Summer vacations to dog-friendly Nantucket are much more than a trip to the beach. This little island is the quintessential New England escape, complete with a charming and picturesque town, rich history and proud nautical culture. Memorial Day to Labor Day is peak season on the island. The weather is mild enough for dog-friendly outdoor patios at most restaurants to be open, and swimming in the ocean isn’t too chilly. Bring Fido to explore the pet-friendly dining and shopping along the cobblestone streets of Nantucket town, take an unforgettable sailing excursion in the waters off Cape Cod and, of course, enjoy plenty of beach time. Read up on tick prevention and awareness before you go, because deer ticks are found all over the island.
Posted by Erin Ballinger
1 p.m. Nantucket by Land, Sea & Air
Bring Fido by air or sea to beautiful Nantucket Island. Start off your adventure with a flight from Hyannis or Boston on Cape Air with your dog for a modest $30 pet fee. Only one pet is allowed per aircraft, so advance preparations are key. If your pup would rather float than fly, dogs ride free to Nantucket on the Steamship Authority’s high-speed ferry and on Hy-Line Cruises.
Once Fido’s paws are on the ground, one of the best ways to get around the island is by Jeep. Your pup will love feeling the wind in his fur while you explore Nantucket in one of Young’s Bicycle Shop’s dog-friendly 4x4 Jeep rentals. While you’re there, rent a bike and a dog-friendly Burley Trailer in which Fido can ride! An added perk: Young’s doesn’t charge any additional fees for your pet. If you don’t feel like driving, you can always catch The Wave, Nantucket’s pet-friendly public bus service.
3 p.m. The Cottages at Nantucket Boat Basin
Check in at one of The Cottages at Nantucket Boat Basin’s pet-friendly “Woof Cottages.” Located along Swain’s Wharf and Straight Wharf, these cottages open their doors to dogs and cats from mid-April through October for an additional $45 fee per night. Your pup will be given a personalized collar tag with his name and the hotel’s information, a squeaky lobster toy (this is New England, after all), waste bags and a bag of gourmet dog treats. Fido will even be pampered with “Doggy Turndown” service on the second night of your stay! Pups are also welcome to ride on The Cottages at Nantucket Boat Basin’s complimentary beach shuttle. Nightly rates from $225.
5 p.m. Sand and a Sandbar at Jetties Beach
Once you’ve unpacked and relaxed, make your way to Jetties Beach, which welcomes leashed dogs before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m., or whenever lifeguards aren’t present. Walk in the Nantucket sand and swim in the Atlantic surf with Fido.
After you’ve played on the beach, dine at Sandbar at Jetties Beach, which offers dog-friendly beachside picnic tables from May to October. Sip on a frozen cocktail (try the Frosé!) while you browse the menu featuring oysters and clams from the raw bar, fish tacos, hot dogs, burgers and lobster dinners. Fido will be treated to a bowl of local tap water while you enjoy the food and the view of the sunset over Nantucket Sound.
8 p.m. Jack and Charlie’s Ice Cream
Stop by Straight Wharf on your way back to The Cottages to buy frozen treats at Jack and Charlie’s Ice Cream for you and your pup. The ice cream shop offers more than 25 flavors, including exotic options like Sea Salt Caramel Swirl and Irish Cream. Choosing your favorite may be the hardest decision you’ll make on this trip. Order your pup a scoop of vanilla and it will be garnished with a Milk Bone!
7 a.m. Children’s Beach
Wake up bright and early to get in some more beach time before 9 a.m. with Fido. Children’s Beach is located at the end of Harbor View Way, just a 10-minute walk from the hotel. Pack a frisbee for a game of catch on the grassy lawn, swim in the cool water, or just chill out and work on your tan while your dog digs in the sand.
9 a.m. Breakfast at Black-Eyed Susan’s
Just a 10-minute walk away from Children’s Beach, Black-Eyed Susan’s serves hearty breakfasts to locals and tourists. It’s a busy and popular spot, so expect to wait for a coveted dog-friendly outdoor table (there are only a couple). Choose from the restaurant’s popular buttermilk pancakes topped with real maple syrup, huevos rancheros, or a build-your-own omelet. Buy your good dog an egg for breakfast for just $3.
