Bayfield, WI—gateway to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore—is a popular vacation destination in Northern Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Superior. Visitors are drawn to the area’s boating opportunities, unique sea caves, berry farms, orchards, and local art scene. A trip to Bayfield is perfect for those with a furry family member—many businesses and services are dog-friendly.
With a year-round population of around 500 residents, the nearest animal shelter is located 25 miles away in Ashland. Chequamegon Humane Association (CHA) is dedicated to promoting and supporting the humane treatment of animals in the Chequamegon Bay area. CHA provides shelter, medical care, and adoption services to 200 dogs and cats each year. In addition, CHA offers low-cost spay and neuter clinics to low-income households.
In 2017, CHA replaced an inadequate and deteriorating facility with a new shelter. Located on 10 acres, volunteers and staff can now exercise shelter residents on outdoor trails. The new CHA building improves comfort and sanitation for animals with individual exam rooms, quarantine space, and an adequate HVAC system. A new lobby and reception area welcome volunteers, guests, and adoptive families to the facility. CHA provides life-changing services in an underserved part of the state.
See the famous sea caves of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore from dry land while enjoying a hike in the woods with your pup! From the trailhead at Meyer’s Beach, hike north on the Lakeshore Trail. This in-and-out hike offers views of the sea caves starting at about one mile into the hike. The trail hugs the coastline—making it possible to take in the sights and sounds of the caves—so be aware of cliffs and drop-offs. Keep pets leashed and wear sturdy shoes!
No trip to Bayfield is complete without a visit to Madeline Island. Pets ride free on any of the four boats operated by Madeline Island Ferry Line, with service between Bayfield and La Pointe. On Madeline Island, you and your fur-friend can romp on the beach and take a self-guided walking tour of town! Or seek out some solitude on the Casper Trail through Madeline Island Wilderness Preserve—the trailhead at Forest Park is within walking distance of the ferry landing. After you’ve worked up an appetite, lunch at The Pub Restaurant & Wine Bar where a treat and drink await pups served on the patio!
Looking for a lake adventure? You and your fur-friend can explore the Apostle Islands by boat with a boat rental, captained tour, or water-taxi from Captain Bob’s Marina & Boat Club! Marvel at the sea caves, scope out the lighthouses, and soak up the Lake Superior scenery. Captain Bob provides route suggestions, weather forecasts, and island information—including information about docking, beach access, and scenery!
When the daffodils, lupine, and apple trees are in bloom, Bayfield welcomes the change in season with a month-long celebration - aptly named Bayfield in Bloom! Bayfield in Bloom kicks off with a live broadcast of Wisconsin Public Radio’s Garden Talk with Larry Meiller. Featured events include a Garden Expo, a Garden Tour, and the traditional Blessing of the Fleet. Throughout Bayfield in Bloom, visitors can shop plant sales, golf, listen to live music, and more. Scenic drives, hikes, and some events are dog-friendly!
Bayfield is a dog-friendly destination, and that pet-loving spirit extends to some of the town’s boutique shops. Leashed, well-behaved dogs are welcome to shop with you at Winfield’s Garden Emporium, Keeper of the Light, and Hitching Post! Some size restrictions may apply, so please check with shopkeepers before heading out. Reward your shopping partner with a locally made biscuit from Racey’s Tasty Dog Treats, available at Keeper of the Light and other local establishments. A portion of all proceeds from Racey’s Tasty Dog Treats benefit the Chequamegon Humane Association. Bon a-pet-treat!
Berries and apples thrive in the unique micro-climate of the
Bayfield area. From mid-summer through fall, the area's farms and orchards ripen
strawberries, blueberries, cherries, currants, gooseberries, juneberries,
raspberries, blackberries, apples, pears, grapes, and plums! Pick-your-own
attractions are popular with visitors, and many of the farms and orchards welcome
leashed pets—including, Hillcrest Orchards, Rocky Acres Berry Farm, Bayfield
Apple Company, Good Earth Gardens, and Sunset Valley Orchard. Bring your pup along
to pick a pint of berries, stroll in the orchard, or shop the farm store!
Each February, the Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race (AISDR) attracts mushers and dog lovers to Bayfield, where teams compete in five races—the 80-mile Race, 60-mile Race, Sportsmen’s Race, Family/Rec. Run, and Youth Race. Race festivities include a Meet the Mushers dinner on Friday, Musher Mixer on Saturday following the award ceremony, and race-side spectator locations complete with warming tents, concessions, and bonfires! Are you a dog-lover looking to get close to the action? Book a Voluntourist Package which includes accommodations, an official race t-shirt and poster, two breakfasts, tickets to the Meet the Mushers dinner and Musher Mixer, and your choice of volunteer position at the race. Voluntourists help make AISDR pawsible—thank you so mush!