Whether it's to beat the heat of summer or to marvel at the magnificence of the ocean, water lures vacationers away from terra firma. Cats might not be susceptible to the siren song of waves lapping the shoreline, but most dogs will plunge into water fun with zeal.
Minnesota claims to be the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but for boating fun a little closer to the East Coast, consider Michigan. Bordered by four of the five Great Lakes, Michigan enjoys 3,288 miles (5,292 kilometers) of shoreline -- more than any other continental state [source: Michigan.gov]. With 11,000 inland lakes as well, it makes sense that most of the Michigan state parks include water and boating activities [source: Michigan DNR]. Shoreline fishing, river trails for kayaks and canoes, and motor boating in the vastness of the Great Lakes are just some of the possibilities. A few state parks, Traverse City, Ludington, Tahquamenon Falls and Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Parks among them, offer kayak, rowboat and other man-powered watercraft rentals during warmer months.
If you'd rather let someone else captain the boat, charter companies from the Atlantic to the Pacific run pet-friendly sightseeing tours. For example, well-behaved animals are welcome on the Nature Cruises Aboard the Acadian in Maine and the Canine Cruise of the Chicago River.
For those of you who want to get in the water and not just ride on it, numerous state or municipal parks and beaches have dog beaches. Some, like the Coronado Dog Beach on Coronado Island, Calif., and the Susan Kimmelman Off-leash Dog Beach at Montrose Beach in Chicago, allow dogs to roam and swim without a leash. The Kettle Moraine State Forest Northern Unit in Campbellsport, Wis., even has a designated area for training dogs in water skills.
Had enough of the great outdoors? Keep reading to find urban hot-spots that cater to pet-lovers.