11 a.m. Bartlett’s Farm
Bring Fido to Bartlett’s Farm, Nantucket's oldest and largest family-owned farm. The farm sells fresh locally grown vegetables, flowers and plants. The on-site Farm Kitchen offers prepared foods like salads, grilled meats and veggies, and sandwiches. In the summer months, the farm serves up a lobster feast for $31.99 that includes a cracked 1.25-pound lobster, steamed potatoes, corn and melted butter which can be packed to take with you on a picnic.
12 p.m. Picnic at Tupancy Links
Tupancy Links is a 73-acre grassland conservancy area with off-leash dirt and gravel trails that are popular with dogs and their owners. Many locals consider Tupancy Links, formerly a 9-hole golf course, to be Nantucket’s unofficial dog park. Scout out the perfect spot to enjoy your picnic lunch with your pup while enjoying an amazing view of Nantucket Harbor and the island’s north shore.
2 p.m. Sailing With Your Furry Friend
Getting out on the water is the perfect way to experience the Cape. Grab Fido’s life vest and head to Straight Wharf to charter a dog-friendly boat tour with Endeavor Sailing Excursions. Captain Jim Genthner will take you out for a 1- to 1.5-hour cruise and share his knowledge of the area. Dogs are always welcome for no additional fee on private charters. Call ahead for charter pricing.
5 p.m. It’s 5 o’Clock in Nantucket
Go to Cisco Brewers for a couple of Whale’s Tale Pale Ales with your pup. This pet-friendly Nantucket hotspot houses a brewery, Triple 8 Distillery and Nantucket Vineyard. It boasts three individual outdoor areas offering tastings and beer, artisanal vodkas and wines by the glass. In the center, there’s a bustling courtyard with lawn games like cornhole, live music every day at 4:30 p.m. and food trucks.
8 p.m. Dinner at Easy Street Cantina
Back in Downtown Nantucket on Broad Street, Easy Street Cantina is home to two popular eateries: Joe’s Broad Street Grill and Tacos Tacos. Sit with your dog at one of the several outdoor tables shaded by umbrellas for a casual dinner. It will be a struggle to make the tough decision between the American and Tex-Mex fare on the menu. Whether you choose the bean burrito, fried scallops platter or cheesesteak sandwich, Fido will beg for your leftovers!
After your meal, head back to your cozy cottage. You’ll sleep well with a full belly after all of the day’s adventures.
8 a.m. Breakfast at Island Kitchen
Spend your last morning in Nantucket sipping freshly squeezed orange juice (with or without vodka or sparkling wine) on the pet-friendly patio at Island Kitchen. This Nantucket gem will be your pup’s favorite because they serve doggie ice cream at the restaurant’s ice cream and donut counter. Fido will love lapping up the frozen treat made with peanut butter, honey, yogurt and bananas while you decide between the Spicy Shrimp Scramble or Panko-Crusted Eggs Benedict.
10 a.m. Off-Leash Fun in the Sun at Nobadeer Beach
Catch some rays at this dog-friendly beach with a wide coastline. Fido can run and play off leash at any time of day year round at Nobadeer Beach. It can get a bit noisy due to its close proximity to the airport, but your pup won’t mind! Dogs should be under voice control at all times and you’ll need to clean up after your pet.
1 p.m. Something Natural
Once you’ve gotten your fill of all of the delicious fried foods Nantucket has to offer, head over to Something Natural for a healthy lunch. Dogs are allowed to join you in the lush backyard seating area while you dine on a crisp salad or sandwich (try the lobster roll!) made with freshly baked bread. Before you go, buy some fresh chocolate chip cookies for yourself and some Harold’s Dog Treats for Fido for the trip back home.
2 p.m. Shopping Downtown
For the pawfect souvenir for your pet, check out Cold Noses. Located on Straight Wharf, this boutique specializes in Nantucket-themed collars, leashes and distinctive pet accessories. Dogs are welcome inside, so Fido can try on a few different colored collars before you buy. Continue your shopping spree with your dog along Straight Wharf toward Main Street at Vineyard Vines and The Black Dog General Store, where you can purchase clothing for the whole family in addition to new gear for your pup.
4 p.m. Depart with a Dog-Tired Fido
Your pup should be relaxed for the trip home after your jam-packed weekend filled with fun along the cobblestone streets of the wharves, out on the Cape, and on the dog-friendly beaches of beautiful Nantucket.
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