The Cape and Islands are the perfect setting for a family vacation. For some, the term “family vacation” refers to more than just humans — it includes furry family members as well. Did you know that pets are considered at 20% of the homes listed on WeNeedaVacation.com? Get your pup’s tail a-waggin’ with an invitation to come and stay with you on the Cape & Islands. What a treat indeed!
Below is a comprehensive list of dog-friendly beaches, parks, and trails. We hope you have many hours of fun exploring the area with your beloved family members, but please remember to clean up after your pooch while you’re out and about.
Barnstable: Dogs are allowed on Barnstable public beaches from September 15 through May 15.
Bourne: Dogs are allowed on the beach only during the off-season, from October 15 through May 1.
Brewster: Dogs are allowed on the beach only during the off-season, from October 1 through Aril 30.
Cape Cod National Seashore: Leashed dogs are allowed year-round on Cape Cod National Seashore beaches. However, during the summer, pets are not permitted on lifeguard-protected beaches. Passing through to unprotected areas of the beach is permitted. During shorebird nesting periods, pets are not permitted in posted locations. Passing through these areas is prohibited. Pets are not permitted on designated nature trails, certain bike trails, and fresh water ponds within Cape Cod National Seashore (beaches and water), May 15 through October 15.
Chatham: Dogs are allowed on beaches only during the off season from September 16 through April 30.
Dennis: Dogs are allowed on the beach only during the off-season from Labor Day to Memorial Day.
Eastham: Dogs are permitted on bayside beaches after Labor Day and until June 15. On the National Seashore beaches, dogs must be leashed and under control at all times. They are not permitted in public buildings, picnic areas, on lifeguarded beaches, self-guiding trails, or in locations posted as shorebird nesting areas.
Falmouth: Dogs are allowed on the beach only during the off-season, October 1 through April 30.
Harwich: Dogs are allowed on the beach only during the off-season, Labor Day to Memorial Day.
Martha’s Vineyard: Dogs are allowed on many area beaches under the following restrictions: January 1 – March 31: No restrictions. April 1 – May 14: All dogs & pets must stay at least 100 yards of protected & posted nesting habitats. May 15 – August 30: All pets are prohibited on all beaches from 9 AM – 5 PM. All dogs must stay at least 100 yards of protected & posted nesting habitats.
September 1 – September 16: Dogs and pets are prohibited on area beaches between 9 AM – 5 PM.
September 16 – December 31: No restrictions.
Nantucket: Dogs are allowed, on leash, from April 1 to August 31, before 9 AM and after 5 PM. in designated lifeguard areas. Dogs and their owners are not permitted at any time within dune vegetation, marsh grass, protected bird and wildlife areas, and other fenced-off areas.
Orleans: Nauset Beach: from north of the parking lot, dogs are allowed in the off-season only, Labor Day - April 1. From south of the parking lot to trail one, dogs are allowed in the off-season only, Labor Day - April 1. From south of trail one to the Chatham inlet, dogs allowed in the summer season, but all dogs must be on a leash of not more than 30 feet at all times. After Labor Day, they are allowed off-leash. Both of these regulations are in effect from May 15 through Labor Day. Dogs are prohibited from areas closed to vehicular or human traffic for Piping Plover protection. Skaket Beach: dogs are allowed on the beach only during the off-season, Labor Day - April 1.
Provincetown: Beach access on public beaches for dogs is from 6AM to 9 AM and 6 PM to 9 PM during the summer.
Sandwich: Dogs are allowed, off-leash, on the beach, on a leash, only during the off-season October - March.
Truro: Dogs are allowed on the beach only during the off-season, Labor Day - the 2nd Saturday in June, before 9 AM and after 6 PM. Saturday in June, before 9AM and after 6PM.
Wellfleet: Dogs are allowed, on a leash, from May 15 - October 15 before 9 AM and after 5 PM on Newcomb Hollow, Cahoon Hollow, White Crest and Lecount Hollow beaches.
Yarmouth: Dogs are allowed on the beach only during the off-season, the day after Labor Day - May 14.
In Dennis, dogs can find friends at Fresh Pond Dog Park, which has two fenced enclosures, a walking trail and freshwater swimming. It's a short but scenic pond-side stroll through the woods. The dog park is on Rte 134 between the traffic lights at Upper County Rd and the lights at Rte 28.
