When you’re on Cape Cod, you’re never far from the water, whether you prefer the ocean beaches or the more protected beaches of Cape Cod Bay, Nantucket Sound, and Buzzards Bay. Though there are strict regulations about pets on the beach (especially during the nesting periods of endangered shorebirds), you do have some pet-friendly beachside options (particularly if you visit Cape Cod off-season), which we have listed below. (And remember, no matter where you go with your pet, be courteous and pick up after him.)
While you’re on Cape Cod, be sure to take a trip over to Pilgrim Bark Park (located at the corner of Shanker Painter Road and Route 6, next to Cumberland Farms) in Provincetown. This one-acre, fenced-in off-leash park has a small dog area and an area for all other dogs. Your dog must have current vaccinations, wear its tags at all times, be spayed or neutered, and be at least 4 months old. An owner may not bring more than three dogs to the park at one time.
In Provincetown, dogs under voice and sight control are also allowed off leash in the following town-owned open spaces: the Abandoned Railroad Right-of-Way, the Locke Property (also known as Whistle Path Woods), and Foss Woods.
Cape Cod National Seashore
Extending from the very tip of Cape Cod, beyond Provincetown, to an attenuated peninsula that ends across Pleasant Bay from Chatham, this jewel in the Cape Cod crown comprises more than 40 miles of sandy beaches, marshes, cranberry bogs, and uplands. Pets on a 6-foot leash are permitted on the beaches with the following exceptions: They are not permitted on lifeguard-protected beaches during the summer, though passing through such an area to unprotected areas of the beach is permitted; they are not permitted on freshwater pond beaches from May 15 to October 15; and they are not permitted in posted locations during shorebird nesting periods—passing through such areas is strictly prohibited. Pets on leash are permitted on all the fire roads; the head of the Meadow Bicycle Trail year round and Province Lands Bicycle Trail from November 1 to April 30; freshwater ponds from October 16 to May 14; and West and Sunset Horse Trails in Province Lands. Pets are NOT permitted on designated nature trails; bicycle trails not specifically designated as “pets are permitted”; in areas designated as “protected” by lifeguards during the summer months (you may walk your leashed pet through these areas to enjoy walks on “nonprotected” stretches of beach, beyond the red signs); and posted areas where shorebirds nest.
Herring Cove Beach
Race Point Road
Provincetown, MA 02657
Located one mile from the center of Provincetown, this beautiful beach offers a lovely sandy beach, dunes, and a gentle surf perfect for families with small children. Look for whales in the distance, or come for the spectacular sunsets. Your pup must be on a 6-foot leash, and is allowed everywhere except the lifeguard-protected area during the summer and seasonal bird-nesting areas.
Race Point Beach
Race Point Road
Provincetown, MA 02657
Located two miles from Provincetown (with its own lighthouse), this beach is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore and is governed by its pet policy (see above).
Town of Truro Beaches
Pets are not permitted on the beach from the third Saturday in June through Labor Day between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m; otherwise, they are permitted on leash. Truro beaches include Ballston Beach, Coast Guard Beach, Cold Storage Beach, Corn Hill Beach, Fisher Road Beach, Great Hollow Beach, Head of the Meadow Beach, High Head Beach, Longnook Road Beach, and Ryder Beach.
Town of Wellfleet Beaches
All pets must be on leash at all times on town beaches and landings between May 15th and October 15th. Pets are not allowed on the lifeguarded portions of Newcomb Hollow, Cahoon Hollow, White Crest and Maguire Landing at LeCount Hollow from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the summer season, except to walk from the parking lot to a point beyond the end of the guarded beach. Pets are not allowed in the following freshwater ponds or on the beaches of these ponds from May 15 through October 15: Gull Pond, Long Pond, Great Pond, Duck Pond, Higgins Pond, the Sluiceway, Spectacle Pond, and Dyer Pond. Pets are also not allowed on these saltwater beaches and landings: Powers Landing, Mayo Beach, Indian Neck and Nauset Road, and Burton Baker.
