39 of the Most PUPular Dog Beaches in Florida to Try

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Located in the southeastern United States, Florida has some of the most popular beaches in the world. There are the most well-known, like Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale but the unfamiliar hidden gems, like Honeymoon Island State Park, Pass A Grille Dog Beach, and Fort DeSoto Paw Playground, are definitely worth the trip. Bordered by the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Straits of Florida, you will find plenty of ways to cool off in this sunny state. 

Founded by Ponce de Leon in 1513, the state was first known as La Florida, which means floral in Spanish, he knew right away that this southern state would be a great place to live with its lush flora and clean turquoise waters. And with 825 miles of shoreline, you and your pooch will have no trouble at all finding where to play in the surf. Here are 17 of our favorite dog beaches in Florida for you and your pup to visit. 

Pensacola Dog Beach

Pensacola Beach, FL 32561, USA

In northwestern Florida, along the panhandle on Santa Rosa Island, you will find Pensacola Dog Beaches. Yes, there are two dog beaches on this island, so you guys can take your pick or enjoy both of them! Pensacola Beach West Dog Park is located at 21E Parking Lot on Fort Pickens Road, where you cross the bridge to get to the sand. He will have to keep his leash on, and this is a small beach with not much parking, so if it is full, head east. 

The Pensacola Beach East Dog Park is larger and has a bigger parking lot at 28B. In fact, this beach is huge, and the sand is so white it looks like snow. Your fur puppy will love it because it gives you the opportunity to let his leash out a bit more so he can run and play ball. Be sure to pack baggies and keep him away from the wildlife.  

Dog Beach at Pier Park

33753-000-000, Panama City Beach, FL 32413

In northwestern Florida, right in the middle of the Panhandle, Panama City Beach is a popular resort town just east of Destin. Across the street from the famous Pier Park, the Dog Beach is a huge expanse of white sand and turquoise water. Even though it is called a dog beach though, your pooch has to remain on a leash at all times. It was named one of the best 30 dog beaches in the US, and you will see why when you watch the sunset over the pier. 

There are dog poop bag dispensers at each entrance, but bring your own just in case. They also have volleyball courts, a playground, and a paved area with picnic tables. Over at Pier Park, you will find 124 stores and numerous restaurants. Since it is an outdoor mall, most of them are dog-friendly, but you have to ask anyway. Just walking around window shopping is also fun, but remember those doggie bags. 

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge Beach

255 Lighthouse Rd, St Marks, FL 32355

Keep heading east about 125 miles, and you will come upon St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, which is also pup popular. Located on the Gulf of Mexico at Apalachee Bay, this place has over 83,000 acres of space in Taylor, Jefferson, and Wakulla Counties to explore and enjoy with your leashed pooch. It is a popular park for nature lovers of all kinds. Being a wildlife refuge means there are thousands of animals here too.  

There is plenty of water fun, including swimming, sunning, boating, surfing, and fishing, as well as fun on land like hiking, biking, and picnicking. You can even see the second-oldest lighthouse in Florida here. St. Marks Lighthouse was built in 1842 and is the perfect spot for some awesome selfies with your best furry friend. Just make sure you keep your dog on a leash at all times and bring puppy pickup bags to clean up anything he drops. 

Crystal River Preserve State Park Beach

3266 N Sailboat Ave, Crystal River, FL 34428

To get to Crystal River Preserve State Park, you have to go about 150 miles to the southeast along the Gulf of Mexico and Crystal Bay. Besides the oceanfront space, this pup-friendly park has river access as well, so your pup can play in freshwater too. Like the name says, Crystal River is a beautiful clear blue river where you can see the bottom like looking through glass. 

The park also boasts almost 28,000 acres of biologically diverse space, from salt marshes to mangrove islands. Where the spring-fed river meets the Gulf of Mexico, you can actually see the two kinds of waters mixing with each other. And as long as your pup is leashed, you can let him play in the water and along the beaches. You can go boating, hiking, do some fishing, or have a picnic as well. There is something for everyone to do at Crystal River. 

