Downeast Dog News

Day Trips with a Canine Co-Pilot

By Susan Spisak | Jun 01, 2018
Archie sets sail on the Schooner Olad

Are you happiest when you can hit the road looking for adventures? Make them extra special by packing your pooch into the SUV for a day of fun. There are plenty of dog-friendly activities and destinations, and I’d love to share a few with you. Know that you’ll be making wonderful memories and deepening the bond with your fur kid.

Before you head out, your bud should be current on all vaccines and flea/tick and heartworm preventatives. Keep his medical records in your cell phone--there are scads of free smartphone apps available. Be sure he’s wearing a collar with his license and a tag imprinted with his name and your cell number. Have plenty of water, meal-sized portions of his food as needed, bowls, sunscreen (sans toxic-to-dogs zinc oxide as an ingredient), and waste disposal bags.

If your dog is in good shape, and you’re an outdoor enthusiast, hike one of the many beautiful trails the state has to offer. Take advantage of Acadia National Park, one of the country’s top-rated National Parks. In addition to the many dog approved trails and walkways, there’s Little Long Pond Leash-Free Area where he can blow off steam. It’s not fenced, so be watchful (for directions to the area at 277 Peabody Dr., Bar Harbor, For all Acadia pet guidelines, visit

There are many lakes and ocean beaches for a romp if your boy is a good swimmer. (Even if he is, he should wear a life vest--and know that no pets are allowed on State Park beaches between April 1 and September 30.) There are many other beaches that allow dogs in the summer, but there are usually restrictions during the prime day hours, so do your homework. For a list of dog-friendly parks, beaches, trails, rules and policies, visit

For an educational day that you can experience with your well-behaved, leashed pet, visit The Boothbay Railway Village (586 Wiscasset Road, Boothbay). The 15 + acre Railway Village is an outdoor history museum and recreated Maine town of the 1850’s to 1950’s with over two dozen historic and reconstructed buildings. The Museum is open daily from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm from Saturday, May 26 through Sunday, October 14, 2018. A spokesperson for the Village confirmed your dog can also accompany you on their rail rides. (Don’t miss the June 3rd Rescue Day at the Railway. To see all their events, Call first; not all “special day” events are ok for dogs.)

If your four-legged has his sea legs, Aaron Lincoln, the captain and owner of Schooner Olad and Sailing Vessel Owl, welcomes him aboard his larger sailboat, the aforementioned schooner, free of charge. You’ll set sail out of Camden and glide through the waters of Penobscot Bay while Lincoln and his crew talk on local history and the schooner trade. I chatted with Susie Cooke at the business, and she assured me they’ve had dogs of all sizes along for the ride. Her dog Piper loves to sail the schooner with a blanket for snuggling--sounds like something to consider packing (

Casco Bay Lines Mailboat Run in Portland also allows dogs for a nominal fee. Because it’s a working boat carrying passengers, mail and freight to the Casco Bay islands of Little Diamond, Great Diamond, Long, Cliff, and Chebeague, the tour time varies from 2.5 to 3.5 hours. Check out the schedule, rates, and also a neat video highlighting what you can expect at

Feel like golfing but you have no partner to tee off with? Take your trusty fur mascot along, ‘cause dogs are welcome at the award-winning, public Belgrade Lakes Golf Club (about 25 minutes north of Augusta). A call to the club confirmed that he can cheer you from the cart and hang with you on their back deck after a round. What better way to spend a day on the links than with your faithful friend? (

If the evolution of transportation interests you--from trolley cars, railroads, antique streetcars, to rapid transit and everything in between, go to the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport. Since 1939, they’ve collected over 250 national, international, regional, and state mass transit vehicles. This non-profit has a wonderful attitude posted on their website towards pets: “Because dogs are part of the family, we are always dog friendly. Dogs are even welcome during special events.” For directions and admission details,

The weather’s good and you’re hungering for some food and a waterside marina experience, so look no further than Whale’s Tale Restaurant and Seafarer’s Pub at the Carousel Marina in Boothbay Harbor. This establishment is accessible by car or boat, and it offers a variety of seafood, chowders, sandwiches, entrees, salads, flatbread pizza, and more. The owner told me that you and your dog will enjoy the outdoor patio. For directions and info,

Does your guy have guts? Leashed or voice-controlled dogs can ride the Sunday River Resort Chondola (an enclosed gondola), free of charge, up to the North Peak to take in views of the Sunday River Valley and Mahoosuc Mountain Range in western Maine. Chondola rides stop October 7, but the trees typically start changing in late September, so if you’re a leaf peeper, head up there. For hours and pricing, visit

If your canine companion is a food connoisseur (what pup isn’t?), take him on a Doggy & Me walking tour to check out the cuisine of Kennebunkport and Lower Village. There’s five stops along the route to taste treats and eats. The good news about these tours is that the proceeds benefit the Animal Welfare Society of West Kennebunk. Tours are offered every other Saturday, May through October. For prices and full details,

On Sunday September 9th, have a good, long laugh at New England’s only festival dedicated to Dachsunds at the 15th Annual Maine Wienerfest from 11 am to 3 pm at the Steamboat Landing Park in Belfast. This year, P.A.W.S. Animal Adoption Center and The Friends of Belfast Parks continue the tradition with all proceeds benefitting P.A.W.S. There will be also be a Wiener Cook-off Contest (you can enter online, too), food vendors, and other activities. Admission is $3 for adults and it’s free for dogs and children under 12. For info,

Add a few more “good cause” events to your calendar. Pet Rock in the Park is on Sunday, August 26 from 11 am to 4 pm at Deering Oaks in Portland. Its goal is to raise awareness and funds for the Animal Cancer Foundation. There’ll be food and music, and your dog can come along, too. And don’t forget the 2018 World Championship Boatyard Dog® Trials on Sunday, August 12 at 10:30 am at Harbor Park in Rockland. This is for human attendees only, but this lighthearted canine competition is one you won’t want to miss, and it supports animal shelters.

For more dog-friendly places and events, request a hard copy of our annual petMAINE guide at or call 207.706.6765.