You don't have to leave Rover at home this summer. Pets who are on a 6-foot leash and follow other pet-friendly rules are welcome in Michigan state parks, park campgrounds, state forest (rustic) campgrounds, state forests, non-designated bathing beach areas, harbors and the majority of trails and boat launches. There is also a pet-friendly lodging option.
With a little extra planning, taking the family dog, cat, bird or even hamster or lizard to a Michigan state park this season can be easy and fun ensuring the whole family is present for those lifelong memorable moments.
“Michigan state parks offer some pet-friendly solutions to get you and your pet into Michigan’s great outdoors together” said Maia Turek, a Michigan Department of Natural Resources resource development specialist. “Pets are important in the lives of a lot of our park visitors. For many, having to leave a pet at home is like leaving a member of the family at home alone.”
Check out a video of pets in Michigan state parks and the pet-friendly locations below.
State Parks and State Forest Campgrounds
In general, pets are permitted in state parks, park campgrounds and state rustic (forest) campgrounds as long as they are on a leash not exceeding 6 feet in length at all times. Please become familiar with all the rules regarding pets and pay attention to signage.
Trails
Pets are welcome on state-designated trails and pathways located in state parks and state forests; however, there are some instances where pets are not allowed. Always check trailhead signage to make sure pets are allowed.
Shorelines
Pets are allowed in non-designated bathing beach areas within state parks. Pets are not permitted on designated swimming beach areas. Please note that pets must be kept on a 6-foot leash even if they are in the water.
The following parks offer sections of pet-friendly shorelines.
In the Upper Peninsula, visit Baraga State Park, McLain State Park, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park and Twin Lakes State Park.
For the Lower Peninsula, there’s the Brighton Recreation Area, Burt Lake State Park, Dodge No. 4 State Park, Grand Mere State Park, Harrisville State Park, Holland State Park, Holly Recreation Area, Mears State Park, Otsego Lake State Park, Port Crescent State Park, Sleepy Hollow State Park, South Higgins Lake State Park, Tawas Point State Park, Warren Dunes State Park and Young State Park.
Lodgings
In November 2017, a pilot program was launched to designate pet-friendly lodging at several state parks in Michigan. Up to two pets (cats and dogs only) are allowed in overnight lodging accommodations at the following locations:
Harrisville State Park’s Mini Cabin No. 186
Lime Island State Recreation Area’s Mini Cabin No. 4
Leelanau State Park’s Hemlock and Cedar Mini Cabins
Sleepy Hollow State Park’s Rustic Cabin
Cheboygan State Park’s Modern Lodge
These cabins and lodges can be booked up to 12 months in advance by calling 800-447-2757 or visiting www.midnrreservations.com.
The additional fee for your pet is $10 per night for each pet if you are staying in a cabin or $15 per night for each pet if you are staying in a lodge.
Boat Launches
The majority of boat launches allow pets, with the exception of certain boating access sites, during certain times of the year.
Harbors
Pets are allowed in state harbors. Some harbors have a designated pet area, so please learn the rules at each harbor.
Visit michigan.gov/parkpets to learn more.