15 Best Dog-Friendly Vacation Destinations in Wisconsin

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dog is feeling joyful in a dog friendly vacation in Wisconsin

When many people think of Wisconsin, they think of cheese. But it is also known for its ginseng and cranberry production, as well as Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. This northern midwestern state is just minutes from Canada but is surrounded by Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and the lakes. Another important creation from Wisconsin is the Harley-Davidson motorcycle. There is a museum dedicated to the popular machine, but your pooch will have to miss it because dogs are not allowed. 

The state has almost six million residents as well as about 800,000 fur babies. And with so many dogs, you know there are going to be plenty of pup popular activities to enjoy. There are more than 125 dog parks, 150 pet-friendly trails, 70 pup-loving stores, and even some beaches where your cuddle buddy can swim. 

There are also over 3,900 vacation rentals in Wisconsin that welcome dogs, including 140 campgrounds where you can enjoy sleeping under the stars. And you can bring your dog to a number of dog-friendly restaurants. The state has 1,360 of them, with everything from burgers to tacos. Here is a list of our top 15 dog-friendly vacation destinations in Wisconsin. 


You can always find something fun to do with your dog in Madison because, with over 80,000 resident pups, the city needs pup-popular spots. If you are going for a weekend vacation in the summer, you will probably enjoy visiting each of the five lakes in the city. Each one is dog-friendly in most areas and has mountain backdrops for awesome selfies. 

The city also has more than 50 pet-preferable rental properties, including the posh Edgewater Motel featuring a gym, bar, three restaurants, and a spa. Dogs are welcome for an extra $75 per stay. Or you can try the Hampton Inn, which also has a pool, free breakfast, a restaurant, and a fitness center.  After checking in, take your pup over to Hilldale Shopping Center where they have more than 12 pet-friendly shops and restaurants. 

When your pup needs a place to run free with other dogs, take him to McFarland Dog Park. The large off-leash park has tunnels to run through, lots of seating for pet parents, and both an indoor and outdoor dog washing station.   


Madison may be the capital of Wisconsin, but Milwaukee is the most populated, with about 578,000 people residing there. And with one out of every three households harboring a pooch, there are approximately 96,333 dogs in town. Being so populated, you may run into crowds at many of the most popular attractions, so keep that in mind. 

If you are looking for a romantic weekend for you and your honey, The Iron Horse is a luxury hotel that allows dogs for a fee of $100 per stay. Your fur puppy gets his own pet bowls and a welcome basket with toys and treats. You and your loved one can enjoy the spa, gym, live music, happy hour, and a restaurant that serves champagne. Or you can also take your pup and your love to Villa Bellezza Winery & Vineyard. 

Then, enjoy a gourmet meal with candlelight on the patio at Birch. It is heated during the cooler months to keep you all warm. Try the wood-roasted pork chop or tagliatelle with walleye.

Green Bay

Located at the southern tip of the bay that it was named after, Green Bay is one of the most popular cities in Wisconsin for both the lake and the Green Bay Packers football team. The city is also pup popular, with almost 18,000 dogs living there. It was founded in 1634 with a single trading center owned by Jean Nicolet. Today, it is a bustling city with a wide array of entertainment.

If you enjoy hiking, this is the perfect city for you, with over 200 hiking and walking trails. There is one easy walk of less than a mile called Ashwaubenon Creek Park and two 1.1-mile trails, including the Hidden Valley Park Path and the Sherwood Forest Trail. Be sure to pack extra water and doggie bags and keep your pup on a leash. Then, stop by Badger State Brewing Company for a beer on the patio. They have more than 50 different craft beers to try.

You could also let your pooch play off the leash with other fur babies at the Howard Dog Park at Gordon Nauman Conservation Area. It is a huge place with a separate space for small dogs, lots of benches and picnic tables, and even some agility equipment. 

