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Pooch-friendly beaches: 10 getaways for the dog days of summer

By: Matt Hickman on July 16, 2014, 5:34 p.m.
Gooch’s Beach

Photo: David Lounsbury/Flickr

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Gooch’s Beach, Kennebunk, Maine

In the early hours, pooches totally rule at Gooch’s. One of three main beaches in the charming coastal town of Kennebunk, home to part of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge and natural toothpaste powerhouse Tom’s of Maine, off-leash, voice-controlled dogs are the main attraction at Gooch’s Beach before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. during peak Down East beach season, which runs from June 15 until the day after Labor Day. During the off-season, this sandy stretch is open to salty dogs and their responsible/attentive owners no matter the time of day.

The same restrictions apply at neighboring Mother’s Beach and Middle Beach, but dog owners seem to gravitate en masse to Gooch’s. The neighboring town of Kennebunkport also boasts a couple of dog-friendly beaches, but with slightly more restrictive summer hours.