Dog Days of Summer - Dog-Friendly Maine Beaches Your Dog Will Dig

happymestuffThe dog days of summer are here! The busy summer season's reduced beach access hours can be a doggie downer, luckily there are still dog friendly Maine beaches where our beach-loving pups can wag with furry friends, do the doggie paddle and play ball.

Ted catches some early morning dogfriendly hours at Camden's dog-friendly Laite Beach

The Midcoast, has a predominantly rocky shoreline but there are still dog-friendly sandy beaches to sniff out. Greater Portland loves dogs and still serves up dog-friendly beach hours at many of its beaches during the peak summer season. Southern Maine is known as The Maine Beaches region and it is renowned for it's sandy beaches and designated dog-friendly summer beach hours.

Your dog will want to sniff out these dog-friendly beaches from Southern Maine to the Midcoast. Some of them even offer off-leash play benefits just be sure you observe the posted rules your dogs four-paw fun doesn't impact other beach goers or wild life.

Laite Beach Park, Camden - Bay View Street, Camden

This sandy mid coast neighborhood gem is bordered by a sprawling green park with public facilities, picnic tables and barbecues. If you're looking to overnight nearby the luxurious dog-friendly Grand Harbor Inn, The Lord Camden Inn and the newest addition to these sister dog-friendly inn's, 16 Bay View, are all just a short stroll away. Ted felt like a celebrity when we recently stayed at The Lord Camden Inn with his visiting Grandparents. It's the kind of place where every staff member knows your pup's name and you're greeted with lashings of love and cookies. Every morning we strolled through town and over to Laite Beach for a pre-breakfast swim and beach ball.

Parking: Non-metered parking spaces bordering the park.

Summer Dog-Friendly Hours/Restrictions: May 1 to September 30 - dogs are allowed on the beach 6am to 8am and 6pm to 10 pm. Off-leash play allowed with voice control and leash on-hand.

Hendrick's, Southport Island - Beach Rd - Southport Island

This is bow-wow heaven - beach dogs can enjoy all day off-leash play benefits at this long sandy beach with views to Hendrick's Head Light. Depending on the tide, paddle or wade with your pup to Kitten island.

Parking: Take the steep road just past Southport General Store and stay left on Beach Rd. Designated parking by the beach

Summer Dog-Friendly Hours/ Restrictions: Dogs can play off-leash at any time with voice control and a leash on-hand. Follow posted signs. Dog bags provided.

East End Beach, Portland - Cutter St - Eastern Promenade Trail.

Nestled below the grassy slopes of the Eastern Promenade this city beach offers views to Fort Gorges and has off-leash summer play benefits before 9am and after 5pm. The Eastern Trail will bring you back towards the Old Port via the dog-friendly Ocean Gateway Visitor Center. Parking: Designated parking areas off Cutter St and by boat ramp.

Summer Dog-Friendly Hours/Restrictions: Memorial Day to Labor Day - before 9am and after 5pm. Off-leash play permitted with voice control and leash on-hand. Dog bags provided.

Willard Beach, South Portland - Stretches from Fisherman's Point to Southern Maine Community College.

Social dogs dig this spectacular South Portland neighborhood beach with Casco Bay views. Your dog will be pulling you out of bed to get their beach time before 9am and then happy hour extends from 7pm to 9pm so plan a sunset picnic. Your leashed dog might want to wag along the Spring Point Shoreway Trail for a lighthouse selfie with Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse.

Parking: Designated Parking lot on Willow St, off Preble St, South Portland.

Summer Dog-Friendly Hours/ Restrictions: May 1 - September 30 - Dogs permitted - 7am - 9am and 7pm - 9pm. Off-leash play allowed with voice control and leash on-hand. No dogs permitted on beach 9am to 7pm.


Scarborough Beaches - Ferry, Pine Point and Higgins

The Scarborough dog-loving community has lobbied hard to maintain reasonable beach dog hours. Please help us all keep these privileges alive by following the rules. There are restricted areas to help protect the endangered Piper Plover population so be extra mindful of ensuring your dog's off-leash play is managed appropriately. -May 15 to Labor Day - non-restricted areas allow off-leash play - sunrise to 9am with voice control and leash on-hand. On-leash only 5pm to sunset. Follow posted beach signs and respect the restricted beach areas. has the Animal Control Ordinance with the latest updates and you should always read the posted beach signs.

