Coming to Provincetown with your canine companion? Great! Your dog is going to have just as much fun here as you will. He or she is the most welcome of visitors, as you’ll see when you first walk down Commercial Street. Some days it seems that we have more dogs than humans … not that there’s anything wrong with that!
In fact, it’s such a special place for dogs that Dog Fancy magazine named Provincetown the most dog-friendly town in the United States; its editor notes that “it is remarkable to have an entire town where virtually every establishment opens its doors to dogs—even the bank.”
Getting here to dog town isn’t a problem. Both ferry services allow leashed dogs, the airline allows kenneled dogs, and the daily bus from Boston allows service animals, and many of the lodging establishments are pet friendly, but first let’s get back to basics. I have to start with a confession: I didn’t realize what being a minority really meant until I moved to Provincetown and found myself a cat person in what is clearly a dog world. Yikes! So since I don’t have any first-hand knowledge of where the cool dogs hang out, I’ve enlisted the help of an expert: Samantha, my friend Priscilla Sample’s six-year old Samoyed and very much a Local Dog, has kindly offered to help.
Samantha’s first stop, she tells me, is the one-acre-large Pilgrim Bark Park, which is exactly what you might expect from a dog park in Provincetown: artsy, creative and fun. There’s a special section for smaller dogs (Samantha sniffs in disgust at this, since she’s not permitted to romp there, weighing in as she does at 60 pounds!), and an amazing number of fire hydrants for easy bathroom breaks. The dog park was rated the second-best dog park in the US by Dog Fancy, and there’s nearly always someone there to play with, Samantha tells me, and even lots of nice people who often carry great treats with them. There’s a water fountain and lots of seating for the humans as well.
Like most local residents, there’s nothing that Samantha likes to do more than hang out in a local café or restaurant; and there are a lot of them in town that are pet-friendly in designated outside areas. Check online or call ahead when making reservations (um, you were going to make reservations, right?).
After a snack and a bowl of refreshing water, it’s time to head out again in search of adventure. And adventure is right around the corner at one of the same places you’ve come to Ptown to hang out … the beach!
Let’s begin with the Cape Cod National Seashore, which comprises much of the area around Provincetown and contains some of the most beautiful beaches in the northeast. And the Seashore, as it’s known locally, is very pet-friendly, as long as you observe some basic rules that make the beaches pleasurable for everybody. (Besides, Samantha is quick to point out, there’s nothing more annoying than someone else’s misbehaving dog!)
The first and most important rule for happy dogs at the Seashore: keep your dog on a leash. The second rule is: keep your dog on a leash. The third … well, you get my drift. Leashed dogs are permitted on fire roads, freshwater ponds, beaches that are unprotected by lifeguards, and certain other trails between certain dates (the Seashore staff will be happy to give you more specifics). They’re not permitted wherever indicated by Seashore signage and in areas where shorebirds are nesting.
But those aren’t the only beaches in town … in fact, you may want to visit the town beaches! The advantage here is that between six and nine, morning and night, you and your dog can enjoy some unleashed time together. Town beaches are great places to throw a Frisbee, romp in and out of the water (your dog may even let you come along!), have a run together, maybe even meet up with some canine friends you encountered at the dog park.
Another great feature of the town beaches is that many of them supply you with bags for cleaning up after your dog (de rigueur, of course, at both Seashore and town beaches); put a couple in your pocket to take with you as you walk around town, too.
Samantha is tugging at her leash now, so it seems it’s time to move on. Almost every visitor to Provincetown needs to spend some of their vacation on the water, and your dog is no exception. A special boating service allows for private cruises for a few people and their dogs. Samantha highly recommends a sunset cruise, unequaled in beauty … and reminds you not to forget the doggie treats!
Walking around town with your dog is pure fun, as just about everybody you see—human or canine—will want to say hello. It’s comfortable, too, as many shops put out water bowls for dogs, and there’s a water fountain in front of Town Hall. And of course, should you require veterinary or pet-sitting services, we have those too, along with a special doggie resort for those few times when you need some privacy from your dog.
If you’ve read this far, and you aren’t bringing a canine companion with you to Provincetown, then obviously your subconscious is telling you something! Provincetown is a wonderful place to fall in love, be it with a person or a pet, and our local no-kill animal shelter might just be able to match you up with the dog or cat of your dreams. Think about taking someone special home with you from Provincetown.
If you’re visiting in September, there’s a special pet festival that’s not just for dogs (take that, Samantha!): the Pet Appreciation Weekend, featuring pet parades, a pet tea dance, competitions, and more. And of course you know that while you’re shopping for yourself, there are plenty of places in town to buy that special something for your special canine someone—you wouldn’t expect anything else from dog-friendly Provincetown!
Samantha’s yawning; I think she’s had enough of being a guide dog for now. Come visit us soon; and if you see a gorgeous white Samoyed around town … stop by and say hello, since you’ve already met!