For families who love to travel with their dog, finding the right dog-friendly destinations can sometimes be a challenge. Finding a place to stay becomes more complicated than simply finding an available room with a bed, while any potential activities must include dogs. Of those activities that include dogs, must dogs be leashed or can they run free? And we haven’t even mentioned the challenges that come with finding a place to eat!
It was with these things in mind that we began to search for the best dog-friendly destinations in the Northeast. To narrow our list down to only 30 great places, we considered only those destinations in the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, D.C.
We also considered:
Places to Stay: Every destination on our list has pet-friendly accommodations, or safe places to park an RV.
Things To Do: We searched for places with things you can actually do with your pets, as opposed to places that simply allow you to bring your pet. Our list is full of great walks and hikes, canoe trips, and dog-friendly beaches.
Everyone’s Included: No Breed Specific Legislation on this list! We included only those places that (as far as we can tell) allow any and every type of well-behaved dog, including your beloved bully breed.
Acadia National Park
It isn’t very often one finds a dog friendly national park, but Acadia National Park in Maine seems to be one of the few exceptions. Well-behaved leashed dogs are welcome on all 120 miles of Acadia’s hiking trails, plus all public areas, and even the beach during the low season. To get the full lay of the land, drive the 27-mile Park Loop Road. There are plenty of places to stop along the way for a view, including Jordan Pond House, a restaurant where dogs are allowed on the porch or lawn.
Asbury Park, New Jersey
We love Asbury Park as a dog-friendly destination, especially during the low season, when dogs are allowed on the famous oceanfront boardwalk (during the busier summer months, dogs are only allowed on the boardwalk during the evenings). On Thursdays, the famous Wonder Bar hosts a Yappy Hour complete with drinks for humans and a fenced-in socialization area for dogs, while lots of other restaurants offer [more traditional] dog-friendly seating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Bear Mountain State Park
Rockland County, New York
An easy distance from Manhattan is Bear Mountain State Park, a great dog-friendly destination in the Northeast. We suggest packing a lunch and hiking the main trail all the way to the top, where you may never want to leave the stunning view of rolling hills, rivers, and if you’re lucky, the New York skyline off in the distance. The park is also home to the relatively recent Appalachian Trail. You’ll have to trek about 800 stone stairs to get to the beautiful views, but it’s worth it. And, of course, it’s all dog friendly!
Blue Hills Reservation
The Blue Hills Reservation is a 7,000-acre parkland that extends from Quincy to Dedham, and Milton to Randolph in Massachusetts. It’s full of beautiful trails for varying levels of ability, and has a number of summits that provide stunning views of the surrounding areas. Especially popular among dog owners is the Ponkapoag Pond Loop, a flat and easy four-mile trail that is easily accessed via Canton, a town located approximately 20 minutes from Boston. The trail is well-maintained, and will lead you past ponds, a rare Atlantic white cedar bog, a boardwalk, and lots of flora and fauna.
If you’re traveling through Massachusetts with your dog, don’t be afraid to stop in in Boston. Boston is a great dog-friendly destination, with a number of dog parks and pet-friendly sites. Stretch your legs on The Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile walking path that leads to 16 different historic sites. For something with a little more nature, walk the 1.5-mile loop at Chestnut Hill Reservoir, a City of Boston Landmark. The Boston Common also has a leash-free area for your dog to run and play with local pets. When you’re ready to eat, consider a pet-friendly restaurant like Faneuil Hall Marketplace.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Cape Cod is a wonderful vacation destination, especially for dogs! While some Cape Cod beaches do prohibit dogs during the busy tourist season, others like Truro, Wellfleet, Orleans, and Eastham welcome leashed and well-behaved dogs year round. The Cape Cod Rail Trail is a nice place to take your dog for an historic walk. Once a railroad track, the path is 22 miles of pure beauty, and leads through many of the town’s most dog-friendly beaches.
D.C. Walking Tours
Our nation’s capital is very pet-friendly, and any walk down the National Mall will yield the sight of countless dogs walking, jogging, or sunbathing with their humans. If you’re in D.C. with your dog, consider joining one of the many free walking tours. There are lots of options: ghost tours, walking tours of the monuments, tours of D.C.’s various neighborhoods, and many of them welcome well-behaved and leashed dogs.
deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
deCordova Sculpture Park is a unique sculpture garden located only about 20 miles from Boston. The 30-acre park is the largest of its kind in New England, and includes a large and fascinating collection of sculptures big and small. Leashed dogs are allowed throughout the park, but unfortunately they can’t go inside the museum. Bring your camera, as photos of your dog next to the giant hearts or cuddled up to the knight leaning against a tree might be too hard to resist.
