Dog-Friendly on Cape Cod

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Rich and I just got back from a few days on the west coast, taking a respite in advance of what we hope will be a busy season for our Inn on Cape Cod. Ostensibly we went to visit our grand children for Easter, but we had a few days prior to the start of the kids’ school vacation to do some exploring on our own. We chose Victoria, British Columbia, just off the coast of Bellingham, WA where our son lives, as a likely destination to acquaint ourselves with further.

We arrived by ferry on the last day of March to bright sunshine and temperate weather. Everything was in bloom-tulips, daffodils, forsythia, PJM Rhodies, cherry trees, hyacinth-it was a veritable riot of color. For those of you who have not been to Victoria, it is considered the “most British city outside of England”. Every square inch of green space was perfectly manicured and lovingly tended. In stark contrast to the dull brown and barren trees we left behind in New England, our senses were on overdrive.

We rented a car and decided to drive part of the “Marine Drive”, a 10+ mile scenic drive along the northeastern part of the island. We drove out past Fisherman’s Wharf, through the outskirts of Victoria proper and some lovely oceanfront residential properties, along a wide swath of groomed parklands laced with paved bike paths abutting the coastline. People were out jogging, riding their bikes, roller blading, and walking their dogs. We were amazed by the abundance of municipal land dedicated to public recreation, but were thunderstruck when we came upon on sign that read “entering off-leash dog park”. Dogs of all sizes were frolicking freely on the grass while their owners strolled casually nearby. Being dog owners ourselves, we are always thrilled to see dedicated pet-friendly areas in other parts of the world. So we parked the car and enjoyed the view of Puget Sound and puppies playing with careless abandon.

It reminded us that there are some dog friendly areas on Cape Cod as well, both on land and sea. Most places require that dogs be leashed, but here, in a nutshell are some great outings for you and Fido on your next vacation to Cape Cod.

Hiking with Fido

Hiking or Biking Trails

  • Cape Cod Canal Trail
  • Cape Cod Rail Trail
  • Nickerson State Park

Dogs on the Beach

Dog-Friendly Beaches: Most Cape Cod towns do not allow dogs on their ocean beaches between Memorial Day and Labor Day, but there are some exceptions.

  • North Chatham/Harwich – Jack Knife Harbor Beach
  • Provincetown – beach access for dogs from 6-9 AM during the summer
  • Eastham/Orleans – Dyer Prince Road section of Rock Harbor beach is open for dogs before 8 AM and after 5PM.
  • Cape Cod National Seashore – leashed dogs can walk on beaches outside the lifeguard-protected areas

Dog Park

Cape Cod Dog Parks: There are two dog parks on the Cape, one in Dennis and one in Provincetown.

  • In Dennis, Fresh Pond Dog Park has two fenced enclosures, a walking trail and freshwater swimming. The dog park is on Route 134 between Upper County Rd and Route 28.
  • In Provincetown, Pilgrim Bark Park is divided in two parts, with one area reserved for small dogs. It is located at the corner of Shank Painter Road and Route 6.

Spotting Whales

On the Water: A couple of local cruise operations and a whale watch company welcome well-behaved dogs on leashes, as long as they are notified when the booking is made.