Written by Rachael Gillis
Summer is here in the Northeast which means getting outside and enjoying the weather. You have your own list of things to do and places to see, but what about your beloved pooch who watches you leave every Saturday as you head out for your weekend outing? Well, it’s time to grab that leash and make some memories. Let’s just say if your dog had a bucket list, this is what it would look like.
Whether you’re looking for trails, parks, or pet-friendly restaurants and activities, there’s something for you and your dog. Here’s a quick shortlist to get your adventures started, and some helpful tips for your travels.
Massachusetts – North Shore
A Day in SalemSalem, MA
Salem is one of the most dog-friendly towns around the North Shore. Start off your day in the famous Witch City by grabbing some homemade treats and toys at one of many (super cute) local pet shops downtown. Then, hop on the dog-friendly Salem Trolley or Salem Historical Tours, stop by the Salem Dog Park, or stroll through Salem Willows Park along the coast.
Or take your canine companion with you when you…
grab a bite to eat outside at any of these dog-friendly Salem restaurants:
- Gulu Gulu Café
- Village Tavern
- The Lobster Shanty
- Longboards Restaurant & Bar
- Flying Saucer Pizza
- Brodie’s Seaport
Black Rock Beach, AKA Dog BeachNahant, MA
This one is a local secret. Reportedly, it is a dog-friendly beach even through the summer months which is almost unheard of around here. Go for a swim, play a game of fetch in the sand, and enjoy the salty air and brisk waters of the North Shore on this beautiful and spacious beach. Just remember to be respectful and clean up after your dog so that we can continue to enjoy it!
If beaches aren’t your thing…
stop by Flash Road Park in Nahant to enjoy wide, grassy spaces for your dog to run around.
Lynn WoodsLynn, MA
With over 30 miles of scenic trail, Lynn Woods is the second largest municipal park in the whole country! Take your pup on a nature-filled hike by the reservoirs and enjoy historic sites like Dungeon Rock, the Rose Garden, and the Amphitheater. For all you gamers out there, the area around Burrill Stone Tower is a notorious battleground in ‘Fallout 4’. Don’t worry though, you won’t have to fight deathclaws or supermutants to get to the real tower.
Not up for a hike today? Head over to…
the always-active Dogland Ave Dog Park where you and your dog are guaranteed to make new friends.
Stage Fort ParkGloucester, MA
Stage Fort is the historic site of Gloucester’s first settlers in the 1600s. Today, it features beautiful trails along the coast, a baseball field, cooking areas, picnic benches, and even a seasonal restaurant. Between Half Moon Beach and the rocky pathways by the ocean, it’s a fun seaside park worth wandering with your pooch! And you guessed it, there’s a dog park here too.
Grab a bite to eat outside at any of these dog-friendly Gloucester restaurants:
Massachusetts – MetroWest
Hopkinton State ParkHopkinton, MA
Running through Hopkinton and Ashland, this state park is where summer adventures begin. With numerous outdoor options to enjoy such as hiking, kayaking, boating, fishing, picnicking, and swimming you and your pup have plenty of choices for how to spend your day. Walk along the picturesque Hopkinton Reservoir, play fetch in the water off the boat launches, or share a relaxing picnic with your furry pal. But beware, the park fills up quickly on hot summer days so plan ahead!
Too hot for a hike? You can…
rent a kayak, pedal boat, sail boat, or canoe at Boating in Boston (inside the state park) with your dog. Canine life jackets are available!
Cat Rock ParkWeston, MA
This is a wonderful off-leash opportunity for your dog. An easy walk up wooded trails leads to a beautiful pond and massive field. The best part is there’s no leash requirement, so Fido can roam freely up the trails, jump in the pond for a swim, and frolic with other dogs in the meadow. On weekends when dogs and owners congregate, it’s basically a giant unfenced dog park. Fun for everyone!
Then fill your tummies with…
some ice cream, hotdogs, and burgers at the dog-friendly Dairy Joy up the street.
Blue Hills ReservationMilton, MA
Just outside of Boston, this green oasis stretches through Quincy, Braintree, Canton, Dedham, Milton, and Randolph. If you and your dog are up for a good hike to Skyline Trail, you’ll reach the summit of Great Blue Hill overlooks the entire metropolitan area. You can also explore the diverse ecosystems of marshes, swamps, meadows, and bogs.
Just up the highway you can stop by these dog-friendly South Shore restaurants:
New Hampshire – Western Region
Northern Rail TrailLebanon, NH
This 48-mile long rail-trail is the largest of its kind in New Hampshire. The trailhead in downtown Lebanon quickly transitions from a walk in the city to a stroll through nature. At this end, it follows the scenic Mascoma River and even crosses over it a few times. If you and your athletic pooch are up for a long trek, Mascoma Lake is 4 miles out from the trailhead. Once you reach it, you are handsomely rewarded with a mile of lakeshore walking and spectacular views.
If you’re hungry…
grab a bite to eat outside at one of these dog-friendly Lebanon restaurants:
Shaker Field Dog ParkEnfield, NH
Built just a couple years ago, Shaker Field Dog Park is one for the books. It is free and open to the public and features multiple fenced-in areas with benches, tunnels, dirt piles, and tires. Not to mention lots and LOTS of grass for open running space. You can even work on Fido’s mad skills in the training area. Friendly owners, friendly dogs, and lots of playtime…trust me, your dog will thank you later.
