After a long Wisconsin winter and short spring, the weather has heated up, and many outdoor patios are open for business again.
While it’s great to let your dog out the back door to enjoy your underground fenced yard, sometimes both you and your dog need to shake up your routine by roaming new territories.
Check out this list of parks, dog-friendly restaurants, and activities you and your dog can enjoy together to get out of the house this summer.
Outdoor Adventures for Active Dogs
Try out a new park, dog exercise area, or walking trail every month to keep you and your pup happy and healthy.
The greater Madison area and nearby counties are packed with parks where your leashed dog is welcome, and still more recreational areas exclusively for dogs.
Just check the rules of your state, county, and city parks to make sure your dog has the right permits and vaccinations before you go. Here are a few resources to make sure you’re good to go!
- Dane County Parks dog guidelines
- Madison City Parks dog guidelines
- Wisconsin State Park dog guidelines
Madison, WI, Dog Parks and Walks
- Viking Dog Park (Stoughton) - This county park offers a fenced recreation area for dogs and two dog beaches on the Yahara River.
- Warner Dog Park (Madison) - 37 acres of fenced, off-leash dog park with a lagoon (note: the lagoon is not tested for safety, so it’s best to gauge the condition of the water before letting your dog take a dip)
- Brittingham Park (Madison) - Small, fenced, off-leash dog park near Monona Bay
- Demetral Park (Madison) - Half an acre of fenced, off-leash dog park on the East side of Madison
- McCormick Park (Madison) - Small, off-leash, fenced dog park on the East side of Madison
- North Star Park (Madison) - Two acres of fenced, off-leash dog park near Cottage Grove
- Odana School Park (Madison) - Almost three acres of fenced, off-leash dog park on the West side of Madison
- Walnut Grove Park (Madison) - More than one acre of fenced, off-leash dog park on the West side of Madison
- Token Creek County Park (De Forest) - This 427-acre county park offers small and large dog areas
- Sunnyside Dog Park (Fitchburg) - This 5.3-acre dog park in Fitchburg offers hydration stations, a rain garden, forest, and ADA-accessible trails.
- Penni Klein Dog Park (Middleton) - This fenced Middleton dog park offers an agility course for small dogs, lawn, and trails to hike on.
- MRD Park (Middleton) - This Middleton dog park offers a fenced area with trails.
- Indian Lake County Park (Cross Plains) - This 500+ acre county park provides an unfenced dog park beside a small lake
- Prairie Moraine County Park (Verona) - This county park offers a 79-acre off-leash dog park with trails through the oak savanna and woods as well as mowed spaces
Learn about more Madison area dog parks here.
Milwaukee County offers seven off-leash dog parks and multiple dog-friendly hiking trails to give you and your pup a breath of fresh air. Purchase a dog park pass to enjoy Milwaukee County parks with your furry friend all year.
Plus, leashed dogs are welcome to enjoy hiking and snowshoeing trails in neighboring Waukesha County parks (except Retzer Nature Center).
To learn more about dogs in Milwaukee area parks, check out these resources:
- Milwaukee County Parks dog guidelines
- Wisconsin State Park dog guidelines
- Brookfield City Parks dog guidelines
- Waukesha City Parks dog guidelines
Milwaukee Dog Parks and Dog-friendly Walks
- McKinley Marina (Milwaukee) - Walk your dog on-leash along the lake at this dog-friendly park
- Mitchell Park Off Leash Dog Park (Brookfield) - This pet exercise area offers creek access, woods, lawn, and walking trails
- Minooka Park Dog Exercise Area (Waukesha) - This 19-acre park offers an off-leash, fenced area for small dogs, a separate area for large dogs to play, and hiking trails through the woods and prairie
- Mukwonago Park Dog Exercise Area (Waukesha) - This 34-acre park offers separate small and large breed areas, dog watering stations, and an exclusive “lazy bones” area for laid-back, disabled, and elderly dogs
- Nashotah Park Dog Exercise Area (Waukesha) - This 18-acre park offers separate large and small breed areas, dog watering stations, and hiking trails through the woods and prairie
- Riverwalk (Milwaukee) - Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the lake through the Third Ward, Downtown, and Beerline B neighborhoods of Milwaukee with your leashed dog. Admire sculptures along the path and check out local galleries, theaters, and brews.
