Millions of families plan vacations to Florida every year. And, while there are many attractions that make Florida a great destination, none tops the stunning pet friendly beaches. With 663 miles of shoreline, there’s a beach for everyone — including your furry family members!
Let’s take a look at 10 of the top pet friendly beaches in Florida, so you can start planning a beach vacation with your best friend.
1. Fort Myers Beach
Fort Myers Beach is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Florida, and an excellent place to bring your pup. In fact, there are two beaches in Fort Myers that are great for dogs!
The primary beach, Fort Myers Beach, is a stretch of immaculate soft white sand adorned with beach shops, bars, great restaurants, and pet friendly hotels to round out your experience. The beach is pet friendly as long as leashes are attached, and it’s perfect for activities from jogging to lounging.
The second location, just a bit southeast, is aptly-named the Dog Beach. This free beach is beautiful, and dogs are able to run around off-leash while their humans lounge. The amenities here are limited to a portable bathroom and a shower to rinse off people and paws before hopping back in your car.
2. Brohard Paw Park
Brohard Paw Park is the only dog friendly beach in Sarasota County, making it a hot spot for both locals and tourists. It’s open from 7 am until sunset, accommodating both early risers and sunset watchers who want to enjoy the sand and surf.
This beach is so dog friendly, in fact, that they provide exclusive dog showers, water fountains, and fire hydrants for bathroom breaks. This is a very popular dog beach, so social pups will have a blast here.
3. Fort De Soto Park (Paw Playground)
This incredible beach was Trip Advisor’s choice for America’s Top Beach in 2009, and our pick for the #1 Pet Friendly attraction in Florida!
One look reveals why this quarter-mile dog beach is so popular! Pet lovers can stretch out and soak up the sun, while their dogs run off-leash and play in the clear water. There’s also a 2.5-acre fenced dog park next to the beach.
Water fountains and hoses are provided to keep pets cool when they’re not romping in the surf. When you’re done enjoying the beach, be sure to check out the many trails that Fort De Soto Park has to offer!
4. Bonita Beach Dog Park
Bonita Beach Dog Park is an excellent place for energetic dogs to enjoy off-leash play in the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico. The beach itself is secluded from the main road, so dogs are safe from wandering too far off-course.
The water is clear and shallow, which is perfect for dogs to splash and play in. With soft, clean sand, it’s a great place to spend the day. Plenty of waste bags and a shower station round out this beach’s offerings, making it one of the best.
5. Gulfside City Park Beach
This beach is located on Sanibel Island, which has a nice collection of dog friendly beaches. However, Gulfside City Park Beach is the best for spending a day with your pup. Dogs must be kept on a leash and be picked-up after, but that doesn’t stop owners and dogs from having a great time!
The beach itself is generally very quiet and naturally beautiful with some excellent shells along the shore. It’s also home to endangered shorebirds and sea turtles! As far as amenities go, there are picnic tables, restrooms, showers, and water fountains.
6. Smyrna Dunes Park
Smyrna Dunes Park has a popular pet friendly beach, and is located about an hour’s drive from the Orlando Airport. Friendly people, soft sand, and nice surf define this beach where dogs must be leashed.
In addition to the pet friendly beach, the park has a boardwalk (dogs are permitted on the boardwalk before 10 am), nature trails, picnic areas, and showers. If you choose to visit Smyrna Dunes Park, note that it’s very busy during the summer time. Arrive early in the morning or near dusk to avoid the large crowds.
7. Davis Islands Dog Beach
Located just south of downtown Tampa, the Davis Islands Dog Beach offers a nice retreat from the city hustle. There are two parts to this beach. The first is a 1.5-acre dog beach, and the other is a 1-acre dog park. Both areas are fenced, allowing dogs to socialize unleashed.
The beach itself has more than 200 feet of shoreline, and the dog park is kept in excellent condition. Water stations and waste bag dispensers are available, but the beach does get a bit busy during peak times.
8. Panama City Dog Beach at Pier Park
If you’re in the panhandle, Panama City Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the area. Just to the right of the pier is beach #56, where leashed pets are welcome.
This is a nice stretch of beach for the number of dogs and dog owners that enjoy it. In addition to the great beach, there is a nice variety of pet friendly restaurants in Panama City Beach that allow your dog to relax on the patio while you grab a bite to eat.
9. Canova Dog Beach
Canova Beach Park spreads across 9.1 acres and offers amenities such as a pavilion, grills, covered picnic area, restrooms, water fountains, and showers. This is Brevard County’s only dog friendly beach, and leashes are required. In order to use the beach, dogs must be up-to-date on their shots and have current tags.
10. Walton Rocks Dog Beach
This off-leash dog friendly beach along Florida’s Treasure Coast features 24 acres of fine, soft sand and great Atlantic Ocean views. It’s an easy beach to access with a nearby parking area, and the entire beach is gorgeous. The beach is large enough not to feel crowded, even during peak times. Just make sure that you’re respectful of the protected dunes and always clean up after your pup!
Looking for more pet friendly beaches in Florida? Explore Florida’s forgotten coast with your dog!
About the Author: Zach is a life-long pet owner and enthusiast. He was born into a family with a dog named Murphy, and since then has owned several dogs, mice, ferrets, fish, geckos, and a cat. This experience has given him the knowledge necessary to help others become excellent pet owners on his website Beyond The Treat with detailed gear, housing, and feeding guides for all pets.
Guest Posts on GoPetFriendly.com: We love sharing stories from people having fun traveling with their pets! And reading your pet travel experiences may be just the nudge someone else needs to pack up and head out with their own best friend. If you’re interested in writing a guest post for Take Paws, let us know!