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Dogs on NH State Beaches

News Date

In New Hampshire, dogs aren’t allowed on beaches at any state park, whether lakeside or oceanside.

That includes the off season and late or early morning hours.

An exception is made for service dogs, such as those that assist the blind. They can accompany their owners on state beaches anytime.

Different rules on town beaches

The rules can be different if the beach isn’t part of the state park system.

Towns set their own rules for locally-run beaches and often allow dogs, though they may set ordinances that ban them during the busiest days or hours, or require pet owners to keep their animals on a leash.

To find out if your dog can join you at a town beach or lake, call the local animal control officer or town clerk.

Should the law change?

There’s been no move by the legislature or the Division of Parks and Recreation to change the rules, but some dog owners say there should be. They argue that state policy should echo that of many towns, which allow dogs in the early morning or the evening during busy months, or any time of day during the off season.

Basic rules such as a requirement to keep pets on a leash and to clean up their waste would be enough to ensure the animals don’t pose a threat to public safety.

Others point out that the rule banning dogs from state beaches rarely seems to be enforced—so why bother keeping it on the books?

However, some worry that dog owners wouldn’t follow the rules, making pet waste a potential problem, or that aggressive dogs could get lose and pose a threat to others. They point out that there are other beaches where pet owners can bring their furry family members, if they choose, and that those who’d prefer not to share the beach with dogs should have places they can go.

What do you think?

Do you think New Hampshire should allow dogs on state beaches? Why or why not? Leave a comment and let us know.


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Many people of NH own dogs and have them trained very well on a leash, or even off leash. As a resident of NH who loves to visit state parks, including beaches, lakes and campgrounds, and also the owner of a dog, I would love to be able to bring him to the beach or lake. We have to leave him at home so often and its not fair as he is part of our family. We are residents who don't leave his waste behind either, always carrying 'poop bags' with us. Please move forward to change this law, it would bring so many more families out to NH state parks. :)


I agree so much with Melanie McCoy! I also see the other side where lazy owners wont clean up after their dogs or mean people bring poorly trained dogs or dogs trained to fight other dogs. If humans were all responsible it would work perfectly. Torn

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