Florida is known for having some of the best beaches in the world. With soft, white sand, sparkling blue waters, and towering palm trees and tropical foliage, the beaches offer a relaxing escape for both pets and their owners. It would be a sin to visit Florida and not spend any time at the beach soaking in the sun or playing in the water.
Unfortunately, not all public beaches along the Florida coast are pet-friendly (although you’ll often see people disobeying this rule by letting their dog off-leash anyways). But in our opinion, it’s not worth risking the hefty fine if you happen to get caught or reported. Instead, we recommend visiting one of the following dog-friendly beaches that do welcome your pet with open arms.
Many of these dog-friendly beaches also provide unique amenities just for you and your pet, including doggy waste bags, shower stations, and even fenced-in play parks. With beaches this accommodating, there’s no excuse not to spend a fun, action-packed day outdoors with your best friend by your side!
1. Brohard Beach
As the only pet-friendly beach in Sarasota County, Brohard Beach and Paw Park is a must-visit for humans and their four-legged friends. Located next to the Venice Airport just a short drive south of Sarasota, this sandy beach is the perfect place to spend the day splashing in the sand and surf. But if your pup happens to be more grass than sand, then they can also roam the fenced-in dog park instead.
Not to mention, there is a stunning 740-foot long pier where you can soak in the warm sun and cool breeze. Other amenities include on-site parking, picnic tables, showers, and even a couple of drinking fountains (to keep your pet hydrated, of course). Between the wide stretch of beach and the off-leash dog park, Brohard Beach offers the best of both worlds when it comes to pet-friendly outdoor space. Check out these top-notch dog-friendly Sarasota Airbnbs if you need a place to stay.
2. Key West Dog Beach
If you’re spending any time in the Florida Keys, then make sure to add the Key West Dog Beach to your itinerary. Surrounded by swaying palm trees and crystal blue waters, this little slice of sand is a great place to spend a few hours. It might be hard to find at first as it’s not the biggest beach in the Keys, but it’s proximity to downtown and pet-friendly shores make it a worthwhile visit for any dog owners.
During your visit, don’t forget to stop by Louie’s Backyard Restaurant, which is located right next to the beach. Dogs are allowed to sit with you at the bar deck, so you can unwind with a glass of wine or beer after your frolic in the ocean. And if you’re feeling a bit peckish, you can order a plate of their famous bacon-wrapped shrimp or soft tortilla fish tacos. Just make sure to bring some extra treats for Fido so they can enjoy a mid-day snack as well! If you are looking for lodging nearby, check out these pet-friendly Key West Airbnbs.
3. Dog Beach at Pier Park
With 400 feet of white sugar sand, Panama City Beach is the closest dog-friendly beach for pet owners and their pups staying in Fort Walton Beach. While your pet must be kept on a leash during your visit, they’re still able to lounge in the sun and enjoy a special outing by your side. Trust us – our furry friends would much rather spend the day at the beach than cooped up inside while you’re out having fun in Florida!
Panama City Beach also provides special amenities for pets and their owners. There is a dog washing shower station (so you can wash off the sand before heading back home) and even free waste baggies along with multiple trash bins. The beach is located across from Pier Park (an outdoor shopping mall) and west of City Pier, so it’s centrally located next to many shops, restaurants, and facilities that you can visit after your day at the beach.
4. Fort De Soto Dog Beach Park
As one of the largest and best-kept dog beaches in Florida, Fort De Soto Dog Beach Park is guaranteed to be an exhilarating day out for both you and your pet. To start, they have two grassy fenced-in dog parks (one for small, playful pups and one for larger more rambunctious canines). In addition to the off-leash parks, Fort De Soto Dog Beach Park also has a sandy Paw Playground right on the coast, so your pets can run free while feeling the sand between their paws. If you prefer a leisurely stroll along the lapping shores of water instead, pets are more than welcomed to join you (although they must be kept on a six-foot leash at all times).
On those especially warm summer days, your pup can cool off with a dip in the ocean. However, Fort De Soto Dog Beach Park also has dog-friendly showers, so you can rinse them off before leaving. There are also some cool features along the beach for humans to enjoy too, including a historic Spanish Fort overlooking the water.
5. Bonita Beach Dog Park
Located near Fort Myers Beach next to Lover’s Key State Park, Bonita Beach Dog Park is a stunning dog-friendly beach on the Gulf of Mexico. Unlike other beaches in the area, the entire space is off-leash, so you can let your pet run and play to their heart’s content. Go for a doggy-paddle in the Gulf, play some tug-o-war on the sand, or let them mingle with the other friendly pups hanging out on the shores.
Keep in mind that Bonita Beach Dog Park is a little off-the-beaten-path, and can be easily missed if you aren’t paying attention. If you plan on visiting during high tide, there also might be some shallow water to trek through before reaching the beach, so come prepared with appropriate footwear and extra towels. And don’t forget the drinking water – for you and your pet. There isn’t any running water or drinking fountains at the park and it’s important to keep everyone hydrated, especially after a few hours in the warm Florida sun.
Because Florida is such a large state, social distancing is easy. Which make it the perfect place for adventures with your dogs, especially this year. Although you may be thinking of hitting the beach with you pet, don’t rule out inland getaways and adventures. You can find some amazing, secluded pet-friendly cabins in Florida, where you can enjoy hiking, exploring, and fresh water adventures – like enjoying all the springs.