As Camping Season Approaches, Michigan Pet Owners Should Brush up on Park Rules

Get life jackets for your dog and more at

Get life jackets for your dog and more at

According to the website of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, there are rules and regulations for pets at state park campgrounds, beaches and boating access sites.

With a few exceptions, pets are welcomed in Michigan state parks, recreation areas and at boating access sites, but they must be accompanied at all times by responsible owners. Please remember that these public places are strange environments for your pet. It may react much differently here than at home.

Rules and Regulations

  • Pets must be under an owner’s immediate control on a 6-foot leash at all times.
  • Pets may not be left unattended or tied to an object.
  • Do not allow your pet to make excessive noise.
  • Clean up after your pet and dispose of waste in trash receptacles.
  • Keep your pets from interacting with wildlife or disturbing visitors.

Pets are not allowed on designated beaches or areas used for wading or swimming, and this rule is strictly enforced. However, the following locations do have designated pet-friendly areas.

State Parks and Recreation Areas with pet-friendly shorelines:

  • Brighton Recreation Area – There is a pet-friendly section of shoreline available on Chilson Pond.
  • Burt Lake State Park – A section of pet-friendly shoreline is available on Burt Lake.
  • Grand Mere State Park – Pets are allowed on the entire length of the Lake Michigan shoreline (1 mile).
  • Harrisville State Park – A pet-friendly section of shoreline is available at the north end of the camper’s beach. This section of shoreline is available via a foot trail near site #103.
  • McLain State Park – A portion of the Lake Superior shoreline at F.J. McLain State Park is pet-friendly.
  • Mears State Park – The southernmost section of shoreline at Mears is pet-friendly.
  • Otsego Lake State Park – There is a section of pet-friendly shoreline on Otsego Lake, however it is only accessible via a flight of stairs near site 64. During times of high water, this area becomes even less accessible.
  • Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – Pets (except service animals) are not allowed in any of the state buildings including rustic cabins/yurts and modern lodges. Pets are welcome on the trails, in the campgrounds and along the shoreline.
  • Port Crescent State Park – A section of pet-friendly shoreline is available near the mouth of the Pinnebog River. This area is accessible via the steel bridge that connects to the hiking trails closest to the campground.
  • South Higgins Lake State Park – There are two pet-friendly areas of shoreline at South Higgins Lake State Park. The first is for campers-only and is near the west campground. The second area is in the day use area.
  • Tawas Point State Park – A pet-friendly section of shoreline is available on Tawas Bay between the campground and the lighthouse. This pet-friendly area is enclosed by fencing and is the only shoreline-area in the park where pets are allowed. Pets are prohibited in all other beach-areas as well as the Sandy Hook Trail.
  • Warren Dunes State Park – Pets are allowed north of the northernmost swim buoy at the beach, providing 2.5 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline.


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