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 warm weather arriving for spring, 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! 

Experience Winter Cycling in Grand Rapids This Season

If you’re looking for a new activity to enjoy during your Pure Michigan Snow Day, or just need a new way of staying active, try winter cycling! Using fat-tire bikes, you can experience the joyful scenery of the state while also staying fit. Guest blogger Howard Meyerson provides some suggestions of top Grand Rapids trails for your cycling pleasure. 

When the lure of winter woods grows strong and the urge to ride is even stronger, Grand Rapids is the place to be. Outside magazine, in 2010, named Grand Rapids a “Best Town for Mountain Biking.” Michigan’s second largest city is also now becoming a hub for winter biking trails.

Grand Rapids and the surrounding area offers riders a choice of groomed, winter cycling trails. Free demo-days are offered on some by bike shops in the area. Curious riders or enthusiasts can come out on those days and test-drive the newest fat-tire designs.

Fat-bikes, as they are commonly called, have soft, wide tires and comfortable frames that make riding in wet and snowy conditions easy. They appeared on the Michigan cycling scene several years ago and were considered a fad, but riders soon found their utility and comfort appealing. Stable with enhanced traction, they opened the door to winter riding at a time of year when most bikes stay in storage.

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Lance Climie, clubhouse manager at Indian Trails Golf Course, Photo Courtesy of Howard Meyerson

If you’re looking for a good winter cycling trail, or to try-out a fat-tire bicycle, visit these top trails around Grand Rapids, in no particular order:

  1. Indian Trails Golf Course:  Located 15-minutes from downtown Grand Rapids, at 2776 Kalamazoo Ave SE, the golf center has become a popular in-city riding destination with 3-miles of groomed trail in rolling, wooded terrain. Riders gather at the heated clubhouse for hot chili and beer by the fireplace.  The trail is open to the public from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Wednesday in January and February. It closes at 7 p.m. on race nights. A $5 daily trail-pass or $20 seasonal pass is required to ride. Wednesday is free demo-day on the trail and area bike shops bring 10 to 15 fat-bikes to try.
  2. Merrell Trail: The very popular 4 to 5-mile groomed winter forest bike trail at 2908 10 Mile Rd. NE, Rockford, has become a destination for intermediate and advanced riders. It is maintained by the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance. There is no charge to ride. The trail opened in 2012 and was developed by WMMBA, Plainfield Township, Kent County Parks, the Wolverine World wide Foundation and Merrell.
  3. Deep Lake Trail: The hilly woods of Yankee Springs State Recreation Area are a magnet for mountain bikers year-round. The long-popular Barry County cycling trail at 2526 S. Yankee Springs Rd., Middleville, offers seven groomed miles for winter riding. It is maintained by the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance.  There is no charge to ride.
  4. Cannonsburg Ski Area: This is hilly terrain. The ski area at 6800 Cannonsburg Rd. NE, Belmont, grooms a 5 to 6-mile loop for fat-tire bicycles. Trail fees are $5/day, $30 for the season. Rental bikes are available.

James Gunderman riding at Indian Trails Golf Course, Photo Courtesy of Howard Meyerson

If you’re thinking to try winter fat-tire cycling, be sure to:

  1. Wear a helmet.
  2. Dress warm, but not too warm. Think hat and gloves.
  3. Choose layers for active play.
  4. Pick footwear that will keep your feet warm.

Howard Meyerson is lifelong outdoor enthusiast and freelance writer/photographer in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His work appears in a variety of publications.

Have you ever cycled in the winter? Share your experiences with us by commenting below!

March to These Pure Michigan Events in Early Spring

March is almost here and the third month of 2016 will continue to bring exciting events throughout Pure Michigan. From state park visits to sugar festivals, you’re sure to find something you and your family will enjoy.  For a full list of events in Michigan, visit michigan.org/events.

March 1-8

Science Talks: The Nature of Cities
March 3, 2016, Bloomfield Hills

Join experts from The Nature Conservancy at the Cranbrook Institute of Science for a series of evening lectures on conservation challenges and solutions facing the Great Lakes region and beyond. Each lecture begins with a Meet the Scientist mixer with refreshments and appetizers to enjoy (cash bar) as you learn more about the evening’s topic.

This topic for this particular evening is “The Nature of Cities”, presented by Dr. Patrick Doran, associate state director. “By 2050, it is estimated that 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. How can nature help build resilient urban communities around the world, including in Detroit?” Come learn about this exciting topic that will prove to be incredibly informative.

lifestyle expo

Women’s Lifestyle Expo
March 4-5, Kalamazoo

Come to this annual two day extravaganza created for women by women! Every minute is designed to be fun, educational and entertaining! There will be a ton of information you won’t want to miss out on!