De Soto National Memorial Beach

8300 Desoto Memorial Hwy, Bradenton, FL 34209

A few minutes from Bradenton on the western coast, your fur baby can join you at De Soto National Memorial Beach for a dip in the Manatee River or Tampa Bay. As long as you keep your pup on a leash at all times and pick up after him (bring baggies), he is welcome to swim, play, and run around as much as he wants. Located on the tip of the peninsula, you get your choice of which waters you want to play in. 

The gorgeous white sparkling sand makes the blue water look even more intense, and there is always a boat or two in the water to give you the perfect background for a selfie. In fact, there are three miles of beaches along the coastline here, with concession stands, boat launches, hiking trails, and more. There is a visitor center for more information or to get a guided tour of the historic section of the park. 

Brohard Paw Park

1850 Harbor Dr. S, Venice, FL 34285

In southwestern Florida, between Venice and Manasota Key Beach, you and your pup can find Brohard Paw Park, which is the only dog beach in Sarasota. Since it is the only one, the park is almost always crowded, so keep that in mind. The beach area is fenced, so letting your fur baby off the leash to swim and play can be done with peace of mind. And the soft white sand is cleaned daily, so you do not have to worry about tender puppy paws either. 

Although the park offers drinking fountains and poop bag dispensers, it is best to bring your own, just in case. They also have water fountains and restrooms for humans, benches for relaxing, and outdoor showers to clean your pooch before going back to the car. The pier is not dog-friendly, so keep him off of that, or you may end up with an expensive ticket for a souvenir. 

Lee County Parks Beach

8800 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931

Just about 100 miles south of Brohard Paw Park, past Fort Myers and Estero Island, the Lee County Parks Beach Is sandwiched between Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. You can reach the small island from the Bonita Bay Causeway, and the whole island is your playground! The rules say you are responsible for your dog and yourself, but he can be on or off his leash, whichever you prefer. But remember to check the tides before heading out. 

The beach has free parking, free showers, and free doggie bags, but no glass bottles or alcohol are allowed. And your pup is free to swim, play, and run around all day long as long as he is voice controlled and has a collar with tags. Bring along a cooler with some food and drinks, and you can stay all evening too. Just remember to pick up after your pup. 

Canine Cove Dog Park Beach

1361 Andalusia Terrace, Marco Island, FL 34145

Only an hour to the south, just past Naples, Canine Cove Dog Park has a lovely beach on Marco Island and another in Mackle Community Park. There are also five public beach access points along the western coast. The one in the middle at the end of San Marco Road is private, for residents only, so skip that one. The main dog park is Canine Cove in the southeastern section of the island by the public works department.  

Your fur doggie is welcome off his leash here, and there is access to the small lake here too. It is fully fenced and has a separate section for small dogs. The dog park at Mackle Community Park is pretty awesome too. Not only does it have two sections, but it also has agility equipment in each one. Your pup can run up and down ramps, through the tunnels, and around the poles.   

Everglades National Park

40001 SR-9336 Homestead FL 33034

Everglades National Park, also known as The Glades, is the largest subtropical wilderness in the country with approximately two million acres about two hours from Canine Cove. This includes the ocean, tropical hammocks, swamps, grasslands, pine forests, bedrock prairies, lowlands, and freshwater sloughs. With so much public space, it is important to note that although there are no leash laws in many areas, there are alligators, panthers, bears, and other dangerous animals to protect your pup from by keeping him on a short leash.

In fact, there are an estimated 1.4 million alligators in Florida! Stick to saltwater and avoid freshwater swamps, rivers, and streams. Starting at the northwestern tip of the Glades, there are over a dozen sandy beaches with campsites all along the coast, including Chickee Camping, where you can sleep in Miccosukee structures made of palmetto and logs. Always be on alert when near the water and make a lot of noise to keep the wildlife away. 

Higgs Beach Dog Park

100 Atlantic Blvd, Key West, FL 33040, USA

Time to head for the keys! But it will take you several hours to get there by car, maybe longer by boat. Higgs Beach Dog Park is a 16.5-acre park with a pier, monuments, and a nice sandy beach for dogs to play off-leash. Named to honor Clarence S. Higgs, a black rights activist, the beach also has a Civil War Fort, an African Refugee Memorial, a cemetery, and a cafe on the sand. 

