We’re animal lovers and if you’re like us you likely travel anywhere and everywhere you can with your four-legged friend. May is National Pet Month and we wanted to share some tips and resources for making the most of your island stay if you have a dog in tow.
Traveling To and Around Martha’s Vineyard with a Dog
When it comes to getting here all of our ferry services allow dogs including the Steamship Authority, Hyline Cruises, and Island Queen. In most cases, they’re asked to be kept on one of the outdoor decks with a leash and off of the furniture. And if you’re taking the shuttle bus provided by the Steamship Authority from their Palmer Avenue, Thomas B. Landers, or Cataumet Parking Lots with your dog in tow, you’re in luck, they can ride the bus too. The same applies once you get to Martha’s Vineyard, our local Vineyard Transit Authority os dog-friendly too. Please note there are exceptions to be considerate of if another passenger objects to the animal (because of allergies or other reasons).
Our local Martha’s Vineyard taxi companies are also dog-friendly, just be sure to mention it when requesting the ride and be prepared for an additional fee. If you’re using a ride-share app like Uber or Lift it works similarly, and yes we have those services on Martha’s Vineyard but they are often in high demand in the summer months so be prepared for surge pricing.
Martha’s Vineyard Dog-Friendly Businesses
Once you’re out and about enjoying our downtown streets you’ll notice many water bowls welcoming puppies and many of our retail businesses are happy for you to come inside with your dog, but be sure to ask and get permission. A shopping spree on Martha’s Vineyard isn’t complete without a stop at Good Dog Goods in Oak Bluffs which embraces all things dog! Their wide selection of food, treats, and puppy accessories are also environmentally friendly too! And you might have heard about The Black Dog, with multiple retail stores and a bakery, cafe and tavern on Martha’s Vineyard you know they must be dog friendly. Dog lovers can’t miss the chance to buy one of their tail-wagging specialty treats from their bakery or cafe. Speaking of treats, new business MV Barkery recently popped up, owned and operated by a dog-loving mother and son duo who make their selection of treats at their home in West Tisbury. You can even pop into Mocha Motts in Oak Bluffs or Vineyard Haven to purchase their Squibnocket Sockets bones while stopping for your morning coffee. And the most heartwarming part of all? 10% of all sales from MV Barkery go to Island Autism.
Pet-Friendly Dining Options on Martha’s Vineyard
Once you start getting hungry for “people food” you’ll want to head to Noman’s in Oak Bluffs, where dogs are just as welcome as people and the patio and expansive lawn is accommodating for a leisurely stay for you both. Not to mention the “people food” is great, we recommend their fish tacos! Elsewhere in Oak Bluffs, you can also dine with Fido outside Nancy’s Snack Bar while sipping on a famous Dirty Banana from nearby Donovan’s Reef, or at Aaila’s Coffee’s patio while savoring one of their popular Purple Sweet Potato Latte. Some of our other favorite dog-friendly Martha’s Vineyard patios include the Scottish Bakehouse, Rosewater Market, 19 Raw Oyster Bar, Bad Martha’s Brewery, and Town Bar & Grill.
Dog-Friendly Beaches on Martha’s Vineyard
There is quite simply no greater joy than watching a dog abound down one of our local beaches, tail wagging, sun shining, living its best life! If you’ve never had the opportunity to bring your dog to Lambert’s Cove Beach in West Tisbury, it is an absolute must. In the summer months, it is a doggy paradise every morning from 7 to 10 am when dogs are allowed on the beach and off-leash. Expect dozens of adorable furry faces playing, swimming, and basking in their absolute freedom. During the slower months there are no restrictions, so assuming you have a well-behaved dog feel free to let it loose to enjoy this gem of the North Shore from October through May whenever you like. Several other beaches welcome dogs but their policies change from season to season, and some times require leashes while others can be unrestrained so be sure to take note when you arrive. Some of our other favorites include:
Chilmark: Lucy Vincent Beach, Squibnocket Beach
Edgartown: Cape Poge (Chappy), Lighthouse Beach
West Tisbury: Sepiessa Point Preservation
Vineyard Haven: Owen Park
Aquinnah: Lobsterville Beach
Dog Parks on Martha’s Vineyard
Vineyard Haven offers the Island’s only official dog park, the John G. Rogers Memorial Dog Park made up of two fully fenced enclosures, for both big and little dogs. You’re almost guaranteed to encounter another dog there, and the nearby public hose makes it easy to keep your dogs hydrated with clean drinking water. Should you arrive and find the place dogless, there’s a network of trails weaving through the woods beside the park. Then there’s the Trade Wind Fields Preserve, a 71-acre area where many dog owners meet for playtime with their pets. Housed in an open field located off County Road in Oak Bluffs it’s an active (intermittently) airfield and protected Land Bank property that has come to function as a defacto dog park.
Dog-Friendly Trails on Martha’s Vineyard
Martha’s Vineyard is home to hundreds of acres of conservation lands and miles and miles of trails that wander through some of the island’s most beautiful lands. You can’t beat a weekend spent enjoying these gorgeous spaces with your loyal companion by your side. Menemsha Hills Reservation is especially breathtaking hile, with diverse and varied landscapes. Opt for the Brickyard path and the freshwater brook is such a nice reward for your dog. We also appreciate the tranquility of Fulling Mill Brook in Chilmark, and the convenience of Caroline Tuthill Preserve in Edgartown. If you’re staying in downtown Edgartown, Sheriff’s Meadow Sanctuary is an exceptional hike, relatively flat and manageable for dogs (and people!) of all types, boasting spectacular water views and exciting bird watching for people and pooches alike. Leashed dogs are permitted in the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest, a 5,143-acre preserve located in the middle of the Island that offers paved paths and endless opportunities for exploration.
Tips for Keeping Your Dogs Safe and Healthy on Martha’s Vineyard
You are guaranteed to have a great time on Martha’s Vineyard with your pet! Be mindful that not everyone is a dog person and keep them close and be considerate of others, as you would anywhere your travels take you! And please be sure to obey leash laws and pick up after your pet.
When it comes to enjoying some of our special summer events please make sure to keep them at home. Our annual Agricultural Fair and the weekly summer West Tisbury Farmers Market do not allow dogs and we especially don’t recommend trying to bring them to any of our loud firework displays!
Martha’s Vineyard’s rural lands and wooded areas lend themselves to nature’s notorious pests, including ticks, so be mindful of checking yourself and your dog after venturing out for a hike. And should your dog encounter any of those notoriously stinky nightime critters, SBS and Healthy Additions in Vineyard Haven offer a wide selection of skunk removers.
We hope you enjoy a pawsitively amazing time with your four-legged friend on Martha’s Vineyard! Should you be on the hunt for a pet-friendly place to stay be sure to check out our pet-friendly vacation rentals.