The historical Massachusetts shoreline has seen it all—from the steps of early settlers arriving in the US to the paw prints of dogs lucky enough to explore the state’s pet-friendly beaches. With a coastline longer than 1,500 miles, Massachusetts has a lot to offer for the nation’s seventh-smallest state.
Massachusetts is an exciting state to stop by while visiting New England with your pet. Take a walk through history on Boston’s Freedom Trail, test their pet smarts with a stroll around the legendary Harvard campus, or explore the natural beauty of Cape Cod. However, it’s the several pet-friendly beaches in Massachusetts that keep the state high on the bucket list for pets and their owners.
And remember, whenever your dog is participating in a water activity, be sure to keep them safe with a dog life jacket or other flotation device.
Nauset Light Beach
Set your alarm clock for early in the morning because Nauset Light Beach is one of the most popular and gets busy early during the peak summer beach season. Once you have all your beach gear packed for yourself, toss in a few extra items for your pet because you’ll be happy to know that they’re welcome to accompany you on the beach all year round.
Named for the famous two-toned lighthouse, Nauset Light Beach encompasses the southern shore of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Your pet will have a mile-long beach for your pet to sniff around or cool off on the hot summer days in the chilled waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
If you’re lucky enough to get a parking spot at the beach, your dog might beat you down the stairs to reach the tan shores. The ocean air and breezes feel great as you enjoy beach activities like sunbathing and swimming with your pet. When the beach is crowded, be mindful not to disturb other beachgoers. However, the beach’s six-feet or under leash requirement helps keeps things in order for you and everyone else.
Address: 120 Nauset Light Beach Rd. Eastham, MA 02642
Sandy Neck Beach
A trip to Sandy Neck Beach will give you and your dog an adrenaline rush! Enjoy the thrill of driving over the packed sand with your vehicle and parking to let your pet out to enjoy one of the best dog-friendly beaches on Cape Cod.
Sandy Neck Beach is a year-round beach destination for pets in Massachusetts, but keep your eye on the calendar to see just how much fun you can have with your pet. If you’re planning a pet beach day during peak season from May 15th to September 15th, you have to keep your dog on a leash—the 15-ft requirement still makes them feel a sense of freedom. Keep your dog patient until the off-season, and it can soon find itself running across the six-mile-long beach without a leash to truly indulge in the beach scenery.
Pitch your beach chairs by your vehicle and sit out while your dog explores everywhere its nose takes it. And when you need a break from the beach, go for a hike along the pet-friendly Great Marsh Hiking Trail. Be sure to clean up after your pet to keep the preserved shores of the Sandy Neck Beach Park in spotless condition.
Address: 425 Sandy Neck Rd, West Barnstable, MA 02668
Brant Rock Beach
The large boulders are one of the defining characteristics of Brant Rock Beach when considering its natural features. But, when you think about its visitors, dogs are the first thing that comes to mind as it’s one of the top pet-friendly beaches in Massachusetts. All year long (usually when the weather is warm), you’ll find dogs and their owners playing in the sand or hopping between boulders extending from the seawall.
Just a short drive from Boston, you’ll soon find you and your pet frolicking on the beautiful landscape of Brant Rock Beach. Stroll along the Harbor Walk while eyeing the perfect place to lay out your blankets and have ample space for your dog to play.
The gentle surf of the Atlantic Ocean washes away the paw-dented waters as your pet makes new marks on the broad beach. Later, tip-toe across the rock jetty to see how far you’ll make it out into the ocean before turning around. Your pet won’t stray too far as you’re required to keep it on a leash while on the beach.
Address: MARS-M07-03, 01, Marshfield, MA 02050
Nahant Dog Beach
Close your eyes and take in the ‘plip plop’ sounds of your dog darting across the shallow Nahant Dog Beach. The four-mile Nahant Beach shoreline created a designated area for dog owners to rule the shores. And although it’s known as the ‘short beach,’ you don’t get the short end of the stick. On the contrary, it’s one of the best parts of the shoreline for you and your pet.
Nahant is the smallest district in Massachusetts, but its popular dog beach always causes a big stir for pets. Cross the causeway, and you’ll soon find other well-behaved pets on their leashes strutting the beach landscape with their shoeless owners.
Visit Nahant Dog Beach between October 1st and March 31st, when pets are permitted on the shores. It’s outside of the busy beach season, so there’s no need to worry about a crowded beach interrupting your pet’s fun. Beach walks are just the beginning since the soft sands are excellent for sunbathing while watching surfing offshore enjoy the waves.
Address: Nahant, MA 01908
Lined with hilly dunes and colorful woodlands, Crane Beach represents one of the pristine sections of the New England coastline. It’s a conservation area to preserve its natural beauty, but even pets can delight themselves in a three-mile section of the shore.
Find where the high tide reaches, and you’ve discovered the start of the pet-friendly area on Crane Beach. But in case you don’t spot it, you’ll likely encounter other dog owners taking their furry pals out for a beach day at this popular beach.
