The numerous coves, inlets, and bays on Maine’s spectacular rocky coastline feature several dog-friendly beaches. Most require that your canine remains leashed, while a few others have restrictions on the seasons and times of day that your dog can roam the shores. Look forward to an abundant opportunities for you and your dog to enjoy relaxation, water sports, beachcombing, and much more. Book a stay at one of many pet-friendly Maine vacation rentals for your upcoming beach trip. Take a look at the most noteworthy beaches in Maine that welcome dogs.

two dogs playing on a muddy beach
Source: Flickr/mjs_2009

1. Hadley Point Beach, Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor is a scenic resort town on Mount Desert Island on the central coast of Maine. Hadley Point Beach is northwest of the downtown area on the Mount Desert Narrows. Facilities include picnic tables and barbecue grills. Dogs are allowed on the beach at all times, but you must keep them on leashes. If your dog needs some time to run free, head for the Little Long Pond Leash-Free Area in nearby Seal Harbor. Vacation rentals at Bar Harbor provide convenient access to incomparably magnificent Acadia National Park, which has miles of dog-friendly hiking trails through spectacular wilderness. Don’t miss a climb to the top of Cadillac Mountain for an unforgettable view of Mount Desert Island and the rugged Atlantic Ocean coastline.

Explore the waterways with Acadia Outfitters, a company that allows dogs to ride in the rental canoes. Alternatively, Downeast Windjammer Cruises out of Bar Harbor Pier permits well-behaved dogs on sailing excursions. On land, you and your dog can travel in style on a horse and carriage tour through Acadia National Park with Wildwood Stables Carriage Tours. Your dog is welcome at the outdoor seating area of the waterfront Fish House Grill, where you can feast on freshly caught seafood. If you prefer burgers, pizza, and great craft beer, have a meal on the outdoor patio at Blaze Restaurant.

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2. Willard Beach, Portland

Portland, the state’s largest city, is in a beautiful location on the south side of Casco Bay on Maine’s central coast. Willard Beach lies in Simonton Cove in a quiet neighborhood near South Maine Community College. This popular sand and pebble beach welcomes dogs year-round before nine in the morning and after seven in the evening. Well-behaved dogs are allowed off-leash, but you must keep them out of the dunes and away from areas with bird nests. The East End Beach near the Old Port also permits dogs to run off-leash, but only allows dogs in the off-season between Labor Day and Memorial Day. Portland also has several scenic inland parks where dogs can run off-leash, including Capisic Pond Park, Riverton Park, and Pine Grove Park. Mackworth Island is a beautiful 100-acre wildlife sanctuary with scenic dog-friendly walking trails. Portland Head Light Park, which features a picturesque lighthouse, picnic facilities, amazing ocean views, and hiking trails, also welcomes dogs.

If you love shopping, the Old Port Waterfront District in Portland is a dog-friendly shopping center full of eclectic shops, restaurants, and entertainment facilities. The Portland Lobster Company, which serves clam chowder, lobster, crab, and other seafood delicacies, has an outside dining area for dog owners and their canine companions. For dessert, head for an outdoor table at Beals Old Fashioned Ice Cream.

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3. Old Orchard Beach City Beach

The town of Old Orchard Beach is on Saco Bay along the Atlantic Coastline in Maine. Its namesake beach is a wide seven-mile stretch of soft sand that’s perfect for relaxing strolls and recreational activities. Dogs on leashes are permitted on the beach year-round in the morning and evening. For leash-free fun 24 hours a day, head for the Old Orchard Beach Dog Park within beautifully landscaped Memorial Park.

The Sunset Bar and Grill in Old Orchard Beach, which serves delicious prime rib, seafood, and other dishes, has a lovely outdoor patio area that welcomes dogs. Fielder’s Choice Ice Cream has a number of outdoor tables where you can sit with your canine friend and indulge in exotic flavors of ice cream.

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4. Kennebunkport City Beaches

The town of Kennebunkport is in southwestern Maine near the mouth of the Kennebunkport River. Mother’s Beach, Middle Beach, and Gooch’s Beach comprise a string of wide sand beaches along the city waterfront. Dogs on and off leash are welcome on the beaches all day long during the off-season, and in the morning and evening between June 15th and Labor Day. The beaches are ideal for swimming, relaxing strolls, splashing in the surf, and beachcombing. For some off-leash recreational time, the Kennebunkport Dog Park provides a spacious fenced-off area in a natural setting. The beautiful nearby Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge provides miles of dog-friendly hiking trails through salt marshes, dune grasslands, rocky coastline, and pine and oak forests.

The Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport allows dogs on most of the grounds and also on the trolley ride. Explore the local waterways with your canine friend with dog-friendly rental watercraft from World Within Sea Kayaking. Feast on delicious short ribs, duck breast, snapper, and other dishes at the dog-friendly Salt and Honey restaurant.

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5. Long Sands Beach, York

The town of York lies at the southern tip of Maine near the border with New Hampshire. Long Sands Beach is a mile of soft white sand for swimming, strolling, beachcombing, and water sports. Between May 20th and September 20th, leashed dogs are permitted on the beach only in the morning and in the evening. In the offseason, unleashed dogs can access the beach at any time. A nearby pocket beach called Short Sands Beach has similar restrictions. Enjoy scenic walks along the beach promenade with your canine friend.

The Sun and Surf Restaurant at Long Sands Beach, which specializes in lobster, fried clams, and other seafood dishes, has several outdoor patios where you can dine with your dog.

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