Road Trippin’ with Rover: 10 Fido-Friendly Road Trip Ideas in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Beyond

This post was sniffed out in partnership with the pup lovers at Solid Gold Pet Food, dedicated to providing nutrition to help pets achieve extraordinary health and lifelong happiness. Their calming chews and line of tasty treats are perfect to pack on any road trip with Rover!

Few things in life are more liberating than road trippin’, be it with two- or four-legged friends. Hitting the open road is one of summer’s greatest pleasures.

Buckle up, pups, today we’ve sniffed out our top 10 Fido-friendly road trip destinations in and around Minnesota for when your wanderlust just can’t be held at bay any longer.

Woof to the wise: not every road trip is going to be ideal for your furry friend—nor your furry friend for every road trip. Remember to consider your dog’s individual personality and needs when deciding whether or not they should tag along. Additionally, be sure your pooch is pup-to-date with their vaccinations and has proper identification. And, as always, never ever leave your dog unattended in a vehicle—especially during the scorching summer months.

Without further ado, here are 10 spots that have us revved up to hop in the C-A-R this summer.

MINNESOTA

Bemidji
More than simply fun to say, Bemidji has a lot to offer to road-tripping pups and humans. We recommend that you check out Lake Bemidji State Park, a pawesome destination for over-water sunsets and pup-friendly hiking trails.

After that, head over to the patio of Bemidji Brewing for some delicious beer and food, plus complimentary treats and water for your pup.

Our dog-friendly lodging pick: Candlewood Suites Bemidji. This spot allows two pups up to 80lbs for $25 the first night, followed by $15 for each subsequent night.

dog friendly road trip

The refreshingly dog-friendly patio of Canal Park Brewing in Duluth. Photo: Old Saw Media

Duluth
Duluth is your quintessential MN road trip destination, and it’s one of the dog-friendliest as well. Score! Duluth is home to a number of fantastic pup-friendly restaurants and breweries: We love the patios of At Sara’s Table Chester Creek Café and Canal Park Brewing Company in paw-ticular.

As for outdoor activities, we recommend Ely’s Peak for a not-too-difficult but still-satisfying outing.

Our dog-friendly lodging pick: Sheraton Duluth Hotel. Allows dogs up to 80 lbs, and a guest waiver must be signed at check-in.

St Cloud
Sunny, historical St Cloud is one of our favorite destinations in MN, and for good reason. There’s a lot for you and your pup to sink your teeth into, including a hike at the beautiful Quarry Park and Nature Preserve, which has SO much to offer to nature-lovers: scenic woodlands, dense wetlands, and plenty of local plant life to keep you busy.

Once you’re done, head over to the delicious Beaver Island Brewing Co., which welcomes pups both on the patio and in the taproom.

Our dog-friendly lodging pick: Holiday Inn Express St Cloud. Two pups allowed per room for a $20 nightly fee.

Taylors Falls
Taylors Falls, just an hour northeast of the Twin Cities, is chock-full of dog-friendly spots to add to your road trip bucket list. We’ve got two dog-friendly patio picks for ya: the first is Coffee Talk, a rustic coffee shop in a renovated Victorian house, with water dishes available, and the second is The Drive In Restaurant, a 1950’s dining experience with diner-style burgers, malts, and the absolute best homemade soda you can get your paws on. Root beer float, anyone?

Make sure you save time for a hike in the gorgeous Interstate State Park, where you and your pup can explore the river and the glacial potholes.

Our dog-friendly lodging pick: This pet-friendly Airbnb in St Croix Falls (only 3 minutes from Taylors Falls). You can explore other pet-friendly Airbnbs in the Taylors Falls area here.

Lanesboro
Just two hours south of the Twin Cities you’ll find the charming town of Lanesboro—the perfect day-trip destination for you and your four-legged friend.

Lanesboro has a number of furbulous dog-friendly patios for your dining pleasure including High Court Pub, a flatbread-centric restaurant with not one, not two, but THREE outdoor seating options, and Riverside on the Root, a New American restaurant that houses 2 Rivers Brewery as well. Karst Brewing, just a town over, is another can’t-miss spot. The quaint schoolhouse-turned-brewery has a dog-friendly patio with water dishes available.

Our dog-friendly lodging pick: While Lanesboro is the self-proclaimed Bed and Breakfast Capital of Minnesota, the majority of the old-fashioned B&Bs are not pet-friendly. Luckily, Lanesboro has a bevy of dog-friendly campgrounds, so if you feel like ruffin’ it, these are our top three dog-friendly campgrounds: Sylvan Park & Riverview Campgrounds, Gud-i-nuff Campsite, and Eagle Cliff Campground and Lodging.


