Although this east coast vacation spot spends part of the year in a deep freeze, Massachusetts has 267 official beaches. The state is known for its deep snow and ice-cold winters, but during the rest of the year, the locals and the tourists flock to the beach. But the history of the state is also a great attraction here, with pilgrims being settled here in the early 1600s after the voyage of the Mayflower in 1620. You can still get a glimpse of Plymouth Rock at Pilgrim Memorial State Park, which is in the village of Plymouth on the harbor, where leashed dogs are also welcome!
From the Mountain Meadow Preserve in the northwestern section of the state by Williamstown to Surfside Beach on the southern end of Nantucket Island off the coast, there are many different waterways to enjoy with your pup. Whether you are interested in an oceanfront beach with lots of sand or a freshwater lake to explore and enjoy, Massachusetts has it. Here are 17 of our favorite pup popular beaches in Massachusetts to visit this summer.
Taconic Trail State Park
If you and your fur puppy enjoy hiking as much as playing in the water, Taconic Trail State Park may be exactly the park you need to visit. Located in the far northwestern corner of Massachusetts in Williamstown, this park runs along the Taconic Mountain Range with Rudd Pond and Copake Falls. Although some of the trails are in the New York section of the park, you and your pup will find plenty to do on the Massachusetts side.
Try the easy Birch Hill Loop Trail, which is only 2.2 miles, and it takes you through some of the nicest areas. The 4.8-mile Berlin Mountain Trail is a moderately challenging hike you should only consider if you are in good shape. To play in the water, you can take any one of the southwestern trails like Sara Tenney or Brooks Trail. You can also gain access to the water from several of the old roads in the park. Just keep your pooch on a leash while you are around other people.
Clarksburg State Park Beach
About a half an hour east of Taconic Trail State Park, Clarksburg State Park lauds almost 370 acres of hardwood forests, Beaver Creek, and Mauserts Pond, as well as fields full of wildflowers, grassy hills, and some amazing views of the Hoosac Mountain Range, Berkshire Hills, and the Green Mountains. The pond and the creek are both great places to let your pupster play in and around the water but keep him leashed, so he does not bother the wildlife.
Fido is welcome everywhere except for the designated swimming area because that space is reserved for humans only. But that leaves a lot of waterfront to explore with your canine companion. Take a hike on one of the trails in the park while you are there. The Pond Loop Trail takes you on a three-mile hike around the water’s edge and into the woods. And if you want to stay the night, be sure to call ahead because there are only 45 spots at the campground.
Mount Greylock State Reservation Beach
Just minutes to the south, Mount Greylock is the highest point in Massachusetts, and you can see about 90 miles away from the top. If you enjoy hiking, this is the park for you because it has 13 different trails, from the easy 1.8-mile Bradley Farm Trail to the more aggressive and challenging 13-mile Greylock in the Round Trail. Your dog is welcome in the park as long as he is leashed and you pick up after him, so bring lots of cleanup baggies with you.
During the summer, there are numerous brooks, rivers, ponds, and lakes where your pup can go for a swim or play on the shore. Mount Williams Reservoir and Notch Reservoir are both in the northeastern section and can be reached by trail or road. Cheshire Reservoir in the southeast is located on highway 8 and Lanesborough Road. It is a huge reservation with over 12,000 acres, so get a map if you want to go exploring.
Pittsfield Dog Park
You will not have to go far to get to Pittsfield’s first dog park. Just 12 miles southwest, Pittsfield Dog Park is not to be missed while you are in Massachusetts. Located in Burbank Park on Lakeway Drive across from the Berkshire Community Rowing Company, this modern pup park is fenced with two separate areas for different-sized dogs. Unleash your pooch and let him run free with the other pups while you watch him play.
The park is mostly grass with a paved path running through it and a sandy area for days when the yard is too muddy. It is open from dawn until dusk and has lots of seating for pup parents, water access, and puppy poo baggies. There are agility accessories like ramps, climbing structures, and tunnels. If your pup wants to cool off in the water, put his leash back on, and you can both go across the street to Lake Onata, where there is a beach to play on and a fishing pier.
About a half hour from Pittsfield Dog Park, Stockbridge Bowl is a 400-acre lake in a nice section of the Berkshires where many people travel from all over to fish. It is also one of the most popular lakes in Massachusetts for boating, swimming, and hiking. Trout live here year-round because of the cold water layer in the middle of the water, where it is over 50 feet deep. Some of the most sought-after fish here are tiger trout, rainbow trout, brook trout, brown trout, pickerel, bass, and crappie.
Also known as Lake Mahkeenac, there are six miles of shoreline for your pooch to sniff and explore but keep him on a short leash, so he does not aggravate the wild critters. If you want to explore some of the land, there are 52 acres with miles of trails, including the 1.5-mile Bullard Woods Trail, which is an easy walk at the northeastern end of the lake in Gould Meadows.
