Dog-Friendly South Shore Along Lake Michigan: a Dog-Friendly Destination | Traveling with Dogs in Northern Indiana
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored. However, I will always offer my readers an unbiased and honest account of my experiences. Your trust is very appreciated, and never taken for granted. ~Tonya, Dexter and Angel Nutter
Dexter The Dog and his travel companion Levi wrapped up their 2018 dog-friendly vacations with a visit to The South Shore along Lake Michigan. The South Shore along Lake Michigan is a perfect pet-friendly destination to relax and enjoy what the Midwest has to offer dog families.
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The South Shore offers something for everyone, especially the well-traveled canine. We started our South Shore adventure in Whiting, Indiana, at Whiting Lakefront Park. When we arrived, we were blown away at how expansive the dog-friendly park was. Whiting Lakefront Park consists of 15 acres of walking paths, picnic areas, a concession stand, a fishing pier, volleyball and tennis courts all along a great walking path on Lake Michigan.
There were some spots that the dogs were not permitted, but they were welcome in most areas. We had a great view of the Chicago skyline and saw lots of ships on the lake. Dexter and Levi particularly enjoyed walking along the paths and had plenty of photo-ops. If it wasn’t for a sudden downpour of rain, we would have spent a few hours enjoying all that the park had to offer.
We decided to jump into the car and head to downtown Whiting. The Whiting community was filled with local business, quaint shops, a historic movie theater, and restaurants as well as Bulldog Brewing Company. We decided the Bulldog Brewing Company would be a great place for takeout.
I ordered the “Lil” Bulldog. This wasn’t your typical bar burger. This beef was 28-day aged ground chuck and brisket, apple-wood smoked bacon, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion on a Kaiser roll. The burger was thick, juicy, and fresh. An order of French fries and a soda made this the perfect meal for a rainy day. Because it was raining and we had the dogs, we took the food just around the corner and sat under the covered amphitheater. It was an ideal nook for lunch.
A little sightseeing and some photo-ops were in order, so we decided to check out the Kissing Couple. This 25′ statue is currently located in Crown Point, Indiana, so it was a real treat to be able to see it in person. The statue represents a famous photograph of a sailor kissing a nurse at the end of World War II. I knew it was going to be large, but I had no idea how large until I stood next to the statue. It was quite a spectacular site.
Next up was Merrillville to check out Albanese Confectionery, home of the World’s Best Gummies. For over 30 years, Albanese has been making these tasty little treats. All of their gummies and candies are made at their factory, using the highest quality ingredients sourced from America and Europe, nothing from China. They offer both guided and unguided tours, because it’s a food production facility, pets are not permitted. That didn’t stop us from getting a cute photo-op of their Halloween gummy cutout.
It was time to check into our pet-friendly hotel, Home2 Suites in Merrillville. This isn’t the first time I’ve stayed at a Home2 Suites by Hilton. I have been so happy with my experiences with this chain; I was tickled to see that Merrillville had opened a location earlier this year.
This dog-friendly hotel is conveniently located at I-65 and US 30. The modern suites offer an abundance of room for both dogs to walk around. The storage areas are huge and offered more than enough room for all of our luggage and gear. My favorite aspect of Home2 Suites is the in-suite full kitchen that includes a sink, dishwasher, microwave, cookware, plates, and full-size refrigerator. The full-size refrigerator is such a bonus since both Dexter and Levi eat fresh food.
Home2 Suites also offers a large, well-lit dog potty area which is fully stocked with pickup bags. I really appreciate that the dog potty area is close to the hotel and has lots of grass. It’s always stressful when traveling with a dog, and they need a midnight break, and the potty area is dark.
We stayed two nights at Home2 Suites Merrillville, and each morning when Dexter and I walked passed the concierge, he was greeted with a big smile, welcome, and doggie treats. The nice lady even gave me two treats to bring back to Levi.
The free breakfast was delicious. They offered artisan-style sandwiches, oatmeal, a variety of fruit and nut toppings, cereals, hard-boiled eggs, waffles, fruit, coffee, juice, and water. I enjoyed the fresh waffles with blueberries and almonds one morning and oatmeal and cranberries the next. Each pup enjoyed a hard-boiled egg. They love their eggies!
