Florida is the ideal vacation spot for families. Home to the most-visited vacation resort in the world (Disney World), lush national parks (like the Everglades), plus lively cities on the coasts of the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, the sunshine state offers adventure for all ages. So be sure not to forget everyone’s favorite family member – your dog!
Always remember to clean up after pets in public and be mindful of other beach goers. Now pack the leash and puppy chow and check out our list of beautiful Florida beaches to visit with your dog!
Top 15 Dog Friendly Beaches In Florida for 2017
1. Brohard Paw Park (Venice, FL)
Brohard Paw Park, open from 7 a.m. until sunset, is the only dog-friendly beach in Sarasota County, making it a popular spot for local and visiting canines. Additionally, Brohard is very accommodating for four-legged friends, offering dog-only showering facilities, drinking fountains, and even fire hydrant restroom facilities. Get here early, as it’s one of the most popular dog parks in Florida!
2. Fort De Soto Paw Playground and Beach (Saint Petersburg, FL)
Located among the islands connected by Florida State Road 679, Fort De Soto Paw Playground is a white sand beach connected to Fort De Soto Park. The park, which was named America’s #1 Beach in 2008 and 2009 by Trip Advisor, is filled with Spanish conquistador history. Camp with your pup at the park, which includes dog showers and fenced areas for your convenience. But keep dogs on a six-foot leash whenever they aren’t on the beach.
3. Algiers Beach (Sanibel, FL)
Also known as Gulfside Beach, Algiers is located on Sanibel Island right next to a gorgeous nature preserve. Leashes are required for pets, and a parking fee is enforced between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. (but the beach is completely free after 7 p.m.!)
4. Ocean Cay Park (Jupiter, FL)
Do you remember the scene in Marley and Me where the title character must remain on a leash while visiting the dog beach in Florida? Marley loses the leash and breaks the rules – but doesn’t make it very far – on the beach at Ocean Cay Park in Jupiter, Florida, just outside of Palm Beach. Visit the only dog-friendly beach in Palm Beach County with your pup to relax under the pavilions, go fishing or play volleyball, but be sure not to reenact the infamous off-leash scene that got Marley banned from the park!
5. Bonita Beach Dog Park (Fort Meyers Beach, FL)
Bonita Beach Dog Park is located at the edge of Lover’s Key State Park on the west coast of Florida. No leashes are required, so let your dog run free… but the park has no fences, so be sure not to let your furry friends escape. The park does not have running water, either – pack a few water bottles for you and your pup.
6. Smyrna Dunes Park (New Smyrna Beach, FL)
This public park – a little over an hour’s drive from the Orlando Airport – is open from sunrise to sunset. An entry fee of $5 per vehicle applies from sunrise to sunset. Leashes are required at Smyrna Dunes, which is just north of the Canaveral National Seashore. Be sure to stroll along the elevated boardwalks, have a picnic in the pavilion or explore the nature trails and observation tower onsite.
7. Davis Islands Dog Park and Beach (Tampa, FL)
While many Florida parks only allow dogs on the beach, Davis Islands has a dog-friendly dry park as well as a 200-foot coastline for dogs. Drinking fountains provide water for both humans and dogs, who don’t need a leash at Davis Islands. The entire park was recently restored and now features artificial reefs as well as a breakwater and improved roads and landscaping. Be sure to check it out!
8. Panama City Beach (Panama City, FL)
If you find yourself in the Florida panhandle, don’t miss Panama City Beach – home to two state parks, excellent fresh food and lots of artificial reefs. The area also features a dog beach along 400 feet of white sand. No need to leave the beach once you’re finished playing – have a picnic, or dine at one of the pet-friendly restaurants in the park.
9. Key Biscayne Dog Beach (Key Biscayne, FL)
See Miami from across the Biscayne Bay at Key Biscayne Beach! This park is open from sunrise to sunset, but the best beach spots can become crowded quickly – so get there early and play all day! You can also stop by the Miami Sequarium on the way back from the beach to see dolphins and killer whales up close. Be sure to bring change for the tolls on Florida State Road 913.
10. Fort Clinch State Park (Fernandina Beach, FL)
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in the northeastern-most tip of Florida, don’t miss Fort Clinch State Park. You and your dog will enjoy a tour of this historic area, which served as a fort during the Civil War. Historic sites are well preserved and dog friendly, but only if dogs are well behaved, on a leash, and fully vaccinated. Camp out at Amelia River Campground for a full experience!
11. Cape San Blas Barrier Dunes (Cape San Blas, FL)
Grab a leash and take your pet to Cape San Blas for perhaps the dreamiest sunset views in all of Florida. Located between Tallahassee and Pensacola, this westward facing beach is one of the great spots in Florida to watch the sunset. Keep dogs away from the State Park land, but the rest is free for pets to roam.
12. Dog Island Park (Dog Island, Florida)
As the name suggests, Dog Island Park is definitely a pet-friendly spot to play. Take your pup to the beach (with a leash!), but avoid the nature conservancy as dogs are strictly not allowed in certain areas. The island is very small and can only be reached by boat. But if you’re looking for some quiet time with family or pets, Dog Island is the place to be!
13. Anne’s Beach (Islamorada, FL)
If you and your pet are looking for a place to splash in the keys, head to Anne’s Beach, named after environmentalist Anne Eaton, who moved to the Keys after a lifetime of environmental policymaking. Anne’s Beach is consistently ranked among the best small beaches in the Keys, perhaps because of its pet-friendly rules, or perhaps because you can visit and swim year-round in the warm waters.
14. Flagler Beach (Flagler Beach, FL)
Budget Travel Magazine named Flagler Beach, Florida one of America’s coolest small towns in 2013, and it’s easy to see why: the town is an escape from the nightlife of Daytona Beach while still packing all of the same Florida sunshine and coastal beauty. Dogs are allowed, too; just keep them off of the pier.
15. Paws Dog Park (St. Augustine, FL)
Some dog parks are best suited for big dogs to splash around, while others are better for frolicking smaller dogs. But Paws Dog Park has the best of both worlds – the park offers separate areas for both big and small dogs to play, drink and do their business on a fake fire hydrant. Dogs should have up-to-date shots and good manners to play at Paws, which is open from sunrise to sunset.
This article was written by Caitlin Klask.