15 Best Dog-Friendly Vacation Destinations in Massachusetts

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golden retrievers are feeling happy at the knob in falmouth in a dog friendly vacation in massachusetts

In the northeastern United States, you will find Massachusetts surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New York, and New Hampshire. It also has six national historic sites, four national parks, one national seashore, 77 state forests, and 33 state parks, so there is always something to do nearby, no matter what you are into and what time of year it is.

During the winter, the weather can be rough, with several feet of snow at a time and temperatures below freezing. But there is always a park with skiing, ice fishing, sledding, or snowboarding for the adventurous. During the summer, the temperatures get hot enough to swim in July and August in the 80s. 

The small state has over seven million residents with an estimated 1.2 million fur babies so Massachusetts has lots to do for pup parents too. In fact, there are over 3,600 dog-friendly vacation rentals including 350 hotels and 85 campgrounds. In addition, there are 1,350+ pup popular restaurants, over 100 dog parks, and 63 dog beaches. Here are our top picks for Massachusetts vacations. 


Take your sweetheart and your sweet pup to Boston, where you can get a luxurious room with a pool, two restaurants, a bar, a spa, a gym, and even a whirlpool in the room at InterContinental. It is also right on the Boston Harbor by the New England Aquarium, the Atlantic Wharf, and the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. For Fido, there is a dog park right down the street across from Bass River at The Underground. 

For a romantic dinner with your two besties, take them to Coppa where they have a variety of amazing dishes to choose from including spaghetti carbonara, saltimbocca, and arancini. Then, you can all go to JP Licks for some dog-friendly ice cream. They also have baked goods and coffee. 

If the weather is not cooperating or you just want to take your honey to get a drink, Park 9 Dog Bar has you covered, literally. Your pooch can play indoors with the other pups while you and your sweetie enjoy some adult beverages with the rest of the pet parents. 


Along the Connecticut River in the small town of Northampton, you can enjoy a getaway for you and your fur baby. There are just under 30,000 people with about 5,000 dogs but you will likely see some of them at one of the dog parks in town. Holyoke Dog Park is just one of the great pup playgrounds to take your pooch. It has agility equipment like steps, a slide, tires, and a ramp as well as a playground slide and treehouse for dogs. 

If you enjoy hiking, Northampton is the place to go. There are over 15 trails in the city and surrounding area. For a short and easy walk, take the 1.3-mile Childs Park Loop with its stunning flower beds to see in the spring. For something longer, the 10-mile Norwottuck Rail Trail takes you across the Connecticut River through Mill Valley and the Upper Fort River Conservation Area. 

Wherever you hike, be sure to bring plenty of doggie bags for cleanup and extra water for you both. 

Nantucket Island 

There is no other place in Massachusetts where you can be completely surrounded by the ocean and the Nantucket Sound. The island is a tourist attraction and during the summer you can find about 80,000 people enjoying the surf and sand. There are 80 miles of coast to enjoy with your pooch but the only place you can go anytime is Surfside Beach. The rest of the beaches allow dogs but only before 9 am and after 5 pm during the summer months. 

While you are there, take your cuddly canine companion to see the Brant Point Lighthouse. It was built in 1746 and is a very cool place to get a selfie. Ready for a cold one? Your pooch is welcome to join you while you enjoy a cold beer or a cocktail at Cisco Brewers. He is allowed on the tours and the outdoor seating area. 

Afterward, take your pup for a walk at Tupancy Links where they have 1.5 miles of dog-friendly trails. 


If you are into skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and other winter sports, take your little fur buddy with you to Princeton where dogs are welcome in Wachusett Mountain State Reservation. It has 3,000 acres of the white stuff to enjoy here whether you want to hit the slopes or just do some snowshoeing on the trails. Dogs are welcome to join you on the trails but not on the slopes at Wachusett Mountain Ski Area. 

However, you can leave your pup at one of the area doggie daycares like Woofcester Pet Care in Worcester. They will watch your pup at their place or your own so they can come right to the hotel for you. Then, head to the mountain where they have 27 trails, eight lifts, and a summit elevation of 2,006 feet with a vertical drop of 1,000 feet.  

After your workout, pick up your pup and go enjoy a cold brew at Redemption Rock Brewing Company. They love dogs, beer, art, and good times. 

Myles Standish State Forest 

Those who like camping will love Myles Standish State Forest because they have over 360 dog-friendly campsites in five campgrounds to choose from. With 12,029 acres, the forest opened in 1916 and has a lot to explore during your stay so choosing to camp on-site is the best idea. Each one of them is near a pond with the majority of them around Charge Pond. However, 32 of these are reserved for equestrian use.

There are actually more than 20 ponds in the forest and they are perfect for swimming, fishing, and some are large enough for boating as well. While you are there, be sure to take your pup on a hike to see the native flora and fauna. The 2.6-mile East Head Loop starts at headquarters and takes you along the East Head Reservoir. 