Just up the highway you can stop by one of these dog-friendly restaurants in Hanover:
New Hampshire – The Seacoast
Peirce IslandPortsmouth, NH
Locals rave about Peirce Island, and understandably so! It is a gorgeous off-leash opportunity for your dog that stretches along the coast. Short, shady trails lead to picturesque views of the navy yard and Piscataqua bridges that are perfect for boat watching and picnicking. Sadly, most of the island including the off-leash area is currently closed for construction but keep it in the back of your mind for the future!
head over to the South Mill Pond Dog Park for some playtime by the water or learn about Portsmouth’s history on a dog-friendly guided walking tour. Then grab a bite to eat outside at one of these dog-friendly Portsmouth restaurants:
Mount AgamenticusYork, ME
Just a 15 minute drive up I-95 from Portsmouth brings you to another New England gem. This relatively small coastal mountain offers many trails which take you to the summit, including the Big A, Fisher Trail, and Blueberry Bluff among six others. Most of them are under a mile long and lead to incredible views showcasing the ocean and the White Mountains. You can even drive up if you and your pup aren’t up for the hike. Go for the hike (or ride) and stay for the view.
Enjoy a sunset on the beach on Long Sands Beach or Short Sands Beach both in York. Dogs are welcome on-leash after 6 PM in the summer!
A Little Further North…
Diana’s BathsBartlett, NH
Diana’s Baths are further up north, but I just had to include it. For anyone on vacation in the White Mountains or looking for a day trip, it is simply a must-see. The trail is a fairly easy walk that leads to the pools, cascades, slides, and small plunges of Lucy Brook. Along with being breathtakingly-beautiful, you and your dog can truly experience the waterfalls by jumping in yourselves! Be sure to bring your bathing suit because you can relax in the warm swimming holes, slide down the natural “waterslides,” or sunbathe on the rocks surrounded by water. It gets busy on hot days, but there are plenty of levels to climb up until you find the perfect spot for you and your pooch to splash around.
After you’ve both dried off…
Up the road you can grab a bite to eat outside at one of these dog-friendly North Conway restaurants:
New York – Albany area
Zim Smith Mid-County TrailSaratoga County, NY
Just north of Latham, the Zim Smith Trail is considered the backbone of a network of trails in its county. It is recommended to start at Shenantaha Creek Park in Malta, where you and your dog can enjoy the park before setting out on your walk. Once you head out, it is an easy paved stroll with views of a ravine and lots of woods. Further up you will pass neighborhoods with horse pastures and if you go far enough, you may even reach the quaint little town of Round Lake Village.
Looking for an urban adventure instead? Then…
head a little further north to Saratoga Springs and explore these dog-friendly places downtown:
Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike TrailLatham, NY
This 35-mile trail extends all the way from Albany to Little Falls. It is an easy paved hike perfect for an easygoing casual walk or run. It is quite popular among bikers, walkers, and joggers and passes by numerous lakes, rivers, towns, and other landscape that is sure to make for a pleasant change of scenery for you and your dog.
There’s plenty of dog-friendly restaurants and parks in the surrounding towns of Troy, Albany, and Schenectady:
- Alexis Diner (Troy)
- Lucas Confectionary (Troy)
- The Daily Grind (Troy)
- Wolff’s Biergarten (Troy)
- Emack and Bolio’s (Albany)
- More Perreca’s Italian Kitchen (Schenectady)
- Department of General Services Dog Park (Albany)
Tips For Your Travels:
Flea & Tick Prevention
It is a particularly heavy tick year around the Northeast, so make sure you stay on top of giving your dog oral or topical flea and tick medication before taking them out. Also be sure to check them for ticks in between their toes, ears, armpits, neck, and tails and brush your fingers through their fur after each and every excursion.
The Right Trail For You, and Your Dog
Do your research before setting out on a hike. If you and/or your dog have exercise or mobility restraints, pick an activity that is right for both of you. Most of the trails I mentioned are easy to moderate, but always remember to pace yourself.
It can be a long, hot day of walking when you’re out with your dog, so don’t forget to stop for breaks and pack some extra water bottles, hiking snacks, and bowls. There are lots of inexpensive options for portable water bowls and treats that are easy to pack and carry with you.
Stay on the Path
It can be tempting to venture off the trail and explore the road less traveled by, but it’s not the best idea for your pooch. Dangers like poison ivy, ticks, snakes, porcupines, and even bears can threaten you and your pet, so stay on track!
Bring Poop Bags
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Please pick up after your dog and don’t leave waste in parks, streets, or trails!
Make sure your dog has an up to date tag on his or her collar. It’s probably ideal to list a cell phone number on your dog’s tag rather than a home phone number, this way if your dog does get separated and a good Samaritan finds him or her, they can reach you quickly on your cell. We encourage microchipping too, as collars and dogs often get separated, but that’s a different article, for another time.
Doggie First-Aid Kit
Making and bringing a first-aid kit is a good precaution to consider. You should pack veterinary phone numbers, bandages, gauze, scissors, tweezers, sports tape, rubber gloves, Q-tips, a flashlight, and an extra leash. For more information on pet first aid kits, and a checklist of items, click here. And of course we’re always here 24/7 if you need us!