Higgs Beach is found at the very end of the keys, where you can actually see Cuba if you have binoculars. In fact, it is the southernmost point of the United States! But Fido does not care about all that. He just wants you to take off his leash and let him run. So go ahead! The water is clear and cool, the sand is warm and soft, and there is a separate space for small and shy dogs. 

Hobie Island Beach

Old Rickenbacker Cswy, Miami, FL 33149

In the far southeastern corner of Florida, Hobie Island Beach Park can be found on the western tip of Virginia Key Island, a few minutes from Key Biscayne. It is just off the coast of Miami so you get an amazing view of the cityscape. The shallow and calm water makes this a popular place for families as well as dog parents. And the best part is that they do not require you to keep your pup on a leash. 

Right off the Rickenbacker Causeway, the beach is easy to reach and has some great amenities like a windsurfing rental company, picnic areas, and several eating establishments. Since your cuddly buddy does not have to be leashed, you can play a game of fetch or toss around a frisbee. Or just watch him play in the surf and dig in the sand. But do not forget to bring poop baggies to pick up anything your dog drops. 

Pooch Pines Dog Park at Okeeheelee Park Beach

Eshleman Trail, West Palm Beach, FL 33413

Located inside Okeeheelee Park, Pooch Pines Dog Park is a hound-heaven about an hour to the north of Hobie Island Beach Park. It is not on the ocean, but this park in West Palm Beach is more water than land, so it is the perfect spot for water-loving dogs. This place has about 1,700 acres of space featuring lots of water activities, bike tracks, a horse center, and disc golf. But Pooch Pines Dog Park is what your dog is interested in!   

At the north end of Okeeheelee Park, this special fenced dog recreational space is the highlight of your trip. There are three sections. Two for big dogs and one for smaller pups. It is a popular spot with the locals, too so it can be extremely crowded on weekends. Make sure you pack enough puppy doo-doo bags to clean up after your pup the whole time you are there. Although they have Mutt Mitt dispensers, they often run out. 

Jupiter Dog Beach

48 Ocean Blvd, Jupiter, FL 33477

On the Pacific (eastern) side of the Sunshine State, you will find Jupiter Dog Beach between Ocean Cay Park and Juno Beach. The 2.5-mile pup park where your pup can play off-leash is in Jupiter between crossover marker number 26 and crossover marker number 57. With great parking right across the street, getting your fur puppy onto the beach is easy. The color of the water is emerald, and the sand is white, making a gorgeous background for selfies. 

The lush jungle-like fauna at the back of the beach is a nice contrast as well, so you almost feel like you are in a tropical paradise. You will find a doggie bag dispenser at crossover marker number 29, but it is always good to bring your own, just in case. There are restrooms and showers at Carlin Park and Ocean Cay Park if you need them, but please respect the dog-free areas at those parks. 

Walton Rocks Dog Park Beach

6700 S Ocean Dr, Jensen Beach, FL 34957

Also on the eastern side of Florida in Jensen Beach, Walton Rocks Dog Beach is on Hutchison Island across the Indian River from the Savannas Preserve State Park between Blind Creek Beach and Herman’s Bay Beach. There is a whopping 24 acres of beach that your dog can explore and enjoy without a leash. One side of the beach is the ocean, and the other is the river, so you can choose which water you want to play in. 

Bring a fishing license and some tackle if you like to fish because the locals say this is a perfect place to catch something huge. Pack a lunch and some drinks, and you can have a meal at one of the picnic tables or just spread out on the sand. Bring the kids, too, and you can have a family day at the beach. Be careful, though, because there are no lifeguards. There are no doggie bags either, so bring your own. 

Lori Wilson Park

1500 N Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach, FL 32931

Lori Wilson Park boasts almost 33 acres of beach with a maritime hammock that dogs love to run through. Located on the eastern coast of Florida between Cocoa Beach and Oceanfront just south of Cape Canaveral, this park has a variety of fun activities, including surf fishing, walking along the 1,000-foot boardwalk, enjoying a picnic, barbecuing, swimming, and just running on the sand. There is also a playground for the kids and a volleyball court for everyone. 

