Downeast Dog News

Let’s Get Outside!

By Susan Spisak | Jun 01, 2021
Photo by: @alexdowney Ginger took her first sailboat ride on the Cutter Owl

The new normal is here for the time being, and that includes adhering to state and CDC pandemic guidelines. While all this is fluid – especially considering vaccinations – simply stay up to date so you’re in compliance. One of the best ways to feel in charge of your days (and mindset, too) is to get back outside and enjoy life safely – and absolutely include your pup. There’s plenty of dog-friendly activities and outdoor destinations to visit in the state. Know that you’ll be making wonderful memories and deepening the bond with your fur kid.

Before you take to the road, your bud should be current on vaccines and preventatives. Keep his medical records handy in a free smartphone app. Be sure he’s wearing a collar with a tag and your cell number. Carry plenty of water, bowls, meal-sized portions of his food as needed, non-toxic sunscreen, and waste disposal bags.

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 he’s not allowed on State Park beaches between April 1 and September 30.) There are many other beaches that allow dogs in the summer, but there’s usually restrictions during the prime day hours, so do your homework. For a list of dog-friendly parks, beaches, trails, rules and policies, visit REQUEST YOUR FREE GUIDE BOOKS - Travel Maine (

Mainer Aaron Lincoln, the captain and owner of Schooner Olad and Sailing Vessel Owl, looks forward to having you and your dog aboard his larger sailboat, the schooner, free of charge. (If you book a private charter on the Owl, he’s ok to ride along with you, too.) You’ll set sail out of Camden and glide through the waters of Penobscot Bay, following the best winds, while Lincoln and his crew talk on local history and the schooner trade. I talked with Grace Hayward at the business – they’re adhering to COVID-10 safety precautions, including boat cleaning between outings. (

If the weather’s good and you’re hungering for some food, head to a restaurant with outdoor seating, most will allow your dog (call to confirm). If you’re craving a waterside marina experience, look no further than Whale’s Tale Restaurant and Seafarer’s Pub at the Carousel Marina in Boothbay Harbor. Accessible by car or boat, this spot offers a variety of seafood, chowders, sandwiches, pizza, and more. Owner Jack Cogswell said your four-legged is “absolutely” welcome to join you on the garden patio. For directions and info,

“It’s a dog-friendly environment,” said Donna Brewer of the Boothbay Railway Village. Steve Markowitz, Director of Operations at the Village agreed, and no breeds are restricted. So, take your well-behaved, leashed guy for plenty of exercise at the 15 + acre recreated Maine town, which is an outdoor history museum. You’ll see over two dozen reconstructed buildings of the 1850’s to 1950’s. For extra fun, ride the train – Markowitz said you and your canine are allowed in their open car. The museum opens on Father’s Day but will be closed all Mondays this season. COVID-19 practices must be adhered to. Note, their new waste station is a gift from Two Salty Dogs Pet Outfitters in Boothbay Harbor. (

Feel like golfing but no partner to tee off with? Spend a day on the links with your faithful friend at the award-winning, public Belgrade Lakes Golf Club (about 25 minutes north of Augusta). A call to Margie Evans at Belgrade Lakes confirmed that your pooch’s fine anywhere – including clubhouse, golf carts, and at Tonka’s Deck and Snack Bar. Say hello to Guthrie, Evan’s Bernese Mountain Dog, who is frequently there. Enjoy! (

Does your canine have guts? Starting July 4, leashed or voice-controlled dogs can ride with you in the Sunday River Resort Chondola (an enclosed gondola) up to the North Peak to take in views of the Sunday River Valley and Mahoosuc Mountain Range in western Maine. Chondola rides stop in mid-October, but the trees typically start changing in late September, so if you’re a leaf peeper, be sure to visit here. This is a terrific family outing - for hours and all pricing (dogs are free), visit

P.A.W.S. Animal Adoption Center and The Friends of Belfast Parks hope to continue their tradition with the 16th Annual Maine Wienerfest, with all proceeds benefiting P.A.W.S.. Shelly Butler, Executive Director for P.A.W.S., said it’s tentatively planned for Sunday, September 12th, with gates opening at 11:00 am (subject to change). This year's event will look a little different as they’ll structure the event to be COVID compliant. Expect vendors, a costume contest, and the Doxie Distance Dash. Admission is $5 per person for adults, and it’s free for dogs and children under 12. Rain or shine. For info about this year's event, the schedule, and possible changes, visit

If the evolution of transportation interests you – from trolley cars, railroads, antique streetcars, to rapid transit and everything in between, hit 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 towards well-mannered pets, and Executive Director Katie Orlando indicated the website info is applicable: “Because dogs are part of the family, we are always dog friendly. Dogs are even welcome during special events.” Please keep him on a leash no longer than 6 ft., insure he’s social, healthy, current on shots/preventatives, and pick up after him. For directions and admission details,

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