If you and your pet enjoy the surf, Nantucket is the perfect island destination. With your pet on leash, you have a wonderful range of beaches to choose from. Just be aware that from April 1 to August 31, you and your pet can only romp before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. in designated lifeguard areas. Also, dogs and their owners are not permitted at any time within dune vegetation, marsh grass, protected bird and wildlife areas, and other fenced-off areas. You and your pet are welcome on all the shuttle buses, but do keep him off the seats. And remember to pick up after yourselves!
Pet-Friendly North Shore Beaches
These beaches, located along the Nantucket Sound, tend to have calmer waters, a better choice for travelers with small children.
Dionis Beach: With calm waters and sheltered by dunes, this beach is located on the north side of Eel Point Road off Madaket Road. Look for the boulder with Dionis written on it. Dionis Beach has lifeguards, parking, and restrooms.
Steps Beach: This is an unmanned beach with no facilities; access it from Cliff Road. It’s got spectacular views, low-key surf, and a sandbar, but you’ve got to work for the pleasure—the beach derives its name from the very steep steps you go down to get to the shore. And remember—you’ve got to go back up them to leave.
Jetties Beach: This beach has got the full Monty—lifeguards, restrooms, restaurants, playground, volleyball, rentals for windsurfing, sailboating, and kayaking. A shuttle from town will drop you off right in the parking lot.
Brant Point: Another unmanned beach for you and your pooch to enjoy at your pleasure. You can explore around Brant Point Lighthouse or wave to the ferry as it take off from town. BE AWARE: The surf off this beach has a VERY strong current and there is a very sharp drop-off. You’re on your own here, so be careful playing in the water.
Francis Street Beach: This unmanned beach is a 5-minute walk from Main Street. It has a restroom and jungle gym.
Harbor Beach: A short walk from town, accessed off Harbor View Way, this is a beach to enjoy early in the morning before the lifeguards get there or in the evening, maybe for post-dinner walkies after the crowds (and lifeguards) have departed.
Pet-Friendly South Shore Beaches
All of these beaches are along the Atlantic Ocean and experience much heavier surf than the North Shore beaches; rip tides can occur.
Madaket Beach: The westernmost of Nantucket’s beaches, this is the place to go with your pet to watch the sun go down. Hop the shuttle bus there or take a 6-mile ride (if your pooch is the athletic type or can ride between the handlebars) along a scenic bike path. This beach has lifeguards, restrooms, and heavy surf.
Cisco Beach: This a beautiful unmanned beach, with no facilities. Be careful: This beach experiences strong rip tides. Accessed from the end of Hummock Pond Road.
Miacomet Beach & Pond: You’ve got the best of both worlds here—ocean beach and sandy beach alongside a freshwater pond. There are no facilities (including lifeguards) for either. Be aware: Currents off the ocean beach can be very strong and snapping turtles have been seen in the pond. Located at the end of Miacomet Road.
Surfside Beach: This is the place to come to watch the kites fly or fly one yourself. With direct shuttle service, this beach can get crowded. It has lifeguards, restrooms, and food service, and is located at the end of Surfside Road.
Nobadeer Beach: No lifeguard and no facilities but a beautiful wide beach located by the airport.
Tom Nevers Beach: No lifeguard and no facilities, this is a narrow beach with coarse sand.
Pet-Friendly Eastern Shore Beaches
Great Point: Don’t miss out seeing the Great Point Lighthouse at the very eastern, northern tip of Nantucket—you’ll need four-wheel drive and a permit to do it, but it’s totally worth the effort. A great place for you and your pooch to go surfcasting. The beach is unmanned and there are no facilities; be careful of the heavy surf.
Pocomo Beach: This unmanned beach located on Nantucket Harbor is a great place to play in the water with your pet with no worries.
Sconset Beach: Located by the village of Sconset, this beach has lifeguards. The surf can be heavy.
Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge: If you’re traveling to Nantucket off-season (before April 1 or after September 15), this is a beautiful place to visit with your pet. Consisting of two narrow peninsulas that separate Nantucket Sound from Nantucket Harbor, the refuge contains a spectacular array of habitats, from maritime oak forests to dunes and sandy beaches, stands of native heather to a red cedar savannah. It’s a popular place to come and watch for seals. The refuge offers some rugged hiking along 16 miles of trails and is also accessible by four-wheel vehicle (you’ll need to get a permit).