Dog-Friendly Door County – Here’s All You Need to Know!
Don’t leave Fido at home! Door County loves dogs! All the Door County State Parks welcome dogs in most areas. Many restaurants welcome your 4-legged family member on their outside patio. Festivals, concerts in the park, outdoor beer gardens, even a few shops — all encourage your pet to join in on the fun. Here’s my Guide to All Things Dog-Friendly in Door County!
Hiking with the Hounds
Get outside! This is one of the biggest reasons to visit Door County. There are dozens of incredible hiking opportunities and many of them both you and your dog will enjoy. Dog-Friendly trails can be found in all Door County State Parks. Dogs do have to be on a leash, although at Whitefish Dunes Beach, there is a stretch beach were some folks let their dogs off-leash when no one else is around.
Here are five great Dog-Friendly Door County areas for you to explore.
Rock Island State Park
Rock Island is an uninhabited, small island is located off northeast tip of Washington Island. It’s approximately 1×1.6 miles and affords over 10 miles of hiking, camping, swimming, fishing and a beautiful sand beach (and it’s a “carry-in-carry-out” state park, meaning whatever you bring to the island, you must take with you when you leave). See Wisconsin’s oldest lighthouse and the boathouse and Great Hall of the Chester Thordarson estate (an Icelandic immigrant who purchased land on the island for a summer escape). To reach this destination, take the car ferry to Washington Island, then head over to the Karfi ferry (Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day). No cars, bikes or stores. Just you and your furry pal. View Map
Whitefish Dunes State Park
Hike up to Old Baldy or run free on the sand beach. There are also trails which provide access to Clark Lake. Explore towering sand dunes, wooded trails, and beautiful wildflower patches. Head well-past the sunbathers and water lovers and you’ll find stretches of soft, sandy, wet beach where puppy-paw imprints dot the shoreline. View Map
Newport State Park
Check out the Europe Bay/Hotz trail, which provides access to Europe Lake. Dogs are welcome on the northern part of the main beach as well, so take your dog for a dip! Europe Beach Trail is our favorite, especially with the dog. The trail is about 3 miles long and weaves through the forest and the rocky shoreline giving you and your hound ample opportunities to get your feet wet. It’s Door County Mom’s favorite trail. View Map
Peninsula State Park
A variety of trails includes Eagle Trail, a daring trek to the bottom of Eagle Bluff that will challenge you and your dog. If you tackle Eagle Trail, make sure your dog is agile – and you too! Or check out the Summer Trail Map to see the other trails as well. There are bike trails and hiking trails which you can walk on. View Map
Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal
Take a beautiful walk along the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal and view the lighthouses and more. If you hike with Pooch in the winter (January) you might just be lucky enough to watch the winter fleet arrive through the canal. It’s a sight to see! Multiple freighters break through the waters and find their way home for the winter. View Map
Free Fido — Door County Dog Parks
Want to let Fido run free? There are a few places to find dog parks.
Harbor Hounds Dog Park, Egg Harbor
Great location and amenities. Super close to all the wonderful offerings of Egg Harbor including a few restaurants and beer joints that allow pups to hang on the patio with you! View Map
Sister Bay Dog Park
The Sister Bay Dog Park is located adjacent to the Sister Bay Sports Park, just off of Woodcrest Road (about 1/4 mile behind Al Johnson’s). View Map
Captain Bailey’s Dog Park, Baileys Harbor
This park has separate areas for large and small dogs and is very clean with nice benches to sit on when the pups play. Clean up bags are provided, but bring water. View Map
Shiloh Road Bark Park, Sturgeon Bay
Located in Sturgeon Bay and supported by the Door County Humane Society, this dog park is east of downtown, just before you cross the main drawbridge heading into Door County. View Map
Gills Rock Coffee Shop & Dog Park
Dog Park behind the shop, dogs are welcome inside the shop as well. Open daily in the summer, weekends in the fall/winter. While you’re in Gills Rock, enjoy a view of the fall colors (if you’re up in September-November) and all the other wondrful areas to explore in Gills Rock! View Map
Dining with the Doggies
Shipwrecked Brew Pub
Hatch Distilling Co. Tasting Room*
Please do sit down and enjoy a crafted cocktail unique in every way. Dogs will enjoy watching the world pass by and pick up on your sense of spirit-induced contentment! Yum!
Not Licked Yet
White Gull Inn
Hands down our favorite place on the peninsula for pizza. Sister Bay is our favorite location of the three.
Skip Stone Coffee Roasters
Al Johnsons Bier Garten*
Great place to watch the game, sit outside and enjoy a brew and/or listen to live music.
Island Orchard Cider*
If you love French sparkling whites, you’ll love this place. Casual atmosphere in a quiet town. One of our top places to hang out.
Door County Brewing Co and Tap Room*
This iconic music hall is a must-stop on your Door County visit. Dogs are welcome outside (ocassionally there will be an outdoor band), but we believe that dogs are not OK to bring in. Let us know if you hear otherwise!
Harbor Fish Market & Grille*
Rumor has it that this place includes a Dog Menu as well as a human menu! The friendly waitstaff will bring out a bowl of water for Rover as well! You can’t beat that for pet-friendly service!
The Hitching Post Bar & Grill
We’ve enjoyed a sandwich here after a visit to Cave Point. If you’re on that end of the peninsula and are craving a delicious Bloody Mary and a burger, this is the place to stop. We’ve only been once, but we had a great time!
*Indicates a cafe or restaurant that Door County Mom has been to more than once and highly recommends.
Confidential Canine Spots — Little Known Places to Take Your Pooch
Europe Bay Beach and Liberty Grove Town Park
A beach visited mostly by locals. Live like a local! Bring your blanket and pack a lunch; there’s plenty of space to relax for an afternoon. View Map
Dead End on Porcupine Road near Ellison Bluff County Park
A locals’ favorite spot for throwing rocks or letting dogs roam in the water.. It’s a tiny rock beach, and pups will love the challenge of fetching sticks. You’ll need to continue straight on Porcupine Rd, passing the turn off to Ellison Bluff County Park. Head to the Dead End sign and continue down the steep hill. View Map
Skyway Drive-in Theatre
Enjoy a double-featue in your car or bring the blankets and lawn chairs. Pets are welcome! Check the Skyway Drive-in’s website for showtimes. The theatre is closed during cold months.
Door County Festivals and Outdoor Concerts
Most of the festivals are dog-friendly. Bring a leash of course and enjoy the fun with Fido in tow. Almost all outdoor concerts allow dogs! Truly I can’t think of one who doesn’t!
Gills Rock Coffee Shop & Dog Park
I mentioned it above, and it’s worth repeating. Visit this wonderful couple, Dewey & Charlene, and bring your pooch inside to meet them. Enjoy an enclosed outdoor area for your dog to run free. In the fall and winter months, the shop is only open on weekends and only in the morning. They are a retired couple, and the coffee shop is born out of love, not necessity. 🙂 In lieau of tips, they ask for a donation to the Door County Humane Society. Ask Dewey how much dog owners have donated over the years! It’s quite substantial. Dog lovers are the best!