10 Dog-Friendly Beaches in Northern Michigan

Your canine companion shouldn’t miss out on any summer fun! Bring your dog along to these top 10 Red Hot Best dog-friendly beaches in Northern Michigan, voted on by our readers. 

Of course, always look for dog-friendly signs, keep Fido on a 6-foot leash at all times, bring water and be respectful of other humans and pets!

Bayfront Park, Petoskey

Formerly an industrial site, Bayfront Park in Petoskey has been called the “treasure” of the Petoskey park system and Emmet County. Boasting 7,800 feet of public shoreline on Little Traverse Bay, you and your best friend will have no shortage of activities. // Located off Lake Street on Bayfront Drive. 

Dam Beach, Elk Rapids

Spending time in Elk Rapids? The white sand of Dam Beach is said to be the last untouched beach in the area. With picnic tables and volleyball nets, it makes for a fun afternoon on East Grand Traverse Bay. // Located at the end of Dam Road. 

Elberta Beach, Elberta

If you and your pup are looking to avoid the crowds, stopping by Elberta may be the right move! Quiet and quaint, this half-mile beach is maintained by Mother Nature herself. Take a walk down the Elberta Pier and enjoy a beautiful view of Lake Michigan. // Located at the base of Bye Road. 

Empire Beach, Empire

Only a block from downtown, this beach is truly scenic. It features a number of perks including a pavilion, outdoor grills, a playground and even bonfire pits. Bring the whole family! // Located off Niagara Street and Lake Michigan Drive. 

Esch Beach, Honor

Also known as Otter Creek, Esch has a warm creek to wade in and beautiful wildflowers lining the shore. You and your pup may have a new adventure each visit as Lake Michigan’s waves can change the creek’s configuration! Leashed pets are allowed from Esch Road north to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore boundary (park pass required). // Located at the end of Esch Road.

Pet Tip: Everyone, including dogs, deserves a happy day at the beach. Even on dog-friendly beaches, not everyone is comfortable with approaching animals—keep your dog on leash and from lunging at other dogs, walking over sunbathers, children and beach blanket picnics. (Even other dog lovers draw the line at a wet dog on their towel!) Keep Fido hydrated, allow for shade when possible and don’t forget sunscreen. Dogs can get sunburned, especially pups with white or thin coats like collies, Dalmatians and bulldogs. Choose a sunscreen without zinc oxide or para-aminobenzoic acid—both are toxic if ingested.

Good Harbor Bay Beach // Photo by Mae Stier

Good Harbor Bay Beach, Maple City

This sunset destination also has views of Pyramid Point to the west, Whaleback and North Manitou Island to the north and even a glimpse of the Fox Islands on a clear day. (Note: A sign clearly marks which side of the beach dogs are allowed on.) // Located off Good Harbor Trail. 

Maple Bay Natural Area, Traverse City

Conveniently situated between Traverse City and Elk Rapids, this sunflower-lined property is full possibilities for you and your pup. After a short hike, just under .25 miles, enjoy the gorgeous shoreline of East Grand Traverse Bay. // Located off US-31.

North Beach, Leland

You and your dog will enjoy breathtaking scenery and smooth sand along the quiet beach. Be on the lookout for blue stones! // Located at the end of North Street. 

Peterson Beach, Honor

Get ready for epic views of Empire Bluff, Sleeping Bear Point and even South Manitou Island on clear days. Leashed dogs are allowed to the left of the boardwalk when facing the water. Note: The beach is a part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and a park pass is required. // Located on Peterson Road.

Zoll Street Beach, Harbor Springs 

Zoll Street Beach is known for being dog-friendly and convenient with downtown Harbor Springs just around the corner. Feeling extra adventurous? It’s also a perfect place for kayaking! 

Where are your favorite dog-friendly beaches? Comment below!