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State parks - general rules

General park rules

  • Park hours: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

    Only registered campers are allowed in the park after 10 p.m. with the exception of occasional events.

  • A Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry into state parks and recreation areas, DNR-managed boating access sites (boat launches), state forest campgrounds and parking at state trailheads.

  • Alcohol possession and use is limited or prohibited at certain state parks and boating access sites. See the full list of alcohol restrictions.

  • Pets are welcome on a 6-foot leash in state parks, campgrounds, some state park cabins, state forest campgrounds, non-designated bathing beach areas, most harbors, the majority of trails and many boat launches. Learn about pet-friendly recreation and rules.

    Leash laws do not apply on state park lands if the dog is being used for hunting, field trials or while being trained for hunting purposes on land open to such use.

  • Many parks and recreation areas have access to fishing. With the exception of Free Fishing Weekends, if you are over the age of 17 you are required to have a license to fish. Buy your fishing license online, buy a fishing license at a retailer, or download the Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app and purchase through the app.

  • All state recreation areas are open to hunting unless designated closed. All state parks are closed to hunting unless designated open. Find a list of parks and recreation areas where hunting is allowed.

  • Wheelchairs, including power-driven wheelchairs, and other power-driven mobility devices (known as OPDMDs) are allowed in areas open to pedestrians and while operated at walking speed. A number of criteria apply.

  • Some events on public lands, such as weddings, 5K races, festivals, tournaments, require a permit. Learn about the types of events and requirements.

    Businesses and individuals using public-owned lands, such as state parks, trails and boat access sites, for commercial operations must obtain a permit.

  • All research activities within state parks, recreation areas, boating access sites and rail trails are required to have a use permit. Most research projects will require no fees, bonding or insurance, but will require submittal of a report at the conclusion of the project in place of monetary payment. Learn how to obtain a land use permit for research.

  • Metal detecting is allowed in designated parks when it is conducted in ways that do not damage the resources or violate state laws. Any items found must be reviewed by park staff and may be retained for further investigation. See a list of parks where metal detecting is allowed.

  • Fireworks such as Roman candles and bottle rockets are prohibited in Michigan state parks at all times; however, smaller novelty fireworks such as party poppers, snappers/drop pops, snakes, smoke bombs, sparklers and ground spinners are still permitted.