Devils Lake State Park

Another place that is great to hike is Devils Lake State Park. It has more than 29 miles of trails, as well as some off-leash dog areas along the way. With 9,217 acres, this is the largest state park in the state. Located in southern Wisconsin, just south of Baraboo, the park has a lot to offer any family, including the furry four-legged family members. Your pooch is, however, not allowed at the main beach, some playgrounds, or indoors, and he must be on a leash no longer than eight feet. 

The park also has four campgrounds with more than 400 campsites in all. The Quartzite Campground has 100 tent and RV sites, showers, a playground, and picnic tables with grills. Northern Lights Campground has 149 sites with showers, a playground, and picnic areas. The Ice Age Campground has two sections with a total of 135 sites with a beach, picnic areas, showers, and a playground. 

There are three official dog-friendly beaches. One in the southwest corner for off-leash play, another next to South Shore Beach, and a third along the North Shore.  

Sister Bay

Although it is small and only has 875 residents, there is a lot to do at Sister Bay, Wisconsin. You can find it just north of Green Bay in the northeastern section of the state on Lake Michigan. Even with so few people, it is likely that you will see a dog or two at the park or wandering around town with his human because much of the city is dog-friendly, including the Open Hearth Lodge, where pets can stay for $15 per night and they get a doggie bed, bowls, and toys.

Sister Bay is a perfect spot to enjoy Lake Michigan. You can take your fur baby on a boat tour with Scenic Bay Boat Tours or Fish Creek Boat Tours. Or rent your own boat from Northern County Boat Rental. Then, stop by the Sister Bay Dog Park to let him run away from the zoomies before heading back to the hotel. 

To top off the night, take Fido to the Skyway Drive-In Theatre, where you can watch a movie together. Just put his leash on if you get out of the car and pack doggie bags. 

Bailey’s Harbor

Named after a ship’s captain named Bailey, who drowned in the harbor in 1848, this small city has a population of just over 1,000 people and about 160 cuddly canine companions. Because Bailey’s Harbor is a tourist town, it is packed with vacation rentals, attractions, restaurants, parks, and beaches. And most of them are pet-friendly. The Beachfront Inn welcomes dogs of any size for just $15 per night per pet, and it has a pool and a private beach. 

Get out and let your poochie play with the other pups at Captain Bailey’s Dog Park. It has several acres with a large and small dog section, shaded seating, water, and waste stations. Then, head for the hills with your pup to taste some of the local wines at Stone’s Throw Vineyard. Fur babies are welcome throughout the place, and they even have their own winery dog, Merlot. 

Make sure you stop and check out Cana Island Lighthouse, built in 1870 on the shore of Lake Michigan. 


You will find Racine, Wisconsin, just about 20 miles south of Milwaukee on the shore of Lake Michigan and Root River. With so much water around, you know there are plenty of places to have a swim, launch a boat, or throw out a line to catch some fish. And with approximately 12,000 fur pooches living there, you will also find a variety of dog-friendly places. This affordable city offers pet-friendly hotels for under $100 including the Clarion Pointe Racine with a garden, gym, bar, and lakeview. 

If you want to do some real fishing, have Fowl Dawgs take you and Fido out and show you where the big ones are. Just mention your dog when you reserve your spot. After, you and your pup can grab a bite and a brew at Reefpoint Brew House right on the water. They even have a dog menu. Then, you can have a delicious dessert at Divino Gelato Cafe on Main Street.

You cannot miss the Caledonia Dog Park, with 28 acres of off-leash play in the woods, through the fields, and into the pond or river. It is a great place to spend the day for free. It also h


Surrounding the Fox River, Appleton is another city that has a lot of water fun for pups and pup parents. Bring your honey and make it a couple’s getaway. Get a romantic suite with a hot tub at Comfort Suites, where dogs of any size are welcome for no additional fee. It also features an indoor pool, fitness center, bar, and breakfast. You can take your honey to the Ground Round at River’s Edge on Main Street, where they have outdoor tables and delicious sirloin steaks or ribs.  

