Pets 2010: Playtime

Wonderful and worthy outings for you and your dog.

Photograph by Jessica Scranton

Photograph by Jessica Scranton

Reach the Beach 

Letting Fido off the leash at Ipswich’s Crane Beach — a pristine locale on the former grounds of a magnificent summer estate — may seem as unthinkable as turning him loose in a five-star restaurant. But last year the Trustees of Reservations expanded its Green Dogs program (which rewards conscientious pet owners with greater access to its properties) to include a leash-free zone at Crane in the off-season. You’ll still have to shell out for a permit and parking, but it’s a small price for a place with this kind of pedigree. Season runs October–March; Argilla Road, Ipswich, 978-356-4351.

Hit the Water

For pets with a glint of Magellan in their eye, City Water Taxi offers a shot at exploring new worlds — or at least uninhabited islands — with its Boston Harbor Islands Dog Cruise. Introduced last year, the three-hour adventure is a rare exception to the islands’ no-pets policy: From October to May, the water taxi is permitted to bring both owners and animals to one of the islands (usually Thompson or Lovells) for an afternoon of leash-free exercise and matchless harbor views. For schedule and reservations call 617-633-9240.

Drool Over Art

With an open-mindedness befitting a bastion of modern art, the DeCordova Sculpture Park welcomes aesthetes of all kinds, even those into wearing collars. At this outdoor complement to the DeCordova Museum, dozens of large-scale works by Sol LeWitt and other contemporary stars lie artfully scattered across 35 acres; leashed dogs are welcome to join their owners in discovering and contemplating them. But visitors should note that the sculptures are off-limits for climbing—a stricture that goes double for peeing, even as critique. 51 Sandy Pond Rd., Lincoln, 781-259-8355.

Scare Up Some Ghosts

Experience solitude, wild beauty, and, yes, the tiniest supernatural tingle as you and your pooch wander the 3,600-acre expanse known as Dogtown, an abandoned colonial settlement shadowed by tales of witchcraft and dark deeds. Since it’s eerily easy to get lost in this maze of wooded trails and old carriage roads, Dogtown is best for pups smart enough to stick close and owners smart enough to carry a map and cell phone. Entrance off Cherry Street, Gloucester, 978-281-9720.