The campsites all have picnic tables and fire pits, and campgrounds offer restrooms with showers, playgrounds, and picnic areas, among other activities like fishing, swimming, and hiking. 


With over 200,000 residents and about 33,000 dogs, Worcester is certainly dog-friendly with several nice hotels to pick from for the weekend. The Residence Inn, Hampton Inn, and Hilton Garden Inn all have pools to enjoy while you are there but the Hilton also has a hot tub, a restaurant, free breakfast, and a fitness center. The Quality Inn has a pool and rooms start at less than $100.

Take your pup to Quinsigamond State Park while you are on your weekend getaway. They have a lovely lake where you can go fishing and boating. However, dogs are not allowed on the swimming beach. But you can have a picnic or barbecue. If you go in the winter, you can even do some cross-country skiing if there is enough snow. Let your dog pull you for some fun skijoring. 

Then, relax and watch a movie or two at the Mendon Twin Drive-In. Your leashed pooch is welcome, but he cannot enter the beer garden or the snack bar, so bring your own beer and snacks. 

Cape Cod 

Taking up a whole peninsula of southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod is a large area with 15 different cities from Bourne to Provincetown. But the main attraction in the Cape for families is the Cape Cod Inflatable Park in West Yarmouth. What’s more, your pooch is welcome to stay at the resort right there on site. However, he is not allowed at the water park or on the inflatables so keep that in mind.

But it is not just a bunch of inflatable slides and bounce houses. It is basketball, boot camp, bungee run, a mechanical bull, soccer, battle zone, and even a velcro wall. It also includes the Wicked Wave Water Park with slides, a lazy river, a kiddie section, and a lobster lagoon. Afterward, take Fido to Pilgrim Bark Park with an acre of fun in Provincetown. 

You can also take everyone, including your pup, on a sailboat with Dog Gone Sailing Charters. Experience Cape Cod Bay with your pooch, and they even have doggie life jackets.  

October Mountain State Forest

October Mountain State Forest has more than 30 miles of hiking from the easy 2.7-mile Washington Mountain Marsh Trail that loops around the mountain to the 17.6-mile Appalachian Trail from Washington to Dalton, which takes an experienced hiker. For something in the middle, try the Felton Lake Gorge Trail. It is only 1.8 miles long but it has some moderate exertion with a 606-foot elevation gain. Make sure you bring lots of doggie bags and water. 

You should also try the Roaring Brook Trail. It is about 2.4 miles long and has some mildly challenging navigation spots, but the scenery and stream are worth the effort. If you are up to it and you like to climb, take your pup on the Appalachian Trail from County Road to Becket Road. It is 4.4 miles and takes you over Walling Mountain, which is 2,200 feet high. 

Give your cuddle buddy some time off the leash at Pittsfield Dog Park while you are in town. It has several acres of fenced space, including a small dog area, water, and seating.   


For those who want to save some money, Sturbridge has several dog-friendly hotels with rooms starting at under $100. Economy Lodge has free Wi-Fi, room service, and a playground for just $64, America’s Best has a pond and seven acres with free Wi-Fi for $90, and The Rodeway Inn has free Wi-Fi, BBQ areas, a gym, and free breakfast for $95. What’s even cheaper is the campsites at Wells State Park if you are into that kind of thing. 

Wells Park also has hiking, fishing, swimming, and boating, as well as snowmobiling during the winter. You and your fur baby may enjoy visiting Old Sturbridge Village while you are in the area. The Living History Museum is pet-friendly on certain Dog Days every weekend from January through November.

Westville Recreation Area is another free and fun place to go with your canine companion. There are picnic areas with grills, restrooms, trails, and a large lake for canoeing and kayaking as well as fishing and splashing around. During the winter, it is an ice skating pond!


A vacation on the beach with your two best friends is perfect for couples with dogs. Nahant is at the tip of a peninsula surrounded by water, including Massachusetts Bay, Nahant Harbor, Broad Sound, and Nahant Bay/ The population is only 3,000 but during the summer, it turns into five times that amount. For a quaint stay by the water, try Hillcrest Cottage by the Sea, Willow Cottage, or Blue View Nahant.

Then, take your pup and your honey to Nahant Dog Beach where dogs can be dogs. The Doggie Beach, as some call it, is cordoned off so dogs are only allowed to play in the sand and water in this area. The rest of the beach is okay too but only from October til April. You can all grab a slice at Seaside Pizza or a burger and beer at Tides Restaurant & Pub. 

Just remember to bring doggie bags and pick up after your pup. Also, pack plenty of water and snacks for your pooch.


