Cape Elizabeth is located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Portland Head Light is a famous and frequently photographed lighthouse inside of the Fort Williams Park, and guards the entrance to the Portland Harbor and Casco Bay that sees thousands of huge cruise ships, commercial carriers and smaller pleasure boats pass by every year.
Fort Williams Park itself is very dog-friendly, and many folks bring their fur-babies there to explore the crumbling Goddard Mansion, visit the Arboretum, romp on the playing fields, or follow the ocean walk pathways along the rocky and turbulent shore. If it’s a foggy day, be aware that the massive foghorn at the Head Light can be especially distressing to our 4-legged friends. Dogs must be leashed while on the grounds of Fort Williams, except for a small area near the barracks that is marked where they can roam free. The park is open sunrise to sunset all year, and is free.
One of Cape Elizabeth’s best assets is the network of trails owned and maintained by the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust. One of these, the Cross Town Trail, is 7.5 miles long and begins at the coastline, crossing wooded terrain and bridges, over wetlands populated with waterfowl, fish and small mammals. The trail ends at another popular spot on the ocean’s shore, Kettle Cove, a definite must see!
The Crescent Beach neighborhood of Cape Elizabeth is home to the dog-friendly Crescent Beach State Park. Here you’ll find the lovely Inn by the Sea, a dog-friendly hotel and resort that doesn’t charge a pet fee, nor does it limit the number or size or dogs. The Inn’s sandy beach allows dogs from October through May, and makes it a perfect stop for human and furry friend to stay while they visit southern Maine. The Crescent Beach State Park also features a concession for food and beverages, changing areas and a sandy beach. Dogs are welcome on-leash from October 1st to March 31st. Just down the road from Crescent Beach is the Kettle Cove Creamery, serving hard and soft ice cream, along with shakes, frozen yogurt and other icy treats. Fido is welcome at the outdoor picnic tables in the summer. Two Lights State Park, another Cape Elizabeth gem, also resides in this neighborhood, and welcomes on-leash pups during its open hours of sunrise to sunset.The Lobster Shack, a favorite of locals and tourists, serves up scrumptious seafood including steamed lobster and lobster rolls, and features at least a dozen outdoor tables on a rocky point with a spectacular view.
Tucked away between the ocean and busy Route 77, this neighborhood provides a quiet, old-fashioned rural neighborhood feel. An easy walk east brings one to the beaches of Broad Cove and Trundy Point, and dogs are as frequent a sight here as bicycles and walkers. Leashes are required, and the pebbled beaches are perfect for sniffing out small crustaceans, starfish and sea glass at low tide. There is a working farm here named Alewives’ Farm, where you can buy fresh produce and live lobsters for steaming back at the cottage. There is also the C Salt Gourmet Market ,which will provide dog bowls at their outdoor tables for sharing your breakfast and lunch fare with your fur-buddy.
Delano Park is home to Robinson Woods Park, a dog-friendly expanse which covers 145 acres of woodland, fields and ponds, and features walking and hiking trails that meander among centuries-old trees. The forest floor through which the trails of Robinson Woods travel is crisscrossed by streams opening into pools where wildflowers and ferns flourish. In an adjacent area of the park called Robinson Woods II, fields and wetlands with numerous wading birds and water mammals can be found. What a smorgasbord of sights and smells for our fur-buddy to enjoy! Before 10 am, dogs may roam off-leash at Robinson Woods II, and after 4 pm at Robinson Woods I. The park provides waste bags and receptacles at the entrance.