• Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

Are Dogs Allowed on Mackinac Island? (Updated in 2023)


Apr 20, 2023
The beauty that is Mackinac Island


The beauty that is Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island is a wonderful vacation space with stunning scenery and historical sites, and many people visit the place each year to explore. If you are a dog owner, you know that any adventures will be even better with your pet, and you might wonder if you can take your dog to the island. Dogs are allowed, but there are several important rules and regulations to keep in mind. Read on for everything that you need to know about bringing your dog to Mackinac Island, so you can make the most of your trip.


Where Dogs Are Allowed on Mackinac Island?

While dogs are allowed on Mackinac Island, there are a few restrictions, especially during peak tourist season, when the island can get crowded. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, dogs are not allowed in certain areas, including Fort Mackinac, downtown, and State Park. However, you can take your dog to several other parts of the island, including the interior trails, which offer plenty of shade and spectacular views, and specific beaches, which dogs often love the best. When visiting the island, you’ll need to follow the rules to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone, including your pet.

Dog Rules

No matter where you are on Mackinac Island, your dog must always be on a leash that is no longer than 6 feet. You will also need to clean up after your dog; there are many trash bins on the island where you can dispose of the waste. Your dog must also be well-behaved and under control at all times, with no excessive barking. They need to respect other people on the island and wildlife, including deer, foxes, and birds. Finally, pet owners must follow any rules that restaurant or hotel managers put in place when visiting those establishments.

a male silky wire-haired dachshund dog on leash
Image Credit: Anakumka, Shutterstock

Accommodations for Dogs on Mackinac Island

There are many great options for accommodations when visiting Mackinac Island with your dog. Many hotels and bed and breakfasts are dog friendly, and some even offer special dog amenities, like beds, bowls, and treats. However, it’s important to contact your chosen accommodation in advance to find out if there are any extra fees or requirements when bringing a pet.


Things to Do With Your Dog on Mackinac Island

Visit a Beach

While dogs can’t visit every beach on Mackinac Island, the dog-friendly beaches are great. They are also less crowded and quieter than the other, more popular ones, so you can enjoy quality time with your pet.

a dog walked by its owner on a beach
Image Credit: Juice Verve, Shutterstock

Take a Hike

There are more than 70 miles of trails on Mackinac Island, many of which have stunning views of Lake Huron. There are also other hidden gems to find along the way.

Grab a Bite to Eat

Many dog-friendly restaurants in Mackinac Island let you enjoy your meal on a patio with your pet while taking in the spectacular views. The food is fantastic, and they often have treats for dogs too.

a dog sitting outside the restaurant with the pet owner
Image Credit: Luis Angelo, Unsplash

Attend a Dog-Friendly Event

Mackinac Island hosts several dog-friendly events throughout the year, like the Lilac Festival parade and the Dog and Pony Show. These events are incredibly fun and are great for socializing your dog with other pets while meeting other owners and eating great food. To find out when these events occur, check the island’s events calendar.

Tips for Traveling With Your Dog

  • Bring plenty of doggie essentials like food, water, a leash, and poop bags. It’s also a good idea to bring any medications or other special items that your pet might need.
  • Find out about the dog-friendly places on Mackinac Island before you go. Preparing will help avoid wasted time while on the island.
  • If you must travel a long distance to Mackinac Island, acclimatize your dog to the crate or carrier and the car before you leave. You will also want to make frequent stops so your pet can have a potty break and get exercise to stretch their legs.
  • Be respectful of other people on the island who might not like dogs as much as you do. Clean up after your pet and follow all the rules and regulations on the island to ensure that everyone has a great time.



Mackinac Island is a wonderful destination that has many dog-friendly areas. With a bit of planning and preparation, you and your pet can have a wonderful experience while exploring the island’s many trails, beaches, restaurants, and other attractions. Remember to keep your dog on a leash, be respectful of others, and clean up after your pet to ensure that everyone has a fantastic vacation and can enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Featured Image Credit: MichelleL80, Shutterstock

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