Gloucester is this country’s oldest seaport, and is still one of the busiest on the East Coast. It is famous for numerous things, but of note is its location as the setting for the movie The Perfect Storm. It is also a vibrant arts community, and contains an urban center with restaurants, theaters, museums and shops. But it is always the sea that defines it, and many of the city’s dog-friendly parks and attractions are in some way connected to the ocean.
To get a sense of Gloucester, it’s important to experience it as a working seaport. One of the best ways is to spend some time at the harbor’s edge, watching the fishing boats and their crews coming and going. Two small parks on the harbor are perfect places for you and your canine companion to experience the salty sea air, the cry of seagulls, the occasional seal frolicking by the docks, and the slap of water against the pilings.
Captain Solomon Jacobs Park features a walkway and benches and is a great spot to contemplate the fishing industry heritage of New England, perhaps while having a portable lunch with Fido by your side. You can access its public launch area and put in with your kayak to explore the harbor, too. Another area to visit is Gordon Thomas Park, another perch on the water featuring benches and intimate views of the workings of the harbor, with your fur buddy in tow. Both parks require leashes. Or take a walk on the Gloucester Harbor Walk in the City Center.
Should your pup need medical attention while visiting in Gloucester, be aware that there are several veterinarian offices and hospitals from which to choose that will have him up and wagging again soon!
Enjoy your time in the lovely seaside paradise of Gloucester!
Dog-friendly Stage Fort Park lies on a promontory on the Inner Harbor in this neighborhood. From its paths, you and your fur-buddy are treated to views of beautiful Gloucester Harbor. The 2 beaches are off-limits to dogs, but Fido is allowed in all other parts of the park, on leash. Bring him to an outdoor concert or storytelling event in the summer! The park is also host to Gloucester Dog Park, which features 3 sections: large dog, small dog, and “Tino’s Corner,” a time-out area for pups that need a break from the excitement. The dog park also offers an agility center, water fountains, and waste bags, along with lots of shade trees. There are boulders for “King of the Mountain” games, and especially for humans are the benches placed under shady gazebos. This dog park even features human restrooms. Ravenswood Park nearby features 600-acres of wooded landscape containing stands of hemlock and a magnolia swamp, along with 10 miles of carriage paths and trails. The overlook to Gloucester Harbor is a must-see, as is the boardwalk trail across the Great Magnolia Swamp. Fido will be as fascinated as you are with the flora and fauna found here but remember to keep him leashed.
Gloucester’s City Center resides at the north end of the harbor. This area features some dog-friendly restaurants where you and your fur-baby can wet your whistles at the outdoor seating areas and get a bite to eat! The Topside Grill and Pub serves upscale fare like oysters on the half shell, and more casual items such as sandwiches. A bowl of water for your canine companion will hit the spot, as will a tall mug of their house-made ginger beer for you! The Blue Collar Lobster Company is right on the wharf and features, besides a seat at the table for your pup, lobster cooked several ways, along with shrimp, haddock, oysters and clams. You will need to leave Fido outside while you go inside to order. If a frozen treat is what you crave, head on over to Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt where you’ll find a long list of yogurt flavors and an even longer list of toppings. Leave your pup outside while you order, but be sure to bring her a cup of her favorite!
This easternmost neighborhood of Gloucester is home to dog-friendly Good Harbor Beach, one of Gloucester's jewels. It offers a white sand beach and convenient parking, along with lifeguards during the summer months. The high tide is big enough to body surf, while at low tide, the beach extends out to Salt Island, where you and your fur-buddy can walk and explore. Between October 1st and April 30th this beach permits off-leash pup play, too! For an after-beach snack or lunch, be sure to visit Cape Ann Coffees, a coffee shop that offers breakfast and lunch sandwiches, chowder, quiche and more. Fido is welcome at one of the outdoor tables.
The Heights at Cape Ann neighborhood of Gloucester sits to the west of the city center. Although most of it is not on the harbor, it is positioned on Ipswich Bay, upon which Wingaersheek Beach resides. Wingaersheek is 1 of only 2 beaches to allow off-leash dogs on the beach between October and May, the other being Good Harbor Beach. A low-tide sandbar makes this the perfect destination for a long walk with your furry best buddy, and the white sand main beach calls for blankets and umbrellas while the 2 of you relax and enjoy the breezes off the bay. If you’re staying in the area, the dog-friendly Cape Ann Campsite is for you. From RV sites with a water view or tenting under the trees, every site features a fireplace and picnic table. A camp store is stocked with necessities and some foods, and there are plentiful shower and restroom buildings for privacy. Woof-derful!
The Gloucester Fisherman’s Memorial is an icon recognizable to many, and its dog-friendly Stacey Boulevard Park is a frequent destination for locals and visitors alike. Stacey Boulevard is a wide, paved path lined by street lamps and low open fencing along the waterfront in Gloucester. It features benches from which to view the working harbor, and in the spring, thousands of tulips bloom along the walk. The ever-present seagulls and occasional seal will delight Fido's senses, so be sure to bring him along, on-leash. You'll want to stop and contemplate the Fisherman's Memorial and its nearby companion, the Wife's Memorial as you walk. Open 24 hours, year-round, Stacey Boulevard is a walking destination sure to please you and your furry friend.