Road Trip Dreaming: Dog-friendly Campground in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

koa camping

Admittedly, I didn’t think I’d ever want to visit Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario with my dog. But now that I have, I can’t stop thinking about going back largely for one reason: to stay overnight at the dog-friendly campground in Sault Ste. Marie called KOA Holidays campground.

Yes, there are KOA Holiday Campground everywhere (especially in the US) and yes, I’ve already explored Sault Ste. Marie with my pup (see here) and stayed at the Hilton Hotel along the waterfront (no complaints there). But the KOA has dog stuff – lots of dog stuff for a campground that isn’t specifically for dog people (like Four Paws Kingdom in North Carolina).

Little surprise considering owners Bill and Joan Richard left aviation industry jobs to camp full-time and be with their dogs. And the ad promoting KOA Holiday in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario features four beautiful collies in a golf cart. Loving dogs isn’t mandatory to stay here, but it sure makes it better.

“We’ve always had collies,” Joan says. “We also always camped, even as kids. We knew what worked at a campsite. When this one came on the market, we jumped on it.”

What’s at Sault Ste. Marie KAO Holidays?

Campsites for tents, RVs and cabins – several pet-friendly. Ok, that’s true of most KOA campgrounds. But do they have separate big dog and little dog leash free zones? Do they have an agility field?

An agility field! Let’s start there.

KOA Holiday in Sault St. Maire hosts four annual agility, conformation and rally competitions, so all the equipment is there, along with accommodations for participants of course. However, only trained agility dogs can use the facility. Local agility trainers rent the facility including a couple who trains Irish Setters – yes, Irish Setters.


Campground guests pull up lawn chairs and watch dogs practicing – I admit, it’s fun especially watching the flowing feathers of setters.

Fenced leash-free zones for dogs

Meanwhile, my pup Victor is roaming around the little dog leash free zone, Kamp K9, where there’s a few toy agility obstacles to try out. If your big dog needs more space, there’s Rover’s Run, a wooded leash-free zone.

If either get horribly muddy (and who wouldn’t walking the nearby trails) there’s even professional quality dog bathtubs and dryers available.

“I’m an accredited groomer,” Joan says. “I planned to continue my grooming business here, but under-estimated how much work it is to run a campground.”  Particularly, one with 10 rustic cabins with bunk beds, TVs and decks – eight of which are dog friendly and that’s where we’re staying next time we head north of Toronto (or across the border from Mackinac Island, Michigan).

Features of KOA Holidays Sault Ste. Marie:

  • 8 regular and 2 deluxe cabins
  • 4 full hook up patio 50 am RV sites
  • 3 full hook up patio 30 am RV sites
  • 7 full hook up 50 am RV sites
  • 12 full hook up 30 am RV sites
  • 27 tent sites
  • 40 weekend 30 or 50 am sites

Amenities of KOA Holidays Sault Ste. Marie include the following:

  • cable TV and WiFi
  • mini golf
  • bike rentals
  • pool
  • dog park and dog walking hiking trail
  • children’s play area (dog free)
  • sport dog agility field
  • self-serve dog grooming salon
  • RV wash
  • laundry facilities
Curious about Things to do in Sault Ste. Marie with your dog? Check out the dog-friendly places we visited in 2019.

Where are you dreaming of going next with your dog? Camping, road trip or stay at home for the near future? Let us know in comments below.

Writer bio: Sherri Telenko has been a professional writer for decades and a travel writer for the last two. She’s a member of TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) and Dog Writers Association of America and travels almost weekly with her canine companion, Victoria. All written content is original, written by a person, and based on experience and research.


  1. Surprisingly, there aren’t as many dog-friendly vacation spots in Canada as one might expect. However, the ones that do exist are pretty awesome.

  2. […] Several KOA rustic cabins are dog-friendly, as are all RV and tent camping sites. The agility course, however, is only for trained dogs and rents daily to locals practicing for competitions, including four held annually here. Check out more details at Dog-friendly KOA Sault Ste. Marie. […]

  3. There aren’t as many great dog-friendly holiday places in Canada one would thing. There are some, though, and those are quite awesome.

    1. There are definitely fewer dog-friendly places in Canada – so I love finding them when I do.

  4. katiekensy · · Reply

    We‘ve always wanted to visit Sault Ste Marie! Thanks for the great post – this seems like it would be a great option for us to stay, as we have two active dogs who LOVE agility!

  5. katiekensy · · Reply

    I’ve always wanted to visit Sault Ste Marie – thanks for the post! We’d love to bring our pups, and as they’re both trained in agility I think it would be a blast!

  6. I always wanted to go camping, but I haven’t a clue about camping or RVing. So I was really interested to hear that this camp site has cabins too.

    Plus it is always fun to find places where we can bring our dog. Big bonus that is has a dog park. More campsites should offer them.

    Thanks for sharing

    1. Right now I’ll likely only stay in cabins but if I were to win an RV I wouldn’t say no.

  7. I think it is great that they have two dog runs based on the size of the dogs. We usually go tent camping once a summer, but I much prefer staying in cabins! Over the years, I’ve found a few pet-friendly cabin rentals, but none with an agility course or dog run!

    1. Watching dogs practice agility was pretty fun.

  8. Oh wow – if I travelled with a dog I would love to stay there. I think it’s great they let pets stay in the cabins. I’ve looked at camping with Plush but the cabins are usually not pet friendly and I think I’m past the tent thing

    1. That’s the problem – many cabins aren’t pet friendly at so many places. Yet many RVers travel with dogs – and even cats.

  9. This looks like a gorgeous place to visit with your dog! I’ve actually never made it up that way, despite living in Michigan. The agility courses have to be a lot of fun the dogs. Camping with a dog seems like it would be a lot of fun in general.

    1. I love Northern Michigan – especially Mackinac Island. Unique place.

  10. Love this area – we grew up in Michigan and would travel into Canada during summer break. Brings back good memories! I think it’s time for a road trip!

    1. I was surprised to learn how close to Michigan it is. Love Mackinac too.

  11. So many places in Ontario to explore. I had never thought of going there either but I must admit you make a very good case. I am not a fan of camping generally but the cabins sound good. Kilo loves agility but not other dogs so not sure how that would go- we could both do with the exercise as we have Panemic Pods to lose. Stay well and see you when its safe (Missing Woofstock right about now).

    1. I’m missing all the pet festivals this summer! Hopefully, fall Woofstock will be a go and I can see you then.

  12. This place sounds awesome and my dream is to take Layla camping, funnily enough was chatting with a friend of mine today about doing it so who knows maybe it will happen. I love the idea of the separate areas for big and small dogs as that does make it more relaxing for everyone.

    1. After (unsuccessfully) trying tent camping, I’m sticking with the cabins. But this is only the second dog-friendly camp ground I’ve found that has both a big and little dog run – solves some issues.

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