Dog Friendly Martha's Vineyard
Have a wonderful visit to Martha's Vineyard with your dog (or ALL of your dogs)! The Island is very dog-friendly.   

You will meet lots of dog lovers and perhaps even find lasting new friendships with your dog along.  It's one of the many gifts of time spent on the Vineyard—meeting new friends.
Families and dogs gathering for the Good Dog Goods Martha's Vineyard Dog Parade in Ocean Park. (Photo by Lisa Vanderhoop)
We hope you’ll visit us while you’re on Island. We’re on the upper end of Circuit Avenue, the main business street in Oak Bluffs. We have porches and a fenced-in play yard for you and your dog(s) to enjoy.

We carry lots of practical things that will help you have an even better vacation and we have beautiful and unusual items that you won’t find anywhere else. We pride ourselves on our healthful treats and chews for dogs and we have a dazzling bakery case.
Islanders—visitors and residents alike—are very welcoming, but understandably intolerant of bad manners, the kind that are exhibited by owners who do not faithfully and fully pick up after their dogs.  We have zero tolerance for folks who leave a mess of any kind behind.

Our down-Island towns are extremely busy in the summer.  If a dog is not comfortable with lots of activity—noise and excitement and traffic, bikes and boat whistles, kids and music—they will have no fun at all!  If they like to be in the thick of things, they will have a great time.

We always ask our visitors to please remember that not everyone loves dogs (imagine!), so respect people’s boundaries and leash your dog close to you if someone is noticeably uncomfortable around your best friend.
Einstein on "Island Time". (Photo by Erin McGovern)

It’s a good idea to be sure your dog has an ID tag when you vacation anywhere, even if they are microchipped.  We recommend a tag with the dog’s name and your cell phone number, just in case somebody goes wandering!

Bring a bottle or two of water if you’re in the woods or on the beach—dogs who drink lots of salt water are likely to be sick to their stomachs. The water is beautifully clean, but it’s still salt water!

The Island has a lot of ticks, unfortunately, so we recommend that you examine your dog very closely after a walk in the woods or on the beaches.  Many people use Advantix or Frontline, but we also have a very effective non-toxic topical here at Good Dog Goods.  Ours has the added feature of inhibiting flies, mosquitoes, and gnats, so lots of people use it for themselves.

If your dog overdoes it and is affected by the heat, this can be a medical emergency.  Our veterinarians see altogether too many dogs who are overcome by the heat.  To bring down their body temperature quickly but safely, put a cold pack or ice cubes in their armpits and groin and put their feet in cold water. 


Caring for Animals Mobil Vet - Dr. David Tuminaro 

Phone: 508-696-5897 
Address: Mobile Vet Clinic 

Vineyard Vet Clinic
Phone: 508-627-5292
Address: 276 Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Edgartown, MA 02539

Animal Health Care Associates
Phone: 508-693-6515
Address: 20 Airport Rd, West Tisbury, MA 02575

My Pets Vet
Phone: 508-693-4040
Address: 401 State Rd, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568

Michelle Jasny, VMD    
Phone: 508-693-0370 
Address: 6 Yellow Brick Rd, West Tisbury, MA 02575

If you are planning to use public transportation, our buses welcome dogs.  However, they have a policy that if a passenger who is already on the bus objects to a dog (because of allergies or discomfort), the dog and owner are asked to take the next bus.  If the dog and owner are already on the bus, they may remain and the objecting passenger is asked to take another bus. 

Dogs are welcome to ride in cabs and other forms of public transportation, including the trolleys in Edgartown and the buses that service the Steamship Authority. 

Pets are allowed to board the Steamship Authority ferries. As always, owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets and must be kept on a leash. Pets (except for service assistance animals) are not allowed in any food service area or on passenger seats or tables.
Barkley traveling on ferry. (Photo by Erin Boykin)

Not all beaches are open to dogs at all times and not all beaches may be enjoyed by dogs during nesting seasons for various species of birds. This is true of many conservation properties as well. 

As much as Island dogs love their beaches, there are also times of day when it’s no fun to be a dog at a beach.  If it is too hot, most dogs would prefer to be somewhere else, no matter what the beach regulations allow.

Having said that, at the right time of day, as long as you are careful about nesting shore birds, there are always great beaches to enjoy with your best friend.

There is a beautiful beach where dogs are welcome very soon after you leave the boat wharf in Vineyard Haven, if that is where you dock.  As you travel from Vineyard Haven to Oak Bluffs, once you cross over the bridge, on the left is a parking lot for Eastville Beach, where lots of people walk their dogs. The water there is nice and calm, unless we have a strong northeast wind.

If your boat docks in Oak Bluffs, you will be right next to a beach and a huge park. 

The Oak Bluffs waterfront is a terrific place to visit with a dog. You will be welcome before 8:00 and after 6:00 on all Oak Bluffs beaches between May and September—in the off-season, dogs may be on the beaches at any time. 

