Big Rapids is located in Mecosta County, and is home to Ferris State University and it's 13,000 students. This is a college town with a young, hip vibe, and the Muskegon River that runs right through the center of the city. Its natural beauty combined with a strong industrial economy and great local shopping make this a vibrant and well balanced town. Not to mention, there are five puptastic veterinary clinics that serve the canine population.
Leash up your pup and head over to one of Big Rapids’ pet friendly restaurants. Cranker’s Brewery not only serves a variety of craft beers, they also offer a host of tantalizing dishes. Start out with Deep Fried Pickles before moving onto Cedar Planked Salmon, or a slice of Artisan pizza. Five outdoor tables allow dogs to dine with their parents. Blue Cow Café is another pawsome option. This place uses fresh local ingredients to create mouthwatering dishes like Champagne Chicken. Dine al fresco on the patio with your canine buddy.
If you are just visiting Big Rapids, make a reservation at either Quality Inn and Suites, or Country Inn and Suites. For a small fee, these hotels welcome four legged guests. With such amazing hospitality, it’s no wonder dogs feel right at home in Big Rapids!
This neighborhood is home to the Northend Riverside Park. Clip on your pup’s leash and head over to this riverside area for a delightful afternoon walk. Paved paths weave through grassy fields and groves of trees. Follow the Riverwalk and let your pal enjoy views of the Muskegon River. If it’s a hot day, he can dip his paws in the water to cool off. White Pine Trail is also nearby. Stretching 92 miles, this trail cuts through several Michigan counties. The Big Rapids section is lined with trees. Needless to say, your pup will have plenty of room to stretch his four legs.
It’s easy to see why Hemlock Park is a local favorite. Nestled right on the banks of Muskegon River, this large park hosts community activities, including an ice rink in the winter. Leash up your pup and head over for some doggy cardio. Follow the Riverwalk north to Northend Park or south to River Street Park. Either way, your four legged walking buddy will enjoy beautiful scenery during her workout. Before heading home, stop by the Good Dog Bakery and pick up a treat for your furry pal. This local barkery has delectable delights like Turkey and Sweet Potato, or Cheese and Liver Star. Sounds tasty!
Does your dog need to burn off some energy? Then take him over to Brutus Dog Park and turn him loose. You’ll find this fenced area inside River Street Park. Dogs of all shapes and sizes gather here to romp, wrestle, and run. Watch as your pup darts through the agility equipment, makes new friends, or just trots around on his own. Trees provide shade in the summer, and benches give pet parents a place to relax. Water is available, so make sure your pup takes a drink every once in a while. After your pal is finished playing, clip on his leash and walk around River Street Park.
Highbanks Park is the perfect spot to spend some quality time with your furry BFF. Situated right on a horseshoe bend of the Muskegon River, this park is a popular take off point for tubing. It also has a softball field and picnic facilities. Most importantly, it has a nature trail that showcases the area’s beauty, no matter what time of year you go. The trail runs alongside a mellow stretch of the river and through groves of trees and shrubs. Your puppy dog pal will definitely get her fill of nature as she trots down the trail. After your walk, hang out on the shore and let the afternoon pass by.
Looking for a new place to walk your pup? Head 20 minutes north of Big Rapids to Reed City. Here you’ll find access to the Pere Marquette State Trail. This trail runs 56 miles east to west and gives you a taste of Michigan’s natural beauty. If you follow the trail west of Reed City toward Baldwin, you’ll pass through a variety of terrain, including woodlands, wetlands, and farmlands. Cross over bridges and through tunnels with your furry pal by your side. This is a multiuse trail, so keep your pup on leash. Be sure to bring enough water for you and your four legged walking partner.