Michigan is an ideal summer vacation place with all its beautiful freshwater lakes. If you’re traveling in the state with your pets, you’ll find some excellent dog-friendly beaches. All of the Great Lakes have beautiful sandy stretches of shoreline for your pup to run and play, as well as thousands of inland lakes.
In this article, we share ten of the best dog-friendly beaches in our home state of Michigan. Get ready to soak in the sun and paw-ty!
What Types of Beaches Are in Michigan?
Michigan is surrounded by the Great Lakes, most of which have sandy beaches. Lake Michigan, in particular, is known for its beautiful white sand. While you’ll venture into some rocky terrain the further north you get in the state, there are plenty of places that are great for walking dogs or letting them jump in for a swim.
Michigan also has over 62,700 inland lakes. Some have public access beaches, while others don’t or they’re surrounded by heavy woodlands. Many are surrounded by private property. But you can find many inland lakes that allow dogs at the public access sites.
Are Dogs Allowed on Public Beaches in Michigan?
Pets are allowed on public beaches in Michigan if they’re designated as non-bathing beaches. However, you’ll find some dog beaches located right next to a bathing beach, so it’s important to read signs and do your research ahead of time. For example, the dog beach at Charles Mears State Park in Pentwater is adjacent to the main beach. We share more coming up, as it’s one of our top choices. In addition, dogs are allowed on most trails in state parks, at boat launches, and in lakeside campgrounds.
10 Best Dog-Friendly Beaches in Michigan for Your Next Beach Paw-ty
A summer trip to dog-friendly beaches in Michigan is a paw-ty! With the warm to hot temperatures and cool fresh water, it’s a pup’s dream play yard. Remember to take a frisbee or ball for fetch and a lifejacket for swimming. And always remember to pick up after your pet and leave no trace.
Pro Tip: Check out our recommended dog beach accessories before you head out!
1. Mission Point Lighthouse in Traverse City
Mission Point Lighthouse is at the end of the iconic Old Mission Point in Traverse City. It’s a historic landmark with a lighthouse and trails. You can walk your dog on the beach and trails here, just not inside the lighthouse. It’s very picturesque and worth a visit when in the northern Michigan city. To get to it, you’ll wind through vineyards and cherry orchards on the Mission Peninsula, with views of Traverse Bay on either side.
There are a few dog-friendly wineries on Old Mission Point on your way to the lighthouse. They include Bower’s Harbor, Bry’s Estate Vineyard and Winery, Mari Vineyards, and Black Star Farms. Fun fact: Bower’s Harbor has wines named after their dog! We visited when their big Bernese Mountain Dog was around and got to say hello!
Address: 20500 Ctr Rd, Traverse City, MI, US, 49686
2. Glen Haven Beach Near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore
Glen Haven Beach is a dog-friendly beach in Michigan near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore. Dogs are allowed on the east end of the beach and must be leashed. Parking is slightly limited here, but well worth the trip. Sleeping Bear Dunes is a popular destination with magnificent sand dunes cascading into Lake Michigan, however, dogs are not allowed on the main dune beaches. If your pup likes canoeing, kayaking, or paddleboarding, Glen Haven is a great beach for it!
Address: 8400 Sleeping Bear Dunes Rd, North of Hy 109, Glen Arbor, MI, US, 49636
3. Elberta Beach in Elberta
Elberta Beach is on Lake Michigan in Elberta, about 25 miles south of Sleeping Bear Dunes. You can take your leashed dog on the beach and trails in the area. Elberta and its neighboring city, Frankfort, have plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities like hiking and fishing. You’ll also find a lighthouse, a downtown shopping district, and restaurants.
Address: Bye Rd, Elberta, MI, US, 49628
4. Buttersville Park in Ludington
Buttersville Park is a dog-friendly beach in the popular Ludington, Michigan. It’s a little way south of downtown on Lake Michigan. There are picnic facilities and a campground nearby, and there’s a wooded area on the beach to take a break in the shade. You’ll also get great views of the North Breakwater Lighthouse from here.
