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Updated: March 21, 2022
Are Cape Cod beaches dog friendly? Some are, sometimes. Others are, all the time. And a few aren't, ever.
Let's delve into the must-know rules so you don't unwittingly find yourself in deep (ummm) doo-doo with the law! ;-)
During the summer months, the general rule is "No Dogs on the Beach" in most (but not all) Cape Cod towns.
In the off season, the rules are relaxed.
To leash or not to leash? Unless noted otherwise below, assume that leashing is required at all times.
Before you take your dog to the beach, make sure you know whether the beach is owned by the town, by the National Seashore, or by the Massachusetts State Parks system.
It's a critical distinction because the rules are different, depending on which entity is in charge of the beach! (See below)
Dogs are not allowed at any time, in any town-owned beach/recreation area, from May 15 to September 15.
Barnstable MA Beach Regulations
*Note: Sandy Neck Beach Park's rules are a bit different. See them, here (PDF).
It is unlawful for any person to allow their dog(s) on any public beach. A public bathing beach is defined as a Town-owned beach.
This regulation is enforced from May 1 until October 15.
Town of Bourne MA Beach Regulations (PDF) [see Section 3.1.29(d)]
Dogs and other pets are not allowed on Brewster's public beaches, tidal flats, landings, and public ponds between the dates of May 15th and September 15th.
Town of Brewster MA Beach Regulations
Dogs are banned from May 1st to September 15th of each year in the town's beach areas, with the exception of service animals and police K-9 animals.
Dogs are allowed at Jackknife Harbor Beach before 9:00 a.m. and after 6:00 p.m. from May 1st to September 15th.
Chatham MA Beach Regulation (PDF) [See Section 1.6]
No animals or pets are permitted on Dennis beaches, in the parking areas, or in unattended vehicles in the parking areas at any time from the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
No animals or pets are permitted on town-owned beaches in Eastham, in the parking areas, or in vehicles in the parking areas at any time during the period of June 15th through Labor Day.
Animals are not permitted on Falmouth beaches or in beach parking lots from May 1 to October 1. This includes leaving pets in parked vehicles.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, no dogs are allowed on any of the town's beaches. The term "beaches" includes sand, dune, water and parking lots.
Red River Beach Only - Dog walking is allowed in the parking lot area only from Dawn - 9 am and from 4:30 pm to Dusk, Memorial weekend through Labor Day.
Per Mashpee Town Code:
"No dogs shall be brought upon any [Town-owned] beaches, nor permitted thereon."
Mashpee MA Beach Regulations (PDF) [See Chapter 54, Section 54-7]
Dogs are prohibited from April 1st through Labor Day on:
South of Trail #1 to Chatham Inlet, dogs are required to be on leash (not greater than 30 feet) at all times from April 1st through Labor Day.
Dogs are prohibited from Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day at:
Also, no dogs are allowed at Crystal Lake or Pilgrim Lake from June 15 through Labor Day.
Town of Orleans MA Beach Regulations
From Memorial Day through November 1 dogs may be off-leash - if they're under voice and sight control - on Town-owned beaches between the hours of 6 am and 9 am and the hours of 6 pm and 9 pm.
From November 2 through the day before Memorial Day dogs may be off-leash - if they're under voice and sight control - on Town-owned beaches between the hours of 6 am and 9pm.
All dogs must be restrained on Town-owned beaches at all other times.
Provincetown MA Beach Regulations (PDF)
Dogs may not be on any public beach, including fresh water beaches, and the Sandwich Boardwalk, between May 15 and September 15.
Dogs are not allowed on the town's salt water beaches between April 1 and September 15.
Sandwich MA Beach Regulations (PDF)
Dogs are prohibited on town-owned beaches in Truro between the hours of 9:00 am and 6:00 pm from the third Saturday in June through Labor Day.
Dogs are not allowed on the lifeguarded portions of: Newcomb Hollow, Cahoon Hollow, White Crest and Maguire Landing at LeCount Hollow between the hours of 9am and 5pm during the summer season, except to walk from the parking lot to a point beyond the end of the guarded beach.
(*Note: The "summer season" is the third Saturday in June through Labor Day.)
Dogs are never allowed on these salt water beaches and landings: Burton Baker, Indian Neck and Nauset Road, Mayo Beach and Powers Landing.
Wellfleet MA Beach Regulations (PDF)
Dogs are not permitted on Seagull Beach and Grey’s Beach (a/k/a Bass Hole Beach) from April 1 through Labor Day.
On all other beaches and ways to water in Yarmouth, dogs are not allowed from May 15 through Labor Day.
Generally speaking, leashed dogs are allowed on Cape Cod National Seashore beaches year round.
However, during the summer months, dogs may not be on the lifeguard-protected parts of the beach.
It's okay to walk a leashed dog through the lifeguard-protected areas to get to the “non-protected” stretches of beach ... except when there are shorebird closures on or beyond lifeguard-protected beaches.
During shorebird nesting periods, pets are prohibited from posted areas. Passing through the posted areas is also prohibited.
National Seashore beaches are:
Cape Cod National Seashore dog rules
At Scusset Beach State Reservation, no dogs are allowed on the beach. Although, it's not unusual to see folks walking their dogs at Scusset in the off season. ;-)
Scusset Beach Regulations [See the "Restrictions" section]
Dogs are allowed on the the state-owned area of South Cape Beach in Mashpee from mid-September through April only.
South Cape Beach State Park Regulations [See "Restrictions" section]
On privately owned beaches, it's up to the property owner to decide if pets are allowed on their beach.
*Note to Renters: Some waterfront, pet-friendly vacation rentals are part of a private beach association. And many beach associations have strict rules about pets on the beach.
Please, do yourself a huge favor. Check with the property owner or rental agent before you sign a vacation rental agreement to be sure your furry friend can enjoy the beach with you!
Pet Friendly Cape Cod Hotels, Motels & Inns