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  • Writer's picturebertandernietheberners

Our favorite dog friendly stays of 2023

We traveled more than EVER with Bert and Ernie in 2023! The addition of our new baby definitely changed our pace of exploration in the back half of the year, but we can’t wait to start exploring with her and our new crew of 5 in 2024. 

Two Bernese Mountain Dogs sitting in front of a gas fireplace

Read on for a recap of our 2023 stays. Be sure to click in to the full trip reports where available for more detail on each stay! We were hosted at many of these locations, but opinions are our own.



A Bernese Mountain Dog stands on the porch of a snow covered cabin with a green metal roof

About:

This cozy cabin in the woods is an easy 90 minute drive from the Twin Cities. With plenty of private lakeshore, Lil Bear was an awesome winter getaway with our lil bears. Come summertime, guests can borrow a canoe, kayaks, paddle boards, and a pedal boat! [hosted]

A Bernese Mountain Dog rests on a red and black checked blanket on a couch

What We Loved:

Reading and watching TV by the fireplace/stove in the living room. Bring your own book or borrow one from the lending library and cuddle up with some hot cocoa or your morning coffee. Just the coziest for a winter stay!


Things to Do:

  • Hike at Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary (45 min drive) - check out the 2.9 mile Bear Trail loop and bring your snowshoes! Entry is free, dogs must be leashed. 

  • Drinks at Agonic Brewing (30 min drive) - dog friendly inside



Two Bernese Mountain Dogs sit in the snow in front of the Duluth aerial lift bridge

About: 

Just 10 mins away from bustling Canal Park at the foot of the Aerial Lift Bridge in Duluth, Superior Serenity is a calm respite and perfect spot to spend a Twin Ports weekend. The fenced backyard, loaded coffee corner, and beautiful appliances (even an air fryer!) were among the nicest we’ve experienced at a short term rental. [hosted]


What We Loved: 

The location - Superior is so convenient to all sorts of activities in Duluth and outdoor adventures both on the North Shore and into Northern Wisconsin


Things to Do: 

  • Hike at Pattison State Park (20 min drive) - see Wisconsin’s largest waterfall, beautiful in any season 

  • Walk around Canal Park, see the Aerial Lift Bridge, and stop for drinks at Vikre Distillery - dog friendly inside 


Follow at @thehavens.co

A Bernese Mountain Dog rests on the floor near a red and black checkered blanket next to a bed

About:

Have you ever stayed in a tiny cabin? This was my first! Everything is optimized to fit perfectly here, but luckily the toilet and shower are full size :) Enjoy the private barrel sauna, fire ring, hammock, and outdoor shower when the weather’s right. Note - one dog only. [hosted]


Looking out a window, a hammock, cafe lights, and a dog are visible in the snowy forest.

What We Loved:

This was a mid-week getaway for me and just Ernie. It was really special to have one on one time and nice to have a change of scenery for remote work. Wifi was great and strong enough for a day full of video calls. 


Things to Do: 

  • Hike at Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area (10 min drive), a restored wetland and brush prairie sanctuary. Free entry. See sandhill cranes migrating through here in spring and fall. Good for snowshoeing too!

  • Drinks at Brickfield Brewing (10 min drive). Dogs permitted on patio. 



Follow at @oxbowhotel

A man and woman in winter coats walk two Bernese Mountain Dogs near the entrance of the Oxbow Hotel.

About:

This hip hotel is a great home base for a visit to the indie-cool city of Eau Claire. Dog friendly rooms are motel-style with direct access outside - we love this when staying in hotels with the dogs! Check out a couple of records from the lobby lending library and spin some tunes on your in-room turntable. [hosted]


What We Loved:

Potty walks are so scenic with the dozens of murals and hundreds of sculptures scattered around the city! Nearby Phoenix Park is a great place to stretch legs and paws. 


Things to Do: 

  • Coffee at Racy D’lenes, an independent coffee shop and a student/local staple. Dogs allowed inside. 