Address: 1100 S Lakeshore Dr, Ludington, MI, US, 49431 (one street up from Buttersville Campground)
5. Charles Mears State Park in Pentwater
The dog beach at Charles Mears State Park in Pentwater is a hidden gem on Lake Michigan. You’ll find the dog-friendly portion of the long stretch of sand on the south end, next to the pier. It’s clearly marked with signs, and leashes are required. You can also walk your pup on the cement boardwalk that extends up the pier and all the way down the channel for views of the boats going in and out. In addition, there’s a campground at this state park that allows pets.
Address: 400 W Lowell St, Pentwater, MI, US, 49449
6. Kirk Park Dog Beach in West Olive
Kirk Park Dog Beach is in West Olive, which is between the two Lake Michigan tourist hot spots of Holland and Grand Haven. It’s a large off-leash beach that’s typically very busy from May through September because it’s only open to dogs until 10 a.m. in the morning and then from 6 p.m. to dusk. However, during the off-season, October through April, there are unrestricted hours. You do have to keep your dog on a leash walking to and from the beach itself, which is only accessible via a steep dune. But once you get there, it’s worth it!
Address: 9791 Lakeshore Drive N, West Olive, MI, US, 49460
7. Warren Dunes State Park in Sawyer
Warren Dunes State Park in Sawyer is on Lake Michigan and about 25 miles north of the Indiana border. It’s one of the best dog-friendly beaches in Michigan due to the wooded trails you need to hike to get to the beach. It’s a dramatic panoramic view once you arrive at the sandy shore out of the forest. Your dog will enjoy the hike, and there are plenty of sticks to pick up and toss. Dogs must be on a six-foot leash at all times. Once you get to the beach, they’re only allowed north of the northernmost swim buoy.
Address: 12032 Red Arrow Hwy, Sawyer, MI, US, 49125
Do You Know? Beagles are adorable little dogs, but do they like water? Plunge into the facts.
8. Grand Mere State Park in Stevensville
Grand Mere State Park is a dog-friendly beach on a one-mile stretch of Lake Michigan in Stevensville. The beach is a hidden gem and not well-marked with signage. You’ll need to hike up and across sand dunes to get to the beach. The area is typically not busy because of the mildly strenuous short walk to get there.
Address: Thornton Dr, Stevensville, MI, US, 49127
9. Miners Beach on Pictured Rocks National Seashore
Miners Beach is on Pictured Rocks National Seashore on Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The breathtaking area is a popular destination for hikers, campers, kayakers, and outdoor enthusiasts. You can see some of the limestone cliffs from Miners Beach, which is dog-friendly. It’s about a mile long with sand and some rocks. Pets must be leashed, and you’ll need to go down a staircase to access the beach.
Address: Miner Rd, Shingleton, MI 49884
10. South Beach in Marquette
South Beach is in Marquette, which is in the Upper Peninsula. As the name implies, it’s on the city’s south end. The dog-friendly beach on Lake Superior’s Marquette Bay offers stunning views. It’s a sandy stretch of shore for your pup to run and play.
Address: 501 S Lake St, Marquette, MI 49855
How Can You Find Dog Beaches?
There are a few ways to find dog-friendly beaches in Michigan or anywhere. We like to ask local residents. They typically know the best locations.
BringFido.com is also a great resource. While not every dog-friendly beach is listed on the website, it’s a great place to start.
You can also do an Internet search for the specific area in which you’ll be. Sometimes Chamber of Commerce websites or local travel sites have information for pets.
Our team has deep ties to Michigan, which is why we were super excited to interview Michigan Humane’s CEO about the incredible programs they’re running in Metro Detroit. Watch the interview here!
Enjoy Dog-Friendly Beaches in Michigan Year-Round
You can enjoy dog-friendly beaches in Michigan year-round. While summer is the warmest time, sometimes visiting in the spring or fall is less crowded. Often, beaches that don’t allow pets in the summer do allow them before Memorial Day and after Labor Day so that you may have more access in the off-season. Read the signs for dates. Also, remember to obey leash policies and please pick up after your pet to ensure continued dog access to these beautiful beaches! And last but not least, have fun!
Does your dog love the beach? Share in the comments below or tag us in a photo or video on social media of your dog enjoying the sand and water.
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