Your best friend has plenty of room to ramble in this Northern Michigan region of forests and beaches. Here are some popular Fido-friendly spots for outdoor fun in the Sleeping Bear Dunes, Manistee, Cadillac and Ludington.

This article was featured in the 2021 Traverse Magazine Vacation Guide. Download your free digital issue today to experience the full guide for yourself.

Dog Friendly Sleeping Bear Dunes Spots

There are several places in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore where dogs aren’t permitted due to sensitive ecosystems, such as piping plover nesting areas, so please be attentive to “no pet” signs. In the Benzie County portion of the park, pups are welcome in the Platte River Campground, as well as on all trails and beaches from the Platte River Campground north to Peterson Road, and from Esch Road north to the Lakeshore boundary near Empire.

Dog-Friendly Spots in Manistee

Enjoy some sand and sun with your pup at an array of dog-friendly beaches in Manistee County, including Lake Michigan’s North Beach Access, the dog park at First Street Beach, Magoon Creek, Portage Point Beach and Fifth Street Beach (outside the swimming area). North Point Beach in Onekama is also pet-friendly.

Ludington Area Dog-Friendly Spots

The Ludington area is full of dog-friendly outdoor rec opportunities—your furry friend will love checking out Ludington State Park and the Nordhouse Dunes (just be sure your pup isn’t in the swimming areas). Also, not to miss in Ludington, the beloved Loomis Street Dog Beach.

Dog-Friendly Spots in Cadillac

If you’re headed to Cadillac with your canine companion in tow, head to Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park. This 92-mile linear trail state park runs from Cadillac to Comstock Park and is paved with asphalt, except for a 30-mile stretch between Sand Lake and Big Rapids, which is natural ballast and hard-packed gravel. (Note: dogs aren’t permitted in buildings or swimming areas.)

Find this article and more in the 2021 issue of the Traverse Magazine Vacation Guide. If you’re not subscribed to Traverse Magazine, you can download the Vacation Guide for free.


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Photo(s) by Taylor Brown