With only one off-leash dog park in town, you are likely to see some of the 12,000 resident dogs at Northland Dog Park. But it is pretty big, with 12 wooded acres and trails, so you may not come across too many. They even have a section of the park for small fur babies. Bring your own water and doggie bags, though. 

There are several dog-friendly parks along the river. Even though your pooch has to wear a leash, you can still enjoy a splash in the water or walk in the woods. 


Thinking of a winter ski trip? In the middle of Wisconsin, you will find the largest ski resort in the state in Wausau. Even with such a large space, much of it is taken up by Rib Mountain State Park, where Granite Peak Ski Resort is located. The huge mountain boasts 58 runs with a vertical drop of 700 feet. Nearby, dogs are welcome at the Hilton Garden Inn where they have an indoor pool, gym, bar, and restaurant. 

Although your pup is welcome at the hotel, they are not allowed on the slopes for safety. So, drop her off at Heide’s Pet Care while you do some skiing or snowboarding. Then, you can take your fur baby to Two Hearts Dog Park, where you will find two separate areas for large and small dogs, drinking fountains, benches, doggie waste stations with bags, and free parking. 

After, let your pooch keep playing while you grab a beer or other adult beverage at Burks Bar. They have a huge outdoor patio with cornhole, TVs, and food. 


In southeastern Wisconsin, on the banks of Lake Michigan, Kenosha is another popular tourist town, but this one has 10 times the population in humans and dogs. Settled in 1835 by John Bullen, Jr., where he built log homes, a school, and several churches. Today, the town is mostly popular due to the eight miles of shoreline and 74 parks. Petrifying Springs Park has 360 acres of recreational space, along with a fenced dog park with trails and picnic areas. 

If you are looking for a pooch-friendly place to have a beer with other pup parents, you have several choices. Captain Mike’s on 6th Avenue has all kinds of booze, food, and room for fur babies. The Garage on 60th Street is another fun place to have a brew with your pooch, and they have awesome burgers. 

For a special treat, take Fido to Central Bark Dog Care, where they will make him look gorgeous with a new hairdo. They also have enrichment activities to relax your cuddly canine.   


Another lake city, Oshkosh, is on the western bank of Lake Winnebago in eastern Wisconsin. The hotspot in town for pup parents is Menominee Park, where dogs can swim. And with an estimated 11,000 dogs living in Oshkosh, you are likely to see a few enjoying the park with their humans. There are boat launches, fishing, trails, a beach, kayak rentals, playgrounds, and more. There is also a zoo, but dogs are not allowed, unfortunately.

Finding your perfect hotel will not be difficult, with more than 35 pet-friendly places to choose from. Motel 6 allows up to two pups with no pet fee, and their rooms start at just $75. For something more elaborate, the Holiday Inn Suites has an indoor pool, fitness center, and family rooms. When Fido needs to run amok, take him to Winnebago County Dog Park, where he has nine acres for off-leash fun.

Ready to eat? Hotdog Charlie’s sells delicious dogs and allows your pooch to join you for a meal. Or you could go to Becket’s Restaurant on the waterfront, where they have 15 dog-friendly tables outside. 


You can find the city of Sheboygan between Milwaukee and Green Bay on Lake Michigan. There were 49,929 people living there at the time of the 2020 census and approximately 8143 fur babies. Sheboygan loves dogs, too, and has many parks where they can play, including several along the lakefront. Kiwanis Park has a boat launch, skate park, and picnic areas, and you can even go sledding in the winter. Jaycee Quarry Park has several trails, a disc golf course, and a playground for the kids. 

You can also take your fur baby with you to have a beer (or more) at 3 Sheeps Brewing where they have a dog-friendly taproom and 25 beers on tap. Craft30 is also pet-friendly and has 30 different types of brews. Or go to Mandy’s Backyard behind Harbor Lights, where you can get some fish, pulled pork, nachos, and other snack foods.

