With shorelines on both Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, Wisconsin offers phenomenal beachfront destinations throughout the year. Many of the beaches in Wisconsin are dog-friendly, so you can take along your furry, four-legged friend for a beach trip. In the summer months, you and your dog can soak up the sun and play in the water. During the winter, some beaches are open, and ice fishing is a popular pastime. Book a stay at one of numerous Wisconsin vacation rentals that allow dogs. Check out the top pet-friendly beaches in this Midwestern state.

whitefish dunes
Source: Flickr/Joshua Mayer

1. Harrington Beach State Park

Spend the entire day – or even a few – exploring the beach and surrounding area at Harrington Beach State Park. You and your four-legged friend can run, jump, and skitter down the sand on the mile-long beach and play in the waters of Lake Michigan inside this more than 700-acre state park. Enjoy the gorgeous weather and stunning scenery along the Quarry Lake trail that travels around the 25-acre lake, or opt to hike through the white cedar lowland forest. No matter where you hike, you’re treated to amazing views of Lake Michigan. Kids love the half-mile interpretive nature trail that details the mining community that once lived in the area. Amenities included in the park are restrooms, picnic shelters, and multiple beaches. The closest community to find a vacation rental is Belgium, a small village. Take a tour of the Luxembourg American Cultural Society and Center to learn more about the area’s history and unique cultural heritage.

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2. Whitefish Dunes State Park

From April to November, the amount of beach you can access with your pet is limited. To reach the dog beach, take your leashed dog through the parking lot and along the Red Path. It’s a little less than a mile on this path to reach the beach. During the rest of the year, your pup is invited to play on the entire beach. This park offers a nature center that’s open during the summer season, where kids can learn more about the ecosystem and wildlife within the park.

Sturgeon Bay is a great little town to find a place to stay for an extended holiday and to reach the park whenever you like. Enjoy some time out on the water with Door County Boat Tours, and catch sight of the Sturgeon Bay Canal North Pierhead Light. Located on the waterfront, the Door County Maritime Museum offers more information about the area’s rich maritime history.

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3. Point Beach State Forest

A favorite among locals, with some willing to drive up to an hour to spend a day, Point Beach State Forest sits on the shores of Lake Michigan. The beach provides plenty of room for dogs and their owners to stretch out and enjoy the water and sand. Also, the water is pretty clear without many fish to distract your pup. Some of the most popular amenities include dog beach parking, disposal bags, fresh drinking water, and restroom facilities for the humans.

When you’re not frolicking on the beach, stay in Two Rivers. Frank Lloyd Wright, a famous architect, designed the Bernard Schwartz House, and tours are available to see the inside and grounds of this home. Check out the two gorgeous lighthouses in the area: the Manitowoc Breakwater Light and the Rawley Point Light Station. The second lighthouse is the tallest in the state, and you can probably see it from the beach.

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4. Ottowa Lake

Follow the signs to the dog-friendly beach and pier at Ottowa Lake. The lake requires that all pets remain leashed during their time here. Run with your dogs, or play in the shallow water. Take a seat on the beach to watch the boats sailing or zooming back and forth on the water. From the pier, drop your line into the water in hopes of catching panfish, northern pike, largemouth bass, and walleye. There’s also a boat launch if you bring your own sailboat to enjoy the water.

Choose to stay either in the village of Dousman or Ottawa when vacationing close to the lake. Hike part of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail while staying in the area. While the trail stretches 1,200 miles and across the state of Wisconsin, you can explore a section of it. See for miles around after climbing to the top of the Lapham Peak Observation Tower.

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5. Big Foot Beach

Located on the shores of Geneva Lake, Big Foot Beach offers warm sand and great views of the boats out on the lake. This beach is nestled inside the Big Foot Beach State Park, and all dogs must be leashed during their visit. However, that doesn’t have to stop the two of you from frolicking in the water and chasing the waves. While the park is open year-round, it’s only open during the day, and you must have a vehicle admission sticker to enter. Marina Bay Boat Rentals can provide you with a pontoon boat for a leisurely day on the water or something with a little more power for a high-speed afternoon.

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