Pet Guidelines

Pets are members of our families, but there are some things you should be aware of before bringing your pet to the park.


  • Pets must be restrained on a leash no longer than 6 feet (2 m).
  • Pets should not be left unattended. Summer sunshine poses a threat to pets in vehicles.
  • Pet owners are responsible for removing pet waste from campground, picnic areas, parking lots, roads, and other developed areas.
  • Service animals are an exception to these rules and may accompany their owner to all park locations.

Beaches Open to Pets

The national lakeshore beach east of Indiana Dunes State Park is open to pets. Pets are not permitted on the beach west of the state park (State Highway 49). Pets are permitted in parking areas and trails near the beach area, but must stay off the actual closed beach.

Pets must be on a leash at all times, even when swimming in the lake. Handlers allowing pets to chase birds or otherwise harass wildlife are subject to a citation. Pet handlers are responsible for carrying waste off the beach.


Horses under the direct control of a rider are allowed on Glenwood Dunes trail, a one-way trail, from March 16 through December 14. The trail is closed to horses whenever snow is deeper than three inches. Owners are required to carry away horse excrement from the parking lot and picnic areas. Shoveling droppings onto the adjacent grass or into the woods is not allowed.

Restricted Pet Areas

Restricted pet areas are marked in red.

Restricted Areas

Restricted Pet Areas

With the exception of assistance animals, the possession of pets is prohibited in the following areas:

  • Porter Beach Unit -Defined as the area west from the State Park boundary to Wabash Street and from Lake Michigan south to Roskin Road (excluding active Reservation of Use and Special Use Permit properties).
  • The West Beach Unit Beaches - West Beach is defined as the area from Lake/Porter County Line Road, east to the NPS boundary on the west side of Ogden Dunes and from Lake Michigan, south to Highway 12 (excluding active Reservation of Use and Special Use Permit properties). All West Beach Unit beaches are closed to pets; however, pets are permitted on trails and in parking areas.
  • Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk – Pets are not permitted on the beach from the east boundary of the West Beach Unit Beaches to the Burns Waterway. Pets, except for service animals, are not permitted inside the building. Pets are permitted on the paved trail, breakwater, fishing platform, Riverwalk and parking areas.
  • Glenwood Dunes
  • Great Marsh Trail (Beverly Shores)
  • Nature Play Area – The area is located on the east side of the Douglas Center main parking lot and is delineated by NPS supplied fencing.

Special Events

During large public events, some areas are temporarily closed to pets. Watch for restrictions posted at entrances to the event area. You may also call the park staff at (219) 395-1882 for information.

During special events, some areas are temporarily closed to pets.
Watch for restrictions posted on brown signs at entrances to the parking areas.


Pet restrictions and closures are in place to allow for compatible use of areas, threats to wildlife, damage to sensitive plants and to cooperate with local and state regulations.

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