The number of dog friendly places in CT is rapidly growing.
That list includes our dog friendly bed and breakfast inn in Greenwich, Connecticut.
But where else in the state can you bring your pooch?
While hiking is an obvious dog friendly activity, many more are becoming much easier to do, provided you do a little advanced planning.
Read on for our full guide to dog friendly Connecticut.
Dog friendly places in CT
From shopping to dining to drinking, the list of things you can do across Connecticut with your dog is steadily increasing.
Not sure where to go before you and your best friend head out for the weekend? Watch our quick video with some of our top picks. Then, read on.
And there were so many dog-friendly spots to highlight, that we had to create two maps!
First, the Gold Coast of Connecticut, from Greenwich to Statford along Long Island Sound:
And another of the rest of dog-friendly Connecticut:
As with most dog friendly places in CT on this list, check ahead.
Even national chain stores have different policies based on local pet rules, even how the manager of the store is feeling on a given day.
The safest bet is to call ahead, or pause at the door of a shop and ask if they allow pets. And if you need somewhere to stay while you’re here, be sure to check out one of the most dog friendly hotels in Connecticut.
Dog-friendly stores in CT
There’s no question that shopping with your dog can be helpful. Especially if you’re looking for stuff for them, or you want to confirm that your new couch or jacket matches their coat.
But finding dog-friendly stores can be a bit of a crapshoot.
Outdoor malls and main street shopping can be a bit easier, provided you bring a human buddy. That way, on a day with nice weather, you can take turns going into the stores that are not dog friendly.
Dog friendly shopping destinations in Connecticut
Shopping is always a great source of inspiration for a Connecticut day trip. A few of the bigger shopping destinations in Connecticut that allow dogs at some of their stores, and definitely in their outdoor areas include:
- Greenwich Avenue
The sidewalks and park areas of our busy downtown Greenwich shopping district are of course open to all pedestrians, including dogs. Some shops leave water bowls and a dog biscuit or two outside for shoppers’ pets. Some stores are even dog friendly, though not all. Ask before you enter.
- Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets
As an outdoor mall, the same rules as above apply at Clinton Crossing Premium Outlets.
- Westbrook Outlets
Leashed pets are welcome to walk around outside the stores at the Westbrook Outlets. And there are plenty of benches to sit and wait with a dog while your human shopping buddies are inside.
- Olde Mistick Village
Regardless of whether you’re big into shopping or not, this outdoor mall reconstructed into a colonial New England village is one of the most unique attractions in southern Connecticut. As with the other points of interest on this list, some but not all stores are dog friendly. The ducks that swim in the pond are decidedly not, so be ready if your dog is not a fan of ducks, either.
- SoNo collection
A reader passed this one along! The newest mall in the area is right in South Norwalk, with easy access to the shopping and restaurants in South Norwalk.
And many of the best flea markets in Connecticut are dog friendly, especially the ones that are outdoors.
Dog friendly shopping chains in Connecticut
Shops can be hit or miss, but there are a few national brands that are definitely (leashed) dog friendly places to shop.
- Nordstrom (White Plain)
- Bloomingdale’s (White Plain)
- TJ Maxx (Norwalk & Fairfield)
- Marshall’s (Norwalk)
- Bass Pro Shops (Bridgeport)
These companies are pet friendly, but every location is different in whether it welcomes dogs or not. Mall locations, for example, have the right to turn non-service dogs away.
- Old Navy (Port Chester, Stamford, & Norwalk)
- The Gap (Stamford, Westport, Fairfield)
- Banana Republic (Stamford, Scarsdale, Milford, Danbury)
- Pottery Barn (White Plains, Westport, Danbury)
- Macy’s (Stamford, White Plains, Milford, Trumbull, Danbury)
National shopping chains in CT that are not dog friendly
And a list of a few major shopping destinations that are not dog friendly, to save you the phone call. Major ones include:
- Trader Joe’s (Stamford, Hartsdale, Darien)
- Most grocery stores
Dog-friendly restaurants in CT
Many pet friendly restaurants across Connecticut welcome well-behaved and leashed dogs in their outdoor dining areas.
Some even permit furry friends inside, though usually smaller ones only.
And some are known for taking really good care of your dog, bringing water dishes and the like for them.
The list keeps growing and changing, so as with everything on this list, call ahead to confirm.
