Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is a federal park on the northwestern edge of Indiana run by the U.S. National Park Service. Visitors to the park can take a walk on Mnoke Prairie, explore Pinhook Bog, or go hiking on one of several trails. The park also encompasses a 15-mile stretch of beaches on the shore of Lake Michigan. Among those beaches are four to which visitors may bring their dogs.
Among the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore's four dog-friendly beaches is Central Beach, which has its access point near Central Avenue and Valley Avenue in Michigan City. Mount Baldy Beach is easily accessible from U.S. Highway 12 near Michigan City. Kemil Beach has its access point along the Dune Ridge Trail in Porter. Lakeview Beach can be accessed at the northwest corner of Lake Front Drive and Broadway Street in Beverly Shores.
Dogs must be attached to leashes at all times, and leashes should be kept to a length of 6 feet or less. They may also be brought to the beaches in crates or cages. In addition to the beaches, dogs are permitted on most of the park's hiking trails, with the exception of Ly-co-ki-we trail, which is closed to all pets. Even dog-friendly areas may be closed to pets during special events.
The four dog-friendly beaches at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore open at 7 a.m., and most stay open until dusk, with the exception of Lakeview, which closes at 11 p.m. Central Beach is open from April 15 to Nov. 15, and Kemil beach allows pets after Labor Day and before Memorial Day. There are parking areas near all four dog-friendly beaches, and parking is free. Access areas are no more than a block away from the beaches.
Beaches at Indiana Dunes are staffed with lifeguards from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day, so it is important to be careful in the waters of Lake Michigan. Waves and rip currents are ever-present, and water quality can change. When bacteria counts are high, heed signs urging visitors to stay out of the water. Swimming in waters with high bacteria counts could sicken you and your dog.
- U.S. National Park Service: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore: Plan Your Visit
- U.S. National Park Service: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore: Plan Your Visit: Pets
- U.S. National Park Service: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore: Plan Your Visit: Summer Beach Parking
- U.S. National Park Service: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore: 15 Miles of Beach at Indiana Dunes
- U.S. National Park Service: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore: Plan Your Visit: Maps
- U.S. National Park Service: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore: Plan Your Visit: Central Beach
- Dunes on Lake Michigan shore NW INdiana image by Steve Johnson from Fotolia.com