Dog-Friendly Road Trip: Put-in-Bay

We are lucky to have so many fun, dog-friendly places within a short drive of Cleveland. One that I have been wanting to hit up for a while with the dogs is Put-in-Bay island. Located on South Bass Island in Lake Erie, Put-in-Bay is a popular summer destination for those looking for an Island party scene, but is also a great place to take your dog for patios, fun walks and sight-seeing.

I decided to plan my trip in September, thinking it would be less crowded, and less hot. I was right on one point, it was definitely not crowded. Unfortunately though, it was also one of the hottest days this summer. The heat definitely impacted our options with the dogs since Hunter is very heat averse, but we decided to make the best of it anyways.

Here is a rundown of what we did if you are looking to plan a trip to Put-in-Bay with your dogs.

How to get there

Both Jet Express and Miller’s Ferry allow dogs to travel on their boats over to the island. Just be sure to check the schedule if you are going in the off season. We didn’t plan ahead well and got to Jet Express only to find out that it doesn’t run on weekdays after Sept. 9. Luckily, Miller’s Ferry still runs on Fridays in September and is not too far from the Jet Express, so we were able to drive over there to pick up the ferry. They do have more limited hours and don’t take cars roundtrip on certain days during the off season, so read the site carefully when planning a trip in the off-season.

On Miller’s Ferry, dogs can ride on the lower level with the cars. Although it doesn’t drop you off as centrally on the island and is a more cargo-like experience than Jet Express, it’s still an easy option for getting to the island with your dogs. If you take Miller’s Ferry, you will want to rent a golf cart since it’s a farther walk to the main area of the island from where they drop you off. There is a golf cart rental place right next to where Miller’s Ferry drops off.



What to do

Put-in-Bay has a number of parks, and even recently opened a dog park on the island. There are a lot of fun areas to walk with your dog on the Island. You can walk around the Main Street to see the shops or take more scenic walks through the parks and along the lakeside. Most of the shops on the Island are dog-friendly, although it’s always a good idea to ask before bringing in your dog.

South Bass Island State Park is a great spot for a dog hike if you go on a less hot day. We couldn’t add it to the agenda knowing our dogs would barely make it a half mile, but from my research it looks like a good option for a nice Island walk. The park offers scenic views of Lake Erie as well as beach access.

And if you can’t get much of a walk in, there are a lot of great photo opportunities around the island for your dogs!

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For a little history, you can walk around the grounds of the Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial.


The new dog park, Island Paws Dog Park, on the island is located very close to where the Miller’s Ferry drops off. The park just opened this past May and provides a large space for dogs to roam and play. It didn’t look to have beach access to me, but it was hard to tell based on our visit when no other dogs or people were there.


For the more adventurous pup, you can also rent kayaks at Kayak the Bay near Oak Point to take your dog out on the water.

We didn’t rent kayaks, but we did get some cool pics on the jet skis at the ice cream place 🙂IMG_8636 IMG_8635


Where to eat

We stopped at the Reel Inn to find some shade and water for the pups after arriving on the island. The patio out front isn’t too large, but was able to accommodate the four dogs we had with us since it wasn’t crowded. The service and food was very good, so I would definitely recommend making a stop there if you visit.


And of course, there’s nothing better than ice cream on a hot day!


Other recommended dog-friendly patio options are: Goat, Boardwalk, The Keys, Chicken Patio, Hooligan’s.

The storm clouds started to move in toward the end of the day, but thankfully the weather held up and it only began to pour on us as we got to the parking lot on our way home. Some of the dogs were not too pleased with us for the long walk we had to make in the rain to get to the car. (Sorry Roscoe!)



Have you been to Put-in-Bay with your dogs? What was your favorite thing you did?

Dog-Friendly Road Trip: Philadelphia

Inspired by one of my favorite Instagrammers, Andrew Knapp and his dog Momo (@andrewknapp) who live out of a van most of the year and travel around Canada (and sometimes the U.S.), I love to plan road trips with my dogs. Two years ago we went to Charleston, S.C., and had a blast soaking up the Southern charm and dog-friendly hospitality of the city. Last week, we took a road trip to Philadelphia to see a friend of mine and take in some American history in a big city. Philadelphia is about a seven-hour drive, seven and a half with traffic, but a fairly quick and easy trip to take from Cleveland.

This was a big trip of firsts – first time having the dogs stay at a hotel and first time visiting a big city with dogs! I’d been to Philadelphia before but I really didn’t remember much about it. It’s definitely busier, louder and hotter than I remember. Although we had a lot of fun, taking two dogs to a busy, hot city can be somewhat challenging. Here’s the run down on what we did:

Where We Stayed

We stayed at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco in the Center City area. I’ve heard great things about how dog friendly the Kimpton chain of hotels are so I’d been looking for an opportunity to check them out. The Kimpton has no dog fees and no limit to the number of dogs you can bring, so although it’s on the more expensive side, no pet fees makes it a more affordable hotel option for traveling with dogs.

