Rockport is the quintessential Maine seacoast town, complete with its own secluded harbor, an opera house, a plethora of seafood restaurants, and breathtaking views of Penobscot Bay, the Gulf of Maine and the Atlantic Ocean. The rocky coast, wooded terrain and quaint, dog-friendly village make this a pawrfect stop during a trip up the coast from Portland or beyond with your fur-pup. And with 4 veterinarians in town, plus another in next-door Rockland, your pup will be well taken care of should illness or injury strike.
Not far from Route One’s coastal highway is the dog-friendly Beech Hill Preserve, set on a large hill with a grassy dome at the summit that is visible for miles. Atop the hill is Beech Nut, a stone hut with a sod roof that is the terminus of the 2 trails that lead up from trailheads at the hill’s base. A furtastic hiking, birding and picnicking destination, the preserve is wooded at the bottom, and makes a quick and sometimes steep ascent to the top where you and your pup will be treated to extraordinary views of Penobscot Bay, the Camden Hills and the entire St. George peninsula. One of the trails, the Woods Loop, offers a choice of looped routes depending how much challenge you like, and the Summit Road trail is easier although steeper. This is a Leave No Trace preserve, so be sure to bring poop bags with the intention of carrying them out with you when you leave. And please keep Fido leashed to protect the wildlife and blueberry barrens you’ll pass on the way to the top!
While Rockport’s highest seasons are summer and fall, this area is a furbulous place to visit year-round with your pooch!
The village of Rockport is nestled between Route One and the harbor that lies between the mainland and St. George peninsula. It features small-town shopping and sightseeing, along with pup-friendly eateries. One of its gems is Marine Park, which sits at the tip of the harbor. Here, you can stroll with your fur-pup on walking paths along the water and through the park, stopping at a bench or dock to survey the boat activity and the seagulls wheeling above. Share a picnic lunch or set sail with Fido for a water adventure. From the park, you can walk to Graffam Brothers Seafood Shack where outdoor tables await, along with your favorite Maine seafood dishes. Graffam’s is open May to October. Or try 3 Dogs Café, where the 3 resident pups have saved you and yours a table on the patio for a furlicious breakfast or lunch. Bone Appetit!
This section of Rockport on the east side of the harbor across from the village is where you’ll find the Rockport Village Trail, a 3.4-mile wooded loop that begins at the northern-most part of the peninsula and traces the water’s edge down and back. Bring your pup on his leash and walk or run its length for spectacular views of the harbor and sightings of the many species of birds that make the peninsula their home. In the spring and summer, wild flowers put on a show, and the trail is open and accessible year-round, with winter providing a view of bountiful snow-covered trees and a semi-frozen harbor. This is a popular trail, but especially in winter you may find yourself alone with your dog in this special place.
Rockland is a small town south of Rockport with a city center and business district that surrounds its harbor and is a frequent stopping point for folks headed north to Rockport, Camden, Northport and Bar Harbor. Filled with restaurants that range from fast-food places to fine dining, it also boasts art and history museums and dog-friendly streets for strolling. Harbor Park sits on Rockland’s thriving harbor and features views of the surrounding city to the west and the bay to the east. This park offers large expanses of lawn with benches for lolling about and 4 miles of walking paths for some exercise. A visit to Harbor Park wouldn’t be complete without a stop at The Landings, which features outdoor tables and pet-friendly sofas! Lobster is served in every conceivable way, but you can also chow down on a Delmonico Steak or pork sandwich. Bone Appetit!
Camden is a small town just north of Rockport that is another typical Maine seacoast town with its picturesque harbor, rolling hills leading down to the shore of Penobscot Bay, and quaint boutiques and local artisan stores along its main thoroughfare, High Street (Route 1.) It’s a perfect walking town and your fur-baby is welcome to join you for a stroll to Harbor Park or one of the dog-friendly restaurants lining the street. Another popular destination for folks with dogs is Camden Hills State Park, with its furtastic views from atop Mt. Battie and 30 miles of hiking trails. Featuring a pet-friendly campground, this is a pawrfect spot to stay while in the Camden area. While you’re here, be sure to stop in to Fresh, a restaurant on the harbor that serves fresh Maine seafood in unique and delicious ways!
Just 12 miles from Rockport, the town of Lincolnville is home to the Point Lookout Resort, a dog-friendly 375 acres atop a mountain overlooking Penobscot Bay and the islands. Point Lookout welcomes leashed dogs in its cabins, on its trails and everywhere else except indoor facilities. A family-oriented resort, it features individual cabins in wooded areas that are beautifully-appointed and modern, plus a bowling alley, playing fields and its own farm where it acquires much of the food used in its on-site restaurant, including eggs and honey. The 4 miles of trails are unpaved, forest floor and dirt, of varying intensity, and are open year-round for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in winter. With 9 to choose from, you and Fido will never get bored. Rolling lawns, rocky outcroppings and stone walls provide woofderful places to explore and just relax, and you’ll find lots of privacy and solitude. It’s pawrfect!