spigot and an outdoor shower.

If your pup is also a fan of gliding atop the water, bring your kayak or stand-up paddle-board to launch from the beach. Note: This park is unfenced with a marshy surrounding area, so it’s recommended to only let your dog off-leash if they are willing to stay close.

Dog swimming with toy.

Bayfront Park
101 E. Lake St., Petoskey

  • Stroll the concrete pier and rocky shoreline
  • Within walking distance from downtown Petoskey

Bay Shore West Park
507-693 Townline Rd., Petoskey

  • Boardwalk out to a rocky shore beach
  • Great for Petoskey stone hunting with your pup

Madison DeLaere was a MyNorth editorial intern in 2019 and 2020.

Find this and more Fido-friendly articles in the April 2021 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine; or subscribe and get Traverse delivered to your door each month.