In Provincetown, Pilgrim Bark Park caters to dogs on an acre of land with six-foot fences and double gates. The park is divided into two parts, with one area reserved for small dogs. To reflect the town's rich appreciation for the arts, local artists designed benches (including a small-scale version of the Pilgrims’ Mayflower ship), poop bag stations, kiosks, signage and a super-sized doghouse at the park's entrance. Three fire hydrants painted to look like canine versions of Provincetown's police officers, firefighters, and public workers sit sentry outside the park. It is located at the corner of Shank Painter Road and Rte 6 with parking on the Rte 6 side.
In Falmouth, the Falmouth Dog Park is a 1.6 acre site, with two fenced play areas for the dogs. The “Small Dog” area is 3,264 sq. ft, and the “All Dog” area is 16, 760 sq. ft. Both areas are covered with pea stones and have people benches, water bubblers, and waste disposal cans. It is located at 257 Brick Kiln Road.
Open from dawn to dusk, the Yarmouth Dog Park is located at the Sandy Pond Recreational Area. For more information, take a look the Yarmouth Dog Park Facebook page.
The Mashpee Dog Park offers a large space for not just dogs, but the owners as well! The Mashpee Dog Park is maintained with the assistance and financial support of the Friends of Mashpee Dog Park. Check out their website for more information.
The Barnstable Dog Park is located next to Hathaway's Pond at 1431 Phinney’s Lane. The park opened on October 31, 2018 and it is available to the public dawn to dusk — unless closed for weather conditions or maintenance. The park has three off leash areas: the training area, the small dog area and the mix use area. All areas have a rice stone covering, water bubblers, waste disposal stations and benches. Note: during the winter months the water is turned off.
Dogs should remain leashed unless otherwise noted! The Cape Cod Rail Trail, that just about runs the length of the Cape, is a wonderful place to start. There are parking lots throughout the Cape. While walking the trail, keep pets close and be on the lookout for bicycles!
Barnstable: Bridge Creek, Crocker Neck, Hathaway Pond Trail, Long Pond Trail, Old Jail Lane Conservation Area, Otis Atwood, Sandy Neck, Santuit Trail Reserve, West Barnstable Conservation Area, Wheelan Conservation Area
Brewster: Nickerson State Park
Chatham: Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, Morris Island Trail, Old Colony Rail Trail
Dennis: Crowe’s Pasture Conservation Area
Eastham: Cottontail Acres, Wiley Park: Lady Slipper Trail
Falmouth: Beebe Woods Trail, The Knob, Long Pond Conservation Area
Harwich: Hawks Nest State Park, Thompson’s Field Conservation Area
Mashpee: Lowell Holly Reservation, Mashpee River Woodlands
Martha’s Vineyard’s many preserves and farms welcome dogs and, as usual, require clean up and that you keep your dog under voice command if off leash: Christiantown Woods Preserve - West Tisbury, Farm Pond Preserve - Oak Bluffs, Featherstone Farm - Oak Bluffs, Katama Point Preserve - Edgartown, Peaked Hill Reservation - Chilmark, Poucha Pond Reservation - Edgartown, Quays Corner - Oak Bluffs, Trade Wind Fields Preserve - Oak Bluffs.
At Manuel F. Correllus State Forest, leashed dogs only are allowed.
On Nantucket, each Conservation Commission-owned walking trail begins with a plastic baggie dispenser for your convenience to take along for easy clean ups. Trails include New Masquetuck Trail, New Field Station Trail, The Middle Moors, Sanford Farm, Squam Farm Walking Trails, and Windswept Cranberry Bog. Tupancy Links Trail is the best place for a good Frisbee toss and provides a basket of tennis balls for your dog's enjoyment. Do return them to the basket for the next dog to enjoy. Well behaved, leashed dogs travel for free on the Nantucket Regional Transit Authority (NRTA) shuttles.
Orleans: Kent’s Point Conservation Area, Paw Wah Pond Conservation Area
Provincetown: Long Point Trail
Sandwich: Scorton Creek Marsh
Truro: Bearberry Hill and Bog House