Do you like to travel with your pets?
From beaches and dog parks to bars and restaurants with outdoor dining, Florida has plenty of destinations that welcome furry friends. It’s also home to a variety of pet-friendly hotels to rest your weary feet and paws at the end of a busy day.
When you’re ready to travel again, why not enjoy the Sunshine State with your favorite four-legged companion by your side?
You can enjoy the sun, salt and sand of a number of Florida beaches with your dog in tow.
All beaches in Gulf County – excluding those of St. Joseph Peninsula State Park – are leashed dog-friendly. Off-leash dog beaches include the 2.5-mile Jupiter Beach, Bonita Beach and parts of Davis Islands Dog Beach, which has two fenced-in play areas for dogs and 200 feet of waterfront access.
Public beach access areas at Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches are dog friendly, but your pooch has to be on a leash. Similarly, Sanibel Island and Captiva Island on Florida’s Southwest Coast allow leashed dogs. If you’re in the City of Miami Beach, the only option if you want to bring your dog is Miami Beach’s Bark Beach, located adjacent to North Shore Open Space Park.
Panama City Beach dog playground is one of the best dog-friendly beaches in Florida, while the 22 miles of St. George Island beaches are said to be some of the best in the U.S.
Restaurants and Bars
Alfresco-style dining is not only relaxing and fun, it often allows you to dine alongside your animal companion. These outdoor restaurants, bars and craft beer pubs are all dog-friendly, with some even featuring a special “yappy hour.”
Find canine-friendly patios at Wine Exchange, Timpano Italian Chophouse and Irish 31 Pub House & Eatery in the Tampa Bay area. In St. Petersburg, there are outdoor sidewalk tables at Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant, a full patio at Bella Brava and outdoor seating at Lucky Dill Deli.
There are many pet-friendly outdoor dining options to find in Orlando, too. For burgers, craft beer and pooch-friendly outdoor seating, there’s Teak Neighborhood Grill. For lunch, dinner, wine and dog-friendly sidewalk tables, consider K Restaurant & Wine Bar. If you’re more of a cat person, there’s the Orlando Cat Cafe, where felines are also available for adoption.
In Naples, you can bring your furry friend on M Waterfront Grille’s veranda and enjoy some bay views, fine dining and live entertainment together. Or, taste the flavors of Spain, Greece, Italy and Morocco at Mediterrano’s outdoor tables.
Miami is a pet lover’s dream with plenty of grooming spas, pet boutiques and dog-friendly eateries. You’ll find outdoor patios at Meat Market steakhouse and lounge and GreenStreet Café. There’s also Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, where the James Beard-nominated chef has been known to serve organic dog biscuits to pets in the courtyard.
For a sweet treat, there’s Sebring Soda & Ice Cream Works, a snack shop with craft sodas, homemade style ice cream and old-fashioned candies for you as well as dog/cat-friendly ice cream pup cups.
Make your pooch’s tail wag with a visit to a Florida park. Some feature areas of grassy fenced-in fields while others include water features and obstacle courses.
Dog Wood Park in Jacksonville features a 42-acre park, 25 acres of which are completely fenced in. There’s also a two-acre swimming lake, a swimming pond for smaller dogs and plenty of shady areas.
The 23-acre Lake Baldwin Park is roomy, featuring two pavilions, over two dozen picnic tables, benches, a dock and boat ramp. What’s more, dogs can frolic leash-free during certain hours.
Fort De Soto Park Dog Beach and Paw Playground features three acres of fenced-in grassy park space separated for both large and small dogs. Naples Dog Park also features separated spaces for bigger and smaller dogs, along with bag dispensers, washing stations, drinking fountains and a shade structure.
Amelia Earhart Bark Park, located in the Miami area, is over 500 acres with five fenced off areas for dogs. There’s also plenty of fun for pooches thanks to the park’s water fountains, tunnels and other obstacle course-like objects. Find lots of water features at Woofing Waters at Quiet Waters Park.
Barkham at Markham Park in Broward County features three and a half acres, with different areas for large and small dogs (under 25 pounds). Pooches can run off-leash and explore various structures while owners rest under shaded pavilions.
Canines love a nice, long walk, and there are plenty of great pet-friendly outdoor trails in Florida. Just remember to bring some bug spray and plenty of water for you and your pooch.
Take your dog on a walk you’ll both enjoy at Alderman’s Ford Nature Preserve in Tampa. Here you’ll be able to explore 970 acres of beautiful rolling hills, lush oak forests and longleaf pine, via grass and dirt trails. Take both paved and off-road scenic trails through Old Florida to see acres of sand pine scrub, pine flatwoods, river swamps and more at Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Hobe Sound.
There’s also Miccosukee Canopy Road Greenway in Tallahassee. This six-mile trail is a favorite of local dog-walkers, mountain bikers, joggers and equestrians. North Bay Trail in St. Petersburg is a paved 6.5-mile trail with great views of the bay, downtown St. Petersburg’s waterfront parks, marinas, wildlife and more. Riverwalk in Fort Lauderdale, or “Florida’s Most Beautiful Mile” is another great spot for you and your four-legged friend to get some exercise.
After a day filled with Florida adventures, you’ll need a place for you and your four-legged friend to rest. Luckily, there are over 1,000 pet-friendly hotels located in the Sunshine State.
Some Ritz-Carlton hotels in Sarasota, Orlando and Miami Beach allow small dogs and cats. Another posh option is the Mandarin Oriental Miami and select Aloft Hotels in Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Orlando and Miami.
For more five-star dog-friendly accommodations, there’s AAA Five Diamond Rated Eau Palm Beach, and Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach, which welcomes dogs under 20 pounds.
Don’t worry if you have a larger dog; canines of any weight are welcome at Epic Hotel, Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa, Costa d’Este Beach Resort & Spa and Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa, regardless of size and with no extra fees. Mona Kai Vacation Rentals at St. Pete Beach also welcome dogs of all sizes.
For more places to go and things to do with your pet in Florida, VISIT FLORIDA can help.
Discover pet-friendly destinations wherever you go with this helpful search tool from AAA Travel.
3 Thoughts on “Pet-Friendly Florida Vacations”
Looking for 3-4* accommodations, pet friendly, for us to drive from Jensen Beach to Key West, perhaps stopping to enjoy Keys 2 to 3 evenings.
A AAA Travel advisor will be happy to discuss planning this trip with you. Feel free to schedule an in-branch meeting by visiting AAA.com/Travel.
Your pet friendly vacations article is very informative but for those of us who live too far away it’s a problem. They can’t fly with us or board a train with us and driving is inconvenient for some of us; hopefully that will change in the future.