Minnesota’s North Shore along Lake Superior is wild and rrrr-rugged. And during the dog days of summer, going “Pup North” is a refreshing escape from the city–the greatest of lakes acts like outdoor AC.
Duluth has a reputation as a nature- and dog-lovin’ town–and for good reason. Doxies Franz and Enzo recently pointed their noses due north to sniff out the area’s best bets for dog-friendly fun.
In the area? Check out our pupcoming Dog-Friendly Guide to Two Harbors (coming soon!) for more local faves!
With 11,000 acres of green space next to the lake, you WILL find your own superior place to sit. Stay. Roll. Wait, are those old fishy bits?! ENZO! NO!
Our “Pup North” experience starts at Jay Cooke State Park, about 10 miles southwest of Duluth. It’s known for its historic swinging bridge over the St. Louis River. Peer over the edge into the rocky gorge below–if you dare. And Dachshunds ALWAYS dare. It’s a long way down even for tall breeds like humans, so keep on a 6-foot leash and stay on the trail.
We could bark on and on about the Duluth Lakewalk, a classy mix of boardwalk and pavement stretching along the downtown Superior lakefront. Start in Canal Park with views of the Aerial Lift Bridge, Duluth’s most iconic landmark. Small dogs with big maritime dreams, Enzo and Franz watched their ships come in–a steady stream of kayakers and freighters approaching the busy harbor.
On the other side of the Lift Bridge is Minnesota Point, a narrow, 7-mile-long sandbar that juts out from Canal Park into Lake Superior. Seven miles of soft SAND (not cobblestone), beach, and lots of scenic stop-off points along the way for swimming and digging in the“world’s longest freshwater sandbar.” Park Point Beach, about halfway down the spit, is a great place to park it for a picnic against a backdrop of grass-topped dunes. Labs and other hearty breeds usually have the water all to themselves, as Lake Superior rarely gets above 50 degrees in the summer. (That temp earns a hard pass from two barely insulated doxies).
Shake off the sand and wipe your paws–we’re going out on the town and patio season is in full swing. There’s a pupload of dog-friendly patios in Duluth. Fur starters: Canal Park Brewing Company and Fitger’s Brewhouse.
You’ll also find new places to visit in the Lincoln Park Craft District. This pup-and-coming neighborhood features craft breweries and cideries, Love Creamery artisan ice cream, art galleries, and SO many dog-friendly patios, you’ll need more than a weekend to visit them all. Bent Paddle Brewing is just a few sniffing stops up the street from Duluth Cider. Normally, bears and dogs don’t mix, but they do at Ursa Minor Brewing. The Little Dipper-themed brewery has a rotating selection of craft beers and wood-fired pizzas to order. Enjoy it all with a patio big enough for the biggest of dogs to stretch out.
Woof-DAH! That’s a lot of steps for two weenies in one day. Time to chill by the fire at Grand Superior Lodge in Castle Danger, and then fall into twitchy-legged doggo dreams. After all, there’s more to explore in Two Harbors.