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  • Writer's picturebertandernietheberners

Our favorite dog friendly stays of 2022

We had the chance to visit plenty of cool places with Bert and Ernie this year! As we look back, here’s a recap of some of our favorite spots. Be sure to click into the full trip reports for more detail on each location. We’ve also compiled Our Tips for a Dog Friendly Hotel Stay if you want to learn more about how to prepare your pup and be a good hotel guest.



Odyssey Resorts - Lutsen Sea Villas (Lutsen, MN)

About:

Odyssey has several properties scattered along the North Shore. Lutsen Sea Villas is a relatively new addition to the portfolio and offers townhome-style accommodations right on the shore of Lake Superior. In fact, the buildings are so close to the lake that they’ve been grandfathered into modern building code, which makes for spectacular views of the ever-changing lake.


What we loved:

It was so easy to take the dogs in and out at Lutsen Sea Villas - no elevators or long hallways to navigate! Our villa had homey touches like an entire closet full of board games for cozy days, and we enjoyed being able to cook in the fully stocked kitchen. The proximity to the lake was unbeatable, and Bert especially loved watching the waves crash out the window.


Things to do:

The North Shore has 8 state parks within a roughly 100 mile stretch - a remarkable density and variety of landscapes. When we visited Lutsen Sea Villas, we snowshoed at Cascade River and Tettegouche State Parks in about 12” of fresh powder! We also spent some time in Grand Marais (Voyageur Brewing Company is always worth a stop) and drove on the Gunflint Trail.



Jasper Hotel (Fargo, ND)


About:

The chic Jasper Hotel opened in downtown Fargo in 2021 and its stylish lobby bar and James Beard Award nominated restaurant Rosewild have quickly earned it a “must do” reputation for Fargo visitors and natives alike. Jasper has comfortable and modern rooms with Instagram-friendly finishes plus a great, walkable location.


What we loved:

Jasper almost felt too nice to be as dog friendly as it was! But we were reassured that Bert and Ernie were more than welcome to hop on the bed and hang out with us in the lobby. The boys got goody bags of treats at check in and a special Jasper-branded water bowl to use in our room. When we walked them out to Broadway Square for a pre-bedtime potty break, they were like celebrities passing through the buzzy lobby!


Things to do:

The Fargo-Moorhead area is home to two of our favorite breweries: Junkyard (Moorhead, MN) and Drekker (Fargo, ND). Both had dog friendly patios, and Drekker allows pups in their barrel room if it’s not reserved for private events. Drekker’s going to be opening Brewhalla - a super combo of food hall, event center, and brewery - sometime in 2023. We weren’t able to visit the Fargo Air Museum on our last trip (it was closed to host a prom) but the museum is dog friendly! Pups can join their owners to view two hangars full of historical aircraft, many of which still fly today.




Justin Trails Resort (Sparta, WI)



About:

Charming Justin Trails Resort sits on 200 acres of forested land just outside of La Crosse, Wisconsin. The Justin family has been welcoming visitors to their former dairy farm since the 1990s, and the resort they’ve created is dog friendly as can be! There are several different lodging types available, including traditional bed & breakfast suites, darling log cottages, and even tent camping on the spacious property. Resident husky Heidi and llamas Porter, Stout, and Dusty are great hosts too.


What we loved:

We’ve visited Justin Trails twice - once to stay in the Sunrise Cottage and once to camp! Both times, the highlight has been watching Bert and Ernie romp around the trails leash-free. It’s such a luxury for them to be able to run off leash, and since Justin Trails is 1) private property and 2) not near any roads, they were able to zoom around safely. It’s a beautiful piece of land that showcases the varied topography of the Driftless Region, which makes it fun to hike!


Things to do:

Besides hiking on property or playing disc golf on the two courses at Justin Trails, the nearby town of Sparta is super walkable with 5 wooden covered bridges within about a mile of the downtown strip. A hidden gem highlight for us was a visit to the boneyard at F.A.S.T. Fiberglass Mold Boneyard just outside of downtown Sparta. F.A.S.T manufactures most of the fiberglass roadside attractions in the country, and it was an absolute blast to walk through rows and rows of the molds for these creations!




Nomad Motel (International Falls, MN)


About:

Renovated and rebuilt during Covid, the Nomad Motel is a modern take on the classic drive up motel. It’s everything a motel should be: affordable, clean, comfortable, and quiet. Nomad is conveniently located near downtown International Falls and close to the super cute Smokey Bear statue!


What we loved:

We’d never stayed in a motel with Bert and Ernie before, but it was so awesome to be able to just open the door and hop in the car or walk the dogs. Nomad has a spacious lawn out front and around the side of the building, so there were plenty of good spots for the pups to stretch their legs.


Things to do:

We visited several state parks along the northern border of Minnesota on our trip to I Falls, but likely the largest draw in the area is Voyageurs National Park. Because Voyageurs is mostly accessed by water, it wasn’t super dog friendly to do in an afternoon. We look forward to spending more time there on a return trip (perhaps by houseboat?). Cantilever Distillery in nearby Rainier has a dog friendly patio and a dynamite menu - definitely worth a stop if you are visiting in patio-weather!




Wishing you happy travels in the new year!


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