dog in a park

Pet Friendly National Parks, Part III: Massachusetts – New Jersey

This is the third installment in our series on pet-friendly parks around the United States. We previously covered parks from Alabama through Georgia and Hawaii through Maryland (in alphabetical order) as well as parks recommended by the Onpets community.  This installment covers parks from Massachusetts through New Jersey and all states in between.  Get out there and explore and let us know which parks YOU most enjoy visiting with your four-legged companions.


Cape Cod National Seashore

The Cape Cod National Seashore is comprised of forty miles of sandy beaches, marshes, ponds, and uplands.  There are also lighthouses and wild cranberry bogs unique to Massachusetts. Many visitors come to experience the swimming beaches and walking and biking trails. Your pets are allowed if they are on a leash no longer than 6 feet in the following places: ocean beaches (except during the summer on lifeguard-protected beaches and during shorebird nesting periods); all fire roads within Cape Cod National Seashore; head of the Meadow Bicycle Trail year-round and Province Lands Bicycle Trail, Nov. 1 to April 30; fresh water ponds within Cape Cod National Seashore (beaches and water), Oct. 16 through May 14; and West and Sunset Horse Trails in the Province Lands.


Sleeping Bear Dunes

The Sleeping Bear Dunes includes miles of beach on the shore of Lake Michigan, high bluffs, beautiful forests, inland lakes, and unique and diverse wildlife. The tallest dunes afford spectacular views across the lake. Your pets must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet and are generally allowed within the Lakeshore except in designated “no-pet” areas. A small percentage of the park has been closed to pets for the protection of wildlife.


Mississippi National River & Recreation Area

This 72 mile river park offers gorgeous and expansive stretches for fishing, boating, and canoeing.  Others come for the incredible bird watching, bicycling and hiking. This includes the stretch of the Mississippi River which flows through Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, and is the only national park dedicated exclusively to the Mississippi River. Much of the park is open for you to enjoy with your pet.


Gulf Islands National Seashore

Photo by the National Park Service

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Situated in the Northern Gulf of Mexico, these islands offer white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, boating, camping, old forts, and many places to fish. The park stretches from Mississippi to Florida.  Pets are allowed if they are kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet and they may explore the trails, multi-use paths, and the park roads. Pets are unfortunately not allowed on any of the park beaches in Florida. In the Mississippi District pets are not allowed on the federally designated wilderness islands, Horn or Petit Bois Islands or the designated swim beach on West Ship Island. Pets are also not allowed in the forts or visitor use facilities such as pavilions.


mark twain national forest

By Kbh3rd – Wikipedia

Mark Twain National Forest

Encompassing 1.5 million acres of beautiful public land, 350 miles of streams, and 750 miles of trail, Mark Twain National Forest is an incredible and vast space to explore. It can be found in the center and southern areas of Missouri. Make sure you keep your dogs on a leash no longer than 6 feet while in the forest.


Glacier National Park

Named “The Crown of the Continent,” Glacier National Park is home to the headwaters for streams that flow to the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and to Hudson’s Bay. It’s such an incredibly beautiful location and home to such a diverse array of wildlife that it has been designated as a World Heritage Site. Pets are allowed on a leash no longer than 6 feet in developed areas, in front country campgrounds and picnic areas, along roads, and in parking areas. Pets are not permitted on trails, along lake shores, in the back country, or in buildings.


Scotts Bluff National Monument

An 800-foot monolith towering above the North Platte River, Scotts Bluff has a rich history as it served as a marker for settlers heading towards Oregon, California and the Mormon Trail. The park area itself is 3,000 acres of rich history, geology, and wildlife. Leashed pets are welcome on all paved trails and developed areas of the parks.


Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Lake Mead is a must for those wanting to boat, hike, cycle, camp, and fish at one of America’s most diverse parks. With incredible landscapes and the deep waters of Lake Mead, the park covers a staggering 1.5 million acres of mountains, canyons, valleys and two separate lakes, Lake Mead or Lake Mohave. It is also a perfect place to check out the might Hoover Dam. Pets on a leash no longer than 6 feet are allowed in the recreation area.

New Hampshire

white mountains

By Charlie DeTar (Yourcelf) – Wikipedia

White Mountain National Forest

The White Mountain National Forest is around 800,000 acres of beautiful rolling hills and mountains blanketed in deep forests. It’s located in the north center part of New Hampshire. You may explore the park with your pup so long as he is on a leash no longer than 6 feet.

New Jersey

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

Located in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, this 70,000 acre park is a major attraction for paddlers and anglers because of its numerous streams and rivers, and hikers for its low forested mountains.  The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is also home to the 1000-foot-deep Water Gap. Pets are permitted in most areas of the park but must be on a 6-foot leash at all times. Pets are not permitted in: Turtle Beach, Rivers Bend Group Campsites, Watergate Recreation Site, Kittatinny Point (picnic areas and visitor center area).

We will publish Part IV of our pet-friendly parks series at the end of February, so send us your favorites and we may just include them in our round-up.  In the meantime, have a great time exploring the great outdoors with your four-legged companions.  When you do, make sure you take plenty of water for both of you and plenty of baggies to scoop that poop.  We want our parks to keep welcoming us AND our fur babies so let’s make sure we don’t do anything to antagonize visitors who don’t have four-legged companions.




©Onpets, LLC 2017.  All rights reserved.

Featured Stories

Your Senior Cat and Kidney Disease

A well cared for cat can live at least 20 years.  At most veterinary practices, cats 10 years and older...

Dog ID and Tracking Product Round-up

According to the American Humane Association, every year over 10 million dogs and cats in the United States are lost...

Exercise – You AND your pup need it!

You’ve heard the saying: If you are too heavy, your dog isn’t getting enough exercise! Regular exercise, be it daily...