Last Updated: Mar 31, 2019

Dog Friendly Camping Michigan

  • BY Nick Bulanda

    Published March 13, 2019

There are two types of people in America: cat owners and dog owners. According to the American Pet Products Association, nearly 85 million families own some time of pet. Generally speaking, cat owners do not take their cats on vacations or camping trips. On the other hand, dogs certainly travel with their owners. Some families even prioritize dogs when it comes to planning. That way, they never need to be apart from their furry companion. After all, long camping trips away meantime in the kennel or with a dog sitter. It might be best to let them tag along. Especially when it comes to dog friendly camping Michigan. Learn all about different locations, the rules, and tips below!


In 2017, Michigan began to create pet-friendly camping locations for travelers. Now, there are already National Parks that are friendly to dogs. This includes Pictured Rocks and Isle Royale, for example. Plus, there is the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Shoreline too. Obviously, the expansion has opened up some more options to travelers. Here are just a few examples.

Lodging Pilot Program

In that same year of 2017, Michigan launched the Pilot Program. This created pet-friendly lodging at a number of Michigan state parks. Best of all, it only comes with an additional fee of just about $10 per night. So traveling to one of the dog lodging sites is relatively easy and relatively cheap. Especially since you provide a safe and secure location for your pup. This is ideal for sleeping all through the night.

Visit the reservations site to book some lodging. You are able to book this almost an entire year in advance. Lock up that reservation and solidify the plans. Then, you just play the waiting game. Plan out your packing list with the best dog camp chair. You do not need to stress yourself out. This reservation makes everything simple.

Pick from one of the following accommodation locations:

State Parks & Trails

For the most part, state parks allow pets. You just have to follow the rules, which we will discuss in detail later. Definitely, take time to familiarize yourself with the rules. All the while, there is signage all over for both the state parks and all trails. Trails that do not allow pups will let it be known. There is going to be a no dogs sign of some sort. Be keen on your surroundings for the best results. Likewise, find the right trails for your dog!

Harbors & Boat Launches

Harbors and boat launches are the least of your worries. First, harbors generally allow pups. Furthermore, they even have a designated area for pets. Chances are you will find some other dogs there. Perfect for some socialization during the day. Not to mention your pup will tire out playing with other dogs. On the other hand, boat launches usually allow dogs. Plus, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has the list of boat launches that do not allow dogs. View this list here.

Take your puppy out on the water for an incredibly unique experience.
Take your puppy out on the water for an incredibly unique experience.


Finally, the last locations for dog friendly camping Michigan involve shorelines. Now, this is a little bit complicated. There are only sections of the shorelines that feature a pet-friendly area. So it is almost like the shorelines feature a designated area. You can find the specifics for this information right on the Michigan Department of Natural Resources site. That way, you know which stretch of the shoreline is dog-friendly. But, here are some of the shorelines that have some section specially designated for doggies.

Follow The Rules

Your camping trip with a dog will be the last if you do not follow the rules. Simply put, campers do not take kindly to other campers that do not follow the rules. More often than not, this results in a complaint and might even lead to a ticket. Worst-case scenario, you are booted from the campgrounds. Here are all of the rules you need to follow during your camping trip with a dog.

1. Keep Your Dog On A 6-Foot Leash

There are no exceptions to this rule. None whatsoever. Furthermore, keep the dog under control as well. Generally speaking, a trained dog should have no issues. But, if your dog is a bit wild, then you need to always be in control. Especially around other campers and wildlife.

2. Clean Up After Your Dog

Always, always, always, always. This is second only to the 6-foot leash rule. You cannot let your dog dump and dash. Everyone will hate you for it. Not even other dog owners can defend this type of behavior. Buy some poop bags before the trip. Keep them handy at all times.

3. Always Attend To Your Puppies

Never leave a dog alone in a tent or a camper unless they are tame or trained. Even then, be cautious. The main problem is a barking dog all throughout the day. No one wants that. Not even you. Be sure to tend to them whenever necessary. If they are locked up, only do it for a few minutes!

4. Keep Pets Calm Around Campers & Wildlife

This might be a bit difficult. After all, dogs are excited to experience the great outdoors. Just make sure they do not bother anyone.

5. Keep Pets Out Of Buildings

State buildings are no places for a dog. Except for the lodging locations mentioned earlier!

Relax with your puppy and always follow the rules. Enjoy dog friendly camping Michigan.
Relax with your puppy and always follow the rules. Enjoy dog friendly camping Michigan.

Last Thoughts On Dog Friendly Camping Michigan

You do not need to struggle through a camping trip with your pup. Not at all. Rather, plan a fun trip for some fun with your doggy! There are plenty of great locations to pick from. Plus, the rules are super easy to follow. Lay down on a camping bed in peace with your furry little friend.

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