For those people traveling who like to stay fit, Home2 Suites also offers a heated indoor pool, Spin2 Cycle, and treadmill. Or you can relax out on their patio, light up the barbecue, or just sit and enjoy the fire pit. There’s something for every traveler.
On day two, we went to Friendship Botanic Gardens in Michigan City. This dog-friendly attraction was a real delight. With over 105 acres of botanical gardens, woodlands, trails, and sprawling open spaces, this is a must-do for anyone traveling along the South Shore of Lake Michigan.
Friendship Botanic Gardens has been a destination spot since 1936, and when you drive up the winding path, you will soon learn why. It’s such a lovely park, and it’s filled with so many unique sculptures and themed and interactive gardens. We really enjoyed the historic Heritage Gardens commemorating cultures around the world.
Friendship Botanic Gardens hosts events such as Lyric Opera of Chicago concert, yoga in the garden, holiday festivities, weddings, and even a dog adoption event. It’s an ideal location for picnics, meditation, and hiking.
Wildlife, you bet. The ecologically rich forests and gardens are home to muskrats, turtles, groundhogs, squirrels, wild turkeys, deer, trout, salmon, birds, and butterflies, including monarchs. Dexter and Levi really enjoyed walking and sniffing, I’m sure they were smelling the wildlife’s trails.
After Friendship Botanic Gardens we thought we would head to Bartlett’s Fish Camp and Restaurant. This dog-friendly restaurant went out of their way to accommodate us and the pups. Even though their outside seating area was basically closed for the winter, they fired up the heaters and served us hot coffee and tea. Oh, and the waiter brought the pups cheese to snack on.
I ordered the Gooey Grilled Cheese. Really, that’s the name of the sandwich. Melted Havarti and American cheese with pickled onion, avocado, tomato and bacon melted between two pieces of bread. It was gooey and good all in one.
We had another full day of adventures and decided to head back to Home2 Suites to settle in for the night. The South Shore really is a great dog-friendly Indiana destination. We were welcomed with gracious Midwest hospitality at each of our adventures. We definitely plan on visiting again, maybe in the spring.
When planning your dog-friendly South Shore Indiana vacation, visit AlongtheSouthShore.com f
or helpful advice, brochures, and coupons.
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60 thoughts on “Traveling with Dogs in Northern Indiana | Dog-Friendly Attractions and Photo Ops”
This is great news! I am a dog parent and it has been a challenge for me to plan family vacations since we certainly opt for dog friend destinations.
Thank you for sharing it. We will consider this on our next trip.
Glad to help! We only vacation with Dexter and it’s so much fun. 2019 will bring even more dog-friendly destinations. Stay tuned!
It is lovely to find places that are also dog friendly, not sure if it is just me but it seems to be getting easier these days
Agree. I think it is getting a bit easier. People are realizing that travelers travel with all family members, including their dogs. If us dog parents continue to be good dog ambassadors, the doors will continue to open.
first of all, your shots are amazing and you got the cutest dogs! i do not have any but i plan to have a dog next year so this is surely helpful!
Thank you and thank you. 🙂 A dog is such a great travel companion. Good luck with your new pooch. Lots of upcoming road trips planned in 2019.
I love this! As a mom to three dogs, it’s always tough to find places we can take them. Your dogs are adorable, too!
Hi Nicole. I’m on a mission to help destinations spotlight all their dog-friendly activities. Us dog parents love to travel too. 🙂
If I had a dog, I would have brought him/her here and would be all over this place. Do not even need to worry about “No Pets Allowed” thing or something like that. Hope there are more places for dog vacations.
🙂 We try to be great doggie ambassadors so that more places are dog-friendly.
Ah your dogs are SO cute!! My neighbour has the same dog, called Truffles – they are just the most beautiful natured dogs 🙂 Thanks for the useful information!
Thanks, Alexandra. Cavaliers are a great breed and are so sweet. Thank you.
Oh my gosh these images are so cute. It must be so nice when you can go away and take your dogs with you x
Thank you, Rhian. The pups are such good little models. I love taking them to explore.
What a cool place to explore! I always love checking out botanical gardens. I’m glad these places are pet friendly. We don’t bring ours with us on vacation, but my daughter always likes seeing all the dogs out.
