Cape cod national seashore dog rules apply for all of the seashore beaches: Stay Leashed, Clean up waste, and stay off of closed areas.

dog-friendly guide to the cape cod national seashore beaches

The Cape Cod National Seashore are the most dog-friendly beaches on Cape Cod. The National Seashore’s dog rules allow pets throughout the summer, although access frequently gets restricted due to nesting shorebirds.

The National Seashore’s sprawling sand dunes frame endless stretches of white sand under the crashing power of the Atlantic ocean. The beaches are perfect for long dog walks, sunbathing, surfing, fishing for striped bass, and endless rounds of fetching a tennis ball from the surf.

In this articles we’ll discuss the cape cod national seashore dog rules and show you the best places to go to plan your vacation.

A cute dog lays in the sand at race point beach in provincetown.

cape cod national seashore dog rules

Here are the cape cod national seashore beaches dog rules and regulations:

  • Dogs are allowed beyond the lifeguard protected sections of the beach.
  • Dogs are required to remain leashed. Leashes should be 6 feet or less. Tickets are given to violators, so be aware.
  • Pets are not allowed in areas closed to nesting shorebirds (which happens at most of the National Seashore beaches during the summer).
  • Clean up all dog poop!

To learn more about the Cape Cod National Seashore dog rules or to view current beach closures check out the National Seashore’s dogs information page.

Nugget the puggle enjoys a nice cold piece of watermelon on race point beach. All of the cape cod national seashore beaches allow dogs but access is often restricted during the summer.
Nugget the puggle enjoys a nice cold piece of watermelon on race point beach. All of the cape cod national seashore beaches allow dogs but access is often restricted during the summer.

cape cod national seashore beaches

Seven public beaches are included in the cape cod national seashore, located on the “great backside beach” of the cape cod coastline.

The cape cod national seashore has been a part of our U.S. national park system since 1961. John F. Kennedy’s vision has preserved much of the beauty of the outer cape from the over-commercialization seen elsewhere, and has rewarded cape beach dogs with miles of the most beautiful dog-friendly beaches in the world.

race point beach, cape cod national seashore
race point beach, part of the cape cod national seashore which was created by John F. Kennedy in 1961.

coast guard beach in Eastham is the southern-most Cape Cod National seashore beach.. Coast guard Beach often makes
“top-10 beaches in the U.S.” lists. The parking lot washed away years ago so now there’s a shuttle bus that brings you from a more distant lot. No dogs allowed on it though, so you’ll need to walk if you bring your pet with you.


nauset light beach in eastham is the next beach you’ll come to as you drive up Route 6 towards Provincetown. The wooden staircase providing beach access here washed away in a storm again, affecting the parking situation and where you walk onto the beach. Nauset Light Beach’s parking lot was already small to begin with, so plan on getting here early during the peak summer season or you’ll get shut out.


marconi beach in wellfleet has a much larger parking lot and should have spaces all day long. In recent years dog access at Marconi has been allowed on one side of the protected beach. The beach is very long and there’s usually lots of cool dogs to play with.


COAST GUARD ROAD BEACH IN NORTH TRURO isn’t technically the National Seashore; you need a Town of Truro beach sticker to park in the small parking lot. But if you have the National Seashore ORV sticker you can drive on this beach at night to fish.


head of the meadow beach in north truro has a big parking lot and usually it’s less crowed then the other National Seashore beaches. But in recent years it usually completely shuts down to pets due to nesting piping plovers. Definitely check the National Seashore’s dogs page to see if it’s open before trying to visit in the summer with your dog.


race point beach in provincetown is a really fun beach to take your dog. When it’s not closed to pets for the nesting birds. In recent years the whole beach has been restricted for dogs, and miles of ORV trails get shut down as well. Not ideal. But it’s known as one of the best beaches in the world for a reason, and is the ideal day trip.


herring cove beach is the final Seashore beach. There’s a huge parking lot, snack bar, bathroom and (cold water) showers and a changing area. Most years dogs are allowed to the south side of the parking lot (to the left if you’re looking at the water). Since most other cape cod beaches have rules that don’t allow dogs in the summer, herring cove is usually packed with dogs.

beach fence lines the path at head of the meadow beach in truro
a weathered beach fence lines the path at head of the meadow beach in truro. watch for poison ivy!

cape cod national seashore visitor centers

The Cape Cod National Seashore park is split into 2 sections: the south region and the north region. There is a visitor center in each region: Salt Marsh visitor center in Eastham next to coast guard beach, and Provincelands visitor center in Provincetown at race point beach.

Cape Cod National seashore visitor centers are the perfect place to initiate newcomers to the recreational possibilities that the National Seashore has to offer. Pick up a copy of the national seashore information publication to learn about guided beach and trail tours, great dog walks, kayak tours, oceanfront yoga, and other activities available to visitors.


cape cod national seashore dog rules

The Cape Cod National Seashore beaches all share the same dog rules and regulations:

  • Dogs are allowed beyond the lifeguard protected sections of the beach.
  • Dogs are required to remain leashed. Leashes should be 6 feet or less. Tickets are given to violators, so be aware.
  • Pets are not allowed in areas closed to nesting shorebirds (which happens at most of the National Seashore beaches during the summer).

An unwritten rule is to watch out for ticks! They’re everywhere on Cape Cod, including on beach paths and beach grass. Learn more about ticks on Cape Cod.

To learn more about the Cape Cod National Seashore dog rules or to view current beach closures check out the National Seashore’sΒ dogs information page.

monty at the national seashore's coast guard road beach
monty grabbing a rest under an umbrella at the national seashore’s coast guard road beach in truro.

piping plovers and nesting shorebirds on the cape cod national seashore

Dogs are prohibited in areas closed to nesting shorebirds such as terns and piping plover. these areas will be clearly posted.

Occasionally entire stretches of national seashore beaches on Cape Cod are closed to dogs due to piping plover nests (or entire parking lots, which happened in 2011 at Head of the Meadow Beach).

If you’re traveling a great distance to visit a specific national seashore beach, you may wish to telephone ahead during the summer months to make sure that your preferred beach is open.

learn more at the national park service’s piping plover webpage


cape cod national seashore parking fee info

The national park service has made access to the seashore affordable to all visitors. A day’s pass is $15, but $45 will purchase a season-long pass for a car. If you are over 65 you are eligible for a lifetime national parks pass for $10 which grants access to you and all passengers in your car. There are also free weekends at the beginning and end of each season.

national seashore parking fees help pay for bathroom faciliites like this one at herring cove beach in provincetown

The money from sticker fees is directed back to the beach and provides the bathrooms, changing rooms, outdoor showers, lifeguards and rangers that keep the park safe, clean and enjoyable for the thousands of visitors who enjoy the unspoiled cape cod shore each year.

would you like to share pictures of your dog playing on cape cod national seashore beaches? please email us

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