Wrigley and I took our first trip to Traverse City when he was just eight months old. Two years later we were excited to return and visit some of our favorite spots and check out a few new dog-friendly beaches, hikes, restaurants, and wineries. There truly is so much to explore here with your furry friend and below I'm sharing our full weekend itinerary. Interested in more Traverse City content? Click here.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Traverse City Tourism. The itinerary was created by me based on personal research and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Where to stay:
Whenever I travel with Wrigley, one of the main questions I always get is about where we stay. While it can be a bit tricky to find dog-friendly hotels when you travel, Traverse City actually has quite a few options. On this trip we stayed at the Sleep Inn & Suites in Acme which is located just a few minutes outside downtown. It's located directly across the street from the Bay which is so peaceful to wake up to on those morning potty runs. Speaking of that, there is plenty of grass in the front of the hotel and in the side yards which was so convenient to not have to walk far to let Wrigs go to the bathroom. The rooms were comfy and we were on the third floor so it was relatively quiet which was another plus if you have a dog who barks at strange noises like mine. I also love a hotel with breakfast included as it saves time and money and Sleep Inn & Suites had a great grab and go selection to choose from.
Day 1: Moomer's Ice Cream, Hopscotch Brick Oven Taproom, The Little Fleet, Mission Point Lighthouse
On our way up north, one of the first places we always love to stop is Moomer's Homemade Ice Cream. You'll need to order inside and can enjoy your ice cream outside on the patio with several picnic tables overlooking the dairy farm which is home to the cows who help make the ice cream you're eating. Order a pup cup for your furry friend (vanilla ice cream topped with a milk bone) and for yourself, be sure to try their signature ice cream flight which includes a scoop of your choice of five of their over 160 rotating flavors.
Next, it was time for dinner so we headed to Hopscotch Brick Oven Taproom. This is a relatively new restaurant in Traverse City and I'm so glad we got to check it out. They have a large outdoor patio (arrive early if you can because it filled up quick!) and specialize in brick oven pizza. We also tried the buffalo chicken dip which was equally delicious.
We decided to stop by The Little Fleet next to grab a margarita from the walk up bar. I've been here a few different times and it's always such a fun vibe. There are tons of different seating options which are available first come first serve and you're bound to see many other doggies here. There is a variety of food trucks on site as well if you're looking for another place to grab lunch or dinner during your visit.
To end our night we drove up Old Mission Peninsula to the Mission Point Lighthouse. In addition to visiting the lighthouse (dogs aren't allowed inside), there is also a dog friendly beach which is a great place to watch the sunset. We had the beach almost entirely to ourselves and Wrigley got to go for an evening swim.
Day 2: Good Harbor Coffee, Picnic Lunch at West Bay Beach, Winery Tour, Red Mesa Grill
After grabbing breakfast at our hotel, we headed down to Front Street to walk around the shops and get coffee. Good Harbor Coffee and Bakery had a delicious salted caramel latte as well as pastries and homemade dog treats. Dogs aren't allowed inside here but there are a few tables outside the coffee shop to sit and enjoy your drink. Or walk around downtown and visit Cherry Republic or the M22 store which both allow dogs inside.
For lunch we grabbed some of our favorites to go to create our own picnic on the beach. Folgarelli's is an authentic Italian market and deli with the best sandwiches - honestly the bread is out of this world. Grab chips, drinks, and pasta salad to go with your sandwich for the perfect summer meal. We also stopped to grab a slice of the famous cherry crumb pie from Grand Traverse Pie Company for dessert. Their original store on West Front Street does have an outdoor patio if you wanted to eat on site but we took our food to West Bay Beach to let Wrigley play in the water while we ate. It's a smaller section of beach but there are several parking spots and the far west side is dog-friendly.
Next it was time for my favorite activity in Traverse City - wine tasting! There are so many dog-friendly wineries and breweries here you'll have a hard time narrowing down your top picks. I would suggest choosing two or three to visit in one afternoon. We started our day at Two K Farms which does have some wine but is better known for their hard cider. The views here are out of this world and they have an awesome patio space with a fire pit and Adirondack chairs overlooking the water. You have to try their signature mimosa flight which has five different juices paired with their cider.
From there, we headed to Blustone Vineyards which is a gorgeous, upscale tasting room nestled steps away from the vineyard. I tried a glass of their sparkling Riesling and Wrigley enjoyed the free treats and pets from the staff. They have a few different options for outdoor seating including bean bags which are lower to the ground which was super convenient when you have a dog who loves to be the center of attention.
Our last stop of the day was 45 North named for their unique location on the 45th Parallel which is ideal latitude for growing wine grapes. I loved their sweet wine flight and the sparkling peach is a must try! If you're pup is tired of sitting still and looking to burn some energy, take a walk on the 3-mile recreational trail through the vineyard.
To end our night, we headed back toward the hotel and stopped for dinner at Red Mesa Grill which serves up traditional dishes and exotic specialties highlighting the flavors of Latin America. They are known for their margaritas made with fresh squeezed sour mix. The patio also has a fireplace which is perfect for chilly evenings. We loved everything we ordered here and had some of the best service of our entire trip.
Day 3: Morsels, Wags West Dog Park, Rare Bird Brew Pub, Empire Bluff Trail
Our last day in Traverse City had to start with coffee again. We visited a new location this day located on the east side of Front Street. Morsels served up the best iced latte I've quite possibly ever had. In addition to coffee, they are also famous for their unique bite-sized baked goods. The small patio outside overlooks the river and makes for a peaceful start to your morning.
We took our coffee to Wags West Dog Park to let Wrigley run around and burn some energy off. This is always one of his favorite spots to visit on our trips to Traverse City. The dog park has both a large and small dog area (they were combined during our visit for reseeding on one side) with lots to room to run and play. There are a couple benches to sit on, waste bags, and Wrigley's favorite - the water fountain.
For lunch we were off to Rare Bird Brew Pub which offers delicious pub style food. They brew their own beers on tap and also serve a variety of other breweries, wineries, and distilleries from Michigan. I loved Rosé the Riveter which was a rosé blonde ale brewed with raspberries and pomegranate. They have a few tables on the sidewalk outside as well as a larger patio behind the building.
Before heading home we had one more stop to make with some of my favorite views in all of Michigan. Empire Bluff Trail is a short 1.2 mike hike (out and back) along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The trail is very moderate with only one short section of elevation gain that leads out to a boardwalk with stunning views of the lakeshore. We saw lots of other dogs on our hike and a majority of the trail is shaded so you don't have to worry about your dog getting too hot. There are lots of other dog-friendly areas in Sleeping Bear if you're looking to explore a bit more as well as the famous Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive.
I love creating detailed travel guides to ensure you get the most out of your time. On this blog I'll be sharing some of my past trips in hopes that it helps you plan your next adventure. Pack your suitcase you never know where I'll be heading next!
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