Tolland State Forest
In southwestern Massachusetts, about an hour from Stockbridge Bowl, Tolland State Forest is even larger with 15,000 acres, including the Otis Reservoir, which has over 1,000 acres of water. Your fur puppy is welcome to join in the fun, but he must be on a lead at all times while you are there, and you need to bring doggie bags to pick up after him. The lake is a wonderful place to let him run around and sniff the new scents while he plays in the water.
Take advantage of some of the trails in the forest that will take you to other waterfront playgrounds like Big Pond and Benton Pond in the north and Farmington River that runs from northwest to southwest along highway 8. If you like to fish, bring your gear and a fishing license because fishing is good here, and bring a boat if you have one. During the winter, enjoy skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing in the woods.
In Springfield, about an hour to the southeast of Tolland State Forest, Forest Park has more nearly 750 acres of recreational space that includes the Connecticut River to the west, Porter Lake, Fountain Lake, Barney Pond, and Duck Pond in the middle, and Pecousic Brook to the east. This is a family park with a lot to do, including the first public swimming pool in the United States (1899), a zoological park, gardens, and an amphitheater. However, they do not allow pets in the zoo or in the pool, unfortunately.
The good news is your leashed canine compadre is welcome to play in any of the lakes, ponds, and river. The river has a strong current, so keep your fur baby on a short leash for safety. There are also several trails you can explore that take you around the water features, carriage house, King Phillips Stockade, and the ballfields. Don’t forget to bring plenty of cleanup bags to pick up after your pup.
Westville Recreational Area
Westville Recreational Area is located on the Quinebaug River and Westville Lake, about an hour from Forest Park to the east in Sturbridge. Surrounded by water on three sides, you and your leashed fur baby are welcome to swim anywhere, but the current on the river is strong. The lake is a more dog-friendly place, but it can get crowded during the summer. But with 575 acres, you should be able to find a peaceful place to play.
The park also has two large picnic shelters as well as dozens of picnic tables with grills to cook up some lunch. You can also do some fishing or get out on the water in a kayak or canoe. The lake is a popular place for fly fishing, so bring your gear with you if you want to try your luck catching trout or bass. You will also find two trails. The Grand Trunk Trail is four miles along the old railroad, and the Westville Lake Trail is almost two miles around the lake.
FIDO Dog Park
Head northeast past Worcester, approximately 50 miles, and you will find FIDO Dog Park (also known as Eddie’s Park), which stands for Fun Informed Dog Owners. Located in Natick, it was the first off-leash dog park in the city, and it is extremely popular with local pup parents. The park got its name for a local toddler named Eddie, who tragically passed away during the construction. His parents passed on their donations to the park due to Eddie’s love of dogs.
This fun off-leash park is part of the huge Cochituate State Park, which includes Lake Cochituate and several ponds. In fact, the dog park is right between Fisk Pond and Lake Cochituate, so your pup has plenty of space to splash in the water. If you put his leash back on, you and your fur puppy can go out on the lake in a kayak or canoe, do some fishing, or have a picnic. They even have boat rentals if you do not have one!
Revere Beach Reservation
Just a few miles north of Boston, the Revere Beach Reservation was the first public beach in the United States and is only 30 minutes from FIDO Dog Park. With three miles of oceanfront coastline, this sandy spot opened in 1875 and is thought to be one of the first European settlements in America back in 1620. The most popular activity here is swimming, of course, but locals claim it is also a great place to do some fishing.
Your pooch is welcome from Labor Day until Memorial Day (the off-season) because it can get extremely crowded with tourists visiting the bars, shops, and eateries along Revere Beach Boulevard. But your fur puppy will not mind because the beach is just as exciting when the weather is not scorching hot. Just keep his leash on and let him scour the seashore. However, you will need to bring your own doggie poop baggies to pick up after him.
Webb Memorial State Park
Webb Memorial State Park is a peninsula on Hingham Bay about an hour south of Revere Beach. Swimming is the main attraction here as well, with the Upper Neck Cove, Lower Neck Cove, and Weymouth Back River surrounding it, along with the bay that juts out onto the Atlantic Ocean. Locals like to bring their pups to the park to do some swimming, boating, and fishing, and you can do the same with your fur baby as long as he is on a lead.
The historic park was part of the 1775 Battle of Grape Island during the British Siege of Boston. You can take a walk on the 1.1-mile trail to learn more about the incident. Also, from the 1950s to 1974, it was also used again by the military to house anti-aircraft missiles. The park also has picnic areas with grills and tables and beach space for all to enjoy.
