Illinois Beach State Park is a sprawling, 4,160 acre natural paradise that stretches along the shore of Lake Michigan. It has a diverse landscape comprised of sand dunes, lush marshes and dense forests. The park is divided up into two sections, the north unit and the south unit. Dogs are not allowed on the nature preserve in the south or the beaches in order to protect the wildlife. They can, however, roam and explore the trails, campgrounds, and picnic areas with their owners as long as they stay leashed and picked up after.
Dogs are welcome on some of the inland trails, but are not allowed on the Dunes Trail or the Dead River Trail in the south unit. The northern trails also offer cross-country skiing in the winter, so you and your pooch can get some heart pumping exercise surrounded by a winter wonderland. The trails are mostly flat and easy, and welcome dogs and humans of any fitness level. Make sure your curious pupper stays leashed, on the trail, and leaves only paw prints.
If you want to spend a night under the stars with your canine companion, you’re in luck! Check into one of the campsites in the southern section of the park. They feature premium campsites with electricity and access to restrooms with showers. The campground is open from May 1st until September 30th. There are some campsite that are first-come, first-serve, but make a reservation if you want to be guaranteed a spot. If you’re just here for the day, you can spend some time at one of the many picnic areas within the park complete with tables and lovely surroundings.
There are plenty of other activities to do in the Illinois Beach State Park, including biking, boating, fishing, and don’t forget relaxing! You may want to bring some bug spray, and watch out for poison ivy. The Illinois Beach State Park is sure to get your dog’s tail wagging!