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Ashland is a small town in Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Superior. It was first visited by European settlers in the mid-seventeenth century, when French fur trappers camped in the area. The town wasn't incorporated until 200 years later, when it was established as a mining port town with an ore dock. Ashland is also a great place to explore the outdoors with your pup. It's surrounded by an array of natural areas and has a dozen parks within its city limits, as well as several dog-friendly lodging and dining options. Ashland has four veterinary clinics to tend to your dog's medical needs.
One of the most pawsome spots in Ashland to bring your furry friend is the city's largest park, Prentice Park. This 100-acre expanse has many amenities, including campsites for RV and tent camping. Over two miles of trails wind through marshes and forests with old growth trees. A boardwalk snakes along the perimeter of Fish Creek Slough, where you're likely to spot migratory birds and other wildlife. Prentice Park also connects to Maslowski Park, a lakefront park with sandy beaches. You will need to keep your dog on a leash at these parks and bring your own waste bags and water.
After a day at Prentice Park, you can take your pup just a couple miles south to unique locavore restaurant Freehands Farm, which features pet-friendly outdoor seating. It's a perfect spot to watch the sun set.
After a day of exploring this beautiful town, it won't just be your belly that's full—it will also be your heart.
It's fun enough just to take in the historic architecture and scenic lake vistas as you stroll along the streets of downtown Ashland. You can stop along the way and enjoy a beer with your pup at South Shore Brewing's outdoor seating area, then continue to one of a number of neighborhood parks. Central Railyard Park has a playground and open fields. The landscaped Howard Pearson Plaza provides a handicapped-accessible tunnel to the lakefront and connects to the Waterfront Trail, which you can use to walk over to Memorial Park. The Fifth Street Corridor is another great downtown walking trail that connects to the Tri-County Corridor Trail, a sixty-mile trail that could take you all the way to the town of Superior! You will need to keep your dog on a leash at all downtown parks and trails, and bring your own waste bags and water.
In the Eastlake neighborhood, you can continue to follow the Waterfront Trail to Bayview Park, which features a swimming beach with lifeguards and a fishing pier. Further inland, Ellis Park offers a small playspace for children. Continue southeast to find what will most likely be your pup's favorite neighborhood hangout: the off-leash dog park in Hodgkins Park. This simple, but expansive fenced-in area has become a favorite meeting spot for local pups and their owners. You will still need to bring your own waste bags and water, though people often bring and leave large bottles to share. Hodgkins Park also includes a baseball field and a nature trail where you can take your dog for an on-leash walk.
Twenty miles north of Ashland, you'll find the charming resort town of Bayfield. It abounds with dog-friendly lodging, including the waterfront Bayfield Inn. The Winfield Inn is also on the lake and allows you to choose a quaint and cozy room at the inn or an entire rental cabin. Restaurants with dog-friendly outdoor seating include Greunke's, where there's a weekly fish boil in the summer, and local seafood staples Pier Plaza Restaurant and Portside Bar and Restaurant. When you're ready for a leashed walk, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore includes a dog-friendly beach. Another pawsome feature Bayfield has to offer is the numerous charter boat tours that allow dogs! One of the many that welcomes wagging crew members is Manitou Classic Sailing Charters. Pups can also hop aboard the Madeline Island Ferry and continue their adventures across the lake.
Just a ferry ride away, Madeline Island offers something for everyone, whether their tastes run luxe or rustic. For pups with more refined tastes, The Inn on Madeline Island provides upscale pet-friendly lodging. The on-site seasonal Pub Restaurant and Wine Bar is a fine-dining establishment with a pet-friendly outdoor eating area. For pups who prefer the simple pleasures of the outdoors, Big Bay State Park is a huge 2350-acre expanse of deep forests, rocky bluffs, and sandy beaches. Several miles of trails wind through and around the park, which also offers primitive campsites. As you pass by sand dunes and sphagnum bogs, you might spot a bald eagle. You will need to keep your dog on a leash at Big Bay Park and bring your own waste bags and water.
To the west of Ashland, Clam Lake is situated right in the middle of the western part of the Chequamagon-Nicolet National Forest. It's only one of five sections of the million-acre wood, but is probably the best place to start exploring the hundreds of miles of trails that wind through it. You can follow the state roads twenty miles north to get to one of the forest's most popular hikes: the Morgan's Falls and Saint Peter's Dome Trail. The seventy-foot-high falls are a majestic sight, and the dome, the highest point in the forest, grants a twenty-mile view to Lake Superior on a clear day. You might also see some elk, which were reintroduced to the area in 1995. The round-trip hike is about 3.5 miles. You will need to keep your dog on a leash and bring your own waste bags and water.
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