Kelsie, Zoey, and Lexie playing at the dunes
A beautiful sandy beach stretching a couple miles along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Our dogs had a lovely time running in and out of the waves all afternoon long!
My family in the water!
Marley just standing next me in Lake Michigan.
Zoey swimming with her wubba
Lexie running on the beach
Lexie and Kelsie swimming with toys
Lexie and Zoey fighting over toys
Kelsie, Zoey, and Lexie playing at the dunes
A beautiful sandy beach stretching a couple miles along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Our dogs had a lovely time running in and out of the waves all afternoon long!


Nordhouse Dunes offers miles of trails to explore on the shore of Lake Michigan. Natural features include sand dunes, wooded areas, marshes, interdunal ponds, and beaches. Dogs must be leashed at all times while exploring Nordhouse Dunes. Leashed, well-behaved dogs are also permitted in the campground. Dogs are not permitted on the swimming beach.


BringFido Traveler Rating

Nordhouse Dunes has received a rating of 4.0 out of 5 bones by 12 dog owners on BringFido.

  • Sep. 22, 2018
    Beautiful Area

    My favorite place to backpack with my dogs. Yes, they have to be leashed to protect wildlife but this has never been an issue for me. Hikers/backpackers have always been polite and clean up after themselves. Gorgeous sunsets, a beautiful forest to hike and falling asleep on the dunes listening to the crashing of the waves....we just left and I miss it already.

  • More than one year ago.
    Not worth it

    If all you writer's on here that is deterring guest with pets from this beach, than they need to remove the "pet friendly" beaches of their site!! Simple as that!

  • More than one year ago.
    Not at all what was described

    My partner and I took our two dogs specifically to this area of Michigan for the well-reviewed dog beach, however, we were never able to find it. We searched up and down the shoreline for two days for any signs that indicated a dog beach - to no avail. We even camped in the most populated areas and asked around if anyone had heard of this mysterious "dog beach." Nobody had. We did make do with what we had and took the dogs to select areas of Lake Michigan where leashed pets were permitted. Though even these trips were disappointing since the "beaches" were nothing more than two foot sand ledges among a field of beach grass.

    We ventured off outside of Nordhouse and found a great little park with lots of beach room and pet-friendly policies. For anyone taking a look at Nordhouse, skip the dunes and go straight to Sundling Park.

    We were disappointed in what Nordhouse was advertising as a "dog beach." It is a beautiful area of Michigan but we are not planning to return because of the absolute hassle of finding a dog friendly beach.

  • More than one year ago.
    No Off-leash Dogs, Please

    If you're looking for somewhere to let your dog play in the waves off-leash, choose another beach. Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area is a special area with rules in place to protect endangered species like the Great Lakes Piping Plover. These rare birds need places where they can remain undisturbed by people or our companion animals. Female piping plovers build gravel nests right on the beach and lay four eggs, which will hopefully hatch into adorable and awkward, fuzzy little chicks. Unfortunately they are helpless against curious dogs, even well-mannered ones, and even a little bit of disturbance from people or dogs can cause piping plovers to abandon their nests. So please, pick another of Michigan's excellent beaches where off-leash dog activity is allowed and do your part to help this unique animal continue to exist. I think Mark from Harrison hit the nail on the head by asking, "Where can wildlife live and prosper if not for Wilderness Areas?"

  • More than one year ago.
    Beautiful Beach

    My husband and I just returned from camping at Lake MI Recreational Area and we had a blast with out 6 Month old golden. I highly recommend staying there if you can survive bathing in the lake as the campground is rustic.

  • More than one year ago.
    official rules

    Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area
    Manistee National Forest
    Manistee, MI 49660

    Nordhouse Dunes is located within the Manistee National Forest. While dogs are not allowed on the swimming beach, they are allowed on the rest of the beach in designated areas.

  • More than one year ago.
    Mark in Harrison is Clueless

    Mark in Harrison - The official Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness site states that dogs are welcome on leash. On the beach, there is a sign stating a dog beach and a people beach. How are exactly do you think people are breaking there rules? Go hug a tree, dude.

  • More than one year ago.
    Breaking the rules

    The information about Nordhouse dunes being a dog friendly beach is not correct. Nordhouse Dunes is a Wilderness Area that is the home for endangered species. To promote Nordhouse Dunes as a pet friendly beach where dogs can run around is a total detriment to the natural ecosystem the US Forest Service is trying to protect. In fact it is illegal to allow your dog off the leash on National Forest land. The reason is to protect the only refuge that wildlife has left. You do a toal diservice to the natural world by promoting an activity that is illegal and immoral. Where can wildlife live and prosper if not for Wilderness Areas?

  • More than one year ago.
    Fun in the Sun with dogs

    My husband and I wanted a weekend away with our dogs and found Nordhouse Dunes recommendations on this site. We have two Cavalier King Charles and took them both with us. It was a wonderful day! We let both dogs off their leashes and they loved the beach, the swimming, meeting other dogs and digging in the sand. The beach is beautiful: clean, great swimming, lots of room for everyone, and all the people were really friendly and nice. The walk back to the car was a touch one because the dune is so steep and the sand was hot, but next time we'll be prepared for that. It was a great day and we'd recommend this beach to anyone with dogs. There were about 30 dogs there when we were there, and there were no altercations. Many people kept their dogs on leashes, but several let theirs off leash. We'll definitely go back.

  • More than one year ago.
    Great place for dogs

    We camped at the Lake Michigan Recreation Area soley because they had a separate dog beach available which is a rarity anywhere. They did indeed have a very nice beach where we could let our border collie off his leash and play frisbee. There is not much to do here except play at the beach or hike the dunes. We were told to keep our dog on the leash at the campground, but our dog is obedient and we were fine with him off the leash at the campground. The sites are very large and you have quite a bit of space between campsites. It is hard to find places that are dog friendly and this is a great place soley for that reason.

  • More than one year ago.
    The Best Trip of our lives!

    We just came back from Manistee today, and yesterday 7/3/11, we took the trip to Nordhouse Dunes, b/c of this website. I needed something dog friendly for our dog. The trail was gorgeous, you just can't find that anywhere!!! We took our 2 year old daughter as well, she had fun I pushed her in the stroller, until we would run into sand, and then she had to get out and walk. The sand dunes are sooo much fun to walk up and down! Our dog loved the walk, we loved the walk, and we even saved it as our favorite in our GPS, so everytime we are near Manistee we can just press a button and it will take us right back to that amazing place!

  • More than one year ago.

    We took our Black Lab here yesterday and he loved it. When you first park and start walking towards the beach there is a sign that says no dogs allowed on the beach, but then a few feet ahead there is another sign posted that reads dogs please stay to the right. Its a little hike over the dune and down to the water, but it was worth it! There were a few other families with their pets there, but with 2 miles of sandy beach, there was lots of room for everyone to find their own sandy spot. And the dogs loved playing in the waves of Lake Michigan!

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