I hate to complain too much about a hotel that welcomes dogs so openly, but I think due to the fact that they promote themselves as so dog-friendly, I expected a little more. The website mentions that they provide dog-friendly recommendations upon check in and that they have a dog-friendly wine reception, but none of that was mentioned to me when I got there. I ended up asking about what dog-friendly attractions were nearby and was just told one place and that any place with a patio would be dog friendly (which didn’t turn out to be true).

Overall, the staff was very nice and very welcoming of my dogs, so I wouldn’t say it was a bad experience, just not want I expected based on their marketing. I am sure the level of dog-friendliness varies by location too though! The hotel has beautiful décor and is in a great spot for exploring the historical parts of the city and has a lot of cute restaurants and cafes nearby, so I don’t have any big complaints.

We especially loved the wallpaper and yellow doors, and the cool dog lamp.

I will say the one thing I did not enjoy – taking the elevator to take my dogs out to potty. For some reason this didn’t occur to me when I booked a hotel. You would think they’d put dog owners on a lower level, but I had to ride the elevator seven floors early in the morning and every night to take them down. I don’t know that we’d do a hotel again. I think it’s good for some dogs, but not really our thing.

At least Hunter had a good view of the city…even if Roscoe didn’t love the elevator.


Things the dogs really enjoyed – the bed. I think sleeping in the hotel’s luxurious bed was the highlight of the trip for Roscoe.

Where We Ate

So as I mentioned we were told that dogs are allowed at any restaurant with a patio. Although we did find several that allowed them, one that we tried (which was the largest patio we came across) said they couldn’t allow dogs because there were high walls around the patio. Hmmm ok. Most of our options for dog-friendly dining in the city were small sidewalk patios, which are not my favorite. A busy street with dogs in a cramped space is not a great place to take my sometimes barky (looking at you Hunter) dog.

I had a hard time finding good suggestions when I researched places before the trip too. I think the city just doesn’t have as many great patios as we do in Cleveland. Visiting Philadelphia really made me appreciate all the space we have in Cleveland for large, back-of-the-restaurant patios. I didn’t see any like that in Philadelphia that allowed dogs.

If you are visiting the city, here are the places we went:

Belgian Café, 601 N 21st St, Philadelphia

North Third Restaurant, 801 N 3rd St, Philadelphia

Gold Standard Café, 4800 Baltimore Ave, Philadelphia

Belgian Café and North Third both provided water bowls, but that was about as dog-friendly as it got.


Originally we had planned to drive to a dog-friendly beach, but I cut the trip a little shorter than planned and we didn’t want to spend a day fighting the traffic. If you are looking for a dog-friendly beach near Philadelphia, Longport Beach on the Jersey shore is one option. It’s about an hour/hour and half drive from Philadelphia with traffic.

Since it was so hot and there aren’t a ton of dog-friendly things to do in the city, we mainly took walks and visited cafes. Philadelphia is not a very green city, but there are quite a few little parks around the historic area where we stayed that are pretty to walk through. Near where we stayed is Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and Ben Frankin’s Grave, so it’s fun just walk through these areas and take in the history (the sites themselves are not dog-friendly, just the parks around them).


To give the dogs something fun to do, we decided to hit up the dog park at the Schuylkill River Boardwalk. I really liked this dog park, as it is divided into small and large dog areas and both spaces are fairly big. It also had pools for the dogs and a good number of dogs visiting on Friday afternoon. Hunter had a lot of fun cooling down in the pool.

We didn’t run the “Rocky” steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but that is something you could do with your dog!

All in all, it was a fun adventure in a big city for the pups. Not sure it’s really their favorite kind of vacation, but it was a trip I will always remember since I had my dogs there with me. Next trip will definitely be cooler temps and more laid-back activities, probably a beach.

CLE is for Dog Lovers!

I love when people email me about their experiences at dog friendly places around Cleveland, but I especially love when it’s someone who lives out of town!

I received this email over the weekend about a visitor’s recent trip to CLE. Although they are former residents, they now reside in NYC. Here’s what they had to say about their dog friendly trip to Cleveland:

We stayed at the Westin downtown and they are AMAZING with dogs. There is no deposit for dogs regardless of number or size. They also sent up a feather down dog bed along with dishes for Alma to use during our stay. They were so accommodating, I often sat in the lobby on one of the couches with Alma reading my book or in the Starbucks in the building and no one had any issues. We also sat out on the patio at the restaurant Urban Farmer and they were good as well. 

For dinner – Greenhouse Tavern on E. 4th was great with Alma. We leave her in a chair next to us so she stays in one place, and they were great with her! 

We also had dinner at Fahrenheit in Tremont – all were wonderful with the dog.



A great brunch at Luxe followed by some chillin’ at Pour on Euclid. They are both AWESOME with dogs. Spread the word – Cleveland loves dogs!