Dog-Friendly Destinations in Massachusetts
There are many dog-friendly state parks to enjoy swimming, boating, hiking, and picnicking in Massachusetts. Follow the link for a complete list of locations.
Boston and Environs
Boston Harbor Islands
Jump on board a special dogs and their people City Water Taxi for a tour of Boston Harbor, including a hike on one of the islands. Taxis leave from Long Wharf or East Boston, usually Saturdays. Leave from Eastie and you can grab a to-go picnic from Scups!
Charles River Canoe and Kayak, Cambridge
Like so much of New England, Boston and Cambridge are great when viewed from the water. Rent a canoe and see both cities simultaneously from the Charles River.
Charles River Reservation, Boston and Cambridge
If you'd prefer to see the same sights on foot, there are parks with riverside paths on both sides. The Boston side includes the famous Esplanade where the Boston Pops play on July 4th (We don't recommend that one for the dogs. Too crowded!) There are other free events there in the summer including the Landmark Orchestra, movies, and oldies concerts. Pack a picnic and enjoy!
The Freedom Trail
Follow a 2.5 mile trail through the city and learn about Boston's expansive revolutionary past. You can take a guided tour or go self-guided. It's also a great way to see the city and there are plenty of great spots along the way such as the Boston Common, Fanueil Hall Marketplace (food and shopping), and the North End (Boston's Italian neighborhood with great bakeries, cafes, and restaurants).
North End Festivals
The North End is nice to walk around any time but it's a blast on summer weekends when they hold weekly festivals in different sections of the neighborhood celebrating various saints. There's food, music, and usually a parade featuring the saint' statute adorned in dollar bills. The most famous is St. Anthony's, the last weekend in August.
Yappier Hour, Liberty Hotel, Boston, MA
The Liberty Hotel hosts Yappier Hour from 5:30 to 8:00 in the summer months. Enjoy cocktails and apps from restaurant Clink's menu. Of course there are dog treats as well!
Dog Days of Summer, Hyatt Regency, Cambridge, MA
Another happy hour, Thursdays from 6-8PM during the summer.
Boston's South End Neighborhood
Easily the most dog-friendly neighborhood in Boston, the South End features more than one off-leash park (Check out Peter's Park), dog bakery Polka Dog, and water bowls outside of numerous shops (many of which have a resident pooch). Many restaurants also allow you to dine al fresco with your dog. In case you're looking for a reason to eat cupcakes, the South End Buttery donates a portion of its cupcake sales to animal causes.
Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain
Walk through this beautiful park and see an incredible variety of flora and fauna - more than 15,000. The lilacs are particularly spectacular when in bloom. The Arboretum is on the edge of the fun, funky Jamaica Plain neighborhood. Walk through town, grab an ice cream at J.P. Licks and walk on to the Jamiaca Pond.
Cape Cod and the Islands
Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Falmouth
Enjoy miles of trails at this 2500 acre wildlife preserve. You can camp here as well. Magellan Sportfishing Charters, Harwich
In the summer months, nothing beats being on the water in New England and luckily, most dogs love it too. Spend a half or full day and catch your own dinner on a fishing charter.
Shearwater Excursions, Nantucket
Enjoy an eco-tour, search for whales, seals, or just take a harbor cruise (there's ice cream involved!).
Cape Cod National Seashore, Eastham-Provincetown
A beautiful place to explore, dogs are not allowed on trails but are allowed on some of the beaches.
P-town was named Dog Fancy magazine's 2010 Dog-Friendly Town winner, so how can you go wrong? Enjoy beaches, outdoor dining, dog parks, and more. Avoid the Cape traffic and take the Boston-Provincetown ferry too. Head out for a whale watch while you're there or how about a sail with Dog Gone Sailing Charters in Provincetown. They even supply dog-sized life vests! The Aerie House B&B graciously lists dog-friendly patio dining and there's a lot!
Wellfleet Drive-In and Flea Market
Huge flea market by weekend day and Cape Cod's only drive-in by night, shop 'til you drop and head back at dusk for a first-run movie. There's also a dairy bar.