Pine Point Beach - King St, off Pine Point Rd, Scarborough - tongue-hanging views and plenty of sandy shoreline to make a splash.

Parking: Municipal parking is located on Avenue 5 off King St.

Restricted Areas: April 1 to Labor Day - restricted areas for Piping Plovers - from main beach access path and Hurd Park north to the Scarborough River (dogs on leash only). Follow posted signs.

Ferry Beach - Ferry Rd, Scarborough. Take Route 207/Black Point Rd, past Scarborough beach on left and then turn right to Ferry Beach.

With views back over to Pine Point Beach this sandy beach is ripe for beach romps. Western Beach which connects Ferry Beach to the south side of Prout's Neck and is a no go for dogs in summer due to the Piping Plover nesting areas.

Parking: Municipal Parking lot Ferry Road.

Restricted Areas: April 1 to Labor Day - Restricted Areas for Piping Plovers - no dogs allowed on the area of Ferry Beach starting at the south end of municipal parking lot and extending south to Ferry Rock and to the southeast for the full length of Western Beach. Follow restricted area signs.

Higgins Beach - Bayview Ave - from Route 207/ Black Point Rd head south to the intersection of Route 77 and turn left. Turn left on Ocean and follow signs.

A sandy nook of beach near the mouth of the Spurwink River with low-tide views of an old shipwreck.

Parking: Municipal Parking on Ocean Avenue and limited street parking on Bayview Avenue.

Restricted Areas: April 1 to Labor Day: restricted areas for Piping Plovers - No dogs allowed - Champion Street to the Spurwink River.

Saco Town Beaches - Bay View and Kinney Shores

Get ready for sandy pawradise at Saco's Bayview and Kinney Shores Beaches. Beach bum dogs can soak up the sandy vibe all day long and frolic off-leash before 9am and after 5pm. There's not much shade so bring an umbrella, plenty of cold water and punctuate your play with paddle time. Four-paw surfers can ride the waves but watch out for rip-tides. The long sandy stretch links up to Ferry State Park, which is under the Maine State Park rules and unfortunately isn't dog-friendly in summer.

Kennebunk Beaches - Gooch's, Middle and Mother - Beach Avenue, Kennebunk - off routes 9 and 35.

Kennebunk Beaches are renowned for their welcoming dog-loving vibe. You and your beach dog can pick your launch point onto the sandy stretch that extends 1.5 miles along Beach Avenue, from the breakwater at the mouth of The Kennebunk River to Lord's Point. Gooch's Beach is the northern most beach section of The Kennebunk Beach Walk. If you wag south from Gooch's, you'll hit the rocky shoreline of Middle Beach and then the smallest beach, Mother's Beach.Middle and Mother's are dog-friendly but Gooch's is our favorite with it's sandy coastal stretch of over 3000 feet that expands into a wagging wonderland at low-tide. If you fall in love with these beaches - book a room at the dog-friendly Colony Hotel just across the river or head to the nearby Captain Jefferd's Inn. You can pick-up woof-worthy beach supplies at Scalawags in the nearby village.
Parking: Permits required June 15 to September 15 - daily, weekly and seasonal passes are available at Kennebunk Town Hall and the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Centers.
Dog-friendly Summer Hours/Restrictions: June 15 to Labor Day - before 9am and after 5pm. Off-leash play permitted for dogs under voice control - always carry a leash. Dog bags provided.

Long Sands Beach -Long Beach Ave - Route 1A, York.

Long Sands Beach, York - your dog will dig this beach stop. You can clock-up over a mile of Smileage between the villages of York Harbor and York Beach. Early dogs get to play off-leash before 8am and then happy beach hour leashed walks can kick-off at 6pm. During the day, when summer beach dog hours are restricted, you can enjoy beach views from the long board walk or from a picnic table at The Sun and Surf Restaurant.

Parking: Metered parking

Dog-friendly Summer Hours/Restrictions:
May 20 - September 20:
-Sunrise to 8am - off-leash with voice control and leash on-hand.
-8am to 6pm - no dogs on beach
-6pm to sunset - on-leash only.
These rules apply for all York Beaches including: Cape Neddick , Short Sands and Harbor Beach.

Dog-friendly beach hours are a precious privilege that dog-lovers and their furry friends want to hang on to so please be mindful of the rules, respectful of others, realistic of whether your dog has the temperament and recall skills for off-leash play and only leave paw prints.