This article is sniffed out and served to you in partnership with Visit Cook County.
“Up North” means a lot of places to a lot of people, but if you’re ready to go Way Up North with your woofer, Cook County is one heckuva dog-friendly place. If you’re not sure where we’re talking about, it’s the NE tip of Minnesota. (Here’s a map.) Yes, it’s ridiculously beautiful. Yes, the food, brews, and views are top dog. And yes, once you and Fido make the trip, you’ll wanna come back year after year. Here are a few of our fave local ways to make some #memories with your hound.
Judge C.R. Magney State Park
If you want a relatively easy hike with a true wow factor, this is a grrreat option (#10 on this map). It’s about 1 mile to Devil’s Kettle Falls, a waterfall that had geologists stumped fur centuries (no one was sure where the “kettle” part of the falls goes until 2017). Visit the high platform to take in the whole scene, and then wag down to the rocks to revel in the mist and discuss your theories.
The High Falls at Grand Portage State Park
Drive 45 minutes north of Grand Marais and the stroll to get to this view is smooth as peanut butter. These waterfalls are 120 feet high—the tallest falls that are partially located in Minnesota. Over the rainbow? You’re there (and you’re also a tennis ball’s throw from Canada).
Summit Express Gondola
Take a gondola up Moose Mountain WITH YOUR WOOFER and you’ll both be treated to unpawrelleled views of the Sawtooth Mountains and Lake Superior’s shoreline 1,000 feet in the air. Now that we’ve sent you here, tag #SidewalkDog so we can drool over those views with you. Heck, you might even get to cross “howliday card photo” off your to-do list.
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
This is prime paddling country, and if your doggo can hike (or be carried in a pack like the baby he is in your heart anyway), you can portage ‘n camp together, too. Check out these tips for canoeing with puppers and get ready to be the happiest campers ever.
This short, leisurely stroll alongside Grand Marais harbor takes you over the rocks and through the woods to the majestic, boulder-y view that’s inspired painters and photographers fur generations. Pup by Sydney’s Frozen Custard (below) for a bite on your way back into town.
EAT & DRINK
Across Main Street from Grand Marais harbor, the Lake Superior views from this coffee shop’s dog-friendly patio are pawsitively STUNNING. Order the cafe’s $1 “pup cup” (whipped cream) along with your latte and you and your pooch’ll be savoring the flavors and the view together. It’s gonna be a furbulous day.
Voyageur Brewing Company
With fresh water bowls on both levels and the frequent puppearance of dog treats handed out by staff, it’s no wonder both the patio and the rooftop deck of this brewery are well-known doggo hangouts. Hoomans love the tasty brews, kickass tacos, and friendly atmosphere (due to all the dog people, obvs).
Sydney’s Frozen Custard & Wood Fired Pizza
The custard’s creative, the salads are fresh, and the wood-fired pizzas are the BEST (attention good dogs: beg fur the fresh sausage). Pita wraps, gourmet hot dogs, and other noms are also menu staples. Cozy up by the outdoor fireplace, or pup up the stairs for a stunning rooftop view of Lake Superior, twinkle lights included.
There’s a pupload of spots to kick up your paws ‘n stay awhile up here, and Visit Cook County’s Pet-Friendly Lodging Directory makes it a breeze to find one that’s pawfect for your pack. If you’re seeking a cozy spot with amenities like a pool and in-room fireplaces, several Sidewalk Doggers recommended Caribou Highlands, which’ll even welcome your hound with a goodie bag of locally made dog treats, a doggy water bottle, and a special brag tag. Want a little more time in the great outdogs? Wunderbar Eatery & Glampground is a puppin’ genius campground/restaurant concept, which means you and Fido can order “room service” to your tent or mosey over to the dog-friendly restaurant patio to mingle with other dogs and their humans.
What’s your fave place up here? Bork at us in the comments.
Sidewalk Dog’s mission is to help dog parents spend more time with their puppers by discovering and sharing activities they can do and places they can go—together! Sniff out our award-winning newsletter and Instagram, then join our Dog-Friendly Twin Cities Facebook Group.