Detroit, the Motor City, was founded in 1701 by a French fur trader named Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. Prior to being the center of the automotive industry the city was home to a shipbuilding business and then built railroad cars. Henry Ford began making cars here in 1896 and by the early 1900s Ford, GM, Chrysler and Pontiac had all set up shop in Detroit. Detroit once had over 1.5 million people, but it now has roughly 700,000. However, the Detroit Metro Area still has 3.7 million people and is one of the largest cities in the United States. Much of the activity in Southeast Michigan has moved from the city of Detroit to the suburbs and even further afield. When visiting Detroit and Southeast Michigan with a dog you will find a lot to do. You will have to drive, however, as things are spread out.
Detroit has a number of pet-friendly hotels throughout the area including downtown, Dearborn, the airport area and the northern Suburbs. The Henry Autograph Collection, in Dearborn and named for Henry Ford, allows dogs up to 50 pounds and is a nice choice if you are visiting the Henry Ford Museum. Another hotel for small to medium sizes dogs is the Westin Book Cadillac in downtown Detroit. There is another Westin at the airport. For other choices, including pet-friendly Red Roof Inns, Sheratons, Holiday Inns and Choice Hotels that allow dogs of all sizes see our pet-friendly hotel directory for Detroit. Many of these hotels are in suburban towns of Dearborn, Livonia, Novi, and others. If you are visiting Detroit with an RV then there is the Wayn County Fairgrounds and RV Park. The Camping World in Belleville is pet-friendly if you need to pick up supplies.
Want a dog-friendly Limousine service to take you around town? Try either the Dream Limousine in Canton Michigan or the Crown Limousine in Warren. For dog-friendly shopping try the Mall at Partridge Creek in Clinton Township where signs indicate some of the pet-friendly stores. The Birmingham Principal Shopping District is a pedestrian shopping area where many doggie shoppers can be seen. Stores in the area that are dog-friendly include Orvis, Tractor Supply Hardware, Just Dogs Gourmet and The Barkery.
For dog-friendly atractions, Downtown Detroit has a walkway along the river and in front of the Renaissance Center which is General Motors headquarters. This path is friendly to leashed dogs. The Rivard Plaza area of Detroit has fountains, shops, patio dining and other things to do and is located on the riverfront just east of I-375. Dogs can explore the grounds of the Meadow Brook Hall and Gardens, the previous home of John Dodge. They can explore the Drayton Plains Nature Center with its several miles of trails. The attraction not to be missed is the Johnny Panther Quests in Davison Michigan. Your dog is welcome on these boat tours and are 4 hours in length but you will be able to get off the boat at several different river stops. There are also other charter boat services on the Detroit River, Lake Erie, Lake St Clair and other waterways. There are dog-friendly patio restaurants throughout the region and some can be found in DogFriendly.com's dog-friendly restaurant guide.
For parkland to hike with your dog the region has multiple Metroparks and most of these allow dogs in most outdoor areas. Near the airport is the Lower Huron Metropark and on Lake Erie is the Lake Erie Metropark. In Dearborn there is the River Rouge Park, where leashed dogs are allowed. In Detroit is Belle Isle Park which is it's own island in the Detroit River. The mile long bridge to the island is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This 943 acre island park is the largest city island park in the nation and has 5 miles of shoreline to hike with your leashed dog. In Lake Orion there is the Bald Mountain Rec Area where dogs are also allowed on the trails. There are many off-leash dog parks in the area. They are spread throughout the Metro area. There is one privately owned dog park called the EZ Dog Park. It houses a fenced dog park and an agility center and is located in Howell. The facility is open 24 hours a day. There is an $8 per visit use fee or $40 per month for locals.
Nearby dog-friendly places to visit include Ann Arbor and Lansing. For visitors to Detroit who want to head further north consider a visit to Mackinac Island at the top of the Michigan Mitten. This island has no cars and is an excellent vacation spot.