Town of Eastham Beaches
Dogs are not permitted on town beaches from June 15 through Labor Day; the rest of the year, dogs on leash or under voice control are permitted on the beach. For holders of valid Eastham Beach stickers, in the Dyer Prince area, dogs on leash are permitted in the Dyer Prince/Rock Harbor Area before 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m. between June 15th and Labor Day; in Wiley Park, from June 15th through Labor Day, dogs are permitted on the walking trails only.
Town of Orleans Beaches
Pets are not permitted on town beaches from April1 through Labor Day. The rest of the year, pet on leash or under voice control are permitted on the beach. These beaches include: Nauset Beach, Skaket Beach, South Orleans Beach, Pilgrim Lake, Crystal Lake, and Bakers Pond.
Town of Brewster Beaches
Dogs are not permitted on public beaches, tidal flats, landings, and public ponds from May 1 to October 1; the rest of the year, dogs on leash or under voice control are allowed on the beach.
Town of Chatham Beaches
Dogs are not permitted on town beaches from April 1 to September 15; the rest of the year, dogs on leash or under voice control are allowed on the beach. These beaches include: Cockle Cove Beach, Forest Beach, Hardings Beach, Jackknife Harbor Beach, Oyster Pond Beach, Pleasant Beach, Ridgevale Beach, South Beach, and White Pond.
Town of Harwich Beaches
Pets are not permitted on town beaches from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The only exception is that you may walk your dog in the parking lot of Red River Beach in South Harwich from dawn to 9 a.m. and from 4:30 p.m. until dusk. The rest of the year, pets on leash or under voice control are permitted on the beach. These beaches include: Pleasant Bay in East Harwich, Bank Street Beach, Earl Road Beach, Buck’s Pond, Fernandes Bog, Hinckley’s Pond, Long Pond, and Seymour Pond.
Town of Dennis Beaches
Dogs are not permitted on town beaches from Memorial Day through Labor Day; the rest of the year, dogs on leash or under voice control are permitted on the beach. These beaches include: Bayview Beach, Chapin Memorial Beach, Cold Storage Beach, Corporation Beach, Harborview Beach, Howes Street Beach Mayflower Beach, Princess Beach, Scargo Beach, Sea Street Beach in East Dennis, Glendon/Durling Beach, Haigis Beach, Inman Road Beach, Raycroft Beach, Sea Street Beach in Dennisport, South Village Road Beach, Metcalfe Memorial Beach, and West Dennis Beach.
Town of Barnstable Beaches
Pets are prohibited from all Barnstable public beaches, with the exception of Sandy Neck Beach (see below) from May 15 to September 15; the rest of the year, dogs on leash or under voice control are allowed on the beach. This includes the beaches of the following villages: Hyannis and Hyannisport, Centerville, Marstons Mills, Osterville, and West Barnstable.
Sandy Neck Beach Park
495 Sandy Neck Road
West Barnstable, MA
Sandy Neck Beach Park is a 1,500-acre park owned and managed by the Town of Barnstable. Your pup is welcome to join you but must be kept on at 15-foot leash March 1 through September 15; otherwise your pooch is free to be off leash. Your canine is also allowed on the Great Marsh Hiking Trail. May 15 to September 15 dogs are not allowed on Bodfish Beach (including its parking lots).
South Cape Beach State Park
668 Great Oak Road
Mashpee, MA 02649
Located between Waquoit Bay and Vineyard Sound, this park contains a rich variety of coastal environments, including a barrier beach and dunes, salt marsh, scrub oak/pitch pine woodland, and kettle ponds. Its white sand beach extends for over a mile. Pets are prohibited from the beach (though they are allowed on leash on the park trails) from April 1 (or earlier, if posted) through September 15. The rest of the year, pets on leash are allowed on the beach.