It’s harder than you’d think to find a beach in New England where your canine companion is welcome. Some beaches ban pets year-round, while others only allow dogs to join you in the off-season. But seeing as February isn’t the perfect time to sprawl out in the sand, we’ve collected some of New England’s best beaches for you and your dog this summer.

North Shore

Nahant: This peaceful North Shore enclave is so popular, people simply refer to it as Nahant’s Dog Beach.  (128 Nahant Rd.) Instead of feeling like a tiny strip of sand where dogs are permitted, Nahant’s Dog Beach is more like a normal beach that just happens to allow dogs. People come from far and wide to allow their dogs to frolic off-leash in the peaceful surf.

Saugus: If salt water doesn’t interest you, head to Bark Place at Breakheart Reservation (177 Forest St.) in Saugus where your pup can take a freshwater dip. Tucked inside the 640-acre hardwood forest, this natural wonder has Bark Place, a specifically designated dog area where pets can swim and hang out.

South Shore

Plymouth: Dog owners are big fans of Long Beach (1 Ryder Way) in Plymouth. But with a variety of endangered species setting up house in the sand, there are some restrictions that dog owners must follow. Leashed dogs are allowed on Ryder Way and the beachfront from the main parking lot north to the Day Parking Area, unless the spots are closed for shorebird nesting.

Cape Cod

Eastham: On all the Cape Cod National Seashore-managed beaches, your dog is welcome to frolic in the sand and surf, as long as they’re on a leash measuring 6 feet or less. Dogs are also prohibited from entering the well-marked lifeguarded areas, so keep your eyes out for any dog-prohibiting signs. Coast Guard Beach (off Route 6) in Eastham is a dune-filled beauty where any dog or human would be pleased to spend the day.

South Dennis: As long as your dog is kept on a leash, they’re welcome to join you year-round at Crowes Reservation Beach (100 S St., South Dennis) a popular spot for the locals to bring their pups. With plenty of seagulls to chase and sand to roll around in, it’s canine heaven. If you’re looking for fresh water, Fresh Pond Dog Park (Route 134 South) in Dennis has a swimming area for your dog, as well as fenced-in areas and walking trails.

Rhode Island

Block Island:  This peaceful enclave off of Rhode Island is very welcoming to dogs. Head to the island’s most popular area, Crescent Beach (7 Corn Neck Rd.) where your dog is welcome all year round, as long as he’s on a leash. If you’re looking for a less-populated area, head to Gracies Cove, where dogs are also welcome. If you’re desperate to find a place where they can run, early-morning and after sunset are in the clear.

Maine

If you’re looking to head north, Bayview Beach (Route 9, Saco, Maine) in Saco is a dog-friendly paradise. Part of the seven-mile stretch around Saco Bay, Bayview welcomes dogs on-leash all year long.  Another favorite is Wells Beach, where spacious sandbars at low tide are perfect for your leashed dog. However, during the peak summer months, your dog’s visit is restricted to after 6 p.m. and before 8 a.m.

 

Before you hit the sand with your furry friend, keep in mind that several of the same hazards for humans at the beach apply to your dog as well. Pack an umbrella to provide a shady retreat from the scorching sun, as well as a towel to avoid sizzling-hot sand. And of course, be sure to pick up after your pup, or you’ll be facing a serious fine.