A dog’s view of Mackinac Island

Oh, boy! Oh, boy! Oh, boy! My name is Rex and my owner, Jim, just pulled my leash out from the closet. I can’t stop running around the house because we’re going somewhere! We’re going somewhere! Woof!

That leash always means something exciting is about to happen! Don’t get me wrong, I love our home. But the world is a big place and there’s so much to see and do out there. That’s especially true for this one place he took me last year – Mackinac Island, it was called.

A little dog stands on a seat on the top deck of a Mackinac Island ferry crossing the water on a sunny day

Getting to Mackinac Island

That was quite the place. Typically, when we exit the car that means we’ve arrived at the destination. Not with Mackinac Island, though, no no. On this occasion, we departed the car and boarded what I can only describe as a car that drives on water – a Mackinac Island ferry, I believe I remember Jim calling it.

Now, I thought sticking my head out of a car window was fun, but being out on the water took it to a whole new level. It didn’t take any effort whatsoever to feel the cool breeze as there was nothing to stick my head out of – I was completely in the open on this magical vessel. I can recall thinking how we must be off to somewhere special if it involves this splendor. The ride captured all my dog senses – the sounds and smells, especially. I absolutely loved crossing the water. Maybe I was someone’s pet fish in a previous life!

Tips for a dog-friendly trip to Mackinac Island

A cute little dog stands with a leash at its feet in the middle of Main Street on Mackinac Island

Arriving on Mackinac Island

Stepping off the vessel and onto Mackinac Island really made my tail wag! So many exciting things were happening. There were people on bikes and these other animals I can only describe as gigantic dogs. Even though one of my hobbies is chasing cars, the fact that this magical land lacked them made it even more interesting.

We dispersed onto Main Street and I was immediately captivated by colorful downtown Mackinac Island filled with restaurants, shops, and more. The various Mackinac Island fudge shops were such a tease, too, since dogs can’t eat that stuff.

Things to know about keeping your dog safe on Mackinac Island

A young couple stands in front of Mackinac Island's Arch Rock while each holding a cute little dog

Playing Around on Mackinac Island, a Dog’s Paradise

After checking in at one of the dog-friendly hotels on Mackinac Island, the real fun began. The Island itself is mostly state park, which means lots of nature and seemingly endless miles of trails. It’s a dog’s paradise! We hiked and explored all the nooks and crannies. We stumbled across numerous interesting geological formations in Mackinac Island State Park. For example, one was arched like a cat’s back after they see my intimidating dog self!

Mackinac Island Travel Guide for Dogs, in pictures

Water drips from the mouth of a dark-furred dog on Mackinac Island

Dog-Friendly Dining on Mackinac Island

A long day of exploration calls for some culinary enjoyment. And while I’m not allowed inside all the establishments, there’s a handful of dog-friendly Mackinac Island restaurants where I am able to remain tableside out on the patio or veranda. It’s no sweat off my owner’s back for having to eat outside with me – the views are spectacular!

Outdoor dining on Mackinac Island

It’s easy to be man’s best friend when they take you on trips like Mackinac Island. What a weekend that was! We’re about due for another one, I’d say. Hopefully, that’s why he’s pulled the leash out.

(Note that Mackinac Island has a leash law and asks that everyone picks up after their pet. There are pet-friendly hotels and many restaurants have pet seating areas while others will let you bring your pooch to the table on their verandas or patios. Please know that only service dogs are permitted inside at any restaurant. For more information, please call the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau office at 906-847-3783.)


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