Doggy Day Trip to Cape Ann

June 29, 2012 6:00 AM

Cape Ann — Essex, Rockport, Gloucester and Manchester-by-the-Sea — has earned a reputation for many a water sport and family vacation. Gloucester especially is well-known for its deep sea fishing and historical fishing industry, but one of the area’s lesser known draws is an amazing trend toward dog-friendly businesses. Pop that pooch in the car and hit the road to explore Cape Ann with your furry fella.

What to Do

see the whales Doggy Day Trip to Cape Ann

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Cape Ann Whale Watch
415 Main St.
Gloucester, MA 01930
(800) 877-5110

Click here for prices

Enjoy a cruise aboard the Hurricane II and hang overboard with your pup, watching the many whales and dolphins swimming in Gloucester’s waters. Located about 37 miles north of Boston, The Hurricane II allows dogs on board so long as the boat is not full and your pooch is well-behaved and picked up after. Book your trip online or call ahead to reserve your spot. Morning tours are recommended if you plan on bringing your furry companion.

dog town quarry Doggy Day Trip to Cape Ann

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Dogtown Common
Dogtown Road
Gloucester, MA 01930

Dogtown Common got its name after the town became deserted, leaving only dogs behind. Though this lends to a sad description, the beauty of Dogtown is unparalleled. This history-rich ghost town offers walking trails through quarries and woods, and is a great place for you and your furry canine to get in some exercise. Use a touring company or grab a map, Dogtown is large with a lot to see, and it’s easy to get lost in.

Where to Eat

the lobster shanty Doggy Day Trip to Cape Ann

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Lobster Shanty
25 Front St.
Salem, MA 01970
(978) 745-5449

Lobster Shanty, a popular local seafood dive that was featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” as well as the “Phantom Gourmet,” allows well-behaved dogs on its patio and even offers a doggie menu. Located in Salem just 17 miles north of Boston and 20 miles south of Cape Ann, Lobster Shanty is famous for its lobster martinis and fresh seafood. Grab some lunch for you and your pooch, choosing from clam chowder or grilled pizza for you and grilled chicken, a hamburger or veggies for your furry companion. A treat and a bowl of water accompany your dog’s meal.

dog with ice cream1 Doggy Day Trip to Cape Ann

Photo Credit: ThinkStock

Downriver Ice Cream
241 John Wise Ave.
Essex, MA 01929
(978) 768-0102

Make a stop for a cool treat in Essex along the way to your destination. One of Cape Ann’s most famous indulgences is its Downriver Ice Cream, located about 33 miles north of Boston and just 10 miles from the heart of Cape Ann. Not only does it offer delicious flavors such as peanut butter, pistachio and maple syrup, but the ice cream is handmade, and the facility is environmentally friendly. Downriver even grows its own strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. Please keep your dog leashed and picked up after to ensure the delicate wetlands remain an inviting place, but feel free to explore this gorgeous area with your pet.

Related: Boston’s Best Bark-Worthy Pet Bakery

Where to Stay

cape ann motor inn Doggy Day Trip to Cape Ann

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Cape Ann Motor Inn
33 Rockport Rd.
Gloucester, MA 01930
(978) 281-2900

If you and that furry fella are just too tired to make the drive home, stay at the Cape Ann Motor Inn, open year round, located about 30 miles north of Boston. This beachfront hotel allows dogs of all sizes, provided they are well-behaved, with no additional fees. Enjoy the sounds of the ocean as you drift off to sleep. Then knock back a cup of coffee and munch on some pastries when you get up in the morning.

Just In Case

dog with vet Doggy Day Trip to Cape Ann

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Cape Ann Veterinary Hospital
462 Essex Ave
Gloucester, MA 01930
(978) 283-3238

Avoid the worry, whether your pup has allergies or gets in an accident, Cape Ann Veterinary Hospital has everything you and your pet could possibly need. From emergency care to behavioral training, the professionals at this hospital have your dog covered. With extended evening hours, this is the perfect place to have handy, just in case. For general questions about your pup, especially if you’re not sure you really need to visit the vet, the hospital’s online library is a lifesaver.

Related: Doggy Day Trip: Provincetown

Nicole Adams resides on the South Shore of Massachusetts. She is a freelance writer specializing in animal welfare. Her work can be found at