  • Drinks at The Joynt (10 min drive), a half-century old dive bar that welcomes pups inside


Two Bernese Mountain Dogs stand near the White Eagle Resort sign in the snow

About:

Bring the whole crew up to this family owned resort - there’s a dog friendly cabin for groups of every size! It’s a classic up north experience complete with fish house, boat rentals, game room, and two adorable pups who live on site year round. [hosted]


What We Loved:

We brought Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle Sam with us on this trip! It was fun to get the true extended family experience at this place that has brought relatives together for generations. 

Two Bernese Mountain Dogs pose in the snow in front of a log cabin

Things to Do:

  • Two great state parks are nearby. There’s fabulous hiking year-round at Bear Head Lake State Park (we snowshoed in late April!), or check out the surface at Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park. Note that dogs are not permitted on the underground mine shaft tours, and these tours run only seasonally. Check the website before you visit for the most up to date information. 

  • Eat at Vermilion Club (“The VC”) - try the Bamboozler, the biggest pizza you’ve ever seen! 


Two Bernese Mountain Dogs sit on the front step of a tiny chalet

About:

This darling motel is a slice of Americana - perfect for a road trip stop. There are several types of rooms, including the adorable chalet cabins where we stayed. Pets stay free and there’s plenty of grassy space to walk around. Located right on the main drag in Custer, the Chalet Motel is close to restaurants and shops and just a 5 minute drive from magnificent Custer State Park. 

Two dogs on red and blue leashes stretch ahead with views of blue sky, rock spires, and tall green trees

What We Loved

The retro vibe of the chalet rooms was fun and unique - tons of character! It’s always nice not to have to worry about elevators or long hallway walks in hotels, so having our own dedicated entrance to the room and close parking is clutch. 


Things to Do:

  • Custer State Park is the obvious must-do in the area! Check out the Cathedral Spires trail for a bit of a challenge and take the Wilderness Loop Drive to see bison, pronghorn, and more. 

  • Dinner & drinks at Miner Brewing Co - full menu, craft beer, and dog friendly inside and outside! Don’t miss the World’s Largest Smokey Bear in downtown Hill City either.


A Bernese Mountain Dog stands on a chairlift seat with a sign saying "Love from Colorado" overhead

About:

There’s no instagram presence for this Airbnb, but if you have a mountain trip in mind, add this spot to your favorites list! Breckenridge is famously home to the Bernese Mountain Dog Parade in December each year, plus it’s a gorgeous destination year-round. We visited in June and enjoyed beautiful hiking in the mountains - although the altitude (11,000+ ft) was no joke for us Midwesterners!

  • Trip report coming soon!

A Bernese Mountain Dog smiles on a mountain trail

What We Loved:

The holy grail of Airbnbs - this home had a fenced yard and welcomed multiple big dogs! It was so nice to let Bert and Ernie run around in the yard a bit after they’d been so good on leash all day hiking, brewery hopping, and exploring the shops in downtown Breck. While we didn’t see any, several reviews mentioned folks having spotted elk or moose from the front porch!


Things to Do:


Follow at @kohlsresort

Two Bernese Mountain Dogs pose in front of the Kohl's Resort sign with a vibrant red tree in the background

About:

There’s so much to do both at this dog friendly resort and in nearby Bemidji, MN. Drive 4 hrs northwest of the Twin Cities and you’ll find fabulous fishing and hiking at and around Kohl’s. This family owned resort has an indoor pool perfect for rainy summer days and any day in the winter. Don’t sleep on Liar’s Lounge, the on site snack bar serving drinks, pizza, and bar classics like a walleye basket and cheese curds. [hosted]

Two Bernese Mountain Dogs pose in front of the Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues in Bemidji

What We Loved:

We stayed in a super unique octagonal cabin! Kohl’s has several of these - some are even elevated like treehouses. The wraparound deck made for awesome views of the fall foliage. 


Things to Do:

  • Hike at Lake Bemidji State Park, a quick 10 minute drive from Kohl’s. The city of Bemidji is situated along the shore of Lake Bemidji, so it’s cool to have part of that lakeshore reserved as popular state park land. 

  • Photo op with the iconic Paul Bunyan & Babe the Blue Ox statues before drinks at Bemidji Brewing (dog friendly outside only)


Are you dreaming about your next trip with your dog? We sure are! And we’re looking forward to a new year of adventures together.


A man and woman with two black dogs walk towards the Oxbow Hotel

 


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