Pets at Cape Cod National Seashore

A person walks on the beach at sunrise with a leashed dog

NPS Photo

Pets are great companions for enjoying the out-of-doors. However, bringing your pet to Cape Cod National Seashore beaches during the summer season requires extra planning. Please consult the website or stop by a visitor center to review pet restrictions before your visit. Note that regulations and temporary or seasonal closures that apply to the six national seashore beaches may vary from regulations at town beaches. Please check with towns about their respective regulations; see links, below.

Where they are allowed, pets must be on a 6' leash at all times, and important restrictions apply. Clean up and pack out all pet waste. It's important to respect wildlife and share the shore!

Learn about our B.A.R.K. Ranger program!

 

Recurring Seasonal Pet Closures

The following seasonal pet closures are in effect annually April 1 through October 15 to protect nesting and staging shorebirds:

  • Coast Guard Beach in Eastham (to the right of pedestrian access as you are facing the water)
  • Nauset Marsh in Eastham
  • Jeremy Point (Great Island) in Wellfleet
  • Hatches Harbor in Provincetown (marsh and spit)
  • Herring Cove in Provincetown (northwest - to the right of the parking lots when looking at the water)

Additional Pet Closures

Due to the unpredictable nature of nesting and staging shorebirds, additional pet closures beyond the recurring seasonal pet closures are needed. Pet closures are subject to change daily. This page will be updated when the status of pets on the six national seashore-managed beaches changes. Always follow posted signage on beaches.

Updated 6/17/22

  • Coast Guard Beach: OPEN to leashed pets to the LEFT of pedestrian access.
  • Nauset Light Beach: OPEN to leashed pets.
  • Marconi Beach: OPEN to leashed pets to the right of the stairs. CLOSED to pets to the left of the stairs.
  • Head of the Meadow Beach: CLOSED to pets.
  • Race Point Beach: CLOSED to pets.
  • Herring Cove Beach: CLOSED to pets.
 

Where leashed pets are permitted parkwide:

  • Doane Trail in Eastham and Pilgrim Spring Trail in Truro.
  • Head of the Meadow Bicycle Trail year round and Province Lands and Nauset bike trails, November 1-April 30;
  • Freshwater ponds within Cape Cod National Seashore (beaches and water), October 16-May 14;
  • All fire roads within Cape Cod National Seashore;
  • Cape Cod National Seashore ocean beaches except as follows:
    • During the summer, pets are not permitted on lifeguard-protected beaches. However, leashed pets are permitted to pass through lifeguard protected areas to reach areas where they may otherwise be allowed. If there are shorebird closures on or beyond lifeguard-protected beaches, pets are not allowed to walk through.
    • During shorebird nesting, staging, and migrating periods (late-March-mid-October), pets are not permitted in posted locations. Walking pets in these areas is prohibited 24/7.
 
Image of a sign on the beach advising no pets

Where pets are not permitted:

  • All walking trails except for Doane and Pilgrim Spring; check signs and at visitor centers for exceptions;

  • Nauset and Province Lands bike trails, May 1-October 31;

  • Fresh water ponds within Cape Cod National Seashore (beaches and water), May 15-October 15;

  • Areas where certain shorebirds nest, especially the piping plover, a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Birds may abandon nests when they perceive threats or are disturbed. These areas are posted seasonally when prohibition is in effect;

  • On lifeguard-protected beaches during the summer months. However, leashed pets are permitted to pass through lifeguard protected areas to reach areas where they may otherwise be allowed. If there are shorebird closures on or beyond lifeguard-protected beaches, pets are not allowed to walk through;

  • West and Sunset horse trails in the Province Lands;

  • Cape Cod National Seashore trams; working service animals excepted.

 

Remember:

  • Pets must be leash-controlled to prevent them from disturbing people and other pets, from harassing wildlife, and for their own safety.
  • Pick up your pet's fecal matter, remove it, and dispose of it properly.
  • Protection rangers enforce National Park Service pet regulations for the benefit of visitors and the seashore's unique environment. Failure to leash your pet or being in an area closed to pets may result in a fine.
  • Town pet regulations apply to town-managed beaches and town property within the national seashore boundary. Check out each Town's beach website below:

Last updated: June 17, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

99 Marconi Site Road
Wellfleet , MA 02667

Phone:

508-255-3421
To speak to a park ranger, call 508-255-3421 for visitor information.

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