Crane Beach permits pets on the shores when the beachgoer crowds fade away in the off-season from October 1st to March 31st. However, you can still find days of excellent weather to spend time on the beach. Take your dog for a walk on the tan sands set between the vibrant fall foliage and the blue waters of Ipswich Bay.
Owners must keep their dogs on a leash for a majority of the beach area. However, an insider tip is getting a permit for your dog to enter the off-leash area on the beach. It will be worth the fee once you see your dog’s tail wagging nonstop.
Address: Crane Beach, Ipswich, MA
Tune in to the melodies creates as your dog walks across Singing Beach. Finding a dog beach as nice as this isn’t the only rare phenomenon to experience at the beach. Every step you take on the dry sand bellows out a squeaking sound that’s music to your dog’s ears.
Located in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Singing Beach is a popular place for beachgoers during the warm beach season. But in the off-season, between October 15th and April 15th, you’ll find canines running the sandy shores and making rhythmic music with each paw step. Since the beach will be vastly clear from crowds, feel free to take off your dog’s leash and let them create their own soundtrack on the beach. Toss their favorite toy into the water for them to fetch or enjoy a leash-free walk with your pet harmonizing in the sand next to you.
One thing you’ll instantly notice when arriving at Singing Beach is how pristine the shores are. The beach imposes a two-dog limit per person to maintain its appearance and keep it from overflowing with doggie action due to its popularity.
Address: 119 Beach St, Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA 01944
You and your pet will become honorary Southies when you check off Carson Beach from your Massachusetts dog beach bucket list. Located in South Boston, you’ll quickly go from the historical city to a dreamy three-mile coast welcoming your pet in the off-season.
Summer time typically has unfavorable conditions for your pet. For example, the hot sands can make it uncomfortable to walk on, and bigger crowds mean less space for them to enjoy the playful landscape. But thankfully, you won’t have to worry about it since the beach is only open between Labor Day and Memorial Day.
Finding a free public beach that you can visit with your pet is almost as rare as finding a Bostonian without the accent. However, you’ll stumble across a gem at Carson Beach. Also called the ‘L Street Beach,’ the waters were recently revived to make them safe for anyone (or dog) that wants to go for a swim. Keep your dog on a leash while playing or sunbathing on the shore to avoid officials disturbing your fun.
Address: 2010 Day Blvd., Boston, MA 02127
Plymouth City Beach
With all the pet owners living nearby or visiting one of the local pet-friendly accommodations in Plymouth, there’s only one place to go when your pet wants a tail-wagging beach day—Plymouth City Beach.
As part of Massachusetts’ South Shore, Plymouth City Beach has always been a pioneering beach. Historically, it’s where the early pilgrims arrived, and today, it is a place for pets to arrive with their owners. The wide beach gives all the space pets need to play as long as you keep them on a leash.
Large dogs and small dogs will both jump in excitement as you approach the beach at any time of year they’re scratching for some sand and ocean water. You’ll hit a nice stride while jogging alongside them as they dart towards the cooling waters during the summer or go on a leisure walk along the sandy shores in autumn before the cold weather arrives.
Address: 136 Warren Avenue, Plymouth, MA
Walk down the stairs and pass the lifeguard stands to finally reach the pet-friendly section of Marconi Beach. There’s ample space to accommodate the numerous pets pawing their way through the soft tan sands and splashing in the teal blue ocean waters.
Keep your dog on a leash no longer than six feet long as you explore the large beach. Erosion continues to wear on the once 40-foot-tall dune that sits at the back of the beach. To the front, frothy waves roll into shore and wet a wavey line on the beach for you and your pet to walk along. Just be sure not to disturb the shorebirds nesting along the coast.
No need to whine about dogs being prohibited on Marconi Beach from mid-April to mid-October because it gets pretty crowded where your dog will barely have enough space to run around. However, the off-season makes the beaches feel larger than life.
Address: Marconi Beach Rd, Wellfleet, MA 02667
Good Harbor Beach
Dodge Boogey boarders riding up the shore as you go for a walk down Good Harbor Beach. What Travel + Leisure ranks as one of the top beaches, even dogs get to sniff out what makes it so special.
The parking lot fills quickly, so try to arrive early to get an excellent spot. The goal is minimizing the number of paw steps it takes for your dog to go from the paved lot to the beach sand. There’s nothing like sinking their first paw into the soft sand that perfectly kicks off their beach day.
Off-season means it’s off-leash for your pet! The white sand showcases dog tracks crisscrossing the 1.4-mile North Shore coastline, and the surf washes away the steps of dogs who’ve ventured into the cool waters. Low tide reveals a sand bar to cross with your pet to reach Salt Island.
Address: 99 Thatcher Rd, Gloucester, MA 01930
Anant Shastri is a published author based in India. Being a writer for more than a decade, he has managed to publish his own poetry book entitled Darkness in the Fool, a collection of poetry focusing on learning to find joy even in the midst of solitude.