Thanks, Amber. Yes, the pups are quite a hit with people. 🙂
Your dogs are the cutest! I love all of the different activities that you were able to experience with them while on vacation. It’s also super nice that Hilton has hotel options that are pet-friendly.
I need to get my mitts on one of those burgers!!!
Thanks, Laurie. We had so many fun things to see and do. LOVE Home2 Suites!
When I travel I always have difficult time to find dog friendly hotels. But those suits look amazing! Haven’t been to Northern Indiana but I would love to visit with my two dogs and I don’t need to put them in kennel for long time. This is so informative!
Thank you. The Home2 Suites are great dog-friendly hotels.
I’m so glad you wrote about this because there are so many people out there that travel with their pups. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a post with this perspective. Awesome!
Thanks, Jenny. I’m glad to share our dog-friendly journey. More to come in 2019!
Looks like you and the dogs had a great time! I love seeing the dogs in all the photos, so cute!
Thank you. We had such a great trip!
Your dogs are so so cute and it’s amazing you can travel with them. I think more and more places should be pets friendly nowadays.
Thank you, Jana. 🙂 I’m so happy more spots are opening their doors to well behaved dogs.
Love this post! Your dogs are just precious and the photos are great! Good to know these places we can bring our dogs!
Thanks Kim. The South Shore is a great spot for dogs and families.
I didn’t even know there was a kissing couple statue designed after the famous photo op (adding to my bucket list). The dog friendly vacation sounds so nice! P.S. You dogs are so cute!!!!
Thank you. Isn’t that statue just the neatest?
Your dogs are so cute, especially in their little raincoats! And they look so well behaved. I love how they are posing for the photos! It’s great to find ways to travel with your pets and enjoy time together.
Thank you, Marysa. Lots of good treats make for great posing pups. 🙂
It is a great relief to find a place that is pet-friendly. Our pets are like family, and we dont want them to leave behind.
I totally agree. A vacation isn’t as enjoyable when you are worried about your pets being home alone.
It looks like such a fun spot out there. And great to be able to go with your pets. I know Oreo would love going with us on a trip like that. That burger though is making my mouth water. I would love it for sure.
Thanks, David. The South Shore is a great dog and family-friendly destination. All the food was amazing too!
Aww! I really like their cute outfits. How on earth did you get them to pose for all those photos? They are such natural models.
Thank you. Training with good treats. 🙂
What a great useful post for pet owners, especially those with dogs. Good to know best ways to travel when you are with dogs.
Thank you. More travel tips coming in 2019.
I live in Indiana, but I no longer have a dog because of allergies. However, I’d have to tell my oldest brother about these places since he has been looking for dog-friendly places.
Sorry about your allergies. I too have pet allergies, here are some tips. https://raisingyourpetsnaturally.com/dog-allergy-treatment/
oh wow! I envy your pooches! hihi I would love to get on the path they traversed in Indiana. What fun! 😀
🙂 We all had such a great time at the South Shore.
It’s so much better to take your pets with you then leave them home with someone else watching them. Way better than boarding them.
I agree. 🙂
Your dogs are beautiful and it looks like they had such a great time! I love all the pictures 🙂
Thank you. They had a wonderful time. They really love their adventures.
Omg how adorable are they!! It always makes me happy to see more cities really making dog friendly attractions and city activities.
Thanks, Jennifer. Me too! We love visiting dog-friendly attractions.
Wow! I love your puppy they are adorable!! They look happy to their travel!! I like their photos!
Thank you. They have so much fun traveling.
I love the picture where your dog is driving the truck, such a poser. I love when I see people traveling with their dogs and not leaving them behind with friends or relatives.
Thanks, Elena! It’s so much fun traveling with the pups. Dex really is a poser. 🙂
This is such a great post! Many people love traveling with their pets but not too many attractions accommodate that. I didn’t know that Home 2 suites were pet friendly, I will definitely have to keep that in mind when traveling. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks, Nicole. Oh, I am loving the Home2 Suites chains. They are so nice and welcoming.
Seems like the dogs enjoyed a lot… I really loved the pictures of those cuties… 🙂
Thanks, Bushra. They had so much fun. They are the best travel buddies.
omg this is so cute, you have inspired me to do a road trip with my doggie
Ya! Go have fun!
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