Featured Stories & Articles from Cape Cod Travel Magazine: Doggin’ It: The Pet-Friendly Vacation
Many pet owners are so devoted to their pets they wouldn’t dream of leaving them behind when they go on vacation. Luckily, traveling with animals has never been easier on Cape Cod.
There are far more pet-friendly accommodations on Cape Cod than in previous years, but each of them have different rules and requirements. You should always inform the hotel or inn where you’ll be staying that you are bringing your pet along, even if they advertise as pet-friendly, because many places have a limited number of pet-friendly rooms available.
Most pet-friendly accommodations prefer that you don’t leave your pet alone in the room, but there are usually exceptions for well-behaved pets. “If people have a cell phone and they’re just going out to dinner and they’re willing to come back if there’s a problem we might allow it,” says Milton Kelley, manager of Green Harbor Waterfront Lodging in East Falmouth. Of course, owners should always be cautious about leaving a pet unattended, especially in a strange place.
At Green Harbor they have a once-a-week campfire down on the beach with guitar playing and singing.
“People come down with their dogs,” Kelley says. “Our beach is a boating area, not a swimming area, so the dogs can swim down there.” Sounds like doggie heaven, doesn’t it?
The Sandwich Lodge and Resort has six-and-a-half acres of open grassy areas for guests to play with their pets. General Manager Rita Patel says being pet-friendly has resulted in a lot of regular clients, allowing the resort’s staff to get to really know their guests, even the furry ones. Their website has all the details and includes a list of local attractions that welcome pets.
Donna McLaughlin, owner of Uptown Dog Cape Cod in Falmouth, which sells everything from gourmet pet treats to gifts for pet lovers, started a second business, Dog About Town Pet Care, to fulfill the many requests for walking services. Employees visit area hotels and cottages to feed pets and take them for walks.
At the Lamb and Lion Inn in Barnstable, they actually offer an in-house pet sitting service similar to hiring a babysitter. The pet sitter stays in the room to keep the pet company. “Our guests who travel with their dogs really just love their dogs,” says Tom Dott, co-owner of the Lamb and Lion Inn. “Most of the time they’re taking their dog with them because they want to spend really good quality time with them and they want to run them on the beach.”
Most beaches allow dogs from mid-September until shortly before Memorial Day and there are plenty of other places that welcome pets. The Lamb and Lion Inn has prepared self-guided driving tours for guests with dogs that take all of the work out of planning activities by providing information on places that welcome the family Fido.
“We have a driving tour, for instance, of the Route 6A corridor and we point out all of the beaches, hiking trails, parks, and restaurants that are pet-friendly so we keep them busy all day long,” Dott says.
If you’re going to travel with your pet, make sure your dog it is safely secured with a seatbelt harness or well secured crate. “There are a lot of different products to choose from,” says Katrina Boucher, owner of The Cape Cod Dog in Eastham, a full-service pet store that specializes in holistic food and pet products.
Boucher also recommends buying a pet “diaper bag,” many of which come with travel bowls and different compartments to accommodate bottled water, food, medications, and a pet first aid kit, along with items like self-adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, burn cream, pet-friendly sunscreen and a can of pumpkin for digestive upset.
No pet vacation on the Cape would be complete without a trip to Provincetown, winner of a recent DogTown USA competition in Dog Fancy Magazine. Provincetown has a beautiful one acre dog park, with a separate small dog section, where several local artists have created sculptures and whimsically decorated hydrants. The park is named the Pilgrim Bark Park in homage to the English Mastiff and English Springer Spaniel that were recorded as passengers on the Mayflower, whose first stop was Provincetown.
But dogs are not just confined to the park. “Pretty much everything that you want to do (in Provincetown) is pet friendly,” says Candace Nagle, president of the Provincetown Dog Park Association. “This is a dog-crazy town.”
Nagle cannot think of a business that doesn’t allow dogs in and most even give biscuits. All of the association’s charter businesses are pet-friendly so you can take your dog on a whale watch or go parasailing with Fifi by your side. You can dine at outdoor cafés and there is a three-tiered dog/person water fountain on the lawn of the newly renovated town hall.
Provincetown’s three miles of town beaches have off-leash beach and trail rights where dogs can run free in the morning and early evening in the high season and from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. in the offseason.
“We have over thirty pet-friendly accommodations, (all of which are listed at www.provincetowndogpark.com) so you can visit our website and see different price ranges, different types of accommodations, and then go to their websites,” Nagle says. “We also have a list of many of the pet friendly activities.”
Another great resource for visitors traveling with their pets can be found on the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce’s website at www.capecodchamber.org. Simply click on ‘where to stay’ and then, from the drop-down menu under ‘type’, select ‘pet-friendly’ and you’ll instantly be presented with dozens of area hotels and inns that are happy to accommodate you and your furry friend during your stay on the Cape.
For Additional Information:
Green Harbor Waterfront Lodging
134 Acapesket Rd., East Falmouth
Sandwich Lodge & Resort
54 Rte. 6A, Sandwich
Uptown Dog Cape Cod
143 Main St., Falmouth
Lamb and Lion Inn
2504 Rte. 6A, Barnstable
The Cape Cod Dog:
3 Main St., Unit 1, Eastham
Pilgrim Bark Park
Intersection of Route 6 and Shank Painter Rd., Provincetown
12 Industrial Park Road, West Yarmouth
If you would like to hop over to one of the Islands to do some sightseeing, Hy-Line Cruises, which sails from Hyannis Harbor, allows pets and travels to Nantucket year-round and to Martha’s Vineyard from early May through the end of October. The Steamship Authority, out of Hyannis and Woods Hole, is also pet-friendly and offers year-round daily service to both islands.