Although your canine compadre will have to stay on a leash the whole time he is on the beach, there is a lush green grassy off-leash dog park as well. With toys, swimming pools, and separate spaces for large and small dogs, your pupster will love running around here without a leash. There is also plenty of space for a game of fetch or frisbee. The fenced section also has plenty of shaded seating for pup parents and waste stations for easy cleanup. 

Smyrna Dunes Park Beach

2995 N Peninsula Ave, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169

With more than 70 acres in eastern Florida in New Smyrna Beach surrounded by the ocean, Ponce Inlet, and the Indian River, the Smyrna Dunes Park Beach is also a dog-friendly place to bring your pupster. There are several waterfronts to choose from, but they all have warm golden sand and stunningly blue water. You will have lots of room to play and soak up the sun as long as you keep your pup leashed. 

The dog beach section is in the northwestern corner of the peninsula, and remember that they are not allowed on the Atlantic Ocean beach. Also, they are not allowed on the boardwalks after 10 am. There are no lifeguards, and there is a small admission fee of $10 per vehicle, but it is a small price to pay for a wonderful day at the beach with your best friend. Do not forget to bring plenty of poop baggies to clean up after your pup. 

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park

500 Wonderwood Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32233

In northeastern Florida, Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park is another fun place for some water fun. In St. Augustine, a few minutes east of Jacksonville, you and Fido can enjoy more than a mile of white sandy beach along the Atlantic Ocean. Your poochie has to be on a leash no more than eight feet long, and you have to bring your own bags to pick up whatever he drops. You should also bring him some water for drinking so he is not tempted to drink the saltwater.  

Besides the beach, the park also has more than 20 miles of trails for hiking and biking, a plaza, and a kids’ splash park. You can bring food for a picnic or grab some food at the concession stand or camp store. Yes, there is a campground with 300 sites to choose from, as well as a bait shop, bike, and boat rentals, and even fishing poles. 

Pass-A-Grill Dog Beach

1-199 Pass a Grille Way, St Pete Beach, FL 33706

Located on the western side of the state by St. Petersburg in St. Pete Beach, Pass-A-Grille Dog Beach gets its unusual name due to the fishermen who used to grill their catch there. The off-leash section for dogs is between Third Avenue and Merry Pier at the southern end of the island. The whole town of Pass-A-Grille loves fur babies. In fact, your canine companion can join you at the Paradise Grille for a nice meal on the outdoor patio. 

Actually, there are several dog-friendly eateries, including Hurricane, Berkeley Beach Club, and Grace Restaurant, as well as some pup-friendly bars and shops to visit after you eat. Then, go back to the sand and work off that delicious food you ate playing fetch with your fur baby. You can also go swimming, build a sand castle, or just enjoy the view while your cuddly canine compadre enjoys himself. But remember to bring doggie bags to pick up what he drops.

St. Pete Beach Dog Park

Blind Pass Rd., St Pete Beach, FL 33706

On the northwestern tip of St. Pete Island by the Devil’s Elbow, you can find St. Pete’s Dog Beach Park in Ron McKenney Park. There are two sections to this park. The fenced dog park and the beach. First, the fenced area is shaded and has lots of room to romp around with a variety of seating choices for pup parents. If your dog gets thirsty, there is a doggie water fountain to get a drink from, and there are poop scoopers and doggie bag dispensers for easy cleanup.

To get to the beach, go out of the gated dog area and turn north through the alleyway. Your pupster will need to have his leash back on, but there is a lot of fun to be had anyway. He can swim, dig in the sand, or just chill out and soak up the sun. There is also a playground and a fishing pier if you want to fish. If you get hungry, stop at Nikko’s Dog & Sports Bar, where pups are always welcome.

Honeymoon Island State Park Pet Beach

Honeymoon Island, Dunedin, FL 34698

With more than four miles of soft sandy beach on the western side of Florida, Honeymoon Island State Park is a dog-friendly place to play in the water. There are actually 385 acres of recreational space besides the beach to enjoy, too. Just a few minutes from Clearwater, you and your cuddle buddy can explore the whole island. But the main spot you and your pooch will love is the dog beach at the southern tip of the island. However, he has to stay on a leash no longer than six feet.