Straits State Park -Winter Family Fun Day
March 5, St. Ignace

Spend the afternoon at Straits State Park to enjoy some winter family fun. There will be cross country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, Frisbee golf, volleyball, and some fires to warm up near. Please bring your own shoes, skis, and sleds if you want to engage in the activities! This day is sure to make the family happy.

fat bike blog

Beard of Zeus Fat Bike Race
March 5, Traverse City

The course this year will be a welcome reprisal of last year’s Fat Camp! Race: a fast, fun circuit with one cruel climb each lap that gives way to a flowing, wide open and spectator-filled loop that winds through the Suds’n'Snow festivities all over Timber Ridge. There’s no better atmosphere than sprinting along a corridor lined with fans cheering on every race on the course! Come be a viewer to one of the coolest races if you’re looking for something fun and new to do.

March 9-15

Gilda’s Laughfest
March 10-20, Grand Rapids

LaughFest is a festival of comedy, performance and very funny stuff. This 10-day event draws thousands to the Grand Rapids area for riotous A-List comedy acts, clean comedy showcases, improv and sketch comedy and stand up competitions. The best part? The vast majority of the events and shows are free.

This year’s headliners include Seth Myers, Chris D’Elia, Kathy Griffin, Anjelah Johnson, Sebastian Maniscalco, Jim Norton, Marlon Wayans, David Cross, Hasan Minhaj and Miranda Sings.   For those with a competitive streak, be sure and catch the Best of the Midwest Competition with some of the hottest Midwest comedians competing for a $2,500 cash prize. While you’re in town, make sure to explore Grand Rapids! It has a fantastic beer and food scene, as well as numerous family attractions so there is something for everyone.

Van Riper State Park – Lantern Lit Snowshoe
March 11, Champion

Join the Michigan DNR for an enchanted evening of fun in the snow on Friday and experience the beautiful 1.25 mile lantern lit snowshoe trail at Van Riper State Park. The trail begins 7/10th of a mile west of the main campground entrance at the rustic Peshekee Cabin. The lantern lit trail will take place that evening. In addition, there will be a cozy fire to warm up by inside the cabin along with some snacks, coffee, and hot cocoa.

maple sugar blog

Maple Sugar Festival
March 12-13, Kalamazoo

Come experience the 51st Annual Maple Sugar Festival. Start your day with delicious pancakes smothered in real Michigan maple syrup! Walk along a wooded trail with a naturalist for a maple sugar tour. Experience some amazing Birds of Prey up close! The whole family will enjoy this sweet experience. Don’t miss a visit to the DeLano Homestead during the festival to experience maple sugaring and life in the 1800s. Horse-drawn wagon rides and demonstrations by blacksmiths and fiber artists will round out the activities.

7th Annual Brew-Ski Festival
March 12, Harbor Springs

Suds and snow – is there a better combination? This is the seventh annual Brew-Ski Festival at Boyne Highlands Resort which brings together snow, craft brews, entertainment, and fun on tap. Hit the slopes, share laughter with friends, and visit the snow bars where brewery representatives will share their enthusiasm and serve up more than 220 varieties of brews from around the world. While satisfying your thirst, listen to the live music and eat some tasty food. This ritual spring celebration is a must-attend event.

leprechaun

 

Leapin’ Leprechaun 5K
March 12, Traverse City

Put on your green race gear and get ready for this annual fun run that meanders throughout downtown Traverse City. Celebrate your finish and get an early start to your St. Patty’s celebration at the post-race party tent.

 


Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra: The Magical Music of Disney
March 13, Ann Arbor

True enjoyment for your entire family! Savor the original music from some of your favorite Disney movies played by the A2SO enhanced by projections of the animation from those classics. Come dressed in your favorite costume.

March 16-22

LEGO Exhibition
March 15 – April 12, Flint

An exhibition of original Lego scultpures created by members from the Michigan Lego Users Group and the Therapeutic Lego User Group in the Art School’s Bishop Gallery. This exhibit is featured at the Flint Institute of Arts.

Krazy Daze
March 18-19, Harbor Springs

Krazy Daze has a little bit of something for everyone from live bands and wild costumes to events for the kids and adults, making it perfect for a family trip! On-snow race events include The Krazy Cup, Silly Slalom, Jump Competition and NASTAR Race. In addition, Krazy Daze features a Ski Over The Pond event for all ages, and face painting and inflatables for the kids. Come make fun family memories.

