There are plenty of things to do with your dog in Nantucket! This tiny island off of Cape Cod is the perfect pet-friendly destination. With virtually no traffic lights and plenty of quintessential New England charm, you and your dog will love exploring it together. Discover the best places to eat, play, and stay in my dog-friendly guide to Nantucket, Massachusetts.
Best Time to Visit Nantucket with a Dog
It’s hard to top Nantucket summers, with its sun-washed, sandy beaches and seaside charm. However, when planning a dog-friendly trip, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of April-May and September-October. Unpredictable weather can make ferry crossing and beach enjoyment dicey, but you’ll appreciate the greater peace, quiet and freedom for your pup to roam. Plus, you’re more likely to score a great travel deal.
Where to Eat & Drink in Nantucket with a Dog
Black-Eyed Susan’s: Serving up both breakfast and dinner, Black-Eyed Susan’s allows dogs on their adorable, outdoor patio. Need another reason to love this no-frills diner? It’s also BYOB! Located right downtown, be sure to get there early, as the limited seating fills up fast especially during the weekend breakfast rush.
Handlebar Cafe: Coffee bar for humans, bark bar for dogs! This hip java joint is the perfect pit stop for you and your furry friend to fuel up before exploring the island. Plus, it’s located right across from the (also dog-friendly) bus stop to Siasconset.
Jack + Charlie’s Ice Cream: Relatively new to the Nantucket ice cream scene, this local, family-owned establishment takes the cake (cone). Order a vanilla pup cone topped with a Milk Bone treat for your furry companion, and enjoy it together on the outdoor patio along Straight Wharf.
Something Natural: A favorite among locals, this lunch stop boasts an expansive lawn dotted with picnic tables perfect for pooches. Enjoy a hearty lunch with a focus on fresh, local ingredients, and don’t leave without trying their delicious cookies. Pro tip: hit it on your way back to town from Tupancy Links.
Claudette’s Sandwich Shop: If you find yourself in Siasconset (and you absolutely should make it a priority to find yourself in Sciasconset), then Claudette’s is the place to go for lunch. Order sandwiches from the counter and enjoy them on the outdoor patio, or walk to nearby Siasconset Beach for a picnic.
Bartlett’s Farm: Visit Nantucket’s oldest and largest family-owned farm for a hearty lunch. Order sandwiches (and Nantucket Nectar juice of course) from their deli counter and eat outside at their large, grassy picnic area.
Cisco Brewers: The only brewery in town, Cisco has become synonymous with Nantucket. We made the mistake of visiting on Memorial Day weekend (which also coincides with Nantucket’s famous Figawi Regatta), so this place was packed. Our pup is great in crowds, but if your dog is easily spooked, go during off hours or avoid altogether.
Queequeg’s: Looking for a nicer dinner option that you can enjoy with your four-legged friend? Queequeg’s was by far the most dog-friendly, upscale dining option we encountered on Nantucket. Their outdoor dining space is small but welcoming. Our pup passed out under the table, and we forgot he was even there as we sipped cocktails and nommed on delicious, local seafood dishes.
Dog-Friendly Things to Do in Nantucket
Tupancy Links: This formerly private golf course has been donated and converted into public land open to all – that means dogs too! With over 73 acres of green space overlooking Nantucket Harbor, it’s the not-so-secret meet-up spot for dogs and their humans. It’s also easily bikeable from downtown.
‘Sconset Bluff Walk: This scenic stroll with sweeping ocean views meanders through the backyards of some of the most impressive properties in the exclusive enclave of Siasconset (or ‘Sconset, as the locals say). It’s a one-of-a-kind experience and must-do when visiting Nantucket with your pup. Follow the bluff all the way from the picturesque center of the village to the Sankaty Head Lighthouse.
Sankaty Head Lighthouse: This historic lighthouse has stood as a sentinel to Nantucket visitors for over 170 years. There’s plenty of grassy space nearby for your pup to frolic.
Dionis Beach: Nantucket boasts some of the most beautiful and pet-friendly beaches in the world. If there’s no lifeguard stationed, then dogs are welcome any time of the day in any season. With calm waters sheltered by sand dunes, Dionis was one of our favorites to let Roscoe run, and we had the place completely to ourselves. As a general rule, look out for protected wildlife areas that are off limits to dogs.
The Black Dog: You’ll want to take a walk along downtown Nantucket’s quaint, cobblestone streets. Be sure to stop in at The Black Dog, which true to its name is a haven for dogs and their owners. The owner was super sweet and gave Roscoe lots of treats and love.
Dog-Friendly Places to Stay in Nantucket
Brass Lantern Inn: This quaint bed and breakfast welcomes four-legged friends in select rooms for an addition $25 a night. The inn provides a dog bed, bowls, and even a gated dog run alongside the property. A lovely breakfast spread is available in the morning, which you can enjoy with your pup on the outdoor terrace. Note, however, that the walls are thin and the dog-friendly rooms are all in the same wing of the house. So if your dog is like mine and whines until he can “play” with the other dogs he hears, it may not be the best choice.
Getting to Nantucket with a Dog
By boat: The most common way of getting to the island is by ferry. Luckily all three ferry companies running service to Nantucket allow leashed dogs on board. Steamship Authority Island Ferry and Hy-Line Cruises depart from Hyannis, MA and Freedom Cruise Line leaves from Harwich Port, MA.
By plane: Cape Air makes it possible to fly with your dog to Nantucket. For travel between Hyannis, New Bedford, Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard, dogs under 35 lbs may be transported with or without a kennel. Pups that exceed 35 lbs must be properly restrained with a leash or harness, usually behind the last row of seats. The maximum weight for animals is 80 lbs. The fee for transporting Fido in the cabin is $30 per animal, each way. Animals traveling in the cabin are approved on a first-come, first-served basis and space is limited, so call ahead to confirm when booking.
Getting around Nantucket with a Dog
By bike: The best way to explore Nantucket is by bike. With hardly any car traffic and plenty of bike paths, you can easily cover a lot of ground. We use the Walky Dog hands-free extender to keep our pup safely in line with our bike. Just make sure to try it at home to make sure you’re dog is comfortable before hitting the road!
By bus: Dogs are allowed on Nantucket buses! Just make sure they are on leash and under your control, and as a courtesy, ask the driver if it’s alright before boarding.
There’s no doubt about it – travel is more fun when you can bring your best friend with you, and Nantucket is the perfect dog-friendly destination. Do you have other dog-friendly tips for the island? Leave a comment below!