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Families and dogs gathering for the Good Dog Goods Martha's Vineyard Dog Parade in Ocean Park.
Photo by Lisa Vanderhoop
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.


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 things that you probably won’t find anywhere else. We pride ourselves on our healthful treats and chews for dogs and we have a dazzling bakery case.

Einstein on "Island Time". Photo by Erin McGovern
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.


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 topicals, but we also have a very effective non-toxic repellant spray 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.

Island Veterinary practices and numbers are as follows:

Caring for Animals Mobil Vet 508-696-5897 Dr. David Tuminaro

Vineyard Vet Clinic 508-627-5292

Animal Health Care Associates 508-693-6515

My Pets Vet 508-693-4040

Michelle Jasny, VMD 508-693-0370

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

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.

The State Beach, along the waterfront road between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, no longer allows dogs at all on either side of the barrier beach between Sengekontacket and the sound.

The South Shore 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.

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

The Island has breathtakingly beautiful conserved properties of various sizes. Dogs are welcome at many, but not all, and most require leashes and well-behaved, responsive best friends.

To obtain copies of their rules and regulations, please call the individual agency. Their contact information is as follows:

Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank

Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation 508-693-5207

The Trustees of Reservations 508-693-7662

Vineyard Conservation Society 508-693-9588

Vineyard Open Land Foundation 508-693-3280

The Nature Conservancy 508-693-6287

Trade Wind Fields Preserve (Martha's Vineyard Land Bank Property)

This conservation property in the heart of Oak Bluffs, a shared-use 'park' where dogs are allowed to run off-leash, is a 72-acre sandplain grassland bordered by wooded areas. This beautiful meadow was conserved by the Land Bank in 1989 to provide protection for the increasingly rare sandplain grassland and its endangered species, the Oak Bluffs well field (public water supply), and the grass-strip air fields.

The Land Bank's conservation goals take precedence, of course, but public access is also very important for all Land Bank properties, so the Trade Winds has a fabulous trail system for all to enjoy. An extensive network of walking paths surrounds the entire perimeter of the fields and meanders through the wooded areas that border the sandplains.

In an effort to balance conservation and recreation, dog walkers are asked to remain on the marked paths that surround the sandplain grass areas and the center runways. Our dogs are also asked to stay off the grassy areas, as the number of dogs who visit each day has grown so much there is now damage being caused by their many feet as well as human feet. Dog are still allowed off-leash as long as they are under voice command and can be persuaded to run freely only in woods and on trails.

The property is not fenced, another reason why off-leash dogs must respond readily to voice command. Dogs are expected to be compatible with other dogs, runners, children in carriages, folks on bikes, and walkers of all ages with or without dogs.

Formerly a grass-field airport, an occasional small plane still lands on this property, so keep an eye out.

There is shade, but no water, on the Trade Winds, so you'll want to bring water along. The Land Bank provides biodegradable pick-up bags and disposal options.

Land Bank dog policy for all Land Bank properties:

Land Bank Brochure for Trade Wind Fields Preserve:

Aerial map of Trade Wind Fields showing trails, fields, and wooded areas:

Vineyard Haven Dog Park

Vineyard Haven also has a dog-friendly, shared-use 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 garden supply store. This is also a lovely property, although not as large as the Trade Winds. 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.

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, as there are new faces in the crowd as the Island gets busier in season.


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 on the Oak Bluffs harbor and Offshore Ale in Oak Bluffs are both 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.

DOG CARE . . .

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.
Click the following links for a lists of places that allow dogs.
I hope this information helps you anticipate your vacation even more. If you have any other questions, please let me know. You are welcome to email us at You may also phone us toll-free at 866-696-7100.

We look forward to seeing you!