Along 15 miles of southern Lake Michigan, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is 15,000 acres of lakefront beach, wetlands, dunes, prairies, rivers, and forests. Whether you prefer sunbathing with the family or hiking along the coast while birding, you can do a little bit of it all at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Pets are very welcome at the lakeshore, but there are a few rules to keep in mind. Dogs must always be kept on a leash of six feet or less. Dogs should never be left alone in a vehicle. You are responsible for cleaning up after your pet no matter where you are — campground, beach, picnic area, parking lot, or anywhere else.
Dogs are allowed only on certain beaches on the lakeshore. Those beaches to the east of Indiana Dunes State Park are open to pets; these include Kemil Beach, Dunbar Beach and Lake View Beach. Pets are not permitted on the national lakeshore beaches to the west; these include Porter Beach, Portage Lakefront Beach and West Beach. Dogs can go on the parking areas and trails near these beaches, but not on the actual beaches themselves.
When you are on a dog-friendly beach, dogs are allowed to swim in the water, but they must be kept on a leash even while swimming. There are no receptacles on the beach for you to dispose of any waste, and you are responsible for ensuring it gets off the beach and to one of the waste bins provided in other areas of the lakeshore. Dogs that are seen chasing birds or harassing wildlife are frowned upon and the dog’s owner may face a citation.
If you’re visiting during an event, some normally pet-friendly areas may be closed to your dog depending on the event itself. Check online or call the visitors center if you’re concerned this may be an issue.