To learn about more dog-friendly parks and green spaces near Milwaukee, check out this post.
Social Activities for Hipster Dogs
Not every dog loves to run over hill and dale for hours. If your dog enjoys socializing and lounging on the patio, these dog-friendly urban activities are for you.
Activities Near Madison
- Art June (Baraboo) - On the 3rd weekend of June, take your extroverted dog to nearby Baraboo. You can browse Midwestern artists’ work and enjoy outdoor music and treats on the Baraboo Courthouse lawn.
Activities Near Milwaukee
- Dog Days at Lynden Sculpture Garden (Milwaukee) - Every third Saturday of the month (except in November), you and your dog can stroll through a garden filled with sculptures from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. While you’re at it, bring a picnic lunch! Admission is free for your dog. Just be sure to follow the visitor guidelines.
- Dog Friendly Boats (Milwaukee) - Tour the city and learn about its history from the deck of a dog-friendly boat on Milwaukee’s rivers and Lake Michigan. Or, for a more laid-back aquatic adventure with your small dog, rent a pet-friendly boat to enjoy two quiet lagoons near Discovery World.
Dog friendly Breweries and Restaurants
Summer is here, and with it breezy, dog-friendly patios. Whether you want to get ice cream at Babcock Hall in Madison or enjoy a local brew at one of Milwaukee’s beer gardens, these local eateries are sure to delight.
Dog Friendly Restaurants, Breweries, and More Near Madison
- Wisconsin Brewing Company (Verona) - Enjoy a lager with your leashed dog in this local brewery’s beer garden.
- Babcock Hall (Madison) - Grab a scoop of Madison’s classic Babcock ice cream and enjoy it at one of Babcock Hall’s outdoor tables with your dog, or walk along the lake.
- Colectivo Coffee (Madison) - Get breakfast and a cup of responsibly sourced coffee outside with your dog at this Wisconsin franchise.
- Sweet Home Wisconsin (Madison) - Enjoy Wisconsin comfort food with your dog.
- Great Dane Pub (Madison) - Enjoy a pot pie or burger with your dog at the original Madison location of this local brewpub franchise.
- Settle Down Tavern (Madison) - Enjoy burgers, cheese curds, and brews with your dog.
- Karben4 (Madison) - Enjoy a Fantasy Factory beer at one of this taproom’s pet-friendly outdoor tables.
- Alchemy (Madison) - Enjoy a steak and mashed potatoes or blackened chicken on the patio with your dog.
- Merchant (Madison) - Enjoy craft cocktails with appetizers in their outdoor seating area with your dog.
Dog Friendly Restaurants, Taprooms, and Beer Gardens in Milwaukee
- Black Husky Brewing Taproom (Milwaukee) - Enjoy this brewery’s selection of pale ales, IPAs and other beers both inside the taproom and on the patio with your dog.
- Estabrook Beer Garden (Milwaukee) - Enjoy Hofbrau Munchen Munich beer and a brat at the first public beer garden in the US with your leashed dog, then head over to the nearby dog park.
- Rock Bottom Brewery (Milwaukee) - Enjoy a wide selection of pub food on this restaurant’s riverside patio and watch the boats go past with your dog.
- Stack’d Burger Bar (Milwaukee) - Enjoy a gourmet turkey, bison, grass fed beef or impossible burger outside with your dog.
- Sobelman’s Pub and Grill (Milwaukee) - Enjoy burgers and Sobelman’s famous bloody mary on the patio with your pet.
- Palomino (Milwaukee) - Enjoy classic Southern comfort food from locally sourced ingredients or a slice of pie outside with your leashed dog.
- Zarletti’s (Milwaukee) - Enjoy Northern Italian cuisine at one of their 8 pet-friendly tables outside with your dog.
- Cafe Benelux and Cafe Hollander (Milwaukee) - Enjoy Belgian food in one of these cafes’ dog-friendly outdoor seating areas
- Colectivo Coffee (Milwaukee) - Get a cup of single-origin coffee and breakfast outside with your dog at one of the Milwaukee locations of this Wisconsin franchise
We hope you’ll try out some of our dog-friendly spots this summer to keep you and your dog bright and fit.
Whatever the breed, we can help you! We’ve contained thousands of dogs successfully. Let Dog Guard® of Wisconsin provide freedom for your pet and peace of mind for you! Click here to request a free quote.