Take a hike on the 2.5-mile Osprey trail, where you can see a variety of wild critters like raccoons peeking from their hiding spots in the trees and squirrels running around looking for nuts. You may even get to see an osprey dive down to the water to grab a fish for dinner. The area is popular, so you will probably see kids on the playground and anglers fishing for something big.  

Liza Jackson Dog Park

342 Miracle Strip Pkwy SW, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548

Liza Jackson was a local who helped make Fort Walton Beach popular, donating her money and time to beautifying the beaches and parks in and around Destin. You will find Liza Jackson Dog Park on the Santa Rosa Sound in the Liza Jackson Community Park. The main park has over 1,000 feet of coast for your fur baby to enjoy on a leash, where there is also a boat ramp, a fishing pier, a kids’ playground, and lots of open space.

There is also a fenced grassy and shaded off-leash dog park with dog water fountains, waste stations, and seating, as well as a safe place for little and shy dogs to play. The dog beach section in the eastern corner of the park does not have a fence, though, so if your pup is not voice-trained, you may want to keep him on a leash. They have doggie bags and water fountains in the off-leash park, but bring your own anyway, just in case.  

Fort Lauderdale Canine Beach

1269 N Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304

In Fort Lauderdale Beach, on the southeastern coast of the Atlantic Ocean, you will find a beach for pups and pup parents. The Fort Lauderdale Canine Beach has 100 yards of clean and soft sand in Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, where unleashed pooches are welcome from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends only from November to March. From April through October, your pup is welcome any day of the week from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

You will need a permit to enjoy this awesome beach. You can get them at the Parks and Rec Building at Holiday Park. They cost $7 for a weekend or $45 per year. For that, you get all the amenities you need, including doggie cleanup baggies, water fountains, showers, and restrooms. In addition, the beach has an officer on site to help pet parents with any issues and to keep the peace.

Bonita Beach Dog Park

8800 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931

In southwestern Florida, just south of Fort Myers, you and Fido can enjoy the cool water of the Gulf of Mexico at Bonita Beach Dog Park. With shallow water, doggie showers, and free parking, this beach is tailored for dogs and their humans. The only thing you have to worry about is the tide. Make sure you check the tidal chart before heading out because you have to wade through the water during high tide. 

There is no fence to keep your canine corralled either, so if your dog does not have excellent recall, consider keeping his leash on. However, you can make it as long as you like so he can run and play freely. This is the only off-leash dog beach in Fort Myers, so it will get crowded, especially during the summer. You may want to bring your own doggie bags in case they run out and extra water for your cuddle buddy. 

Cuscowilla Park

210 SE 134 Ave, Micanopy, FL 32667

Also known as Cuscowilla Nature and Retreat, Cuscowilla Park has more than 200 acres of recreational space that is mostly dog-friendly as long as you keep your pooch on a leash. It is located in northern Gainesville, which is in northcentral Florida, so it is not on either coast. However, the park has quite a few lakes, ponds, and creeks, including George’s Pond and Lake Wauburg, where your fur baby can cool off if you are careful. Remember, this is Florida, and that means alligators. 

The nature retreat is part of what used to be a Seminole community in the 1700s and has preserved much of its wildlife area and historic sites. The park also has camping, disc golf, fishing lakes, and boating, as well as other sports fields and courts. Some areas do not allow dogs, such as the playgrounds and the swimming pool. However, your leashed pooch can join you anywhere else in the park, but pack some doggie bags.

Davis Park Dog Run

210 Davis Park Rd, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32081

Davis Park Dog Run may not be on the beach, but it has some great ponds to swim in just 20 minutes south of Jacksonville. You will need to keep an eye out for critters like alligators and snakes in the water, but they mostly avoid people and pets. The dog park section has special areas for big and little dogs so everyone can feel comfortable playing, no matter how tiny they are. The best part is that each side has its own pond! 