Conservation Park Scituate Dog Park
Located in Conservation Park just a half hour south of Webb Memorial State Park, Scituate Dog Park is a newly constructed space built from the donations of local pup parents. The sandy beach here has great views of Massachusetts Bay, North River, and the Minot Ledge Light, and you and your pooch are welcome to play in the water or on the water’s edge in the bay or the river as long as your dog is leashed when outside of the fenced area of the dog park.
Although the work is still in progress, Scituate Dog Park has a one-acre section for large dogs and a half-acre for smaller pooches. All pups must be up-to-date on their shots and have a rabies tag attached to their collar. The park has doggie bag dispensers, but bring your own just in case. Also, only dogs older than six months are allowed at the park for safety reasons.
Plymouth Long Beach
Next up is Plymouth Long Beach, about 20 minutes down the coast. This is a unique spot that is comprised of a long skinny peninsula that is all sandy beach. The whole three miles of land is sand and includes Plymouth Beach, which only allows dogs from October through March. That includes everything north of the day parking lot to the end of the beach. This leaves you and your canine companion over a mile of sand, where he is welcome to play.
He has to be leashed, but he can swim in the surf, dig in the sand, and romp around all day between the Atlantic Ocean and Eel River. Food trucks and concession stands are often nearby during the summer, so you do not even have to worry if you forgot to pack a lunch. But do not forget to pack dog waste bags to pick up after your pup.
Scusset Beach State Reservation Beach
Scusset Beach is located in the southwest section of Cape Cod Bay, just 17 miles south of Plymouth Long Beach. Leashed dogs are always welcome here whether you want to swim in the bay or the Cape Cod Canal. You can also take a walk along the jetty to see the ships passing through. The beach has one and a half miles of sand for fishing, swimming, boating, and playing in the sand.
The park also offers several trails from under one mile to seven miles, where you can explore the waterside and find some awesome hidden fishing and swimming holes. Bring lots of doggie bags and keep him on a short leash to keep him from getting too close to the wildlife for safety’s sake. If you plan to stay a while, call in advance because there are only about 100 campsites, and this is a popular spot for camping.
Cape Cod Beach
Now head an hour down the coast and out onto one of the most popular and well-known seashores in the country. Cape Cod National Seashore has six different official beaches, and your pup is allowed to join you on any of them. However, dogs are not allowed in the lifeguard-protected areas from Memorial Day until Labor Day. Also, keep him out of the shorebird nesting areas from March to October, although you can lead him through these areas to get to other areas of the beach.
With over 43.6 thousand acres, you will not even notice the areas where dogs are not permitted anyway. Some of the fun areas to explore include the Nauset Marsh behind the old Coast Guard Station, the Nauset Spit, and The Great Beach. But do not miss visiting the Pilgrims’ First Landing Park at the end of the peninsula in Provincetown. This is where the Mayflower stopped before landing in Plymouth, and it is a great place for some fun selfies.
Provincetown Herring Cove Beach
Also, in Provincetown, Herring Cove Beach is always pup popular. Although there are some restrictions during Piping Plover nesting season, leashed pups are welcomed here for swimming, playing in the sand, and just hanging out at the beach. There are a few miles of beachfront at the end of Cape Cod, just past the Clapps Pond Wildlife Management Area. It is a more gentle section of the ocean with fewer waves to knock your pup around.
Some say the water is warmer here, too, but it can still be chilly if it is not full-on summertime. Dogs are not allowed in the life-guarded swimming beach from Memorial Day until Labor Day, but everywhere else is fine. The beach also has picnic areas, restrooms, and play areas for the little humans. And during the summer, there is a snack bar where you can pick up some delicious snacks, beverages, and water for your canine companion.
Nantucket Island Beaches
Located on the southern coast of Nantucket Island, Surfside Beach is a great place to bring your dog before 9 AM and after 5 PM during the summer and anytime during the rest of the year. You will have to keep his leash on, but that’s okay because he will still love playing on the beach and splashing in the waves. The island itself has 80 miles of coastline, but the most pup popular is Surfside Beach, where your pooch is totally welcome.
He can even dig holes as deep as three feet as long as you fill them in before you leave. Be sure to pack extra drinking water and plenty of puppy poo poo baggies for your day on the island. But don’t bring any alcohol or glass bottles. The surf here can be rough at times, too so keep him close to the shore and on a short leash.
The Final Woof
Get out on the ocean aboard the Dolphin Fleet of Provincetown for a dog-friendly whale-watching tour. The fun lasts about three or four hours, and you will have your own cabin as well as a sundeck. And they guarantee a whale sighting, or you get a free trip. For a different kind of trip, try Dog Gone Sailing Charters, also in Provincetown, where they have several pup popular tours. Then, stop by Hilltop Orchards in Richmond to explore 16 acres of apple trees and other goodies. After it gets dark, you and your canine companion can enjoy a movie together at Mendon Twin Drive-In, where dogs are always welcome.