Cambridge is one of the most populated cities in the state with 120,000 people and an estimated 20,000 dogs and is located in eastern Massachusetts just across the Charles River from Boston Common. It is the perfect place to spend a summer vacation with your cuddly buddy because it is the home of the Little Fresh Pond Dog Beach. Although it is not fenced, your pup is welcome to play and swim off the leash if he is voice-controlled.

Another great place to take Fido in Cambridge is the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. As long as your little buddy is leashed, he is welcome at the 30-acre park, where they have more than 60 huge sculptures. There is also a nice hiking and fishing area at Alewife Brook Reservation, where leashed dogs are allowed. 

For something different, take your pup with you to the Red Fox Escape Room. He can help you and several others solve clues and break out of a room within an hour. 

Tolland State Forest 

For a cool lake vacation this summer, reserve a campsite at one of the campgrounds in Tolland State Forest, where you can find the 1,065-acre Otis Lake. There are only 90 spaces to choose from, so make sure you book your spot in advance. There is also an Overflow Camp just a little way up the road with 25 sites. If they are booked up, try Laurel Ridge Campground on the other side of the lake. 

There are restrooms with hot showers, hiking trails, fishing spots, a boat ramp, and a comfort station at the main campground as well as playgrounds for the little humans and swimming areas for everyone. Although the forest is only 4,400 acres, it is surrounded by other forests including Otis, Sandsfield, and Granville.

While you are in the area, take your fur buddy with you to Land of Nod Vineyard & Winery. They have lovely outdoor areas where your pup is welcome and you can sample some amazing wine. 


As the site of the first colony in the United States, Plymouth is considered to be America’s Hometown. It was founded in 1620 when the pilgrims landed the Mayflower there and is also known for the first Thanksgiving feast. Just minutes from Boston on Cape Cod Bay, the city is now a tourist attraction as well as a hub for fishing and shipping. You can stay in the historic Hotel 1620 at Plymouth Harbor with your pooch when you come into town.

Take Fido to Pilgrim Memorial State Park where you can see the famous 1620 Plymouth Rock as well as some gorgeous waterfront that holds the Mayflower II Museum. Book an insider’s walk through Historic Plymouth with Frank to get a detailed tour of the area from Pilgrim Hall to Burial Hill. Be sure to bring baggies for cleanup.

Your fur baby can even join you at Long House Axe Throwing. Although he cannot throw an axe and he has to stay on a leash, he will love watching you. It is a fun way to spend a cold winter day.


If you have not heard of the Salem Witch Trials, you have to take a Witch City Walking Tour when you and Fido visit Salem. As long as your pup is on a leash, he is welcome to join you on a stroll through the streets of Salem while you learn about the 400 years of witch history. The city has many historic hauntings as well as mysteries and murders to uncover on your tour. They also have other tours about magic, mansions, and other fun histories. 

If that was not scary enough for you, take your pup to Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery Monster Museum. You will see some ghastly monsters and hear some outrageous scary stories during your visit, so be prepared for a thrill. The city also has dog-friendly tours of the Witch House, Witchwood Historic Tours, and Witch Pix. 

Make sure you stop at SPACE: Salem Play Area for Canine Exercise. Both the large and small dog areas have water, shade, seating, and pools during the summer. 


Agawam is a small town known for its big parks. The main attraction is Six Flags New England, which has 235 acres with 62 rides, 11 roller coasters, and two water rides. It has been running since 1870, making it one of the oldest amusement parks in the area although it has had many different names. Today it is known for its 208-foot tall Superman Ride, which races up to 77 miles per hour. But it also has a variety of family and kiddie rides, games, and shows. 

Another great park is Forest Park where they have a 735-acre zoo with thousands of animals, a lake, and even some rides. Although your pup cannot go with you to Six Flags or the Zoo, he is welcome to join you at Robinson State Park. It has over a thousand acres with 20 miles of trails and a section of the Westfield River. 

The best part for Fido is the Agawam Dog Park though. It has about two acres of fenced play space with a separate small dog area, picnic areas, waste stations, and water fountains. 

The Final Woof

Massachusetts is full of history, beaches, parks, and forests, so you and your cuddly canine companion will have plenty of places to choose from. We picked our top 15 spots for you to look at. If you are coming during the winter, go to Princeton, where you can do some skiing, sledding, and snowshoeing, or Plymouth, where you can find lots of indoor fun for you and Fido. A summer vacation can be spent camping in Myles Standish State Forest, swimming at Nantucket Island, and hiking at October Mountain State Forest. For an affordable trip, Sturbridge has several pup popular hotels with rooms starting at under $100. 

Photo of author
Patty Oelze is a freelance writer who is also in the process of getting her PhD in Psychology. She has been writing about dogs and other critters for about 10 years and has a plethora of animals at her home including several cats, some chipmunks, a dozen raccoons, two foxes, one coyote, and herds of deer. She and her husband have been living in the Missouri Ozarks for years where she enjoys taking care of wildlife, fishing, photography, boating, and of course, writing.

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