While most state parks say they are dog-friendly, the 985-acre Grand Mere State Park actually means it! Located on the west side of the state, this pawtastic park even allows your pooch to romp with you along the 1 mile of shoreline and swim in Lake Michigan.
Like most state parks, there is plenty of shade and foliage in the park area, which features dunes, wetlands, bogs, three lakes, a large hunting area, picnic shelters, vault toilets, and picnicking areas that are all handicap accessible for your convenience.
The gorgeous shoreline is mostly sunny, so bring an umbrella and wear your sunscreen. There isn't direct road access to the beach, so you'll need to travel a trail through the dunes to get to there. The Nature Trail runs from the parking lot to the beach for about a quarter of a mile of paved path until you reach the dunes, where it turns into a sandy climb. Be prepared to walk up some hills with your pooch, as the trip up the dunes can be strenuous for some.
There are a total of 4 miles of trails throughout dunes and woods of the park, and all but the Nature Trail are not signed, paved or maintained. The most scenic trek is the Baldtop Loop, a two mile hike around the tallest dune, and along the shoreline.
A boat launch provides access to the Middle Lake, where you can put in your boat and fish for smallmouth and largemouth bass, catfish, yellow perch, bowfin, bluegill, sunfish, crappie, and even some lake trout. You can fish in Lake Michigan or one of the other two lakes in the park with a valid fishing license on hand.
Entry into this and any state park in Michigan requires a recreational pass. For residents, the pass is $11 with the purchase or renewal of their license tabs, or at the gate, and is good for a year at all Michigan state parks. Non-Michigan residents can purchase a daily pass for $9, or an annual pass to all of the Michigan's state parks for $32. Make sure you bring any essentials for a furtastic day out, including clean-up bags and water to share with your thirsty pup. Keep your pup leashed throughout the park, including at the beach.
For a unique adventure your pup won't soon furget, head to the dunes and ocean views of the Grand Mere State Park!