Pets at state park campgrounds, beaches and boating access sites

You will find Michigan state parks and recreation areas to be pet friendly! Pets on a leash up to six feet long (and follow all other rules and regulations) are welcome in all 103 Michigan state parks and recreation areas and 138 state forest rustic campgrounds. Pets are also welcome in non-designated bathing beach areas along the shoreline and on the majority of trails. In addition, the DNR will launch a pet-friendly lodging pilot program in 2017. 

Pet-friendly lodging pilot program
The DNR extends a warm paw of welcome, so furry companions can enjoy Michigan’s best outdoor recreation destinations. Beginning Nov. 1, 2017, up to two pets (dogs and cats only) can stay in cabins at Harrisville State Park (mini cabin #186), Lime Island State Park (mini cabin #4), Leelanau State Park (Hemlock and Cedar) and Sleepy Hollow State Park (rustic cabin). In addition, pets can stay at the lodge at Cheboygan State Park. There is an additional fee of $10 per night/pet/cabin or $15 per night/pet/lodge. All pet rules and leash laws still apply.

Cabins and lodges can be booked up to 12 months in advance. This means that reservations can be made as early as November 2016. To make a reservation, visit or call 800-44-PARKS (800-447-2757).

Rules and Regulations

  • Pets must be under an owner's immediate control on leash up to six-feet long at all times.
  • Pets may not be left unattended or tied to an object.
  • Do not allow your pet to make excessive noise.
  • Always clean up after your pet and dispose of waste in trash receptacles.
  • Keep your pets from interacting with wildlife or disturbing visitors.

Pet-friendly shorelines
Pets are allowed in non-designated bathing beach areas within Michigan state parks and recreation areas. Pets must be under the immediate control of their owner and on a six-foot leash. Here are a few featured pet-friendly shorelines:

  • Brighton Recreation Area - pet-friendly section of shoreline available on Chilson Pond
  • Burt Lake State Park - pet-friendly section shoreline available on Burt Lake
  • Grand Mere State Park - entire length of the Lake Michigan park shoreline (1 mile) 
  • Harrisville State Park - pet-friendly section of shoreline available at the north end of the camper's beach (accessible via a foot trail near site #103)
  • McLain State Park - portion of Lake Superior shoreline is pet-friendly 
  • Mears State Park - southernmost section of shoreline is pet-friendly
  • Otsego Lake State Park - pet-friendly section of shoreline on Otsego Lake (only accessible via a flight of stairs near site 64 and may not be accessible during high water)
  • Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park - entire length of park shoreline
  • Port Crescent State Park - pet-friendly section of shoreline available near the mouth of the Pinnebog River (accessible via the steel bridge that connects to the hiking trails closest to the campground)
  • South Higgins Lake State Park - two pet-friendly areas of shoreline, including the day-use area and a campers-only area near the west campground
  • Tawas Point State Park - pet-friendly section of shoreline available on Tawas Bay between the campground and the lighthouse (enclosed by fencing)  
  • Warren Dunes State Park - 2.5 miles of pet-friendly Lake Michigan shoreline (north of the northernmost swim buoy)

In most cases, pets are allowed on DNR trails as long as they are on a leash up to six-feet long and follow all of the other rules and regulations. There are some instances where pets are not allowed on trails due to non-complementary uses (ie. equestrian trails). Always check trailhead signage to make sure that pets are allowed. 

Boating Launches (or Boating Access Sites)
Pets are prohibited at boat launches, except when dogs are permitted during early goose season. View Boating Access Sites where dogs are allowed during early goose season.

Generally speaking, pets are allowed in state harbors as long as all associated rules and regulations are being followed. Pets must be on leash and should not be left unattended or allowed to make excessive noise. Always clean up after your pet and dispose of waste in trash receptacles. Some harbors have a designated pet area, so please learn the rules at each harbor.