The Top 10 Dog-Friendly Beaches in Michigan

It’s time to pack up doggie bones, beach toys, and a towel because Michigan has plenty of dog-friendly beaches to check out! Nicknamed the ‘Great Lake State,’ these massive bodies of water give Michigan a coastline longer than California and Florida. You haven’t seen a lakefront beach until you’ve seen it at the Great Lakes.

From the golden sand beaches lining Lake Michigan to the untouched shorelines on Lake Superior, Michigan is home to various types of beaches. Tour along the Michigan coastline to discover some of the best beaches for pets.

And remember, whenever your dog is participating in a water activity, be sure to keep them safe with a dog life jacket or other flotation device.

Grand Haven City Beach

dog friendly Grand Haven City Beach

Lake Michigan has never looked more alluring than it does at Grand Haven City Beach. Despite the beach’s popularity, it still managed to carve out hours for pets to frolic in the sand. It’s when the busy shores settle to reveal the broad beach.

Your dog (and you!) might mistake the red Grand Haven Lighthouse for a fire hydrant as it dashes towards the coast. Boaters ride past, creating fun waves to leap over or crash against your pet’s legs. The cool Lake Michigan waters can cool off any hot day before resting on the tan sands lining the beach.

The peak beach season between Memorial Day and Labor Day is the best time to take advantage of great Michigan weather days. But you’ll only get to enjoy a morning dog walk up to 11 AM and return during the evening after 5 PM. Pet owners can be on the beach with their pets at any time of the day at other times of the year. Keep in mind that dogs always must stay on a leash less than six-feet long.

Address: 1223 S Harbor Dr. Grand Haven, MI 49417

Belle Isle Beach

dog friendly Belle Isle Beach

Hearing that Detroit has a beach is often a surprise to locals and visitors. But what’s more of a pleasant surprise is that this lone beach in the ‘Motor City’ is even a place for pet beach days. Belle Isle Beach offers international views while beach recreational (and leisure) activities give your pet hours of fun.

Gauging the excitement of your pet going to the beach will let you know what kind of toys to pack for the day. Dogs with lots of energy have space to run on Belle Isle Beach, so their favorite ball or frisbee would be wise to bring. Dogs that prefer to sleep all day will need a few chew toys for their waking hours and a comfy blanket for a beachfront seat to the lulling wave sounds.

Belle Isle Beach is located on Belle Isle on the banks of the Detroit River. When taking a hiatus from the beach, go sightseeing views of Windsor, Canada, and the Downtown Detroit, USA skylines, or walk the 5.4-mile loop trail circling past the James Scott Memorial Fountain and the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory.

Address: 7845 Riverbank Dr. Detroit, MI 48207

Kirk Park & Dog Beach

dog friendly Kirk Park Dog Beach

Your pet will have a doggone good time at Kirk Park & Dog Beach. It’s a place for dogs who prefer to have beach fun without a leash and has plenty of other perks for pet owners to fill up their beach day itinerary.

Check the tide report before arriving at Kirk Park because the beach is best during the low tide. The teal blue waters of Lake Michigan roll in on slow-moving waves. The soft golden sands feel great on skin and fur—blankets aren’t even needed if you don’t mind a little sand. Your dog’s coat will be thoroughly rinsed after splashing around in the lake waters.

A word of advice: check out the southern end of Kirk Park. Once you pass the fence barrier, the beach becomes a free-for-all for pets running liberated from their leashes. The beach provides visitor facilities like a shower and restrooms to change your beach gear. Continue exploring nearby the beach for views atop coastal dunes and pet-friendly hiking trails.

From May 1st to September 30th, Kirk Park only allows dogs 7-10 AM and 7-10 PM.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

dog friendly Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

For a stretch of 35 miles on Lake Michigan, there is nothing but coastal dunes whose sand runs into the lake to form beaches. This unique landscape, some features formed by glaciers, is preserved in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. You and your pet can set your eyes on this stunning scenery while leaving plenty of paw prints in the sand.

The pristine coastline is sectioned into different beaches. Many of the beaches are dog friendly, and each offers its own unique features. For example, check out the Peterson Road Beach for a beach that permits pets all year long. Alternatively, since the hike turns off many pet owners to the Old Indian Trail Beach, those who make it to the end are rewarded with a laid-back secluded beach.

Keep your pet on a leash as you navigate your way between the different beaches in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. You can take your dog on a walk along the Dune Climb Trail for views overlooking the Lake Michigan beaches on bluffs rising as high as 450 feet.

Address: 6680 W Western Ave, Glen Arbor, MI 49636

Orion Oaks Dog Park Beach

dog friendly Orion Oaks Dog Park Beach

Get used to the sound of doggy paws scratching a wooden dock because it’s likely the only thing you’ll head at Orion Oaks Dog Park Beach. Its specially-designed dock makes the lake waters accessible for dogs of all sizes to swim.

Orion Oaks Dog Park is an off-leash park that covers 14 acres. Trees dot the grassy hills as hiking trails lead through the woodlands to the lakefront. But unlike the mainstream beaches on the Great Lakes, this beach at Lake Sixteen is for dogs only.

Wear water-friendly shoes to safeguard against dogs splashing water when climbing on and off the dock. Toss your pet’s favorite floating toy into the lake and watch them dog paddle to retrieve it. But if your dog is shy about its first time at the beach, join them in a swim session as you guide them along the dock. Pet owners have gotten creative for maximizing the fun on the dock.

