The blue sky, the crisp air, the intriguing new scents. As in, the turtle pancakes your dog is performing the tuck ‘n roll on. Er, is that just us? We digress.
While those turtles begin their slow migration to dog-knows-where, ’tis the time of year we Minnesotans look forward to our own mini migrations. We’re entering the full glory of fall, which means get outta town (with the pup, natch) and enjoy it while you can!
- Go (North)West. And introduce your pal to Paul. Bunyan, that is. The iconic big guy and his Babe reside in dog-friendly Bemidji. Once you pick your pup-lovin’ lodging, you can let ’em run free at the Nymore Dog Park, then leash ’em up for an adventurous hike (and well-deserved ice cream!) at the Kramer-approved Itasca State Park. Got stamina? Jump on Minnesota’s longest state trail, the Paul Bunyan State Trail, at the northern trailhead at Lake Bemidji State Park, and go dogs go!
- Get on up der. If a looong road trip suits your pooch, we’ve got the sniff on the best dog-friendly spots in International Falls. Lake Vermilion’s Pehrson Lodge Resort now has pet-friendly cabins as well as easy access to scenic hiking trails galore, and Cyrus Resort, a fave of fishing enthusiasts, welcomes your furry friend to the sprawling wonder known as Lake of the Woods.
- ‘Splore the shore. With terrain that goes drop-dead gorgeous in autumn and views that are more ocean than lake, Duluth is a truly superior spot to seek out. Keep going along the North Shore and you’ll find dog-friendly lodging and more sniff-worthy trails than you can shake a stick at from Lutsen to Grand Marais.
- Bring ’em to Brainerd. A little closer to the Cities, this centrally located concentration of lakes and lodges makes for easy weekend pickins for pups and peeps alike, plus they’ve got a sweet lil’ dog park right by the river. Bonus: Remember the Paul Bunyan Trail we mentioned earlier? You can catch it here, too!
Itching to ditch town but only have a few hours?
- Pop down to Red Wing, a historic river city with plenty of dog-friendly shops, patios, and even a winery.
- Spend the day poking around in Stillwater and make time for an easy hike near Taylors Falls.
- Don’t stop there: Head across the river to Hudson and explore the Willow River State Park. Stay the day or overnight — campsites available. (Thanks for the tip, Emily B.!)