If you want to go somewhere that dogs are not allowed (it happens), drop your cuddle buddy off at Central Bark Doggie Day Care where he can even get a bath and style.


Wauwatosa is a historic city of over 48,000 residents in eastern Wisconsin just west of Milwaukee. It is named after the Potawatomi Chief Wauwataesie as well as the Potawatomi word for firefly. There are approximately 8,000 fur babies living in Wauwatosa, too, making it a pup popular vacation town. Take your pup on a cruise along the Milwaukee River with Milwaukee Boat Line or rent your own paddle boat to explore the water.

If you want to take your cuddly canine companion shopping, The Corners of Brookfield is an outdoor mall where leashed pups are welcome. Some of the stores will even let your pooch inside to get a closer look. There will be a sticker on the window if they are dog-friendly. For a special treat, take Fido to Salty Paws. They serve dog-friendly cookies and ice cream!

You can also take your pupster to the 19-acre off-leash Minooka Dog Park with separate sides for large and small pooches. Or head to Mukwonago Park, with 34 acres and dog watering stations. 

Eau Claire

Take your pooch to Eau Claire in northwestern Wisconsin for a weekend getaway any time of the year. During the summer, you will find your typical outdoor activities like boating, swimming, and fishing on one of the lakes or the Eau Claire or Chippewa River. But during the winter, you can go snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sledding, and even winter biking at Beaver Creek Reserve, Carson Park, Centennial Park, or Boyd Park. If you do not have the equipment, you can rent what you need at one of many rental shops.

If you want to let your pup run around in the snow unhindered, go to Otter Creek Off-Leash Dog Park or Sundet Off-Leash Dog Park, where there is plenty of room to play. With the city’s dog population of about 11,000, there are sure to be some other fur babies to play with.

There are also plenty of snowmobile trails but your fur baby cannot join you for safety reasons. But you can take your dog for a sled ride and let other fur babies pull you around at Sno-Trek Sled Dog Adventures. 

Fond du Lac

At the southern end of Lake Winnebago, Fond du Lac is just south of Oshkosh in central Wisconsin. It is a city that has gone to the dogs with a variety of pup popular hotels, parks, restaurants, and other activities. The most popular hotel is the Radisson because it has an indoor pool, restaurant, bar, and gym, and it is right across from the Fondy Aqua Park, where the kids can have a blast, making it a perfect family vacation spot. 

FIDO Dog Park is where to take Fido to get rid of that excess energy before you drop him off and take the family out for the day. If it is not warm enough for the water park, take them to The Children’s Museum. Or, plan to come in mid-July for the Fond du Lac Fair, where they have all sorts of rides and games. 

If you just do not want to leave your pup, take everyone to the largest park in the city, Lakeside Park. With over 400 acres, you will find a carousel, train, boat rentals, playgrounds, a picnic area, a lighthouse, and much more. 

The Final Woof

With these 15 pup-friendly vacation destinations, you and your fur baby will have your pick of where to go and what to do. If you are bringing your loved one for a romantic getaway, Milwaukee and Appleton are two great choices. For a family vacation, Devils Lake has some fun family activities as does Fond du Lac. Devils Lake is also a great place for camping, with over 400 campsites. Green Bay has more than 200 hiking trails, from short and easy to long and challenging. If you are on a budget, take your pup to Racine, where you can stay for under $100. But always pack plenty of doggie bags and water wherever you go. 

Photo of author
Patty Oelze is a freelance writer who is also in the process of getting her PhD in Psychology. She has been writing about dogs and other critters for about 10 years and has a plethora of animals at her home including several cats, some chipmunks, a dozen raccoons, two foxes, one coyote, and herds of deer. She and her husband have been living in the Missouri Ozarks for years where she enjoys taking care of wildlife, fishing, photography, boating, and of course, writing.

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