Yes, the dog parks are fenced to enclose the lakes with your pooch so they can play around it or in it. No need for a leash unless your canine companion does not have good recall. There are doggie bag dispensers and even a self-serve dog wash by the concession stand. The rest of Davis Park allows leashed dogs and features 17 ball fields for baseball, softball, football, and soccer. There is also a playground for the little humans. 

Jacksonville Beach City Beach

503 1st St N, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250

On the northeastern coast of Florida in Jacksonville Beach, dogs are welcome on the City Beach as long as they are on a leash no longer than eight feet long. One exception is swimming. If your dog has good recall, he can swim without a leash. This is the main beach for the city, so do not expect it to be empty. From October through March, your leashed canine is allowed anytime. From April through September, he is only allowed before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. This cuts down on the issues of dogs at crowded beaches, which can be a problem. 

Also, the beach hosts a lot of concerts, festivals, and other events that you need to know about. Be sure your pup is allowed to be there if there is something going on. The sand here is soft and golden, with clear blue water where your pup can splash around and play in the gentle surf. Dogs are not allowed in the dunes, and you must bring your own puppy pickup bags to clean up after him. 

Canova Dog Beach

3299 N Hwy A1A, Indialantic, FL 32903

On the eastern coast, not far from Orlando, Canova Dog Beach is located on Mallorca Island just south of Cape Canaveral. It is the only dog-friendly beach in Brevard County, so it is a pup popular place where you will almost always find a few fur babies for your cuddle buddy to play with. The beach is more than nine acres with plenty of sand to run around on, so bring your poochie’s favorite ball and doggie disc for a game of fetch or catch. 

Just across the Indian River from Melbourne, you have everything you need here, like restrooms, drinking fountains, and outside showers, as well as picnic tables, barbecue grills, and even some concessions. The park does have Mutt Mitt dispensers, but it is recommended to bring your own baggies because this is a busy place, and they do run out sometimes. Also, make sure your dog has a license, a rabies tag, and a good disposition. 

Lummus Park Beach

1130 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Right in the city of Miami Beach, the large Lummus Park is a famous place that has been the background of many television shows and movies. The dog-friendly beach is known for its two outdoor fitness areas for weight lifting, gymnastics, and exercise. There are more than 30 different workout stations to enjoy while soaking up the Florida sunshine. Between Ocean Drive and the Atlantic Ocean, the soft sand welcomes your leashed dog as long as you pick up after him. 

Up above the beach, there is a 26-acre park with playgrounds for the kiddos as well as volleyball nets, bike rental, and surfboard rental, and you can even rent beach chairs and umbrellas. The water is warm, the sand is soft, and there are lifeguards on hand to keep everyone safe. While you are there, stop and take a look at some of the art deco placed around the park where you can get some unique selfies. 

Koreshan State Park

3800 Corkscrew Rd, Estero, FL 33928

Named after a religious group that built a settlement in the area in 1893, Koreshan State Park can be found just a few minutes north of Naples, right off the southwestern coast of Florida. Although it is not on the ocean or the beach, the park has the Estero River to enjoy with your pooch. As long as you keep him on his leash, your pup is welcome to swim, play, and romp around along the water and in the other 200+ acres of the park. 

There are several nature trails that you and your cuddly canine can explore, too, where you will almost certainly see some wildlife. There are many different creatures living at the park, including foxes, bobcats, tortoises, alligators, and otters. If you want to stay for a while, reserve one of the 60 sites at the campground. You can also go fishing, geocaching, paddling, hiking, or have a picnic.  

Lighthouse Point Park Beach

5000 S Atlantic Ave, Ponce Inlet, FL 32127

Lighthouse Point Park is located on the eastern side of Florida in Smyrna Beach, surrounded by the waters of the Ponce de Leon Inlet, Halifax River, and the Atlantic Ocean. The park itself has more than 50 acres of space, including a forested area as well as elevated boardwalks, picnic areas, and trails. There are also several playgrounds and a 900-foot jetty for fishing. But the most important part is the Ponce Inlet Dog Beach, which is on the southwestern corner. 

