A Dog-Friendly Trip to Bayfield and Madeline Island

It’s hard to beat the natural, homegrown magic of Bayfield, a small-town treasure set against the backdrop of the largest of the Great Lakes. Scattered just beyond the harbor are Madeline Island and the rest of the Apostle Islands, 21 natural gems forming a protected national lakeshore at the top of the state.

Everything feels cleaner and fresher here, from the sparkling waters of Lake Superior to the wealth of Travel Green Wisconsin-certified businesses. Bring your dog along to this maritime town for a welcome as authentic as they get!  

Where to Stay

Several local lodging options are dog-friendly, from inns to cabins, and you can browse them all on the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce’s website. For some Madeline Island digs, try the Island Inn, which will welcome your pup with treats, or the Inn on Madeline Island's many pet-friendly condos and cottage rentals.

For views of Lake Superior from the mainland just four blocks from downtown Bayfield, book a comfy room or condo at the Winfield Inn & Gardens, which allows dogs. Or, escape to the seclusion of the woods at Hauser’s Bayfield Cabin, where the owners are happy to host a well-behaved dog or two.

Where to Eat

For the best local-brew joe around, make a stop at Big Water Coffee Roasters in Bayfield, where your dog can even order a water bowl as you relax together in the sidewalk seating. If you’re stopping in for breakfast or need an afternoon pick-me-up, score something sweet for yourself from Big Water’s bakery, like a rhubarb ginger scone.

For a more substantial brunch, lunch or dinner, try Bayfield’s well-known fresh market deli and farm-to-table restaurant, The Fat Radish. Spot can take in the smells with you if you dine in the courtyard.

Other Bayfield eateries that welcome pets in outdoor seating include Greunke’s First Street Inn & Dining, Portside Bar & Restaurant, and Pier Plaza Restaurant & Lounge.

Dining across the bay on Madeline Island? Check out The Pub Restaurant & Wine Bar at the Inn on Madeline Island, which will serve your dog treats and a cool drink along with your meal on the patio. Go for a romp together on the beach after you eat.  

What to Do

Up for a boat ride to spectacular sea caves, lighthouses and more Lake Superior scenery? Dogs can hop aboard the Madeline Island Ferry Line for free, and they’re also welcome on Captain Bob’s Marina & Boat Club’s water taxis and fishing charters out of La Pointe on Madeline Island. Many of Bayfield’s sailing charters welcome guests of the four-legged variety, including Black Warrior Marine, Dreamcatcher Sailing, Manitou Classic Sailing Charters and Sailboats Inc. Charters.

For a summertime or harvest season visit, plan an adventure with your pooch to pick apples or berries at one of the area’s numerous farms and orchards – including Hillcrest Orchards, Rocky Acres Berry Farm, Bayfield Apple Company, Good Earth Gardens or Sunset Valley Orchard.

Visiting in the winter? Plan your trip around the Northern Pines Sled Dog Race in February that takes place about an hour southwest of Bayfield in Iron River.

If you’ve got your eye on Bayfield’s charming retail stops but don’t want to leave your best pal alone, you can choose from several that are pet-friendly, with some size restrictions. Your dog can shop for gifts with you at Winfield’s Garden Emporium, Keeper of the Light or Hitching Post. Leashed, well-behaved dogs also are welcome at the charming Ehlers General Store in nearby Cornucopia.

For some pup-specific shopping, try Howl Clothing & Adventure in Bayfield, where dogs have their own gear section and can pick up some Racey’s Tasty Dog Bisquits, made locally in northern Wisconsin. 


Heading to Bayfield? Find more great ideas for your getaway with our 48-hour itinerary.