It is only fitting that we found ourselves in the very dog friendly town of Rockport, Massachusetts on Memorial Day weekend. You could think of Rockport as a perfect slice of Americana, like apple pie, white picket fences and families with well-trained dogs. Yes, the classic American dream is alive and well in Rockport. This New England town evokes nostalgia starting with the friendly hello of perfect strangers to the classic homes dotting the rugged coastline. Perhaps my perception is skewed since our first visit involved the Memorial Day parade and a poignant tribute to the veterans who had served and are currently serving our country so we are able to chase own version of the American dream.
We have since been back up to Rockport a few times, always finding something new and special about this very dog friendly town.
About Dog Friendly Rockport, Massachusetts
Rockport is a great place to explore with your dog. I am not sure what it is about Rockport, but the people we have come across love dogs. Rockport seems to draw the kind of people who don’t mind taking the time for an animal. It is very easy to fall into a friendly conversation with a complete stranger, but then a dog is the ultimate icebreaker.
In the town center of Rockport it is rare to find a shop where the dog is not welcome, regardless, we still ask before walking in. The shops are great, no franchises or stores you would normally find anywhere else. The work of the Rockport artists is beautiful, plenty of galleries to browse. Additionally, Rockport has its share of t-shirt shops – tastefully spaced, not overwhelming.
Beach Rules for Dogs & Swimming Options
Unfortunately, like most costal towns in Massachusetts, dogs are not allowed on the beach during the peak summer months. While exploring town, however, we stumbled across a public access/unused boat ramp (except for tourists taking photos), where we let our dog go for a swim to cool off from the summer heat. This is a very beautiful spot to relax, most people take a quick picture and continue on. I am glad I had my camera as well, some of the best pictures from the trip came from here.
If you and your dog are up for the adventure on the water, the North Shore Kayak Center is dog friendly. Your dog will need to be comfortable in a boat. In my opinion dogs and sea kayaking go together perfectly well. You will be able to paddle out to Thatcher Island and get a better look at the spectacular coastline. We have not taken our dog on this trip yet, it is on our list of things to do next time we visit Rockport.
Where Dog Owners Eat
There are a few great places to get a bite to eat which have outdoor seating and a well-behaved dog is welcome. In town, make sure you check out Helmut’s Strudel House (legendary), they have a great back deck overlooking the harbor. Also in the same area is Roy Moore’s Lobster Company (back deck through the little alley to the left, you might get lucky and slip a dog under the table) serves what might be argued the best lobster experience in the area for lunch or early dinner. The Top Dog of Rockport hot dog shop (excellent hot dogs) has a few tables in the front and back of their shop. There are also a couple of ice cream shops that provide a stunning place to sit for their customers. Our dog, not surprisingly, loves ice cream. I should mention that we have not found a place to sit down for a full dinner without leaving the dog back at a hotel.
A quick drive north of Rockport is the Lobster Pool Restaurant overlooking Folly Cove. We enjoyed a spectacular view great food while the dog is relaxed under the table. The food is excellent and they also have a few healthy options if you are not into lobster or fried clams.
An Easy Hike Nearby Rockport
Very close to the Lobster Pool is Halibut State Park. It is an old granite quarry on the ocean with beautiful views. This is a perfect place to go for a walk, but not a great place for off-leash dogs. Not only is it not allowed, there are some very steep drops that a dog could accidentally fall from. The three of usloved the walk and found ourselves relaxing on the rocks below overlooking the ocean.
Explore Rockport With Your Dog
Also worth mentioning is a section of Rockport called the South End. Make sure you take the time to explore this area. Follow the streets which border the ocean and look for the public trails that branch off along the outcropping and cliffs edge. We spotted a number of places which would have been perfect to set up a picnic.
Getting to Rockport from Boston
Rockport is less than an hour north of Boston. Make sure you bring quarters since most of the parking is metered (Quarter per half hour) including Sundays and holidays. Day trips from Boston are well with in reason. If you are looking to spend the weekend, the Captain’s Bounty is both oceanfront and dog friendly.
If you have other tips that you would like to add for dog owners, feel free to use the comment form below. I would love to hear about the experiences of other dog owners.