North Shore and Environs
Minuteman Man National Historic Park, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln
Explore revolutionary history (or continue if you started with the Freedom Trail in Boston). There are sites and trails throughout the three towns. If you go on Patriot's Day (also Marathon Monday in April), you can catch a re-enactment of the first battle of the revolution. Go self-guided or sign up for a tour.
All Saints Episcopal Church, Danvers
St. Francis is pleased. The church offers its Perfect Paws Pet Ministry service the third Sunday of every month from 5-5:30. And yes, there is doggie communion.
Gloucester is a nice place to walk around. Wander around the Rocky Neck Art Colony, or explore historic sites along the Gloucester Maritime Trail. Perhaps the best way to enjoy this seaside town and appreciate its maritime history is from the water. Numerous harbor cruises and whale watches leave the area such as Cape Ann Harbor Tours, Gloucester Fleet, and 7 Seas Whalewatch, to name a few. Just call ahead to make sure the dog can go.
Time for polo! Tailgate and watch a match at the Myopia Polo Club in Hamilton. Dogs are allowed on leash.
DeCordova Museum, Lincoln
Hard to believe but true, dogs are allowed to join you in strolling through the expansive sculpture park at the art museum. How cool is that? Just pick up and take out anything you come with!
Rockport is a nice town to walk around for an afternoon. It is very scenic, on the ocean, and has a number of shops and galleries. The red building in the photo is an iconic image of the area. Grab a picnic and eat on the rocks at Halibut State Park. The views are magnificent! Rockport is also accessible by commuter rail from Boston and dogs are allowed on the trains.
Todd Farm Flea Market, Rowley
Head to Todd Farm on scenic Route 1A on a Sunday morning and see what treasures await you. According to a recent Boston Globe article, it truly is a doggie destination.
Capri Seaside Italian Grille, Salisbury
Dine with your dog! Indoors! Seriously! Not sure how they got this one past the health inspector but Capri on Salisbury Beach has a special entrance and dining room reserved for dogs and their people. Alas, only the people can eat. Reservations are suggested. Their summer spot, Surfside 5 allows doggies on part of the deck.
South Shore and Environs
Fort Phoenix State Reservation, Fairhaven
Visit the site of the first revolutionary naval battle. Beautiful views in this small park.
New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park
New Bedford is a nice city to walk around, especially if you have an interest in their very rich maritime history.
This sea-side town is nice to visit on foot or by boat. Like so many New England towns, it is charming and has shops, restaurants, and great views. Plenty of photo ops of Scituate Light.
Lloyd Center for Environmental Studies, South Dartmouth
There are miles of trails to enjoy for free at this environmental research center.
Tower Hill Botanic Gardens in Boylston has a special dog-friendly trail and membership.
Fruitlands Museums, Harvard
Learn about Native American history as well as the Shakers in New England at this outdoor museum that also includes art exhibits and trails.
Grab some snacks and take in a first-run film in the great outdoors.
Breezelands Orchards, Warren
Lots of pick-your own apples plus pies, cider, and of course, yummy cider donuts at the store.
Camp Unleashed, Berkshires
It's just what it sounds like - camp for dogs and their owners! Hang out leash-free, hike, swim, and have a great time with other dogs and their people. Held twice a year in the Berkshires (and Asheville, N.C.), Camp Unleashed is the ultimate rustic dog-friendly vacation.
Jacob's Pillow, Becket
Dogs can accompany you to the free Inside/Out performances at the famed dance company. Enjoy a magnificent view of the Berkshires and great performances by up and coming dancers Wednesday-Saturday evenings in the summer at 6:15.
Dogs can't go into the buildings but they are welcome to stroll the streets of this living museum of 18th and 19th century Deerfield.
Look Memorial Park, Florence
This busy, family-oriented park has all kinds of activities including a train, pedal boats, picnic areas, and a walking trail.
Mount Greylock, Lanesboro
Sure you can drive to the summit of the highest peak in Mass, but why not hike it? If that's a bit too vigorous, there are plenty of other trails!
Another enjoyable artsy downtown area to walk around, explore some shops (as long as someone can stay outside with the dog!).
Dr. Seuss National Memorial, Springfield
Children and the young at heart will enjoy a stroll through this small sculpture garden with some of Seuss' whimisical characters represented in bronze.