Make a Splash at These Dog-Friendly Lakes With Beaches

Posted by Erin Ballinger

Lakefront vacations provide wonderful opportunities for you and Fido to relax and play hard, but not all of them feature dog-friendly beaches. From world-famous Lake Tahoe to smaller, more intimate destinations in the American heartland, these lakes with beaches welcome you and your waterdog to play in the sand and swim in scenic surroundings.

1. Buttersville Beach

Ludington, MI
This pooch is pooped after his swim. Photo by @lorethedor

Along the western shore of Michigan’s lower peninsula is the town of Ludington, where you and Fido can take in the grandeur of Lake Michigan. Pets are welcome to frolic in the water off-leash and leave pawprints in the sand at Buttersville Beach and Campground. Afterward, sip a pint of Lake Phantom American Pale Ale on the dog-friendly patio at the taproom of Ludington Bay Brewing Co.

If you’re not into camping, book a room at Eagles Wings Lodge, where pre-approved pets are welcome for $100 per stay. Nightly rates start at $345.

2. Lake Tahoe

Zephyr Cove, NV
“Gimme dat watermelon!” Photo by @sirwinstonmcarthur

Lake Tahoe may be most well known for its exceptional skiing, but the actual namesake lake is a wonder all on its own. Situated between California and Nevada, this massive freshwater lake is also the largest Alpine Lake in North America. Fido is welcome to join you for playtime at North Zephyr Cove Beach. This dog beach is pretty popular on the weekends, which is great if your pup is a party animal. If you prefer to spend a quiet day with Fido, visit the beach during a weekday or try a pet-friendly SUP trip out on the lake. Bring water shoes because even though the beach is sandy, the ground is rocky past the shoreline. Pack a picnic (watermelon pupsicles, anyone?) to enjoy after your pup has worked up an appetite playing in the water.

For relaxing and budget-friendly accommodations, check out the Deerfield Lodge at Heavenly, where they offer spacious dog-friendly suites with fireplaces and Jacuzzi tubs. The pet fee is $45 per pet, and nightly rates start at $156.

3. Montrose Dog Beach

Chicago, IL
Fido can meet new friends at this dog beach. Photo by

Let your pup splash in the waters of Lake Michigan at Montrose Dog Beach, Chicago's first legal off-leash beach, where Fido can run free and play with other pups. Located on the Northwest corner of Montrose Beach, this area is fenced and offers free waste bags and a dog wash area. Montrose Dog Beach is free, but DFA tags are required for all canines, and these cost $5. Kayak Chicago rents dog-friendly SUPs (standup paddle boards) or kayaks if you want to get a workout on the water. They have a rental office at Montrose Beach and will even start you off with an orientation teaching paddle strokes, safety and rules of the water. BYODLJ (bring your own doggy life jacket).

Stay in the River North neighborhood at the Kinzie Hotel, which accepts two pets for an additional fee of $50 per stay. Your dog will be greeted with treats and other pet amenities like bowls, beds and bandanas. Nightly rates start at $102.

4. Bow Wow Beach

Stow, OH
Someone is ready for the picnic portion of the day to begin! Photo by @cooper_and_lucy_sims

Bring Fido to Stow, Ohio’s Bow Wow Beach for an uncrowded, sandy day out on a lake that spans 3 acres. Your dog will love playing off-leash with new four-legged friends. When it’s time to leave, utilize one of the convenient dog washing stations on-site before stopping for a frozen treat at Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt.

Stay in nearby Akron at a Peaceful Lakefront Cottage, which allows pets for an additional fee of $25. Nightly rates start at $106.

Best dressed on the beach. Photo by @babyg_frankiefrench

Arizona may be landlocked, but Lake Havasu is a massively popular vacation destination in the state. This large reservoir attracts vacationers from all over to take in its natural beauty. Take your furry friend for a swim at the dog beach at Cattail Cove State Park, which offers over 2,000 acres to wander and enjoy. Stop for drinks at the dog-friendly Mudshark Brewery. May we suggest the Vanilla Caramel Porter for you and a bowl of water for your pooch?

Enjoy the sunset and sleep under the stars with your dog by your side in your tent or RV at Lake Havasu State Park, just north of the dog beach at Cattail Cove. Or, book a room at the waterfront Heat Hotel, which welcomes dogs of all sizes for an additional fee of $50 per stay. Nightly rates start at $209.

6. Lake Washington

Seattle, WA
What a view! The lake isn’t bad either! Photo by @always_sunny_with_olive

In Seattle, Fido can swim in Lake Washington at the Magnuson Off-Leash Dog Area, one of the nation’s best dog parks. This fully fenced, 6-acre park is divided into several smaller areas with beach access. You’ll often find friendly dog owners wading next to their swimming pups here. After you’ve had your fill of the water, treat Fido to some eggs on the covered patio at Portage Bay Cafe. The dog-friendly eatery serves breakfast all day in addition to burgers and sandwiches.

Spend the weekend in the Emerald City near the Starbucks flagship store in Pike Place Market (late-night puppuccinos, anyone?) at this gorgeous pet-friendly loft.

7. Lake Placid

Lake Placid, NY
#lakelife Photo by @artoothecorgi

The famous Lake Placid is a playground for pups. Spend the day hiking around the nearly 3-mile trail at Mirror Lake, a clean and crisp body of water. Then dive in from the dog-friendly beach to cool off. Finish your day with a hearty pub-style supper in the beer garden at The Great Adirondack, where Fido will be greeted with a bowl of water.

If you want to stay overnight, the dog-friendly Crowne Plaza Resort Lake Placid welcomes two dogs for an additional $20 per dog, per night. Nightly rates start at $189.

8. Performance Pups Freshwater Dog Beach

Dania Beach, FL
Make new friends in the water! Photo by @buttswirlss

Your canine is free to run, play and swim off-leash at Performance Pups Freshwater Dog Beach in Dania Beach. This fenced lakeside beach is a pay-to-play area, so expect a fee of $5 per dog. Once your wet friend has worked up a thirst, head to the patio of The Field Irish Pub & Eatery for drinks and good pub grub.

Rest up for another day of fun at this dog-friendly Airbnb with a pool. Nightly rates start at $98.

9. Minnesota Point

Duluth, MN
Admiring the “Superior” view. Photo by BringFido

The 7-mile long beach at Minnesota Point (also known as Park Point) separates Lake Superior from Superior Bay and the Duluth Harbor Basin. Park by the Sky Harbor Airport, and then take a walk in the sand or go for a swim with your leashed pup. Dogs are welcome on the beach year-round, but in the summer it’s really a fun place to be. Concessions and showers are available as well as drinking fountains. Keep an eye on the flag colors for safety reasons: green indicates calm conditions, yellow means moderate surf and possible rip currents, a red signifies strong rip currents (stay out of water). After a day at the beach, cool off at Canal Park Brewing Company, which serves brewpub fare and microbrews.

Stay at Park Point House and Cottage so you’ll be close to the lakeside beach! Pups are welcome for no additional fee, and nightly rates start at $120.

10. Boulder Reservoir

Boulder, CO
Fetch is even more fun at the lake! Photo by @steveshannonofficial

Boulder Reservoir welcomes four-legged splashers from Labor Day until Memorial Day, when leashed canines are allowed to play on the Reservoir’s “people beach.” After he's done his laps, take Fido to Avery Brewing Company for a post-swim pint and bowl of water.

Stay at the Foot of the Mountain Motel, which allows two pets for an additional fee of $15 per pet during your stay. Nightly rates start at $175.

Have you ever taken your dog to a lakeside beach? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

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