Then there's State Beach, along the waterfront road between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown.  This is is also safe, but you must watch out for nesting terns and restricted areas.  The pond side of the Beach Road is beautiful and great for walking--very gentle waters.  However, please be aware that dogs are not welcome at any time between April 1 and August 31 on either side of State Beach along its entire length. 
The Island's South Shore ocean facing beaches are spectacular, but be careful out there.  The water can be rough and there are riptides, so it's better not to let smaller dogs play in the surf or larger dogs to swim.  To run along those beaches, though, would be a joy for any dog--just watch out for those areas where the beach goes steeply down to the water.
We have breathtakingly beautiful conserved properties of various sizes here on the Island.  To obtain copies of their rules and regulations, please call the individual agency. 

Martha's Vineyard Land Bank
508-627-7141 | 
Sheriff's Meadow Foundation
508-693-5207 |

The Trustees of Reservations
508-693-7662 | www.places-to-visit/

Vineyard Conservation Society
508-693-9588 |  

Vineyard Open Land Foundation
508-693-3280 |

The Nature Conservancy 
508-693-6287 |                                                                       

County of Dukes County                                                                       
508-696-3840 |                                  

Greyhounds playing on an Up-Island beach. (Photo by Pam White)

There is a 70-acre meadow on the Island, the Martha's Vineyard Land Bank Tradewinds Airport property in Oak Bluffs.  Formerly a grass-field airport, an occasional small plane still lands on this property, so keep an eye out.  Around the open meadow here and the wooded areas, there are walking trails. There is shade, but no water on the Tradewinds, so you'll want to bring water along.

Sometimes it seems as though every playground might have a bully.  We rarely hear of aggressive dogs frequenting these areas, but it’s not a bad idea to be a little cautious. 

Vineyard Haven also has a dog park--you'll see the sign as you head out of Vineyard Haven going up-Island, towards West Tisbury.  It's on the left just past a feed and garden supply store known as SBS.  This is also a lovely property, although nowhere near as large as the Tradewinds.  There are walking trails and pretty meadows—well worth a visit.  Again, there is no water on the park, so be sure to bring your own.

In Oak Bluffs, we have wonderful parks where dogs are welcome.  All of these places are great for people, too, and very, very beautiful. 

A walk around the Oak Bluffs harbor is an adventure all in itself and dogs are treated like visiting royalty.  Lots of boaters bring dogs, so you'll have fun there.

There's the State Forest, with miles and miles of trails, some of them hard-top. Because of the size of the forest, it’s best to keep your dogs close if not on a leash.  There are lots of deer out here and many reasons to explore, so it’s a good idea to let only a dog with strong re-call manners run free in the forest.

Many of the restaurants with outdoor seating will allow dogs to join you there, so call ahead and ask if they can accomodate you. 

Nancy's and Coop De Ville on the Oak Bluffs harbor, Offshore Ale in Oak Bluffs (by the Post Office), and Nomans (just before State Beach on way to Edgartown) are all are very welcoming to people with well-behaved dogs. There are several restaurants in each town that are similarly accommodating. 

Don’t leave your dog in a car even with windows open—the temperature can easily exceed the danger threshold for dogs within a minute or two. Don’t leave your dog alone in a car on the freight deck of the boats—not only can it become dangerously hot in a closed car on the freight deck, but it also can be a frightening and noisy place for a dog.Don’t leave your dog behind in your hotel room if you think that will be upsetting.

We have a list of people who will help you take care of your dog on vacation.  While the Island is not particularly well-served by a kennel, there are many responsible dog sitters who could give you a hand if you need one.

Al Fresco Tails Pet Sitting 
Phone: 508-205-9015
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Do you provide animal services such as pet sitting on the island and want to be on this list? Please get in touch with us at or call us at 508-696-7100. 

We have a list of people who will help train your dog. 

Rise and Shine K9 (Dog Training)   
Contact: Michael Morris
Phone: 508-939-0283
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Do you provide animal services such as dog training on the island and want to be on this list? Please get in touch with us at or call us at 508-696-7100. 

The Island has wonderful animal shelters and rescue groups when you're ready for a new best friend! 

Martha's Vineyard Animal Shelter
Phone: 508-627-8662
Address: 1 Pennywise Path, PO Box 1829, Edgartown, Massachusetts, 02539
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Sandy Paws Rescue 
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To get into contact with Sandy Paws Rescue, please visit their website and fill out their contact form. 

Second Chance Animal Rescue 
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Oak Bluffs Inn
Oak Bluffs, MA 

Phone: 508-693-7171

Harbor View Hotel 
Edgartown, MA

Phone: 844-248-1167

Martha 'airborne' in Tradewinds Meadow at twelve years young.
(Photo by Besty Corsiglia) 

I hope this information helps you anticipate your vacation even more.  If you have any other questions, please let us know.  You are welcome to email us at or give us a call toll-free at 866-696-7100. We look forward to seeing you!