With a dog-friendly campground and more than a mile of beach on the shores of Lake Michigan, Harrington Beach State Park is ideally located for a doggy camping getaway.
The park itself covers 715 acres of grassland and wetland, and its small campground boasts more than 60 sites for tents and RVs. There are 31 electrical sites, 33 non-electrical sites, and three other sites offered on a first-come-first-served basis.
While the sites aren't overly spacious, the campground is clean and typically quiet. Each site has a fire ring and picnic table, with hot showers, toilets, and laundry facilities available during the warmer months. Just make sure you pack plenty of insect repellent to keep the mosquitoes at bay. Dogs are welcome in the campground but must be leashed and attended at all times.
You can also find a dump station and a fresh water fill-up station near the campground entrance. Camping costs vary depending on the site you select, but day-use visitors should know that there's an $8 vehicle entrance fee for cars with Wisconsin plates (this rises to $11 for out-of-state visitors).
As you'd expect, much of the activity in the park centers on the beach. There are picnic areas spread among stands of trees overlooking the beautiful lake, offering a pretty spot to enjoy a snack or lunch.
While there's no boat launch in the park, it's simple enough to launch a kayak or canoe. However, strong westerly winds can blow paddlers away from the shoreline, so check the conditions before you set off. Swimming is also available but please be aware that the water is very, very cold.
Anglers can fish from the shore in 26-acre Quarry Lake and Puckett’s Pond, with trout, crappie, bluegill, and more on offer.
Hikers can take a stroll along the beach or set out to explore seven miles of trails within the park. The 0.75-mile Lakeview Trail is popular, as is the Whitetail Trail; happily, leashed pets are welcome on both routes.
Finally, Harrington Beach State Park is also home to Jim and Gwen Plunkett Observatory. Astronomy evenings are open to the public on various dates throughout summer and early fall, so plan your visit accordingly if you're a keen stargazer. If you're planning a pet-friendly camping trip near Lake Michigan, this pretty park is certainly worth including on your itinerary.