Plan the best day ever with your pet in West Michigan

Pet friendly lodging, eatery and outdoor recreating suggestions

Photo of Angela Mulka

No one gets left behind on this year's family vacation when you visit these pet friendly establishments across West Michigan. When planning your next trip with your furry pal, be sure to check out some of the destinations below, including lodging, restaurants and outdoor recreating ideas.

In Southern West Michigan:

Kalamazoo has some great locations that pets will love, according to the West Michigan Tourist Association. Like Kara’s Kottages, which has options for classic urban lodging for you and your four-legged friend. Eat and relax at The Thirsty Hound, a dog friendly tavern, which hosts weekly food trucks and other events including live music. 

Spoil your pup at State Street PawFitters in historic Downtown Marshall. The store supplies customers with U.S.-sourced dog chews, most even made in Michigan. Its toys for dogs and cats are high quality, fun and durable. Also downtown, is Dark Horse Brewing Co., where the outdoor beer garden has a separate entrance just for dogs. One review says the brewing company’s “Pretzels and beer cheese will change your life.”

South Haven has become an extremely popular destination for pets, so many businesses cater to pet owners, according to the West Michigan Tourist Association. For a place to stay, check into the Sun ‘n Sand Resort, voted one of the top places to stay five years running on and swim in the salt water pool. Comfort Suites and other area hotels, and even Airbnbs, are also accommodating to pets. Nearby beaches such as Deerlick Creek Beach and Pilgrim Haven Natural Area welcome dogs.

In Saugatuck, the Mitten Brewing Company, Virtue Cider and Guardian Brewing Company all allow pets in their outdoor seating areas. Enjoy the breeze from the lakeshore with a cold craft beer in your hand and your best four-legged friend by your side.

Moreover, The Livery in Benton Harbor is a great destination for those traveling with their pets. Located just minutes from the shoreline of Lake Michigan, this brewery offers 18 taps of hand-forged beer, house wine and cider, along with specializing in hand-tossed pizzas made from spent grain from the brewhouse. No reservations are needed, so feel free to bring your furry friends to the beer garden, seat yourself and place your order at the bar whenever, according to the West Michigan Tourist Association.

In Central West Michigan:

If your pooch is your traveling companion, no worries. Ludington makes it easier for you and your furry friend. A number of Ludington-area restaurants have pet-friendly outdoor spaces where you can enjoy a bite with your furry pal: Blu Moon Bistro, Cafe 106, Table 14 and more here.

In Grand Rapids, the Morton Hotel is a residential-style place with a mid-century twist on dog-friendly designs. For pets, the hotel includes a play and relief area and dog washing station. The 25 rooms all include long-term stay accommodations. It is pup-perfect.

Mount Pleasant is super pet friendly, according to the West Michigan Tourist Association. Deerfield Nature Park and Meridian Park offer miles of hiking trails for you and your pet. Be sure to bring fido to Hannah’s Bark Park, where they can run around 3.6 acres of fenced area safely, and maybe even make some new buddies. Hungry? Dine downtown on the patio of Max & Emily’s sandwich shop.

Looking for somewhere to let your dog get outside and socialize with others? Check out Brutus Dog Park in Mecosta County, with water fountains for dogs. All Mecosta County parks allow pets, according to the West Michigan Tourist Association. 

In Northern West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula: 

If you need a place to stay, eat and explore with your pet, the Charlevoix Convention & Visitor Bureau has compiled a list of some of its premier destinations to visit with fur friends. For example, Charles Ransom Nature Preserve is a great place to catch a sunset with your pet. Your dog will thank you for the trails and fields they can run through. Some downtown restaurants will allow you to bring your dog into the outdoor seating areas.

You can bring your dog with you on summer vacation if you stay at Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire, near the popular Torch Lake. 

Traveling to Mackinac Island but don’t want to leave your pet behind? No worries! Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry encourages guests to bring their animals along with a free ride to the island and back.

Moreover, Marquette County has great pet-friendly places to stay and play. Stay at one of Marquette’s many pet-friendly accommodations spread across the county. Staying downtown? Be sure to take your pet on a walk along the city’s beautiful lakefront harbors or grab a bite at Donkers, a casual restaurant and candy shop. Fido is welcome to join you at one of their four pet-friendly outdoor tables while you enjoy the day.

All aboard with pets! Dogs and cats up to 20 pounds are welcome on trips up to seven hours on most Amtrak routes. The check-in process is simple, making traveling with your four-legged friend easy and enjoyable, according to statements made by the West Michigan Tourist Association.