- Terra Ristorante Italiano, Greenwich
- Bareburger, Stamford
- Lucky’s Classic Burger & Malt Shop, Stamford
- Burger Bar & Bistro, Norwalk
- Sedona Taphouse, Norwalk
- Little Barn, Westport
- Flipside Burger Bar, Fairfield
- Bloodroot Vegetarian Restaurant, one of the best restaurants in Bridgeport, CT
- Captain’s Cove Seaport, Bridgeport
- The Greek Spot Cafe & Grill, Milford
- J.P Dempsey’s, New Haven
- The Place, Guilford
- Ballou’s Restaurant & Wine Bar, Guilford
- Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale, Madison
- Captain Scott’s Lobster Shack, New London
- Jealous Monk, Olde Mistick Village near Mystic
- Dog Watch Cafe, Stonington
Dog-friendly wineries and breweries in CT
Sometimes, there’s nothing better than sitting outside, drink in hand, while admiring the surrounding scenery.
Connecticut wineries are more bucolic affairs, while breweries are more typically indoors and industrial-feeling here in Connecticut.
But many options from both lists are dog-friendly.
Dog-friendly wineries in Connecticut
Enjoy some gorgeous scenery with your glass of wine at any of these dog-friendly wineries on the CT Wine Trail.
Be sure to keep your pooch in designated pet friendly areas. Generally speaking, dog friendly spaces are lawns, patios, and the like.
- Hawk Ridge Winery, Watertown
- White Silo Farm & Winery, Sherman
- Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen
- Jonathan Edwards Winery, North Stonington
- Brignole Vineyards, East Granby
- DiGrazia Vineyards & Winery, Brookfield
Dog-friendly breweries in CT
Breweries are typically more indoor affairs in Connecticut. But almost any brewery with outdoor seating, like a biergarten, or that doesn’t serve food can be dog friendly.
But outdoor seating means that the joys of sitting with a dog at your knee and beer in your hand may only be possible in a public location about half the year here.
Blame it on the weather.
- Half Full Brewery, Stamford
- Lock City Brewing, Stamford
- Nod Hill Brewery, in Ridgefield
- Milford Point Brewing, Milford
- Redding Beer Company, Redding
- Reverie Brewing Company, Newtown
- Veracious Brewing, Monroe
- Bad Sons Brewing, Derby
- No Worries Brewing, Hamden
- Counter Weight Brewing, Hamden
- Black Hog Brewing Company, Oxford
- Thimble Island Brewing Company, a misleading name, as they’re no longer near the Thimble Islands. Still in Branford, though
- Firefly Hollow Brewing, Bristol
- Hog River Brewing, Hartford
- New Park Brewing, West Hartford
- Beer’d Brewing Co, Stonington
Dog friendly parks in Connecticut
Of all the locations on this list, parks have been considered an appropriate spot to bring your dog for way longer.
And this list even includes places to let your dog run free.
In addition to being dog friendly, Elizabeth Park Rose Garden is both:
- One of the top free attractions in Connecticut
- A top pick of activities, attractions, and things to do in Hartford
Elizabeth Park welcomes leashed dogs with their owners for strolls through the grounds.
But most dog friendly parks in the state are either fenced parks where dogs can run and play, unleashed; or hiking trails where hikers are welcome to bring a leashed, four-legged addition to their party.
Enclosed dog parks in CT
Close to Greenwich and Stanton House Inn are a few parks where dogs can roam, unleashed.
- Grass Island Dog Park is conveniently located to downtown Greenwich on Grass Island, overlooking Greenwich Harbor; though also next to the sewage treatment plant
- The Stamford Dog Park is well-maintained with two parks for large and small dogs
- The Elmsford Dog Park is a small yet well-liked dog park in Westchester County
- The Rowayton Dog Park is great, though there are limitations for town residents
- The Cranbury Park in Norwalk includes wooded trails as well as an enclosed dog park
Dog friendly hiking trails in Connecticut
This list is not exhaustive. There are tons of parks and hiking trails throughout Connecticut to which leashed dogs are welcome.
Connecticut state parks may not be the place to do as the locals do, however.
What do I mean?
You’ll often see other hikers walking their dogs off-leash.
And while most times you’ll be able to hike all day without seeing another dog (or officer), there’s no guarantee of that.
And fines can get expensive, especially in Connecticut.
