Pack Up Your Pets and Hit the Road with These Dog-Friendly Michigan Destinations

Going on a trip wouldn’t be the same without the entire family – especially your furry family members! In celebration of National Pet Day on April 11th, we put together a list of just a few pet-friendly destinations in Michigan. So, pack up Fido and Fluffy and hit the road.

Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula

Photo courtesy of Sharon Hubbard at Porcupine Mountains

Photo courtesy of Sharon Hubbard at Porcupine Mountains

Take a weekend trip to Traverse City, where you can climb mountains of sand, play on dog-friendly beaches and spend quality time with your furry friend. Spend the day in their Victorian downtown district, home to more than 150 shops, boutiques, galleries and restaurants. Treat your furry friend to a special treat at D.O.G Bakery with a variety of treats, guaranteed to satisfy even the pickiest pooch.

A trip with your pets wouldn’t be complete without going to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Miles of sand, bluffs that tower 450’ above Lake Michigan, lush forests, clear inland lakes, and unique flora and fauna make up the natural world of Sleeping Bear Dunes. The high dunes afford spectacular views across the lake, something you and your pooch are both sure to enjoy.

Don’t want your pooch to feel left out? Grand Traverse Resort and Spa has put a new twist on accommodating the entire family. Dog Dreams Inn is located on the property and all about pampering your pooch. Access to your dog provides the ultimate in flexibility, cage-free social environment encouraging dog interaction and activity, fully trained, professional staff gives each dog the attention and assistance they need, daily exercise and fenced in outdoor play area, and separate potty/play areas to help support the overall wellness of dogs.

Heading farther north? The Upper Peninsula has a number of great dog-friendly hotels, resorts, cabins and campgrounds so you and your furry family members can get a good night’s rest before exploring the magnificent U.P. scenery.

West Michigan

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Peterson

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Peterson

Well-known for its strong Dutch history, Holland is historic yet hip and the perfect place to take your furry companion. Browse downtown’s trendy boutiques or stroll the tree-shaded campus of Hope College. Hike Holland’s soaring Lake Michigan sand dunes or simply relax on our soft sandy beach at Kirk Park. Urban excitement and homespun simplicity. A sophisticated city wrapped up in small-town charm. Do ALL of this with your furry family member by your side. Here’s a list of pet-friendly places in Holland. 

If a stop at a Michigan winery is on your summer to-do list, bring your pup to Round Barn Winery in Baroda. In addition to a variety of hand-crafted wines, this brewery and distillery also produces microbrews, vodka, and fruit brandies. Dogs are allowed on the grounds to explore with you, though they are not allowed in the buildings.

Take your dog for a walk on over 1,000 acres of beautiful undeveloped woods and sand dunes at Grand Mere State Park. With 985 acres of hiking trails, over 1 mile of Lake Michigan beach for sunbathing and swimming. Your pup can enjoy the day with you while on a leash within the beach and swimming area. Norman F. Kruse State Park in Muskegon is another option for a day at the beach with your furry best friend.

Metro Detroit

Start the morning with a walk along the scenic Detroit Riverfront, which is a beautiful place to walk dogs and meet with other dog owners. Stop in at a local bakery so Fido can fuel up with some homemade tasty treats. For example, the Bow Wow Bake Shoppe in Grosse Pointe Woods offers healthy and scrumptious cupcakes, biscuits, cakes and more all freshly baked daily just for dogs.

Photo courtesy of Anton Ochss

Head up the pet-friendly Dequindre Cut toward Eastern Market to shop around for the latest and greatest in pet supplies at Detroit’s newest urban pet supply store, 3 Dogs 1 Cat 4 Detroit. The store offers trendy, stylish and quality merchandise, from food and treats to popular accessories.

Several Detroit-area hotels and motels welcome pets including the Holiday Inn Express Detroit, the Westin Southfield and the Quality Inn – Troy. Click for a full list of pet-friendly hotels in metro Detroit.

These are just a few places that cater to pampered pets on vacation. Use the list to find more dog-friendly attractions and accommodations in Michigan.

Do you know any other pet-friendly attractions in Michigan? Tell us! 

This Rare 3D View of the Top of Mackinac Bridge Using Google Maps Street View is Mind-Blowing!

Have you ever imagined what it’s like to stand atop one of Michigan’s most recognizable structures, the Mackinac Bridge? Now, using Google Maps Street View, you can. And you can do it from the comfort of your own living room!

Google Trekker at the top of Mackinac Bridge

We’ve partnered with Google to make many of Michigan’s most iconic destinations accessible to the more than one billion people all around the world who use Google Maps each month.  Using Google Trekker technology, attractions such as the Mackinac Bridge – not previously accessible on Google Street View – now have 360 degree, fully navigable imagery that will allow potential travelers to explore these destinations.

We’re giving our readers an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how we captured this truly remarkable footage. Get ready – you’re in for the climb of your life!

What did you think? As you search for the words to describe this breathtaking virtual experience, here’s a behind-the-scenes look into how it all came together.

The Street View Trekker is a backpack system with a camera on top that is worn by an operator who walks through pedestrian walkways or trails on foot. The imagery is captured automatically and stitched together to create the 360 degree panorama seen on Google Maps. More than 44,000 panoramic photos were taken by members and volunteers on the Pure Michigan team and the Department of Natural Resources who borrowed the Trekker and traveled for four weeks, capturing some of the most breathtaking scenes around Michigan.

Google Trekker at Mackinac Island looking at Mackinac Bridge

There are 15 lenses at the top of the mast, each pointed in a different direction that enabled us to create a 360-degree panoramic view. As the operator walks, photos are taken every 2.5 seconds. The Trekker weighs approximately 40 lbs, and is the size of a large hiking backpack. It’s about 4 feet in height when set on the ground, and when worn, the camera system extends 2 feet above the operator’s shoulders.  The Trekker battery can last around 6-8 hours on a full charge.

