It’s as close to dog heaven as you can get. With more than 300 miles of shoreline, there are beaches to swim in, and harbors and coves to explore. Add Washington Island, five state parks, and more than a dozen county parks to the mix, and you’ve got a multitude of places to hike, run and play catch in Door County. Just think: that’s a lot of sticks to throw.
Sandy Chlubna, innkeeper of The Feathered Star Bed & Breakfast in Egg Harbor, said bringing pets to Door County is a “growing movement.” Luckily, Door County’s various pet-friendly establishments — owned by dog lovers themselves — make bringing furry friends on vacation relatively easy.
Most pet-friendly locations go out of their way to accomodate your dog, from finding you a local kennel for short-time stays to suggesting hiking trails. In Bailey’s Harbor, Beachfront Inn has nightly beach campfires, where there are “several dogs that all play together while their parents are relaxing with the other guests at the fire,” said owner Tammy Bork.
The Feathered Star gives pets a treat each night in their room. Even the Harbor Fish Market & Grille has a dog menu, which includes “Sterling’s Doggie Kibble,”—“for the discriminating dog who does not eat table food.”
If you bring your pet
Innkeepers pre-approve pet requests, so let them know you’re bringing a pet when making your reservation. “You can’t just show up at the desk with your pet,” said Bob Dickson of The Shallows Resort in Egg Harbor. The Shallows has allowed dogs on its property since it opened almost 50 years ago. Dickson’s advice? Be responsible for your pets. “Your dog has to be friendly with other people and other pets — including the resort cat.”
If you have an exotic pet, ask if you can bring them. Dickson only allows dogs at The Shallows, although he says in the past, a rabbit may have stayed with them. “We have to be conscious of allergy issues,” he said.
Chlubna, who once had a ferret guest at The Feathered Star, said exotic animals could be allowed to stay, as long as she knows about them beforehand. “I need to know if there’s anything special I need to do to make [sure] the animals are ok.”
Most resorts charge extra for pets. Depending on the dog, there could be a $10-$40 charge per dog, per day. The extra charge goes into the cost of cleaning the rooms.
Bork, who allows dogs at Beachfront Inn because of her springer spaniel Max, explained, “People do not realize that we have to clean the dog rooms as good as or better than the other rooms because we do not want a dog to smell other dogs in the room or they will mark their territory.”
Dining with pets
It helps that restaurants are getting pet-friendly, too. Karen Berndt, owner of Harbor Fish Market & Grille in Bailey’s Harbor, met her husband Carl when they bred their golden retrievers 20 years ago. A few years ago they started allowing “doggy dining” in their outdoor garden. “It has been a sensational success,” she said. “[Guests] love not having to leave their dog in a hot, closed up car and the dogs certainly love all the attention they receive from our staff.”
If you’re not so inclined to sharing a room with your pooch in Door County, check out this list of kennels. Dave Sabol of Door County Kennels lets owners visit their pets during the day. Short-time (if you’re going to a play and don’t want to leave your dog alone) stays are also allowed.
Door County Kennels, Inc.
4860 Court Rd., Egg Harbor
3886 County Road M, Sturgeon Bay
5451 Utah Street Sturgeon Bay
Places to stay
The Shallows Resort
7353 Horseshoe Bay Road (Hwy G), Egg Harbor
8040 Hwy 57, Baileys Harbor
The Feathered Star B&B
6202 Hwy 42, Egg Harbor
Julie’s Park Cafe & Motel
4020 Hwy 42, Fish Creek
“On The Rocks” Cliffside Lodge
849 Wisconsin Bay Road, Gills Rock
7755 State Hwy 42, Egg Harbor
Julie’s Park Cafe
4020 Hwy 42, Fish Creek
Harbor Fish Market & Grille
8080 Highway 57, Baileys Harbor
Lilledeshan Bose is a freelance writer who grew up in Asia, lived in Wisconsin and now resides in California.
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