This article was written by Becca Lowry and Kristina Atsalis
Cape Cod is a true dog’s paradise, with a bounty of scenic landscapes that offer pooches endless exploration. Whether your faithful companion likes to swim, scamper or socialize, there are plenty of places to bring your dog that are both canine and human friendly.
Nickerson State Park in Brewster is home to eight crystal-clear ponds, all of which will be displaying glorious reflections of the surrounding woods as the Cape eases into autumn. These ponds are known as kettle ponds, formed by retreating glaciers several centuries ago. You won’t find any sandy dunes or ocean waves for your furry friend here; instead, there will be numerous trails to explore, birds to watch, and the occasional deer scent to sniff. You and your dog can also enjoy camping in the park.
The Sandy Neck Beach Park provides both saltwater beaches and freshwater adventures for your four-legged friend. Dogs are not allowed on any Town of Barnstable public beach between May 15 and September 15, which includes a portion of the Sandy Neck Beach Park distinguished by three lifeguard stands. Dogs are welcome, however, to roam the Great Marsh Hiking Trail and the off-road vehicle area of the park all year round, as well as all of the Cape Cod National Seashore beaches spanning from Eastham to Provincetown.
For a walk teeming with wildlife, visit the Morris Island Trail in Chatham. The trail is part of the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, and while dogs are not allowed on the refuge itself, they may walk the trail as long as they are leashed. Along the three-quarter-mile trail, you and your dog will pass both songbird and shorebird habitats, unspoiled sand dunes, and salt marsh ecosystems, as well as a variety of trees and shrubs that thrive in sandy soil.
For our friends who love to romp, the designated play areas of the Mashpee Dog Park make this location a great option for dogs of any age, size and sociability. The park is sectioned into three parts: an area for older dogs, an area just for energetic puppies, and a main dog run for canines that enjoy befriending others. This fenced-in park, opened in 2015, even has dog-friendly water fountains.
In 2010, Dog Fancy magazine dubbed the Pilgrim Bark Park the second best dog park in America. Located in Provincetown, the park has a section for dogs 25 pounds and under, as well as a general dog section. The town’s notable art community has provided sculptures and structures to create a visually stunning area that an owner can enjoy as much as their leash-free pet.
Vacationers that choose to travel with their dog have an array of pet-friendly lodging options that still offer a unique Cape Cod experience. The Lamb and Lion Inn in Barnstable is a pet-friendly, luxury B&B that operates under a simple philosophy: Every morning you should wake up wagging. The Simmons Homestead Inn, just under a mile from the popular Hyannis Main Street, is a B&B that grants guests the opportunity to leave their dog in their room or bring him or her along to wine hour. For a more rustic experience, head to Anchorage on the Cove in Eastham, which offers two waterfront cottages and one apartment that can be home to the whole family.
There is no shortage of opportunities to experience the beauty of Cape Cod alongside your dog. Don’t forget a leash, some treats, and a water bottle to share; good ol’ Fido will grant you a lick of thanks later!