WISCONSIN

Eau Claire
If you’re after a shorter-distance road trip, a stop in Eau Claire is well worth your time. While you’re there, take your pup for a hike along the breathtaking Chippewa River State Trail, which features over 30 miles of paved walking that begins in Eau Claire’s Phoenix Park and takes you through miles of Chippewa River coast, farmlands, and more. Editor’s Note: naturally, we don’t recommend taking this trail on all at once. Be sure to bring plenty of water for yourself and your pup, and consider starting off with a shorter out-and-back route before really digging into this trail.

After you get your hike on, swing over to one of the dog-friendly outdoor tables at Geno’s Pizza for a well-earned slice of the good stuff.

Our dog-friendly lodging pick: AmericInn by Wyndham Eau Claire. Two pups of 50 lbs or less allowed for $20 per night.

Wisconsin Dells
The Dells is a Midwest favorite for more reasons than one—with its plethora of dog-friendly haunts, what’s not to love?

In the likely event that you’re in need of food and libations, we’ve gotcha covered. Our two restaurant picks are The Keg & the Patio and the Brat House Grill. Both have dog-friendly patios and menus that are sure to please any hooman’s palate, and the latter has a special menu just for pups. If you’re in the mood for a brew, hit up Port Huron Brewing Company. Their beer garden is dog-friendly and their beers are delish. Try out their best-selling Port Huron Honey Blonde or their signature Porter. Water is available, but be sure to BYOBowl.

Our dog-friendly lodging pick: While there is no shortage of pet-friendly lodging options in the Dells, our two recommendations are Baker’s Sunset Bay Resort and Dells Timberland Camping Resort.

dog friendly road trip

SWD Pack Dog, Brody, makes a splash in Door County

Door County
Your dog may not have opposable thumbs, but that won’t stop them from enjoying the gorgeous thumb of WI, where the dog-friendly fun is on tap all summer. A famous, stunning slice of land surrounded by Lake Michigan, Door County is home to a fabulous hiking opportunity in Whitefish Dunes State Park, which even has access to a dog-friendly beach area on Lake Michigan.

If you’re feeling a little less adventurous but still want to have fun, you can enjoy one of the County’s many dog parks.

After you get in some walking, swimming, and socializing, consider a stop by Bistro Bar & Grille‘s dog-friendly patio for some delicious takes on Wisconsin classics (yes, that includes cheese curds, plus tons of other tasty options).

Our dog-friendly lodging pick: Hillside Inn of Ephraim – Allows pups with approval, so be sure to call ahead. Other great lodging options can be found here.


IOWA

Des Moines
Located just a few hours outside of town, this city welcomes pups from around the country every year. We recommend checking out the dog-friendly and scenic Kruidenier Trail, a relatively short hike which passes beautiful Grey’s Lake and connects to other local trails.

After that, consider a stop at the dog-friendly patio of Gazali’s, a Mediterranean spot which churns out gyros, wraps, salads, and sandwiches.

Our dog-friendly lodging pick: La Quinta Inn & Suites Des Moines West Clive – Like almost all La Quinta locations, this spot allows pups—with some restrictions. Details can be found here.


dog friendly road trip

Plan ahead to find a dog-friendly hotel where you can both snuggle up after a day of adventuring.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Rapid City
Rapid City is one of the Midwest’s great, often-overlooked gems. While you’re in town, make a stop at the in-progress, ten-times-larger-than-Mount Rushmore Crazy Horse Memorial, which will be among the world’s tallest monuments once completed. You’ll enjoy the short walk, the breathtaking view, and the look at the Midwest’s Native American heritage. Your pup will love the fresh air, socializing, and—if you’re providin’—treats.

If you’re looking for a better play opportunity for your furry companion, check out one of Rapid City’s on or off-leash parks.

Consider a stop at the sprawling, gorgeous patio of Murphy’s Pub and Grill for some drool-inducing eats like street-style tacos, unique sliders, chicken wings with wacky flavors like strawberry-habanero, and much more.

Our dog-friendly lodging pick: Grand Gateway Hotel – Up to two dogs allowed per room for a nightly fee of $10 per dog.


There you have it, friends. You now have a summer’s worth of pup-lovin’ road trip inspiration to keep you and your fur baby busy.

As America’s first holistic pet food company, Solid Gold Pet Food has over 40 years of experience crafting natural, tailored nutrition to meet your pet’s unique needs across their lifetime. Each of their recipes contain balanced Omega Fatty Acids, pre- and probiotics, high quality proteins and nutrient-dense superfoods for health and longevity. For dog’s sake, head to your favorite pet-supply store and pick up a bag today!

Road trippin’ is sweet – don’t forget to pack treats!

 

 

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