Pet Guidelines

Pets are members of our families, but there are some things you should be aware of before bringing your pet to the park.


  • Pets must be restrained on a leash no longer than 6 feet (2 meters).
  • Pet owners are responsible for removing pet waste everywhere in the park.
  • Pets are not allowed on the Pinhook Bog Trail, but are allowed on the Pinhook Upland Trail.
  • Pets are not allowed on the equestrian portion of the Glenwood Dunes Trail system.
  • Pets should not be left unattended in a vehicle, especially in the summer. High temperatures in a car can kill pets.
  • Service animals are an exception to these rules and may accompany their owner to all park locations.

Pets on Beaches

  • Pets must be on a leash at all times, even when swimming in the lake. Handlers allowing pets to chase birds or otherwise harass wildlife are subject to a citation. Pet handlers are responsible for carrying waste off the beach.
  • Pets are allowed year round on all beaches with the following exception: Pets are not allowed in the lifeguarded swimming area at West Beach from the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through the Monday of Labor Day Weekend.


  • Horses under the direct control of a rider are allowed on specific parts of the Glenwood Dunes trail system. Please visit the Glenwood Dunes trail system webpage for more equestrian information.

BARK Ranger Dog Tag

Become a BARK Ranger

Join the BARK Ranger program by joining us for a ranger-led hike and completing our BARK Ranger activity guide to receive a collectible dog tag! For more information, visit our BARK Ranger page.
Restricted Areas

Restricted Pet Areas

With the exception of assistance animals, the following structures and/or areas are closed to the possession of pets:

  • West Beach – From Memorial Day through Labor Day, pets are prohibited on the beach within the lifeguarded area. This area is the section of beach directly north of the bathhouse stairs and will be designated along the beach with park signs. Pets are only permitted to walk through the lifeguarded area to reach the beaches on either side of the closure area.
  • Glenwood Dune Trail
  • Pinhook Bog Trail: Ranger-led tours only at Pinhook Bog. Upland Trail: Permitted on a leash (6’ or shorter).
  • Nature play areas – These are located on the east side of the Douglas Center main parking lot and within the Mather and Douglas loops of the Dunewood campground.

Pet restrictions and closures are in place to allow for compatible use of areas, threats to wildlife, damage to sensitive plants and to cooperate with local and state regulations. A service (assistance) animal is any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not considered service animals.

Pet excrement must be disposed of in accordance with the following conditions:

  • All pet excrement must be picked up and properly disposed of in trash receptacles.


Special Events

During large public and other special events, some areas are temporarily closed to pets. Watch for restrictions posted on brown signs at parking areas and entrances to event areas. You may also call the Visitor Center at (219) 395-1882 for information.


Pet restrictions and closures are in place to allow for compatible use of areas, threats to wildlife, damage to sensitive plants and to cooperate with local and state regulations.


Last updated: January 18, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Porter, IN 46304


219 395-1882
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center phone number.

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