Indiana gets hot in the summer — a dip in the water is the perfect way to cool down. From the Indianapolis metro area to the towering dunes along the Lake Michigan shoreline, this beautiful state offers a variety of dog-friendly swimming holes. Whether you’re road-tripping or spending a long weekend away, look for Indiana vacation rentals near these popular dog beaches.

lake michigan
Source: Flickr/John Lodder

1. Kemil Beach, Beverly Shores

Enjoy the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore with your pet at Kemil Beach, a beautiful strip of white sand in the northern part of the state. Stroll along the Lake Michigan shore and try to spot the skyscrapers of Chicago across the water, or hop into the warm waters for a swim. The beach, which is open year round, welcomes dogs. Your pet must stay on a leash the entire time, even when you’re swimming. Since the area is protected, it’s important to prevent your dog from chasing birds or other wildlife. The dunes are a popular area for locals and visitors from Chicago, so it’s a good idea to arrive early in the summer to get a parking spot. Nearby you can also bring your pet to Dunbar Beach and Lake View Beach. For fantastic sunsets and sunrises, look for vacation rentals on the waterfront in nearby Beverly Shores; many offer walk-out access to the beach.

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2. Eagle Creek Park, Indianapolis

Cool off on a hot day in Indianapolis at Eagle Creek Park. This lovely, sprawling park is home to a popular dog park with a large off-leash area. At the back, a marshy pond is perfect for dogs. You probably won’t want to swim in the shallow water, but your pet can enjoy splashing around, particularly during the intense summer humidity. To access the park, you must register for a day pass in the park office – bring your dog’s vaccination records. In the rest of Eagle Creek Park, you can hike along the trails and enjoy the open spaces, as long as your pet stays on a leash. A swimming beach in the main park provides an opportunity for your whole family to cool off. The park is open year-round, and if you’re staying overnight, rental properties in Lakeside are within a few minutes’ walk of Eagle Creek.

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3. Fox Island County Park, Fort Wayne

Just south of Fort Wayne’s sprawling Eagle Marsh Nature Preserve is Fox Island County Park, a 605-acre green space with plenty of room for your dog to roam. The best part? The Doggie Beach, where your dog can get off-leash and enjoy a swim in Bowman Lake. Your leashed pet is also welcome in the rest of the park, so you can take advantage of the excellent nature trail system. Keep an eye out for the many ponds that appear during the spring and fall; they provide a great spot for your dog to cool off during a hike. Fox Island also features a popular people-only swimming beach, plenty of spots for fishing, and a bird observation building. Pets and people are welcome in the park any time of the year. Look for vacation rentals in downtown Fort Wayne to be in the center of the action, or stay near the park in Ellisville.

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4. Fort Harrison State Park Dog Park, Indianapolis

Get out into Indiana’s beautiful wilderness at Fort Harrison State Park, which is an easy drive from Indianapolis. Tall trees create beautifully shaded walking paths, and Fall Creek winds gently through the hilly landscape. For pet owners, the excellent onsite dog park is a fantastic attraction – your dog can run off leash in three separate areas. In Brigade Landing, follow your pup through the trees and down to the pond, where dogs love to swim and splash in the shallow water. Although the pond is not ideal for humans, you can splash in the creek outside of the dog park. Admission to the park requires a pass, which you can purchase in the state park visitor center. Be sure to bring your dog’s veterinary vaccination records to certify that he’s safe to play around other pets. In the local area, East Avalon Hills provides the most conveniently located rentals.

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5. Hummel Park, Plainfield

Let your dog cool off when the mercury rises in lovely Hummel Park, a 205-acre spot situated on the banks of White Lick Creek. This beautifully maintained park allows pets on short leashes; just be sure to keep your dog off of the playground and at least 10 feet away from the splash pad. To access the creek, head down the hiking trails on the east side of the park – there are many spots along the banks to allow your dog to jump in the water. The creek isn’t deep enough for swimming, but the bottom is often deep enough for you to wade as your pet plays. For easiest access to the park, stay in the southern end of Plainfield. Many rentals sit within walking distance of the park, so you can make it a part of your daily routine.

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