Michigan is filled with dog-friendly beaches.
Michigan is filled with dog-friendly beaches.

Every dog has its day—beach day, that is. And you shouldn’t wander into uncharted waters looking for a pet-friendly beach, so here are the best sandy spots in Michigan to bring your best friend.

MICHIGAN—Ever show up at a beach with your dog, only to find out dogs aren’t allowed?

Don’t waste your time this summer; there isn’t too much of it left. Plus, some pet-less beaches may write you a ticket if they catch you. So, we’re rounding out the dog days of summer with some great beaches across Michigan that welcome your four-legged friends: 

Lake Michigan

Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien County)

The Warren Dunes encompass 2,000 acres and three miles of freshwater shoreline. And lucky for animal lovers, 2.5 miles of it is dog-friendly. With dunes as high as 260 feet and six miles of trails, you’ve also got plenty of opportunity to give yourself (and Fido) a workout.

Visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website for more information.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Leelanau County)

Northern Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes encompasses 35 miles of breathtaking shoreline that have inspired awe in visitors from across the globe. Lucky for us, it’s also a great place to bring your dog. Although visitors are asked to respect the dunes as a natural habitat for the Piping Plover, there are still many beaches that allow dogs at this treasured landmark.

Visit the National Park Service website for more information.

Silver Lake State Park (Oceana County)

Four miles of shoreline and almost 3,000 acres of forests and sand dunes await you and your four-legged friend at Silver Lake State Park. All shorelines there—including at Silver Lake—are available for you and your dog to walk together, just as long as you have a leash.

Visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website for more information.

Van Buren State Park (Van Buren County)

This 400-acre park with one mile of shoreline features a beach for humans and a beach for canines. Dogs are not permitted in the human swim area, but they are more than welcome to splash around in their designated area at the southern end of the beach.

Visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website for more information.

Leelanau State Park (Leelanau County)

Leelanau State Park contains the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula—and it’s very dog friendly. Almost nine miles of trails are available there for you and your favorite canine companion. Dogs are also allowed along the shoreline, as well as the Hemlock and Cedar mini-cabins.

Visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website for more information.

Kirk Park and Dog Beach (Ottawa County)

Though this beach has limited hours available for Fido in the peak summer season, it’s unique in offering your dog a chance to get off the leash. Just make sure you put it back on when you travel outside the designated dog beach and into the other 60 acres of parkland.

Visit the Ottawa County website for more information.

Buttersfield Park (Mason County)

Not only is Buttersfield Beach one of the most scenic beaches in northern Michigan, but doggy visitors are free to soak up the view—off their leashes too. It’s less than a mile of shoreline, but the nearby Ludington area also offers plenty of other dog-friendly activities.

Visit the Ludington website for more information.

Lake Superior

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Alger County)

With more than 20 miles of natural stone cliffs, the Pictured Rocks is on the bucket list of many travelers. And pet owners don’t have to leave their furry friends at home for the trip. Many beaches there are available for leashed pets, as well as roads and picnic areas.

Visit the National Park Service website for more information.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park (Ontonagon County)

The Porcupine Mountains, or the “Porkies,” cover nearly 60,000 acres of Upper Peninsula wilderness—with the entire Lake Superior shoreline open for pets. This park may be remote, but considering all the pet-friendly recreation to be had there, the drive is more than worth it.

Visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website for more information.

McLain State Park (Houghton County)

Michigan’s scenic Keweenaw Peninsula not only carries the rich history of Copper Country, but it’s also breathtakingly beautiful. McLain State Park features a section of the Lake Superior shoreline which is specifically reserved for dogs, as well as a four-mile hiking trail.

Visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website for more information.

Lake Huron

Tawas Point State Park (Iosco County)

The “Cape Cod of the Midwest” isn’t just for humans who venture Up North. It’s also great for dogs. Encompassing 183 acres within the Tawas Bay, Tawas Point State Park includes a dog-friendly beach where your canine companion can frolic around off-leash. Be sure to check out the Victorian-era Tawas Point Lighthouse while your pet has the time of their life.

Visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website for more information.

Straits State Park (Mackinac County)

Mackinac Island is an overall great place for your pup, but the dog-friendly Straits State Park offers more of a scenic getaway from all the tourists and fudgies. Enjoy the sun, sand, and stellar views of the Mackinac Bridge in 181 acres of recreation with your favorite pooch.

Visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website for more information.

Port Crescent State Park (Huron County)

This park on Michigan’s Thumb has plenty of amenities for both person and pooch. A pet-friendly shoreline is located near the mouth of the Pinnebog River. The park also features a dark sky preserve. Don’t want to go home? Dogs can stay at the cabins too.

Visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website for more information.

Harrisville State Park (Alcona County)

With 107 acres of forest and a mile of shoreline, Harrisville State Park makes for a truly scenic Up North getaway with your pup. The dog-friendly beach is located at the north end of the campground beach. Among the mini cabins, No. 186 is specifically pet-friendly.

Visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website for more information.

Inland Lakes

Holly Recreation Area (Oakland County)

With over 8,000 acres of nature to explore, the Holly Recreation Area is one of the most popular places for pet owners to enjoy a day in the sun. Dogs can take walks along 34 miles of dog-friendly trails or swim at the pet-friendly Heron Lake on the southern side of the park.

Visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website for more information.

Brighton Recreation Area (Livingston County)

Nearly 5,000 acres of hills and lakes await you at Brighton Recreation Area. Adventurous dogs will love the varied terrain. Chilson Pond also welcomes leashed pets of all varieties. 

Visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website for more information.

Algonac State Park (St. Clair County)

If you enjoy watching ships go by, then you’ll enjoy this1,450-acre park with a half-mile of shoreline overlooking the St. Clair River. Take a hike with your pup, or just chill on the beach.

Visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website for more information.

Sleepy Hollow State Park (Clinton County)

This 2,600-acre park feature forests, fields, and water—much of it contained in a 410-acre lake. Visitors can find a pet-friendly beach just north of the Lake Ovid swimming beach. If you enjoy camping with your pooch, Sleepy Hollow also has multiple pet-friendly cabins. 

Visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website for more information.

Young State Park (Charlevoix County)

Lake Charlevoix is a sight to behold, and at Young State Park, your dog is welcome to share the view! Aside from the sailing, waterskiing, and fishing, you’ll also find a pet-friendly beach.

Visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website for more information.

South Higgins Lake State Park (Roscommon County)

This popular summer hangout is also one of the best hangouts for your dog. In this 1,000-acre park, you’ll find two pet-friendly beaches. The first is to the east in the day-use area, and the second is in the campers-only area in the west. Leashes are not required.

Visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website for more information.

Van Riper State Park (Marquette County)

This UP getaway provides over 1,000 acres of gorgeous views—and your dog is allowed to wander along the Lake Michigamme and Peshekee River shorelines with you too. There are even pet-friendly cabins. Just keep Fido away from the designated swimming beach.

Visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website for more information.