Kalamazoo World Languages Film Festival
March 18-20, Kalamazoo

This March, the second edition of the Kalamazoo World Languages Film Festival will present films from around the globe. Enjoy a diverse cinematic experience with films in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Japanese, and Latin. All films will be presented with English subtitles. If you can’t make this timeframe, there is a second weekend for the film festival from March 25-27th. Come on the opening night to meet the French film director, Maxime Giroux, for a Q&A!

Carnival Weekend
March 18-20, Boyne Falls

Carnival Weekend is nothing short of a major holiday at Boyne Mountain. Schedules are rearranged, elaborate plans formed, and the stops are all pulled out to avoid missing a moment of the fun. Like every other year’s celebration, this Carnival Weekend promises to be even bigger and better than the one before. The weekend gets started with the Carnival Kick-off Party in the Snowflake Lounge Friday night. On Saturday, the infamous On-Hill Party takes place, along with the Adult Costume Contest, and a Village Party in the afternoon. Saturday night features music to dance the night away. Sunday’s main event is the Slush Cup on Lower McLouth where you can skim or be soaked.

ballet blogBallet 5:8 Out of the Dust
March 19. Jackson

Ballet 5:8′s spring program is an incredible compilation of Ballet 5:8′s reflective, contemporary works. The program’s first work is a Ballet 5:8 commission created by New York choreographer and Chicago native Preston Miller. And Mercy explores concepts of judgment, grace and mercy in an athletic, contemporary style that engages the eye in continuous, connected movement emerging seamlessly from the music. Be sure to come and enjoy this program for a cultural excursion you won’t soon forget.

Sugarbush Festival
March 19, Grand Rapids

Celebrate the sweet arrival of spring at the 46th Annual Sugarbush Festival! This year’s festival theme is “The Best of Sugarbush!” Learn the process of maple sugaring through Sugarbush demonstrations: identifying what characteristics make up a maple tree, hands-on tree tapping, explore historic pioneer and Native American sugaring techniques and end it all with a taste test in Blandford’s Sugarhouse. Make it an all-day event with wagon rides, maple cotton candy, games, wildlife encounters and lots more family fun! It’s sure to be educational for everyone.

Montreal Symphony Orchestra
March 19, Ann Arbor

The Montreal Symphony returns to Ann Arbor for the first time since 1989, with both American conductor Kent Nagano and pianist Daniil Trifonov making their UMS debuts. “Hearing Trifonov is like having a deep-tissue massage: you keep wanting to pull away from the sheer intensity of it, and you come out feeling as if your reality had been slightly altered…a knockout.”(Washington Post)

March 23-31

March Magic Hoopfest
March 24-26, East Lansing

The March Magic Hoopfest is an interactive basketball playground for children of all ages at MSU’s Jenison Field House during the MHSAA Boys’ Basketball Semi-Finals and Finals. This event includes a variety of basketball skill games, displays and educational activities and is located adjacent to the Jack Breslin Student Events Center where the tournament games are played. It’s sire to be fun for the whole family.

easter egg huntEaster Egg Hunt
March 26, Charlevoix

Charlevoix State Bank and the Charlevoix Area Chamber of Commerce are teaming up to host the 24th Annual Easter Egg Hunt downtown Charlevoix in East Park.

As always, the event is free for children up to 10 years old. There will be different ages grouped together for the hunt.. The hunt will include 3000 prize filled eggs and some special golden eggs. So bring your Easter basket and be ready at 2:00 p.m. sharp so you don’t miss out!

There will also be face painting, a luncheon and story time if you need even more fun!

Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Pet Expo
March 26, Kalamazoo

Have you ever wanted to own a reptile? Now is your chance! Come to the Reptile and Exotic Pet Expo to learn more about owning one of these creatures as well as buy, sell or trade a variety of reptiles, amphibians, small mammals and other exotic pets, supplies & food.

sleeping beauty blog

American Ballet Theatre: The Sleeping Beauty
March 31-April 4, Detroit

UMS and Michigan Opera Theatre are joining forces to bring American Ballet Theatre’s new production of The Sleeping Beauty to the Detroit Opera House. Choreographed by Marius Petipa with staging and additional choreography by Alexei Ratmansky, this classic story ballet premiered 125 years ago at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. The story is one of the most familiar and enchanting of all fairy tales: the beautiful princess Aurora is cursed by the evil sorceress Carabosse to sleep for 100 years, until she is awakened by the kiss of a handsome prince. It’s ballet on the grandest possible scale, with superstar dancers, opulent sets and costumes, and Tchaikovsky’s ravishing score performed live by the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra.

Do you know of any other cool Michigan events happening in March? Let us know!