St. Johnsbury, Vermont
If you love dogs, a visit to Dog Mountain is an absolute must. The whole park is 150 acres of off-leash dog heaven, and includes swimming ponds, hiking trails, and even dog-friendly playground equipment. Be sure to visit the Dog Chapel, where people have left photos and notes to their beloved dogs that have passed away. The whole place is designed to bring dogs and their humans closer together, and will have you hugging your dog a little tighter.
The Finger Lakes
Located in upstate New York, the Finger Lakes is a collection of 11 freshwater lakes and lots of dog-friendly resort towns. Most people come to the Finger Lakes to enjoy the excellent restaurants, wineries, and boating spots. Several of the area’s wineries and breweries allow well-behaved pets to visit, as do many of the beaches and local marinas. For nice dog-friendly hikes and views of nearly 20 waterfalls, check out nearby Watkins Glen State Park, also on our list.
Herring Cove is a popular beach in Provincetown, and a favorite among dog owners. The well-maintained bike path that leads to the beach is a nice place for a stroll, while the beach itself is absolutely huge. You won’t have any trouble finding a spot for you and your dog here! Dogs must be leashed at all times, but are more than welcome in the water and near the beachfront restaurants.
Huntingdon State Park
If you’re looking for a dog-friendly place to hike and enjoy nature, but don’t necessarily love all the crowds that come with the more popular parks, check out Huntingdon State Park. This off-the-beaten-track park offers visitors more than 1,000 acres of fields, wooded areas, ponds, and trails that are welcoming to both humans and dogs. There are even some nice picnicking areas, so pack a lunch.
Inn by the Sea
Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Like humans, dogs occasionally just need to get away for some relaxation, and at Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, relaxing is exactly what you both can do. Dogs are pampered here! They can enjoy the boardwalk on a walk, laze on the patio while you have a drink or enjoy a meal, and even head to the beach during the off-season. Even the rooms are pet-friendly, with dog beds and blankets that provide a nice place to rest when your dog isn’t out exploring all the beauty that Cape Elizabeth has to offer. Best of all, Inn by the Sea does not limit dogs based on breed or size, so any well-behaved canine family member is welcome!
Kennebunkport in Maine is yet another charming and historic New England town that loves dogs. Those traveling with dogs shouldn’t have too much trouble finding dog-friendly restaurants and accommodations here. Speaking of food, both humans and dogs are sure to enjoy the Doggy and Me Tour from Maine Foodie Tours. The tour includes five different spots in town, and each one offers tasty treats. To get a little sense of history, bring your leashed dog to the Seashore Trolley Museum, where your dog can take a ride in a restored streetcar.
Lake George, New York
There are tons of fun dog-friendly activities in and around Lake George, New York, including hiking, camping, boating, swimming, and cycling. But for a unique, totally dog-centered getaway, consider joining a Canine Camp Getaway retreat at Roaring Brook Ranch. This pet-friendly resort offers lots of activities that anyone with two legs or four is sure to enjoy. Aimed at the latter are things like agility sports, doggie swimming pools, and even dog-human bonding classes.
Lake Placid, New York
On your family vacation to New York’s Adirondacks, consider making dog-friendly Lake Placid your home base. Whether you’re here to bike, fish, hike, or just relax, your dog can do it with you! There are tons of lakes and trails in the area, including Mirror Lake, which has a stunning 2.5-mile paved trail perfect for strolling and enjoying the view. If you need a place to stay, you can’t beat Lake Placid Lodge. Located within sight of both water and mountains, the lodge welcomes all well-mannered dogs.
Lehigh Gorge State Park
Extending from White Haven to Jim Thorpe is the gorgeous Lehigh Gorge State Park. Dozens of trails run through the whole park, but the most popular for dog owners is almost certainly the Lehigh Tannery Trail, which follows the Lehigh River through historic sites and lots of stunning scenery. The path is wide, flat, and well maintained by the local department of conservation and resources, and in addition to dogs, accommodates walkers, joggers, cyclists, and even cross-country skiers.
The charming and historic town of Marblehead, Massachusetts is sure to provide lots of fun for both humans and dogs. Just the drive there is stunning, with views of water, boats, and the shorelines of nearby towns like Beverley and Manchester-by-the-Sea. Grab a leash, take your dog for a walk along the shore, or even rent a boat. To get some hiking in, head to nearby Chandler Hovey Park, which one Yelp reviewer calls “a little piece of heaven on earth.” The park welcomes well-behaved leashed dogs, and makes for a great place to walk, picnic, or just relax near some water views.
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park is more than just views and hiking trails — though there are plenty of those too! This unique park is the only one in the country to recap the history of land stewardship and farming in America, and you and your dog can visit an actual working dairy farm that looks delightfully historic and picturesque.
If you’re thinking about heading to Nantucket, there’s no need to think twice about bringing the four-legged members of the family along. Nantucket is incredibly dog friendly, with quite a few restaurants and accommodations welcoming to canines. Take a walk along the Milestone Cranberry Bogs, enjoy a meal on Cisco Brewers’ outdoor patio, or visit the beach! Nantucket has tons of dog-friendly beaches, including the large semi-secluded Steps Beach and Nobadeer Beach.
Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum
Rio Grande, New Jersey
On-leash pets are welcome to join their families at the fascinating Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum in Rio Grande, New Jersey. Take a tour of the 92,000-square foot historic hangar, and stand in awe before the more than 26 aircraft on site. Dogs are welcome the whole way, including the many interesting exhibition rooms. Just don’t forget your camera — you’ll want it!
Newport, Rhode Island
When the whole family is in need of a beach getaway, consider Newport, Rhode Island. Besides being a great place to relax and recharge, it’s totally dog friendly! To stretch your dog’s legs, take the stunning 3.5-mile Cliff Walk, one of the most popular attractions in town. The path is easy to navigate for any sized dog (or human), and offers views of the ocean on one side and grand mansions on the other. Other great dog-friendly places in town include Bellevue Avenue, Ocean Drive, Brenton Beach State Park, Goat Island, and the nearby Fort Adams State Park.
Cumru Township, Pennsylvania
This 665-acre woodland located in Berks County, Pennsylvania is a great place to take your dog for a day of hiking. The beautiful Tudor-style mansion that sits in the middle of the forest was built by the son of the park’s founder, and is worth a peek and a photo op at the lush gardens surrounding the house. But the true gems of Nolde Forest are, of course, the trails. Leashed dogs are free to join you on any of them, though we recommend checking out North Pond for its stunning scenery which includes an old sawmill and the pretty Painted Turtle Pond.
Located near Woodstock in Quechee, Vermont, is the Quechee Gorge. Known as “Vermont’s Grand Canyon,” this dog-friendly destination offers stunning views of the titular gorge, plus forest areas and waterfalls, that you won’t want to miss. There are plenty of trail options you can take to reach the bottom of the gorge, plus side trails that head to the dam overlook and Dewey’s Mill Pond.
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware makes for a great family-friendly destination, especially during the warm summer months. The small town is incredibly dog friendly, and offers quite a few hotels and campsites that welcome canine guests. Dogs are allowed on any unguarded beach, even during the summer, while plenty of pathways and trails in and around town make for nice walks. Come evening, take your dog with you to the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand for “Cinema by the Surf,” a family-friendly outdoor movie experience.
Rock Creek Regional Park
Besides being a nice place to picnic or enjoy a hike, Rock Creek Regional Park in Maryland is home to the 75-acre Lake Needwood. This dog-friendly place is the perfect destination on a hot summer day. The lake rents out kayaks, rowboats, canoes, and pedal boats, each of which allows dogs to come along for the ride. Enjoy the sand on the beach, or substitute the leash for a doggy life jacket and jump in the water — sounds good to us!
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
Sleepy Hollow, New York
It might seem odd that we’ve included a cemetery on our list of the best dog-friendly places in the Northeast, but hear us out. This particular cemetery is the one made famous by Washington Irving in his classic “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Besides just being a nice place to take a dog for a walk — the graveyard’s setting is in a beautiful wooded area — it also happens to be an interesting place. A number of influential people have been buried here including Irving himself, Andrew Carnegie, Elizabeth Arden, William Rockefeller, and Walter P. Chrysler, among others.
Whether summer or winter, Stowe, Vermont makes for a great destination for the whole family. If you’re in need of dog-friendly accommodations, look no further than Topnotch, a 120-acre spa and resort that has been known to go above and beyond for its canine guests. Stowe Recreational Path is a 5.2-mile paved walking path that’s nice for stretching your legs, whether you have four or two. Plus, you can follow it into town for the nice assortment of dog-friendly restaurants, or to Stowe’s Quiet Path, a lovely green space where dogs are allowed to run off leash.
Walkway Over the Hudson
Poughkeepsie, New York and Highland, New York
The Hudson Valley attracts millions of tourists a year, and there is no shortage of things to do here. But one especially dog-friendly activity we recommend is the Walkway over the Hudson. At 1.28 miles long and 212 feet high, it’s the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world. Grab the leash, the bicycle, the rollerblades, or even just a comfy pair of walking shoes and make the trek across. Just don’t forget to look down and around for stunning views of the Hudson below and the lush trees and greenery to all sides.
Watkins Glen State Park
Watkins Glen, New York
Watkins Glen State Park is a great dog-friendly destination located on the southernmost edge of Seneca Lake. It is chock-full of stunning scenery, though unfortunately, the most popular Gorge Trail is not safe for dogs and therefore prohibits them. But don’t let that put a damper on your time in this beautiful park. There are plenty of other scenic dog-friendly trails, including the Indian Trail and South Rim Trail, both of which overlook the gorge. Note that a veterinary certificate is required as evidence that your dog has received his rabies vaccination.