Top 5 Things I Love About Living in Dog-Friendly Portland, Maine

We're on the threshold of the July 4th weekend and I'm feeling thankful and pawtriotic. I thought I'd do a four-paw salute to the New England town, that won my heart when we moved here 10 years ago - Portland, Maine.

We moved to Portland for the natural beauty, the creative culinary scene, vibrant arts but mostly for my beloved fur-kid, affectionately known as Angel Kaye. Kaye wanted to retire in a town that didn't just welcome dogs but rolled out the red carpet and made her feel like part of the community. Kaye was definitely a dog about town in Portland, she "worked" at Visit Portland's information center and got to know all the tail-wagging spots to hang-out. Kaye's over the rainbow bridge now, but our happy-go-wiggly Labrador Ted gets to continue on her legacy as our dog-friendly ambassador. Yes, life is doggone good in Portland, Maine.

Here's our top five things we love about living in dog-friendly Portland Maine.

1. Dog-Loving Community

Hats off to all the local committed rescue groups and people who generously support their worthy causes. Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland has been a local long-standing advocate for furry friends since 1911. Their original shelter on India Street was funded by Maine's Governor Baxter, who believed that "humanity had an obligation to creatures of the animal kingdom". Each animal in the care of their shelter facilities is "given the time it needs to find a home regardless of its age, color or medical condition until the time it is reunited with its family or adopted into a loving and responsible home". Their motto "everyone deserves a happy home" is a guiding principal.

2. Dog-Friendly Portland Trails and Beaches

Portland Trails has a vast network of wooded trails and coastal paths, that you can traverse with your dog. On a hot day, your dog can dip their paws into a stream, river or the ocean depending on your route. Dog-lovers who dig this trail network should consider paying it forward with a donation or annual membership contribution. We hike these trails all year long and salute Portland Trail's mission.

Even during the dog days of summer the Greater Portland area has plenty of dog-friendly summer hours. Often you need to get up early or hit the beach as sunset approaches but that isn't too ruff. The community of Greater Portland dog-lovers who advocate for maintaining dog-friendly beach privileges deserve a huge round of applause. We all need to be good dog ambassadors so future dogs can follow in our paw prints.

Check-out our HappyME Dog - Lover's Guide to Portland, Maine's Summer Dog-Friendly Beach Hours.

A dogs just gotta have beach time - Bay View Beach, Saco. Follow the posted rules on-leash between 9 and 5pm.

Just 20 minutes from downtown Portland, Maine - Bay View Beach, Saco.

3. Dog-Friendly Casco Bay

No need to leave your dog at home when you head out on Casco Bay for some Island Hoppin'. Casco Bay Lines welcomes good dogs on their ferries to the different islands. Portland Discovery Land and Sea Tours also allows well-behaved dogs to do a scenic lighthouse cruise and soak up a little maritime history.

Read about our Our HappyME Adventures on Casco Bay Lines Dog-Friendly Mail Boat Run.

4. Dog-Friendly Shopping

Portland's historic Old Port District, paved with cobble-stones and brick, is a fun spot to shop and wag around with your dog. The locally-owned Fish and Bone boutique pet-shop on Commercial St welcomes dogs in-store and generously refills cookie cans at shops around the Old Port District. You'll often see dog water bowls outside the different stores. Poke your head in and ask shop-owners if they mind a furry shopper popping in - they'll probably say yes. If you head up the Franklin Arterial from the Old Port, you'll find Planet Dog a Portland dog icon off Marginal Way. They have a spacious dog-store that hosts plenty of dog-friendly socials. The Planet Dog Foundation is a non-profit that helps raise funds for organizations that help people and dogs work together for a better life.

5. Dog-Friendly Dining

Portland has plenty of outdoor dining spots where your dog can hang out for a bite to eat and inhale out the local vibe. Here are three great spots to sniff out. If you see an outdoor dining spot that has street access you'll often find the welcome well-behaved dogs - just ask.

The Porthole Restaurant - Serves up dockside meals all day and lets dogs hang out on the deck.

Portland Lobster Company - welcomes dogs on their deck with live music and a great mix of locals and visitors. Their lobster roll has been voted the best in town.

The dog-friendly Portland Regency Hotel has a garden cafe which is a pawfect place to enjoy a mellow lunch or evening cocktail or meal with your dog. They are also the hosts of the popular Martinis for Mutts dog-friendly fundraiser for Animal Refuge League which I'm happy to be an organizing co-sponsor of. This year's Martinis for Mutts event is scheduled for late August- stay-tuned.

Additional Dog-friendly Tips for Visitors to Portland, Maine

When our house fills up with guests and friends are looking for dog-friendly Portland accommodations there's plenty to choose from. I always suggest people call ahead for the inside scoop - the website rules always sound gruffer than they are. Our friends at visitportland have a searchable grid of dog-friendly accommodations but here's a few different options to consider if you are visiting from out of town.

Residence Inn Downtown Portland - with luxurious suites, a dog-friendly courtyard with a firepit and a short walk to the Eastern Trail and dog-friendly East End Beach.

Westin Hotel -formally the Eastland Park Hotel, this historic landmark in the Arts District welcomes dogs with treats and Heavenly dog beds.

Inn By the Sea - Located on the shores of Cape Elizabeth just 20 minutes south of the Old Port. This luxury green resort has led the way as a dog-friendly destination resort with over-the-top pampering. Local dogs and guest dogs can dine on the deck at Sea Glass Restaurant or in the bar. Read about this dog-friendly paradise - High-Tailing It At Inn By the Sea

This cutting edge dog-friendly inn now partners with Animal Refuge League by hosting a rescue dog at the Inn and helping connect them with their furever families. Mr Choppers, an 8 year old pug, found his forever home thanks to Inn By The Sea.