Boasting iconic destinations like Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and more, the state of Massachusetts offers several of the finest beaches in the world — and many of them welcome canine companions. Several beaches allow dogs at any time year-round, while others have seasonal or hourly restrictions on when dogs are permitted. Consequently, it is important to find out the specific guidelines for the beach you intend to visit. Look forward to enjoying great opportunities for relaxation, beachcombing, swimming, playing fetch, and water sports. Book a stay at one of numerous oceanfront Massachusetts vacation rentals. With that said, here are the most noteworthy dog-friendly beaches in this New England state.
1. Provincetown Town Beaches
The resort town of Provincetown lies at the northern tip of Cape Cod, and its gorgeous beaches are among the most dog-friendly in the state. Dogs are allowed on the beaches near Provincetown vacation rentals all year long, and between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. throughout the summer, they are allowed to run free without a leash. Just a few miles down the road is Cape Cod National Seashore, a 40-mile stretch of Atlantic Ocean beaches, and dogs are permitted everywhere except designated bird nesting areas and lifeguarded beaches. Provincetown also has a large enclosed off-leash area called the Pilgrim Bark Park with a special section for small dogs. The Cape Cod Rail Trail, which initiates in nearby Wellfleet, is a 25-mile dog-friendly paved bicycle and walking path that runs through an extensive portion of the length of Cape Cod.
If you want to explore the waters of Cape Cod Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, Flyer’s Boat Rentals out of Provincetown provides power boats, pontoon boats, and sailboats, dogs are allowed on board for no extra fee. Dogs are also welcome on the scenic Bay State Cruise Line ferries that run between Provincetown and Boston. Pepe’s Wharf Restaurant, which specializes in serving fresh local seafood, has dog-friendly outdoor seating. Also in Provincetown, the Patio American Grill, which serves up great steaks and burgers, has a special section of tables for customers with dogs.
2. Sandy Neck Beach, West Barnstable
Beautiful Sandy Neck Beach is a 6-mile-long spread of soft sand on the south end of Cape Cod Bay near the base of the Cape Cod Peninsula. The locale is excellent for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. Dogs are allowed on the expansive off-road beach throughout the year, but can access the public beach only on the off-season from September 15 to May 15. You and your canine friend can freely explore the miles of hiking trails in the area, although because of the endangered local birds and wildlife, you are required to stay on the paths and not wander into the dunes or wilderness. Nickerson State Park in nearby Brewster is another natural area with dog-friendly hiking trails.
When you crave Italian cuisine, Alberto’s Ristorante in Hyannis, which is a few miles south of Barnstable, welcomes dogs on the outdoor patio. Another dog-friendly restaurant in Hyannis is Barbyann’s, which specializes in seafood.
3. Plymouth City Beach
The historic city of Plymouth is on the west side of Cape Cod Bay on the central Massachusetts coast. Plymouth City Beach welcomes dogs all year long, although from April 1 to September 30, they are restricted to certain sections of the beach. The beach’s 3 miles of golden sand offer idyllic rest and fun recreational activities. Pilgrim Memorial State Park, the site of historic Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower II Museum, also allows dogs. Enjoy hiking with your canine friend along 13 miles of trails through pine and oak woodlands at Myles Standish State Forest. The nature trail at Brewster Gardens is another great place to go for a walk with your dog.
When you’re hungry, head for the Lobster Hut on the Town Wharf in Plymouth, which has a dog-friendly back deck with a view of the bay. Enjoy some wine tasting with paired snacks in the outdoor seating area at the 1620 Winery.
4. Joseph Sylvia State Beach, Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard
Martha’s Vineyard is a popular resort island just south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Beautiful 2-mile Joseph Sylvia State Beach is often frequented by families due to the shallow slope and calm waters. From mid-April to mid-September, dogs are allowed on the beach before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. each evening. During the off-season, they are allowed all day long. Other nearby dog-friendly beaches with similar time restrictions include Norton Point Beach and South Beach State Park in Edgartown and Eastville Point Beach in Oak Bluffs. If your dog needs some off-leash running and play time, head to the 72-acre Trade Winds Preserve in Oak Bluffs.
Shop for fresh fruit and vegetables at the colorful and dog-friendly West Tisbury Farmer’s Markets. Have some mouthwatering seafood at the outdoor seating at the Net Result Fish Market in Vineyard Haven. For dessert, head for the Carousel Ice Cream Factory in Oak Bluffs.
5. 40th Pole Beach, Nantucket
The lovely, pristine island of Nantucket is east of Martha’s Vineyard and south of Cape Cod in the Atlantic Ocean waters off Massachusetts. The lovely shoreline of 40th Pole Beach is on the northwestern corner of the island. It’s a great beach for dogs and families because there are few waves and the water is warm during the summer months. Like other Nantucket beaches without lifeguards, such as Francis Street Beach and Washing Pond Beach, 40th Pole Beach allows dogs all day year-round.