The Halifax River and Inlet are two fantastic ways to cool off in the hot Florida sun, but you will need to keep your pup on a leash unless you are in the dog beach. There is a shallow area in the dog beach that is very calm between the two inlet arms on the river, where you can safely allow your pup to swim off the leash. Please remember to bring baggies to pick up after your pup. 

Leesburg Dog Park

9745 Silver Lake Dr, Leesburg, FL 34788

Right across the street from Silver Lake, Leesburg Dog Park is just a few minutes southeast of Ocala in Leesburg on Highway 441. The dog park itself is worth the trip, even if you do not visit the lake. There is half an acre for large dogs and about a quarter of an acre for small pups. Both sections are fully fenced and have lots of seating and several shade structures for protecting you and your cuddly canine from the sun. 

The vast open green space is perfect for a game of frisbee or tossing around your fur baby’s favorite ball. There are also fire hydrants to pee on and sniff, as well as water spigots to fill water bowls. Bring your own water and a supply of doggie bags in case they run out though. Then, put your pup’s leash back on and head over to the lake, where he can splash around and cool off. 

Bayview Dog Beach

2000 E Lloyd St, Pensacola, FL 32503

Further to the west of Pier Park in Pensacola, there are even more dog-friendly places to enjoy with your canine compadre. Bayview Dog Beach is one of the only fenced dog beaches in Florida. In fact, it is the only one on this list. The fence runs all the way out into the water, so you should not have to worry about your pup running off. This is not the ocean, though. Your fur buddy will be swimming in the Bayou Texar, which empties into Pensacola Bay about 1.5 miles downstream. 

There is about an acre of waterfront with benches in the shade, doggie poo bags, and water spigots. But make sure you bring drinking water for you both. At Bayview Park, there are fishing areas, picnic tables, playgrounds, and a really cool wooden boardwalk that takes you out over the water. If you want to get out on the water, rent a kayak or pedal boat from Outdoor Pursuits Center, and you can go paddle (or pedal) around. 

Fort De Soto County Park Beach

Anderson Blvd., St. Petersburg, FL 33715

Off the western coast of Florida on Mullet Key in St. Petersburg, there is a huge park where dogs are welcome to play and swim with everyone else. Fort DeSoto County Park allows all fur babies as long as they are leashed. Named the top beach in America by Tripadvisor and the nation’s number one beach by Dr. Beach, this is a popular place for everything from boating to swimming and everything in between.  

Fort De Soto is the largest park in the county and features over 1,100 acres covering the whole island. With seven miles of beachfront, you will have your pick of sandy spaces to choose from. However, the most pup popular is the dog beach at the southwestern tip of the island. As long as your cuddle buddy is voice-trained, he is welcome to play without a leash, but you have to keep him in the dog beach area and be sure to pick up after him. 

Picnic Island Dog Beach

7409 Picnic Island Blvd, Tampa, FL 33616

Located on the western edge of the Tampa peninsula on Old Tampa Bay, right across from St. Petersburg, Picnic Island Dog Beach is where you want to go in western Florida for a full day at the beach with your pup. With a completely fenced beach, you do not have to worry when you let Fido off the leash. Whether you get in the water with him or just sit in the sand and watch, it is fun for all who visit. 

When you get done swimming at the beach, they have another fenced area with a dog washing station where you can clean him up. Then, you can go to the park section of Picnic Island, where they have an outdoor gym with workout stations, picnic areas, and a disc golf course. Because it is such a pooch popular play area, bring your own puppy poop bags to clean up after your pup. 

Venice Municipal Beach

101 The Esplanade S, Venice, FL 34285

Pack up your pup, some doggie bags, water, and sunscreen, and head to Venice Municipal Beach to swim the day away with your best furry friend. It is found right in the city of Venice on the western Florida coastline facing the Gulf of Mexico. This is a super-clean beach for many reasons, but perhaps the most important is that it is a Blue Wave beach. That means it was certified for being environmentally safe and clean.  

If your pooch has good recall, he is welcome to play and swim without a leash. Just make sure you keep him nearby and do not let him run off. Also, do not forget your poop baggies for picking up after your pooch. The beach does have restrooms and a concession stand as well as a lifeguard to keep everyone safe. Take note that your fur buddy is not allowed near the turtle nesting area from May until November.

