Going places with your furry friends can come with a lot of rules - and Cape Cod's beaches are no exception. Luckily there are many public Cape Cod beaches that are happy to welcome your dogs so that you can enjoy fully the Cape with your best friend at your side.
Best Dog Friendly Beaches In Cape Cod
Provincetown is the Northernmost point of Cape Cod and is famous for its active LGBTQ community. If there for a visit, the Harbor Hotel has a stretch of beach where pets on leashes are welcome 365 days out of the year - so there is never a question of whether or not you’ll be able to take your dog for a great seaside walk. In the summers from 6am-9am your pet can even enjoy running free before crowds gather, but be aware of the beach beginnings and ends as the rules vary on the various Provincetown beaches.
Just a little further East from the Harbor Hotel is Herring Cove, named one of America’s Best All-Time Beaches by the Travel Channel. Your leashed pets are allowed on the non-life guard protected portions of this beach, and because this beach is so big, it is friendly for not only your pets but families as well. Sunsets are also gorgeous on this beach since it’s facing west - something for you to enjoy in the unprotected areas with your canine companions.
Crowes Pasture may not seem like an obvious beach stop in Dennis as it is actually a large park that leads to a beach on the northern side of the lower cape. Dogs are allowed year round but must be leashed at all times. The walk through the park and to the beach includes many different types of nature from woods to meadows and marshes so it’s perfect for both you and your companions for exploring and enjoying.
While this outer Cape main beach doesn’t allow dogs, the off road vehicle trails allow dogs on leashes up to 30 feet long which gives your dog extra opportunity to stretch its legs and run in non-summer months. The sunrises are particularly beautiful as the beach faces to the East, so an early morning walk might be the best option here. Be aware, though, that it’s especially important to pay attention to regulation signs in this area as there are certain areas that restrict dogs due to plover nesting. The plover season typically is over the summer, but can vary each year, so if you’re in the Orleans area make sure to check and see if it’s a good time to hit this spot.
Similar to Nauset Beach, Kalmus also faces restrictions at certain times of the year due to plover nesting, however, from September 15th - May 15th, pets are welcome unleashed on this lower cape beach. The beach is long, and with no leash to hold your dog back, this is the ultimate beach for some rigorous activity and getting some energy out. Closer to the summer months, you may also be able to enjoy the warmer Nantucket waters with some of the best windsurfing on the Cape.
Not to be confused with Nauset Beach, Nauset Light Beach is a beautiful beachside park on the outer Cape. Being one of the most popular beaches on the Cape, pets are welcome on leashes all year. Of course, like many other beaches, there may be nesting shore birds that restrict dogs from accessing certain parts of the beach, but its length is still great. Since this beach is in the Cape Cod National Seashore limits, parking does cost money, which means that people arrive early and stick around to really make use of paying for their parking space. You should be in the clear arriving before 10am but anytime after that and you may not find a place to park and enjoy this spot.
Your pets are free to explore this outer Cape sand dune beach all year round as long as you have them on a leash. Marconi is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, which means that it comes with the same parking fee that one might find upon visiting Nauset Light Beach. Because of this, it’s even more important to check for restrictions put into place on behalf of nesting shore birds as that may limit the amount of fun your dog can have. Fortunately, the beach rarely fills up and the sand dunes still offer adventure even with restrictions in place.
Being a bit further north along the outer Cape Cod National Seashore has allowed this beach to be a bit less trafficked making it so you have your leashed pet have plenty of room to run all year long. Dogs are not allowed in the protected areas with lifeguards or near the nesting shore birds, so there are some restrictions, but the waves tend to get bigger here, so perhaps that’s another reason families don’t venture this way giving you more space to play with your dog. Parking does cost money and the facilities are more limited than some of the other beaches, but the opportunity to observe the beauty of the endless Pacific Ocean with your pet make this stop worth it.
There are many other beaches that are happy to have you and your leashed pets, all with their own restrictions. In the towns you might visit, except Yarmouth, you can find a place to take your dog for a seaside journey. Just pay attention to the signs as you enjoy these stunning views, ocean sounds, and quality time with your favorite companion.
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This article was written by Kim Cowan.