After a long day of water fun, relax on the beach for sunset views. Just in time for the park closing 30 minutes afterward.

Address: 2301 W Clarkston Road Lake, Orion Twp, MI 48360

Norman F. Kruse Park

Dogs became such frequent visitors to Norman F. Kruse Park that it designated part of its beach as a dog beach. Now, dogs have even more incentive to traverse the Great Lakes Region and spend the day on Lake Michigan.

Norman F. Kruse Park is a beachfront park that features numerous hiking trails through the grassy hills and picnic shelters for hosting friend and family outings. As Norman F. Kruse Park landscape reaches the coast, the grassy-topped dunes flow into the powder sand beach. It extends for one mile along the Lake Michigan coast, providing beautiful lake views and ample room to play around in.

The beach at Norman F. Kruse Park is always a favorite for dogs that can finally enjoy a beach without their leash. Signs mark where the dog beach begins, and the numerous canines already on the beach confirm it. Let your pet hang with other pups as they dig around the sand, or let the freshwater smells guide them into the water.

Although the boardwalk is no longer accessible via the dog park, make your way over to the main beach area for a dog walk (must be on a leash).

Address: 3205 W Sherman Blvd, Muskegon, MI 49441

Warren Dunes State Park

dog friendly Warren Dunes State Park

The soft, lumpy beach sand at Warren Dunes State Park mimics the park’s hilly dunes reaching a height of 260 feet. So, while the dunes are occupied with hikers seeking summit views of Lake Michigan and dune sledders taking rounds, mosey down to the pet-friendly beach.

With nearly 2,000 acres comprising the Warren Dunes State Park, it occupies 2.5-miles of coast on Lake Michigan. The state park not only protects the delicate dunes that the park is known for but also keeps the beach in a natural state for all to enjoy. Help do your part by cleaning up after your pet.

Can you believe more than one million people visit Warren Dunes State Park every year? Many of these are pet owners who can enjoy playing in the sand with their pets or swimming in the Lake. Seabirds and hang gliders soar overhead while you sunbathe on the shore.

Be the first and last on the beach by staying at one of the park campgrounds that also permit pets.

Address: 12032 Red Arrow Hwy, Sawyer, MI 49125

Port Crescent State Park Beach

dog friendly Port Crescent State Park Beach

Go for a change of scenery from the Lake Michigan coastline to the tranquil shores of Lake Huron. It’s another of the Great Lakes to check off your pet’s bucket list when you visit the Port Crescent State Park Beach.

Michigan’s ‘mitten’ shape places the Port Crescent State Park Beach right on the thumb of the state. The beach is three-miles-long with a broad area suitable for pitching an umbrella and blanket or running around playing beach games with your pet.

Relax on the beige sand where there’s a chance you might be the only ones on the quiet shores. Lake Huron’s turquoise blue waters allow swimming to immerse you and your pet in the stunning lakefront scenery.

When you’re feeling adventurous, set off on the park’s pet-friendly hiking trails to discover other gems in the park. Your pet is in for a bonus when you encounter Pinnebog River, which has its own small pet-friendly beach.

By the end of your pet beach day, it will get a thumbs (and paws) up from everyone who came with you!

Address: 1775 Port Austin Road, Port Austin, MI 48467

Zoll Street Beach

The crimson red signs marking the dog-friendly Zoll Street Beach are not hard to miss. That’s good news for the pet owners visiting Harbor Springs in search of one of the best beaches for dogs. From the pet-friendly town to the fun beach activities, Zoll Street Beach creates an entire experience.

Pets are always considered at local establishments like pet-friendly restaurants and accommodations. So, the dog beach is just the cherry on top of a puppy pie. Zoll Street Beach sits on Little Traverse Bay. The sandy coastline wrapping around the bay is filled with dog tracks, and your pet’s prints will soon follow.

The shallow water near the shore allows dogs of all sizes to swim and paddle across the calm surface. Also, go on a dog walk with views of boats cruising out of the nearby Wequetonsing marina. Take a dog nap on the shore or sit in the grassy areas for a picnic.

Pets on Zoll Street Beach must be kept on a leash or voice-trained. In addition to the beach, be sure to check out the park’s designated play area for dogs.

Address: 101 Zoll Street, Harbor Springs, MI 49740

Frankfort Beach

dog friendly Frankfort Beach

Frankfort Beach is an idyllic Michigan beach—dunes on a lakeshore with views of a lighthouse. The best way to enjoy this picturesque setting is with your dog lying next to you.

The scent of the nearby waterfront is in the air as you drive down streets lined with maple trees and Victorian houses. Park and hop out of the car with your pet, and its tail will wag continuously. The vast Lake Michigan is a sight on its own, but the tan sands lining the lakeshore will be the first taste of fun for the day. Dogs must be on a leash while on the walkway but can be leash-free on the beach and specified dog run section.

Watch as your pet goes from curious sniffs when first stepping onto the sand to excitedly jumping and running around the sand. Your number one furry fan can watch from the sidelines while you play a game of beach volleyball and bark for every spike. Then, make your way to the clean lake waters, where you’ll be met with views of Frankfort Lighthouse, towering 44 feet tall.

Address: Fr Marquette Cir, Frankfort, MI, 49635

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Special Reports Team