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So, we strapped on the Trekker and made our way to one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. According to Robert Sweeney, executive director of the Mackinac Bridge Authority, the trek to the top of the bridge can be characterized by feelings of anticipation and exhilaration. The climb starts by navigating a series of small openings, similar to what you would expect on a submarine.

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There are 2,500 cells in each tower that range in size from 6 cubic feet to 60 cubic feet. Needless to say, we ran into a bit of trouble getting the Trekker to the top…

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…But we made it. And the view was 100 percent worth it!

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Here’s what it looks like on Google Maps Street View.

Top of the Mackinac Bridge on Google Maps Street View

Top of the Mackinac Briddge

Are you adventurous enough to make the climb? Each year, the Mackinac Bridge Authority donates 25 certificates to charitable organizations. Each certificate enables two people to take a tour of the top of the Mackinac Bridge.

The public can bid on the certificates or buy raffle tickets (depending on how each organization chooses to handle their fundraising campaign). For more information and a list of participating organizations, send an e-mail to powellm1@michigan.gov or call 906 -643-1336.

Other Michigan destinations available on Google Street View are:  Mackinac Island, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the Island Loop Route National Water Trail in St. Clair County, the State Capitol building in Lansing, Ford Field, the Detroit Riverwalk, Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Wagner Falls, Bond Falls, Silver Lake State Park and Sand Dunes, Palms Brook State Park, Brighton State Recreation Area, Pinckney State Recreation Area, Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, Ocqueoc Falls in Millersburg, Agate Falls in Trout Creek and the Presque Isle River.

These sites join other natural wonders, including the Grand Canyon, the Taj Mahal, the Great Pyramids, the Galapagos Islands and many more available in the Street View feature of Google Maps.

For more information and to view other Michigan destinations on Google Maps Street view, visit michigan.org/GoogleTrekker.

Know Before You Go: Seven Important Lessons from Skiers and Snowboarders

For some, winter means staying indoors and watching the snow fall softly with a cup of hot cocoa, but for many Michiganders and winter visitors, the snowy season means plenty of powder and plenty of opportunity to shred the slopes

Layer up with gear from the Pure Michigan store!

If you’re a seasoned ski or snowboard fanatic, you may have already learned some of these lessons the hard way (and now have a funny tale to tell), but if you’re a winter warrior ready to strap on some skis and give it a try, keep these do’s and don’ts for a successful ski or snowboard experience in mind – no matter how obvious they seem!  

DO: Layer up. Suiting up with the right clothing is very important before strapping on a pair of skis or buckling up your snowboard boots. There’s no need for expensive ski clothes your first-time out. Consider some long underwear, a turtleneck, fleece and some kind of insulating leg wear to wear under a winter jacket and waterproof snow pants. A pair of waterproof winter gloves is a good idea, too.  When you know you’re hooked on skiing or snowboarding, you can upgrade your wardrobe with some new winter weather gear from the Pure Michigan Store. Wearing comfortable and warm clothes will allow you to stay out on the slopes longer. So, unless you’re heading to the ski resort spa, you can leave the shorts and tanks at home!

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Proper equipment is a must! – Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

DON’T: Let your friends be your ski instructors. Even if your friends or family members ski and want to teach you, investing in a ski lesson is a better bet to ensure your success on the slopes. You’ll get started with a quality base of ski knowledge, and the individual attention will help you progress faster. Ski resorts often offer specials on lessons for first-timers. Ski Snowboard Michigan can help you find the right one for you. 

DO: Use proper equipment. Ski goggles are a must for both beginners and experts. Goggles reduce the sun’s glare during the day, and can protect your eyes from a fall or an unforeseen tree! Also, consider renting equipment instead of buying new or borrowing a friend or family members’ old pair of dated skis or boots. Buying new ski or snowboard equipment can be expensive, but learning to ski on a modern pair of skis is not only safer than skiing on old skis, but, it will help you progress faster. For beginners just starting out, renting is the way to go.

Photo via @Boyne.Mountain on Instagram

Mind the ski lift and have fun! – Photo via @Boyne.Mountain on Instagram

DON’T: Forget to pay attention to the chairlift. Every year, countless skiers and snowboarders get wrapped up in the excitement of a completed run or the beauty of the scenery and aimlessly get bumped or fall off the chairlift. You never want to be “that person” that holds up the line. Always stay alert and aware of your surroundings!

DO: Know your limits. There’s no shame in taking a few falls while getting used to the sport on a smaller hill. Ask any expert snow sports enthusiast – it all comes with practice. Too slow and too fast are often times right next to each other for beginners. Go at your own pace and stick with it!

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Know your limits and work your way up! – Photo by Joey Wallis, Mount Bohemia

DON’T: Head down a black diamond your first time on the hills. Besides losing most of your gear after you inevitably wipe out, you’re risking serious injury. Build up to harder slopes as you gain more experience. It is important to choose a ski resort with a good beginner’s area. You want wide, not very steep slopes. And more than just one “bunny hill”, so you can work your way up gradually.

DO: Head to Michigan.org to find  the best places to carve up the slopes this winter. Doing your research will not only save you time when booking a hotel, but you might find discounts on lift tickets or rentals through your search as well! Before you go, set the mood for your ski trip by watching videos of skiers having a blast, as they float through powder and weave through trees.

Have you learned any of these lessons the hard way? What else would you recommend to beginning skiers and snowboarders? 

For more information on planning a Pure Michigan ski or snowboard trip, visit michigan.org/snowday.