Our dogs are our family. Sadly, we can’t bring them everywhere. Places like stores, restaurants, and our places of work may have a strict no pet policy. It’s also tougher to travel with them, bring them to parties, and even well-trained dogs won’t be very interested in going to the movies with you. But this is about the awesome places in western Michigan that you can take your dog!
Spring has sprung and there’s probably no place your dog would rather be right now than outside with you. If you live in the West Michigan area, there are many activities that can provide you and your pup with hours of fun. Here are just a few ideas to do with your dog during spring within driving distance of Grand Rapids.
Prairie View Dog Park: Play and Exercise
Located in Kalamazoo, MI, Prairie View Dog Park offers 7 acres of fenced in park area of your pup to exercise and play while being off leash. There is also a wooded section that has a walking trail and there is even a special area for dogs under 25 pounds. This is a great relief to owners that have much smaller breeds and keeps everyone having fun.
The park provides dog waste bags onsite and plenty of shade and benches for rest. Prairie View Dog Park is open year round from 7:00 AM to sunset.
PJ Hoffmaster State Park: Hiking
P.J. Hoffmaster State Park is located in Muskegon, MI and is known for its dune climb. The climb is along the Dune Overlook Trail and is approximately a half mile roundtrip climb. There are also plenty of benches for rest along the way as well. As a fairly short hike, dogs and people of (almost) all shapes and sizes can manage it.
This would be an excellent way for you and your dog to stay healthy, while going on an adventure. But be warned: pups are not allowed in buildings or swimming areas.
Bass River Recreation Area
Ready for some more hiking? Bass River Recreation Area has something for everyone! Open year round and sporting 1,665 acres. If you like longer distances, there is a 6-mile trail that you and your dog (or horse) can enjoy. The park is also popular for fishing and boating on the lake.
Just be warned: this is a “no frills” outdoorsy experience. Bring everything you need (and leave with it!) and be aware that there aren’t public toilets available.
Our Brewing Company: Get a Cold One with Your Dog
This local brewery in Holland, MI is very dog friendly. Well-behaved pups can join their humans on the back and front patio as long as they are leashed. Enjoy a flight of beers while your dog enjoys some refreshing water and soaks up the atmosphere.
Some of the events may be a bit loud, so keep that in mind if your dog is sensitive to loud sounds. On your way out, be sure to check out their specialty collars. You can get your furbaby a little souvenir!
Our Brewing Company is open from Sunday to Monday from 12 PM to 10 PM and Tuesday through Saturday from 12 PM to 12 AM.
Norman F. Kruse Park: Hit the Beach
Norman F. Kruse Park located in Muskegon, MI is the perfect place to goif you and your pup are itching to hit the beach. There is a dog beach at the Northern end of the park. Dogs must be leashed while on the sand, but can be cut loose in the water. Be mindful of the marked dog friendly areas to avoid being ticketed.
Al Sabo Nature Reserve: Go Biking and Hiking
Al Sabo is a nature reserve that offers hiking and biking trails perfect for you and pup to have a real adventure! The reserve boasts over 8 miles of trails through fields, forests, and wetlands. There is also a large map at the entrance, which would be a good resource to plan your route.
In the summer, there have been reports of ticks and other pests, so please be sure that your dog is properly protected. The best part is that the reserve is open year round, 24 hours a day, and is 100% free.
Kalamazoo River Valley Trail: Walkies!
The Kalamazoo River Valley Trail is just one of 1600 rail-trails supported by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that is working to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors. This particular trail is dog-friendly and would be another great way for the two of you to get some exercise.
Here is something different! CD Exchange located in Holland, MI has an in-store dog and loves it when other pups come to play! This store still sells the relics of old by suppling customers with CDs, games, and much more. CD Exchange is open from Monday to Saturday from 10 AM to 9 PM and Sundays from 12 PM to 5 PM.
Meadow Run Dog Park: Go Swimming
Finally, there is a dog park that allows dogs in the swimming area. Located in Kalamazoo, MI, Meadow Run Dog Park offers a large pond for the canines who love the water. There is also agility equipment, a special area for smaller and shy pups, a rinse off station, grooming tubs, and rest areas with pooping stations, water areas, and benches. With all these extra perks, the only downside is that this is a private park that sells 3, 6, 9 or 12 month memberships. However, 3 visits are allowed before membership is required. Your dog must be well behaved and have proof of shots, of course.
Most areas that are dog friendly are parks and it is just your basic trails and walks. However, there are the occasional parks out there that allow the dogs to swim and the oddities out there, like CD Exchange, who let dogs into the store. Hopefully, this will give those that live in the West Michigan area some new and fun ideas to do with their pooch!