Sitting at the northern tip of the Michigan mitten, the harbor village of Mackinaw City offers such scenic views of the Great Lakes and beyond. In addition to its natural beauty, this quaint village also boasts numerous parks and walking trails, as well as several dog-friendly restaurants and four veterinary clinics, making it the pawfect place to explore with your pooch.
All dogs love to walk, and there are so many opportunities for this in Mackinaw City. One particularly scenic walk is the Lighthouse to Lighthouse Bike Route, which will take you and your pooch from Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse to McGulpin Point Lighthouse.
If your pup would prefer walking through a park, Mackinaw City has plenty of these too. Visit the Conkling Heritage Park for paved walkways and an observation deck with picturesque views, or the McRae Nature Park for its nature trail showcasing wildlife and a wetland habitat.
If you would like to treat your pooch to a special meal, there are several dog-friendly restaurants around to choose from. For a quick and casual bite to eat, the Bridgeview Diner will always satisfy, while the Blue Water Bar and Grill serves up fresh seafood, and even has an accompanying doggie menu.
For dogs who love the great outdoors, and being treated to pawsome restaurant meals, Mackinaw City will definitely not disappoint.
Mackinaw City Village Center provides access to two pawtastic long-distance trails that follow along unused railroad corridors. The North Central State Trail is 61 miles long and relatively flat, and will take you and your pooch all the way to Gaylord, passing by the beautiful Sturgeon River along the way. The North Western State Trail is shorter, at 32 miles long, and stretches from Mackinaw City to Petoskey. After all of that walking, take your pup to one of the several dog-friendly restaurants to be found in the Village Center, such as the Historic Depot Restaurant and Caboose, which has been around since 1881 and always has water bowls out for dogs.
Carp Lake is pawfect for pups who love history, as this is where you will find Colonial Michilimackinac, a reconstructed historic fort and fur-trading village from the 1700s. With daily re-enactments, special exhibits, a museum and a shop, Fido will love all the excitement going on here, just be sure to keep him on a lead. Right next to this historic attraction is the Alexander Henry Park, where you will find educational displays, picnic areas, and a waterfront walkway for you and your pooch to stroll on. If your pup is still not tired, head to the Wilderness State Park. This 10,512 acre park boasts the largest trail system in Emmet County, with 38 miles of walking trails to explore.
For an unforgettable day out, take your pooch to Mackinac Island, which is less than 8 miles from Mackinaw City. To get there, you would need to take the Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry, on which leashed dogs are allowed to ride for free. The highlight of Mackinac Island is the Mackinac Island State Park, which encompasses 74% of the entire island. The park was established in 1895, making it the first state park in Michigan, and boasts everything from historic landmarks to quiet nature trails, making this a spot that dogs really love. Although there are no cars allowed on the island, there are dog-friendly horse and buggy rides available that will take you and your pooch around when you need a break from walking, just be sure to keep your dog on a lead at all times.
About 15 miles from Mackinaw City, the Cheboygan neighborhood of Black Lake/ Alverno is where you will find the Cheboygan State Park, a 1,250 acre patch of tail-wagging natural beauty. There are a series of well-maintained trails that you and Fido can choose from here, showcasing everything from panoramic vistas of Lake Huron to colorful rare wildflowers. Not too far away from here, on the shores of Mullett Lake, is the Aloha State Park. This 107 acre park is home to sandy beaches, sports facilities, fishing areas and more, all of which your dog will love exploring. For a more structured walk, the 71 mile North Eastern State Trail cuts through the park, with this shoulder being known as the Mackinaw to Hawks Rails to Trails.
The drive from Mackinaw City to the Town Center of Indian River takes less than half an hour, and is worth it for the 400 acre Burt Lake State Park. The shoreline and beach area of this park is dog-friendly, so you and your pooch will more than likely meet other dogs on this sandy stretch. The park is also home to the Burt Lake Trail, which currently stretches out for just over five miles, although this is being extended. If your pooch wants even more exercise, Colonial Point Memorial Forest/ Chaboiganing Nature Preserves is also in this neighborhood, and offers up 482 acres, along with 2.5 miles of trails, to explore.