“Where is a dog friendly beach near Boston where my dog can swim?”, might be the most popular question from Boston dog owners during the summer. I love going to the beach for a swim and so does my dog. Swimming is a great way to burn off extra energy and let them cool off at the same time. Besides, dogs playing in the ocean surf is fantastic to watch.
During the winter you can take your dog to just about any beach. During the summer, dogs are not allowed at many beaches or restricted to morning or evening hours and almost always need to be leashed. To make matters more confusing, much of the information elsewhere on the internet is inaccurate. So we decided to load up the car and search out first hand, dog friendly beaches in New England.
Beach Etiquette For Dogs
In recent years dog have been banned from many beaches primarily two reasons, bathroom habits and poor etiquette. Even though people wade out into waste deep water to admire the horizon as they relieve themselves, the idea of a dog pissing on the beach is disgusting. Poop is an issue, for a dog consider letting them go to the bathroom right before going on the beach. If nothing else, just make sure you pick up your dog’s poop.
Etiquette for beach dogs is a pretty hot topic. Usually only a dog owner appreciates a wet, sand covered dog rolling themselves on their beach blanket. Some parents go into fits of hysteria when they see a unknown dog approaching their child. Your dog might be the greatest dog in the world, but the last second yelling of “My dog is fine!” rarely consoles the other party. When on a crowded beach just make sure you have control of your dog. It also does not hurt to take a walk by the neighbors, let them meet your dog in advance in a controlled situation.
Dog Friendly Beach Options In Boston
During the summer In South Boston there is a stretch of beach near L & M Street Beaches where dogs are allowed before 7 am and after 7 pm. Although, if you are looking to spend the day on the beach during the summer, Southie is not an option, unless you stay on the grass areas under the trees along the side walk that overlook the South Boston beaches.
During the winter, beaches around Pleasure Bay, and Carson Beach are very popular with dog owners. If your dog is on the beach, make sure you pick up after your dog. Particularly in “Southie”, where a locals resident will take your head off for leaving poop behind (fair warning).
If you are looking for a place to let your dog swim and cool off with out leaving Boston there are a few other options. Stay on the lookout for places along the Harborwalk where your dog can get in and out of the water. It is not the beach, but a way to let your dog cool off on a hot summer day. There is one such spot along the Harborwalk in downtown Boston where dogs are know to take a quick dip in the harbor.
Your closest option for a dog friendly beach near Boston is in North Quincy at Squantum Point Park. It takes about 15 minutes to get there and is better on a higher tide.
Also along the South Boston/Dorchester line near the large gas tank, is Victory Road Park. It is this little island right next to the highway which is very popular with dog walkers. The beach is all rocks and can be pretty dirty. Regardless it is not uncommon to see 20-30 dogs running around and swimming. The Yelp Reviews will offer a little more insight.
South Shore Dog Friendly Beaches
Get out of town, so far we have found a number of dog friendly beaches on the South Shore, Cape Cod and the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. On the North Shore there are a few places popping up which as soon as I can verify I will add to this article. Unfortunately you can drive right past New Hampshire as the few beaches they have dogs are not allowed during the summer months. In Maine, there are a couple of great off-leash beaches but restricted to mornings and evenings. This article will continually be updated as I verify more beaches. Right now, here are your best bets…
Plymouth Long Beach, is about an hour from Boston and offers sand beaches, calm cool water and a great town to explore nearby.
Rexhame Beach, in Marshfield on the South Shore allows dogs on the beach during the summer months. I would like to thank Kaden for introducing this dog friendly beach to me. We spent part of the day swimming and exploring Rexhame Beach with our dog and managed to forget to take more photos. This works for me as I don’t mind going back to this beautiful beach.
Brant Rock Beach, is just south of Rexhame Beach. This is a unique beach with one section of sand and the other of smooth rocks or a concrete ledge. If you love the beach but hate the sand, here is another great option for a dog friendly beach near Boston.
Make sure you check out Bare Cove in Hingham, although not a true beach, this very dog friendly park has a great community of dog owners and a perfect spot along the river to let dogs swim.
North Shore Dog Friendly Beaches
The North Shore has a few, but spectacular beaches, although during the summer options are slim. During the winter months we find ourselves taking our dog to the North Shore Beaches more often as it is an easy drive from Boston.
Just as you enter Nahant you will find Dog Beach which is popular with Kiteboarders on windy days and dog owners, even during the summer. There is no parking at Dog Beach, and right now, with the construction at Revere Beach I am not really sure where to tell you to park your car. If you do go, I beg you to pick up after your dog and be respectful to non-dog people as access at dog beach is always at risk. Across the causeway, Long Beach, is a great place to take a long walk on the beach with your dog during the winter months only.
In Salem, Cassandra mentioned Salem Willows Park as a place to let your dog cool off while swimming off of a small beach. The next time we head up to Salem for lunch we will make a point of checking this spot out.
If the Trustees of the Reservations, would expand the Green Dog program at Crane Beach in Ipswich to include the summer months, a membership would be even more valuable to me as a dog owner. But as of now, dogs are only allowed at Crane Beach during the winter months.
Cape & The Islands Dog Friendly Beaches
The Cape Cod National Seashore, offers some of our favorite dog friendly beaches in Massachusetts. From Boston you can get to these absolutely amazing beaches. The Cape Cod National Seashore extends across Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown. A large majority of the beaches allow dog on leash during the summer season.
Provincetown, at the very tip of Cape Cod is very friendly for dogs. We were there last summer and found ourselves wading out on the sandbars while the dogs swam alongside us. P-town has a dog park on the hill, plenty of great restaurants and shops as well. You can make a day trip of P-town if you take the dog friendly high speed ferry from downtown Boston in the morning and return after an early dinner on one of the outdoor patios of fantastic Provincetown restaurant. Or better yet, spend the weekend.
Nantucket, one of the most dog friendly towns in New England. When I used to live there, we always had our dogs off-leash and with us at the beach. You still could not take your dog to a lifeguarded beach, but with over 50 miles of shoreline and white sand beaches there were plenty of other places to spend the day at the beach with family and friends, dog included. These days you need to keep your dog on a leash. And please, clean up, don’t just bury it in the sand.
Martha’s Vineyard Beaches, from my understanding all the town beaches on Martha’s Vineyard ban dogs during the summer, if anything you ight be able to take the dog on the beach for an early moring or late evening walk. We will e out on the Vineyard for an article in the next week or two.
However, I do know, as long as your dog is on a leash The Trustees of the Reservations have three areas where leashed dogs are allowed; Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge, Wasque Reservation, Norton Point Beach. More and more I am becoming a fan of the Trustees of the Reservations.
Dog Friendly Beaches in Maine
If you have not been to Maine you really need to look into some of the places we have been writing about on Fido Loves. Kennebunk has a great beach where dogs are allowed on the beach in the mornings and again in the evenings. Maine is much closer to Boston than you would imagine.
In Portland you can spend the afternoon shopping in Old Port, have lobster rolls, drink wine and listen to live music with the dog under the table at the Portland Lobster Company. Afterwards, walk across the street to Fetch and pick up dog toy that will float and head over to the Eastern Promenade to let the dog play on the beach and swim with the other dogs. This beach opens up for dog owners at 5 pm.