Babcock Preserve is the largest park in Greenwich, situated just north of the Merritt Parkway. The many varied trails are perfect for hiking with your dog.
Montgomery Pinetum & Pomerance Park
These adjacent parks just north of Cos Cob offer plenty of trails for a jaunt with you and your pup. Keep your dog on a leash in the Montgomery Pinetum & Pomerance Park, unless you want your dog to take a swim in the central pond.
The Cascades at Lake Mohegan
This park surrounding Lake Mohegan in Fairfield, Connecticut was rated one of the top 10 dog friendly trails in the world. Much of the park is even off-leash, provided you’re at least 100 feet from parking lots and the road. The creek that flows into the lake runs through some rock formations that are pretty cool. Warmer months have limits on non-residents entering the park.
Sleeping Giant State Park
This park in Hamden is one of the most popular in the state. And the most popular trail at Sleeping Giant State Park is the 1.6 mile Tower Trail, which ascends to the 739 foot summit of Mt Carmel. The observation tower has a commanding view of the surrounding area, including New Haven.
Lover’s Leap State Park
This state park in New Milford, northwest of Danbury, features:
- Hiking trails
- Historic ruins from the town’s industrial days
- And scenic vistas
The dog may not be that interested, but there is a cool bridge across a stream in Lovers Leap State Park.
White Memorial Foundation
Dogs and horses as well as their owners are welcome to explore the massive White Memorial Foundation preserve in the Litchfield Hills of CT. Be warned that horses, more easily spooked, always have the right of way.
Devil’s Hopyard State Park
Your pooch likely won’t question the history of this Connecticut state park name. Which is a good thing, because no one really knows the name’s source.
Chapman Falls, the park’s main attraction, drops more than sixty feet over a series of steps in a Scotland Schist stone formation. It’s an easy hike in East Haddam, Connecticut.
Many of the best outdoor activities in Connecticut are dog friendly, be sure to see our full list.
Are there any CT beaches allowing dogs?
This question is probably the most commonly asked regarding dog friendly places in Connecticut.
And it largely depends on the time of year that you’re visiting.
Most Connecticut beaches that permit dogs do so only during the off-season. Generally speaking, the cold months of late fall through to early spring is when dogs are welcome on town beaches.
Use your common sense and courtesy, and do the standard practices:
- Keep your dog on a leash or close enough to hear your commands
- Clean up after your dog
Dog friendly beaches
Tod’s Point, as the locals call it, allows dogs on the beach from December 1 to March 31st. And the off leash beach is glorious on a sunny winter day, with all the dogs playing.
Compo Beach, in Westport, CT, has a designated off-leash area of the beach, south of the Pavilion. Dogs are not allowed in the Pavilion, Playground, and Boardwalk of the beach. Dogs are allowed at the beach from October 1 to March 31.
From October 1 to March 31, Jennings Beach in Fairfield is an off-leash dog park fronting Long Island Sound.
Are dogs allowed on Hammonasset Beach, in Madison?
Leashed dogs are allowed on Hammonasset Beach from October 1 to March 31st. Leashes can be no longer than exactly 7 feet, for some reason.
Esker Point Beach
Located in Groton, this one is on the other side of the Connecticut shoreline from Greenwich. But it’s worth mentioning on this list because Esker Point Beach is the only municipal beach in the state that allows dogs on the beach all year long.
Any more pet friendly attractions in Connecticut?
As with the majority of the pet friendly tourist attractions on this list, the remaining points of interest are all outdoors. As such dogs are welcome on leashes in open spaces, but not so much indoors.
Some pet friendly places like museums in Connecticut include:
- Weir Farm National Historic Site, by far one of the most unique attractions in southern Connecticut in Wilton
- The Florence Griswold Museum allows visitors to bring their dogs on the grounds
- Fort Trumbull State Park overlooks the harbor in New London
- Mystic Seaport, America’s largest maritime museum, and one of the top things to do in Mystic
- Locals treat the grounds of First Presbyterian Church in Stamford like a public park, and will often walk their dogs here
Keep planning your visit to Connecticut
Now that the dog friendly places in CT are on your list, keep exploring more things to do throughout the state.
Check-out the top attractions, activities, and things to do in Connecticut in peak seasons to travel with your pup:
Any time of year you come will be great for you and your best friend!
Updated and republished: June 27, 2023