Although North Dakota is a landlocked state, it boasts numerous large lakes and reservoirs, as well as a wide variety of beaches. Within state parks, there are an abundance of beaches that welcome dogs. Whether you’re heading to the far northern part of the state or stopping in Bismarck, you’re never far from a pet-friendly place to cool off. As you search for North Dakota vacation rentals, look for accommodations near these great dog-friendly beaches.

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Source: Flickr/Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington

1. Grahams Island State Park, Devils Lake

Tucked away in the northeast corner of North Dakota is Devils Lake, one of the biggest bodies of water in the state. Grahams Island State Park sits on a small island in the middle of the lake, providing easy access to the water. The park offers a long shoreline and a large swimming beach. Dogs are welcome to play in the water year-round, but they must stay on leash and away from the designated swimming areas. After you swim, spend some time exploring the hiking trails, or take your boat out onto the water to enjoy some of the best fishing in the region. Nearby, look for vacation rentals in Fort Totten or the town of Devils Lake; keep in mind that the lake is a popular spot during North Dakota’s hot summers, so it’s a good idea to book early.

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2. Lake Sakakawea State Park, Pick City

The enormous Lake Sakakawea, which sits just northwest of Bismarck, is the third largest reservoir in the United States. When you’re traveling with your dog, one great place to experience this lovely lake is Lake Sakakawea State Park. As with all of North Dakota’s state parks, dogs are welcome here, as long as they’re on leash at all times. Keep your pet away from the swimming beach, but feel free to enjoy the many other beaches in the park. The property occupies a small peninsula, so there are plenty of spots to hop in the water. If you’re bringing children, it’s also helpful to know that dogs are not allowed on the playgrounds. During the summer and fall, enjoy the sunny weather with a weekend trip; stay nearby in Pick City, Riverdale, or Cole Harbor. While you’re in the area, take advantage of the excellent salmon fishing, and check out the fascinating Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site.

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3. Lewis and Clark State Park, Ray

If you’re visiting the northwestern part of North Dakota, you can enjoy another fantastic Lake Sakakawea beach at Lewis and Clark State Park, which is about 150 miles from Lake Sakakawea State Park. Here, rugged buttes create a beautiful setting, and miles of flat shoreline allow expansive views across the lake. Bring your pet anywhere in the park on leash year round, and feel free to use any beach other than the swimming area. Hike to the western side of the park to try your luck shore fishing; if you’re lucky, you can reel in a rare pallid sturgeon or a bizarre paddlefish. The park also offers high levels of walleye and northern pike. Be sure to check out the Lewis and Clark informative trail marker, and learn about the once-booming local trade routes at the Ft. Union Trading Post National Historic Site. Look for vacation rentals in Lunds Landing or in Williston, which is about 30 minutes west.

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4. Lake Metigoshe State Park, Bottineau

Experience North Dakota’s varied scenery in Lake Metigoshe State Park, a gorgeous spot located in the Turtle Mountains. As you and your pet splash in the cool waters, enjoy the view of the densely forested shores. This popular park is located in the northern part of the state, just minutes from the Canadian border. Bring your leashed pet into the water on any part of the sandy beach except for the swimming area. Try the Point Trail, which parallels the adjacent School Section Lake and provides plenty of water access points. Alternatively, hop on the Lake Metigoshe Hiking/Biking Trail to access dog-friendly areas on the southern edge of the lake. The best local vacation properties sit on the shores of the lake surrounding the park; you may even find one with a private beach so your dog can run off leash. If you’re visiting in the winter, be sure to take your dog cross-country skiing along the park’s many trails.

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5. Beaver Lake State Park, Wishek

Get away from it all in Beaver Lake State Park, a lovely spot in south-central North Dakota. This relaxing park sits in the middle of the rolling prairie lands, miles from any town. Feel free to take your pet to all of the local park beaches, except for the main swimming area; this section is clearly marked off with buoys, so it’s easy to avoid. For the easiest water access, walk either south or north along the shore from the main parking area. The warm, shallow water is great for swimming for both people and pets, and visitors are welcome year-round. If you’re looking to stay nearby, try Burnstad, Napoleon, or Wishek – all three areas are an easy drive from the park, so you can beat the summer crowds.

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