Something Natural, a popular sandwich shop on Nantucket, welcomes dogs at their outside tables. Your canine friend can also join you at the outside tables at Cisco Breweries while you sample excellent local craft beers.
6. Singing Beach, Manchester-by-the-Sea
Tucked away on the North Shore of Essex County’s Cape Ann, Singing Beach spans roughly half of a mile. This quaint beach is famous for being home to a historic bathhouse that dates back to the early 1900s. The bathhouse is only open on weekends during business hours from Memorial Day to Labor Day, with slightly extended hours lasting through the prime summer season. Singing Beach’s off-season, which goes from mid-October to early mid-April, welcomes all licensed dogs with an identification collar. Each guest is allowed up to two dogs at this beach. While dogs are free to roam off-leash, they must remain within their owner’s line of vision at all times. Your dog will love the dry, course sand that makes a unique squeaking noise when stepped on. Also, please be respectful of the public space by cleaning up after your dog — the beach has stringent rules regarding this matter.
Available facilities include restrooms, several changing stalls, and two shower stations. When you’re hankering for a snack, swing by the popular local canteen on the beach, or visit the downtown area for homemade frozen treats at Captain Dusty’s Ice Cream. The beach parking lot accommodates 120 cars, so make sure to arrive early to ensure a spot. If you opt to arrive by train, plan for a 15-minute walk from the station to the shoreline.
7. Nahant Beach Reservation
Also nestled in Essex County is the cozy town of Nahant, which boasts about 67 acres of protected recreational and beach areas. Perfect for boating (both motorized and non-motorized), hiking, and swimming, this beach reservation permits dogs from the latter half of September to the end of March, though service animals can visit year-round. Let your dog run around in the sand and surf without its leash. Be mindful of posted signs designating whether or not dogs are allowed at certain points.
As for other activities at this beach, there are athletic fields ideal for playing a game of soccer or baseball. Drop by the scenic viewing area sometime before sunset for an unforgettably spectacular sight. In terms of accessibility, this beach has it all — a picnicking spot, causeway, restrooms, and swimming area constructed in an accessible way. Both floating and sunbathing-appropriate wheelchairs are available for use as well.
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8. Revere Beach
This historic beach resides in a city of the same name. Established in the late 1800s, this gem has bragging rights to being the first public beach in the United States. Bring your dog along when you head to Revere Beach anytime from late-September to March. Look forward to playing catch, swimming, and running with your dog. There’s a paved walkway near the beach, so you and your pet can take long walks without getting too sandy. When it’s time to grab a bite to eat, venture to the renowned Kelly’s Roast Beef — a dog-friendly eatery with a walk-up counter where you can order crispy fried clams, buttery lobster rolls, and, of course, hearty roast beef sandwiches.
Let your family and dog become part of history by vacationing at Revere Beach, which is conveniently located about five miles away from the heart of downtown Boston. Consequently, there are plenty of public transit options, such as the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Blue Line, if you prefer to not deal with the hassles of driving and finding parking. Since the Boston Logan Airport is nearby the coastline, you will likely see planes overhead taking off and landing. Moreover, during the piper plover nesting season, some parts of the beach are closed off to the public, so keep an eye out for any notices regarding these near-threatened birds.
9. Cuttyhunk Island
If you’re seeking a quiet, low-key coastal getaway, then head no further than Cuttyhunk Island. Part of the series of Elizabeth Islands, Cuttyhunk Island sees Vineyard Sound at its southern end and Buzzards Bay to its north. Stretching almost a mile wide and half-mile long, Cuttyhunk Island is a petite, yet picturesque destination accessible by a two-hour ferry ride from the city of New Bedford. A few scheduled ferries, like the Cuttyhunk Ferry Service, welcomes leashed dogs aboard free of charge. Consider renting a golf cart to explore Cuttyhunk as the landscape encompasses many hills. Furthermore, remember to bring along your fishing gear as well since striped bass and blue fish abound during high-tide seasons.
On this largely pet-friendly island, dogs can roam free and swim on some parts of the beach, but must remain leashed when in residential neighborhoods and certain public areas, such as the street. At Church’s Beach, however, dogs have to stay on their leash. With shallow waters and an easygoing atmosphere, Cuttyhunk is a prominent place to go among dog owners, so your canine companion can easily befriend other pets. Whether you’re craving a relaxing escape or an exciting adventure with your dog, Cuttyhunk Island is a must-visit destination.
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