You and your pets are welcome to enjoy the park together in select areas. This includes most hiking trails and specific stretches of beach.
Beaches with Pet Restrictions
There are specific beaches where pets are not allowed. This is to protect the endangered Great Lakes Piping Plover that nest on the lakeshore.
Leashed pets are allowed on these beaches
The following beaches allow leashed pets unless indicated by signage at the trailhead or parking lot.
Beaches Closed to Pets
Beach areas closed to dogs are red lines on the map above. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for a full map description.
Pets on Trails
Pets are permitted on the following trails between April 1 and Nov. 30.
Other No Pet Areas
Winter Access Restrictions
Pets are prohibited on the following cross-country ski trails between December 1st and March 31st:
Why Close the Beaches to Pets?
Pets are an extreme hazard to the Lakeshore’s population of Great Lake Piping Plover. Pets disrupt normal piping plover breeding behavior. Their presence can directly and indirectly lead to a loss of eggs, chicks, or adults. Plovers consider pets to be predators.
The Great Lakes Piping Plover is federally protected by the Endangered Species Act. The population hit a low of just seventeen breeding pairs in 1986. In 2021, the population had rebounded to seventy-four breeding pairs.
Maps and signs, both online and posted throughout the park, show areas where leashed dogs are welcome. They also show areas completely closed to pets. There are multiple stretches of beach that are permanently closed to pets to protect Great Lakes Piping Plover.
There is evidence showing the damage done by pets on beaches where piping plover breed. The following document gives more information on the importance of following pet guidelines.
Rules of Pet Behavior – the simple principles of BARK:
Bag pet waste: clean up after your pet and dispose of waste in trash receptacles
Additionally, pets may not be left unattended or tied to an object. Please do not allow your pet to make unreasonable noise.
Suggestions for Pet Safety
Become a BARK Ranger
Interested in helping keep the Great Lakes Piping Plover safe? Bring your dog along and become a BARK Ranger! Help educate other pet owners about the importance of following the principals of BARK at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Contact Matt Mohrman at e-mail us for more information about volunteering in the park and learn more about the program.
MAP DESCRIPTION FOR MAP AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore comprises over 71,000 acres in northwestern Michigan on the shore of Lake Michigan, including two islands and the mainland park.The park’s mainland area resembles a triangle on the map starting a third of the way from the top. The first side of the triangle runs along the right edge of the map page, the second along the bottom of the page, and the third runs in an irregular diagonal back up to the right edge. Access to the park’s mainland area is primarily via M-22 which runs north and south through the park. The Philip A. Hart visitor center is located in the center of the mainland area on the map near the intersection of M-22 and M-72. Road construction and seasonal road conditions require closure of certain roads.
Following M-22 south from the top of the triangle along the 32 miles of shoreline, the road passes south of Good Harbor Bay. FThe Lake Michigan beach access from County Road 651 west to County Road 669 is marked in red. This stretch of beach is closed to dogs.
M-22 continues through the south end of the Port Oneida Historic District, an historic farming landscape, and on to the town of Glen Arbor near the middle of the map. In Glen Arbor, M-22 turns south and continues on past the Glen Lakes to Empire, Michigan. A second road, M-109, continues west out of Glen Arbor to the Glen Haven Historic Village in the center of the map. D. H. Day Campground and the Sleeping Bear Point US Life-Saving Service Station and Maritime Museum are nearby.
Continuing on the now southbound M-109, the road passes by the Dune Climb on the right and the road to the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Further south, M-109 and M-22 meet up again and head toward Empire and the visitor center.
Following M-22 north from Empire onto Voice Road west, to North Bar Lake Road to the north, is North Bar Lake. The Lake Michigan beach access from North Bar Lake north and then east to the Maritme Museum is marked in red. This stretch of beach is closed to dogs.
Traveling south out of Empire to the southern section of the park and the bottom third of the map, the road passes many beach access points and trailheads on its way to Platte River Point and the Platte River Campground.
From the Esch Road beach access to the southern boundary of the Lakeshore, past the Old Indian Trailhead is marked in red. This stretch of beach is closed to dogs.
At this point, in the middle left of the bottom third of the map, the Platte River meets up with Lake Michigan at the terminus of Lake Michigan Road. Campgrounds, beach access, trailheads, inland lake access, picnic spots, and restrooms can be accessed from M-22, however, not all services are available year-round.
Last updated: August 16, 2023