Published by Travel to Blank, June 2018
The Maine Beaches is a beautiful region of southern Maine, only 90 minutes from Boston and 6 hours from NYC. Known for its relaxed seaside villages it holds a special part in the heart of all its visitors, including the summer homes of both former president Bush’s. It is the perfect destination to take your entire family over the summer and that includes the furry members of your family as well. Our chocolate labrador, Gordo can attest to this first hand.
Many of the beaches in Maine allow dogs during specific hours and with different regulations depending on the time of year. While we do our best to keep this information up to date, always follow posted rules when arriving at a beach, even if that means you have to find a new spot for the day. This actually only happened in reverse for us, as one beach was said to be not dog friendly online, but had dog rules posted when we arrived, an unfortunate miss for Gordo.
Dog friendly accommodations at the Port Inn
Bring your furry friend to sleep in Kennebunk at the dog friendly Port Inn, your friendly accommodations for your visit to Maine. While you melt into the comfortable king size beds in your spacious hotel room your dog can enjoy a treat from the front desk, in a hotel provided dish.
Right next to the building is a large green area to walk your dog with extra plastic bags for all your dogs needs. Your stay at the Port Inn is not all about dogs, with a delicious continental breakfast included and a relaxing pool on site. This is the perfect hotel for you and your dog to get a bit of rest and relaxation while exploring the beaches of Maine.
Dog Friendly Beaches in Maine
The most important thing when planning to visit to the beach with your dog is to remember to pack everything your dog might need for the day. Do not forget plenty of fresh water, some doggy treats, an old towel to clean the dog and even a flotation device for your dog if needed. Even if you plan on going to an allowed off leash site, always have a leash on hand as you never know what other dogs, animals or excited humans will be about.
There are many sections along the beaches of Maine that are home to the nesting grounds of the endangered Piping Plovers. If you see roped off areas of a beach, make sure to steer your dog clear of the nesting area!
Gooch’s Beach, Middle Beach and Mother’s Beach allow dogs from June 15 to Labor Day before 9AM and after 5PM. During the rest of the year dogs are allowed all day, either under voice control or on a leash if they just do not listen.
Gooch’s Beach is the largest section of public beach in Kennebunk. Its clean white sands close to downtown makes it a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.
Middle Beach is a rockier section of Kennebunk Beach between Mother’s and Gooch’s. Dotted with black stones, this beach is less busy, but perfect for some sniffing and exploring.
For those traveling as a family, Mother’s Beach is a perfect choice. This small sandy beach has plenty of off street parking just at the water and a fun little rocky area to explore on the left.
Goose Rocks Beach
The stunning views from Goose Rocks Beach makes this isolated beach a hidden gem. The 3-miles of beautiful white sand leaves plenty of space for everyone to enjoy the calm waters without getting crowed.
From April 1st to June 14th from 6AM to 7:30AM dogs are allowed off leash and after 7:30AM a leash is required.
From June 15th to Sept. 30th dogs are allowed off leash from 6AM to 7:30AM and from 7:30AM to 8:30AM and after 6PM a leash is required. No dogs are allowed on Goose Rocks beach from 8:30AM to 6PM.
Between October 1st and March 31st dogs are only required to be on leash from 12PM to 2PM.
Ogunquit Beach itself is rated one of the best in New England, which comes as no surprise with its warm sands and calm waves. Dogs are only allowed on the beach between October 1 and March 30, but the city does recommend some fantastic nearby dog friendly walks.
Dogs are allowed for a stroll along the rocky seashore on the paved Marginal Way path only from October 1 until April 1. Enjoy this mile long path from Perkins Cove all the way to the sandy shores of Ogunquit Beach.
Parson’s Beach and shore walk
Parson’s Beach is a privately owned beach open to the public. During low tide, you will find many locals fishing on the edge of the long beach. Behind the sand dunes there is also a short walk among the salt marshes where you can enjoy some local wildlife. Dogs are only allowed on the left side of the beach from the entrance path.
Other Dog Friendly Attractions in Southern Maine
Seashore Trolley Museum
Not all public transportation systems allow dogs aboard, so now is the chance for your pooch to enjoy their very own trolley ride! The Seashore Trolley Museum allows well behaved dogs and well behaved people anywhere on the museum campus. The trolley museum features the largest collection of public transport vehicles from throughout the last century. Ride on an antique streetcars down their own private railroad track, just be prepared for some potentially loud or foreign noises for your dog.
Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge
There are over 50 miles of coastline from Kittery to Cape Elizabeth with over 14,000 acres of protected wildlife refuge. While most of this protected land is not accessible to protect the local flora and fauna, there is one beautiful hike to enjoy with your dog. The Carson Trail is a one-mile loop through the pine tree forest that provides fantastic views of the salt marshes and local wildlife.
Cape Neddick Lighthouse
Enjoy a breathtaking view of the well photographed Cape Neddick Lighthouse, also known as Nubble Light. This beautiful lighthouse is perched on its own little island to be enjoyed from Sohier Park
A scenic flight over Maine
You heard us right, you can enjoy a scenic flight with your dog, thanks to friendly staff at Southern Maine Aviation. Gordo was actually their first dog client to enjoy the sandy coastline of Maine from the sky. Andrew Button, the Chief Flight Instructor took us on a one hour scenic flight in a four seater plane, with plenty of room for our dog. Just make sure your dog would be ok with the propeller noise and a chance of some small turbulence.
Restaurant Patios that allow dogs
It is particularly easy to find a place to eat with your dog in the Maine beaches region as many restaurants offer grab and go windows along with patio seating throughout the warmer months. This is especially true with some of the best seafood options, which are often smaller lobster shacks.
Fox’s Lobster House
Enjoy some fresh local Maine seafood at the at oceanfront Fox’s Lobster House in York. Grab a fresh lobster roll or our favorite fish and chips at the window and enjoy your meal at the picnic tables in the sun. They also offer ice cream treats for dogs, which Gordo could not get enough of!
A little bit further off the beaten path is the perfect lunch spot at Fisherman’s Catch in Wells, ME. We enjoyed the Fish and Chips and the daily special, a salmon fillet sandwich. Lucky for us and Gordo, the large portions meant there was enough left over for a special treat. Sit comfortably at the outside tables in the sun with your dog or at the small bar built onto the side of a boat.
Salt & Honey
On a warm evening enjoy some fine dining on the patio of Salt & Honey in downtown Kennebunkport. Starting with appetizers we had the Fried Ravioli and Fish Tacos, both traditional dish with its local twist. Our server suggested for entrees we enjoy the Salmon and house made Ravioli. We left Salt & Honey with full stomachs and a new appreciation for finely crafted meals.
Dunne’s Ice Cream
No trip would be complete without the delicious homemade Dunne’s Ice Cream. Chose from a long list of fresh ice cream, sherbet or yogurt flavors or mix a few together for your own creation. This cash only ice cream stand is so good, even the warm sun will not have enough time to melt your ice cream cone. They also have simple vanilla soft serve ice cream, if your dog is into that sort of thing.