Vilano Beach

2725 Anahma Dr, St. Augustine, FL 32084

In northeastern Florida, you can find Vilano City Beach between the Tolomato River and the ocean. In fact, Vilano Beach has several miles of sand that is dog-friendly as long as your dog is leashed. It is a local hotspot for swimming, fishing, and surfing, so it can be crowded at times, especially in the summer. The surfing and fishing are mostly done around the jetties and Porpoise Point, so keep Fido away from those areas for safety. 

The beach is known for a special group of porpoises that hang out on the inlet side of the beach. You may also see some dolphins. Just keep your pooch from getting too close. If you see any manatees, you need to give them a lot of space because they are delicate and endangered animals. Bring your own doggie bags and water because they do not have any here, and you do not want your pup drinking salt water. 

Davis Islands Dog Beach Park

864 Severn Ave, Tampa, FL 33606

Taking your cuddle buddy to the beach is a lot of fun for both of you. Finding a dog beach where your pup can play and swim unleashed is even better. Davis Island Dog Beach is the beach you want to visit on Davis Islands in western Florida by Tampa because it has all of that and then some. Whether you dive in with him or just watch him from the sand, it is great to see your best furry friend so happy and carefree. 

There is a fence here, but it only goes out a little way into the water before it is engulfed. If your pup is not a good swimmer or does not have good recall, you may want to keep that leash on him for safety. In addition to all that blue water and soft sand, the beach also has drinking water, doggie bags, benches, and picnic tables. There is even a fenced grassy dog park right there on the beach!

North Beach Oceanside Park

8328 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33141

Down in the southern end of Florida by Miami Beach, North Shore Oceanside Park is a great place to let your pup run around with other pooches. The off-leash section is not exactly on the beach, but it is right next to it, with sections for small and large dogs to play before or after a dip in the water. There is a section of beach on Atlantic Way they call Bark Beach where you can let him play.

The water is warm, and the sand is soft, so you can let your canine companion play all day off the leash in this section of the beach. But if he is not voice-controlled, you may need to keep the leash on just in case because there are no fences to keep him in. Across the road, North Shore is also pup popular, but you have to keep your pup leashed. There are several dog-friendly restaurants with outdoor seating, like El Rancho Grande and Burgers & Shakes.

John Chestnut Sr. Park

2200 E Lake Rd S, Palm Harbor, FL 34685

Looking for a lush green park with wildlife and water as well as a place where your fur puppy can play off the leash? Located at the southeastern tip of Lake Tarpon in western Florida, north of Clearwater and Tampa, John Chestnut St. Park has everything you want and more. Pack some doggie bags, water, and snacks, as well as your pup’s favorite ball and doggie disc for fetch, and head to Palm Harbor for the day. 

If you plan to fish, bring a fishing license and supplies. There is no limit for channel catfish, so you can have a fish fry at one of the picnic shelters if you catch a few. What’s more, this park also has a fenced area for pooches to play off the leash. The fenced area is located on the main road coming from the entrance of the park, and it has lots of shade, seating, doggie bags, and a separate area for small dogs. 

The Final Woof

If you just need a break from the beach, there are many other dog-friendly activities in Florida to enjoy with your furry friend. There is the pup-friendly Dinosaur World in Plant City with more than 100 huge dinos. Some of them even move, including T-Rex. Or you can take a tour or rent a boat at Lazy Dog in Key West. Also, in Key West, Captain Sheri’s will take you out to see the dolphins on one of their boats. Another cool place to visit with your canine companion is the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park in St. Augustine. It is the site of where Ponce de Leon found the city, and you can even drink from their fountain of youth!

Photo of author
Patty Oelze is a freelance writer who is also in the process of getting her PhD in Psychology. She has been writing about dogs and other critters for about 10 years and has a plethora of animals at her home including several cats, some chipmunks, a dozen raccoons, two foxes, one coyote, and herds of deer. She and her husband have been living in the Missouri Ozarks for years where she enjoys taking care of wildlife, fishing, photography, boating, and of course, writing.

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