15 Paw-pular Dog-Friendly Beaches in Saint Augustine FL Your Pooch will Love

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On the northeast coast of Florida, St. Augustine is the oldest city in the United States and has some of the most stunning Spanish colonial architecture. Besides that, the city boasts some of the most beautiful beaches that are dog-friendly! 

Whether you are looking for a huge sandy beach with lots of surf or a more peaceful and safe dog park with a pond, you can find all of that in St. Augustine. 

Of the dozens of beaches in the coastal city, we found 15 dog-friendly beaches in St. Augustine for you and your fur baby to explore and enjoy.

From the small dog park with a pond at Davis Park to the four miles-long stretch of sand at Crescent Beach, you will be spoiled for choice in this dog-loving beach town. We also found some great places to eat with your dog and a few dog-friendly attractions and activities for you and your pup to check out.

Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park

Also known as Hanna Park, this fun park is more like a wonderland with 450 acres of adventures. Although your pup is not allowed inside some of the attractions, he is allowed at the beach, trails, and campgrounds as well as other designated areas. Besides the 1.5 miles of clean sandy beach, there is also a 60-acre lake for fishing, pedal boats, canoes, and kayaks. There are two boat rental shops right next to the lake but ask for dog-friendly boats.

The five trails total about 20 miles in length and range from easy to moderate difficulty. They are bike-friendly also though so make sure you keep your pup on a leash. There is also a splash park for the kids. You will have to check to see if your pooch is allowed to play too. If you want anything like snacks, ice, or drinks, the Camp Store has just about everything you need. 

Frank Butler County Park

With the Matanzas River on one side and the ocean on the other, you have your choice of beaches for you and Fido to enjoy. You will have to keep him on a leash but that will not spoil the fun. There is so much to do here like picnicking, fishing, swimming, and boating as well as hiking and biking. Or you and your pup can just chill and watch people for a while. 

The west side of Butler Park features a boat dock and marina on the river as well as a fishing area, picnic spaces, and restrooms. On the east side of the park, you will find a nice little beach area with lifeguards, barbecue pits, picnic tables, and a boardwalk that introduces you to the local wildlife. After you and your pup get done swimming, there are restrooms and showers to clean off all the sand and saltwater. 

Crescent Beach

Another park that has easy access to both the river and the ocean is Crescent Beach. You will find almost four miles of pristine golden sand with a variety of amenities such as restrooms, drinking fountains, and several pavilions with seating and tables. In addition, there are also over a dozen eateries and shops on the beach including Elkhouse Eatery, Safe Harbor Seafood Restaurant, and The Commander’s Shellfish Camp. 

Located just three miles south of St. Augustine Beach, this dog-friendly park has a dune walkover, lifeguards, and showers. Bring along a frisbee or ball to play fetch in the sand or some water toys he can play with. Just keep your fur baby on a leash and fit him with a life jacket for dogs before diving in. You can rent a boogie board or a surfboard at one of the vendors along the beach and it also has a variety of snacks, drinks, and other necessities. 

North Beach Park

North Beach is a coquina-type pup-friendly beach with an accessible dune walkover, grills, restrooms, showers, and seasonal lifeguards. Between the Serenata Beach Club and Vilano Beach, you and your canine companion can search for shells, build sandcastles, or play in the water. Besides that, North Beach Park also has 30 acres of green space with camping, hiking trails, and picnic areas with barbecue grills and picnic tables. 

Like many of the other beaches in the area, North Beach Park also has showers so you and your pup can clean off after swimming. The bridge that takes you down into the beach area is really unique and has a bunch of locks all over it called “love locks,” which is why it is known to the locals as the “Love Bridge.” Be sure to bring an umbrella for shade because the beach has none and you will need to bring waste bags, extra water, and treats for your pooch. 

Mickler’s Landing Beachfront Park

This stunning beach is made up of pink coquina sand on the eastern side of Florida just south of Jacksonville. Sandwiched by water with the Guana River on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, you will find this lovely park on the southern stretch of Ponte Vedra Beach. Mickler’s Landing includes a boardwalk with wooden dune walkovers as well as picnic areas, showers, and restrooms. 

Your fur buddy is totally welcome here as long as you keep him on a leash at all times and be sure to bring baggies so you can pick up after him. Since Mickler’s Landing is part of Ponte Vedra, you can also enjoy the amenities there including hiking, biking, a nature center, and watercraft rentals. You will notice that a lot of locals visit this beach due to the spectacular surf and open space. You can both swim too but be careful because this is also a popular place to find shark teeth. 

Old Salt Park

Between Washington Oaks Gardens State Park and the Hammock Dunes Golf Course, Old Salt Park welcomes all canine companions as long as they are leashed. Although it is part of the Ocean Hammock Resort beach, this part of the beach is open to the public. The park is not super large but has enough space for you and your pooch to run around and have fun playing in the sand and splashing in the water. 

Many people visit Old Salt Park just to see the coquina rock formations where you can take some pretty awesome selfies and photos of your pup for Instagram. You will also find the locals here picnicking, paddleboarding, and bird-watching. You will need to bring your own poop bags and extra water for both of you. And being so close to the resort you have your pick of different eateries like The Atlantic Grille and the Ocean Bar.

Davis Park

Further inland, Davis Park has several ponds as well as two dog parks to enjoy! One of the fenced dog parks actually has a pond in it so your canine companion can cool off when he gets hot, or you can play water fetch. This is a large park with four soccer fields, three football fields, and six baseball fields so do not expect it to be isolated or quiet. And the dog parks are frequently visited by the local dog lovers. 

These fenced off-leash dog parks also have agility equipment with both artificial and natural obstacles to play on and the park across from the football field has a dog wash outside by the restrooms and concession stand. Yes, there is a concession stand where you and Fido can get some grub to refuel after a day at the park. However, you cannot bring any food or drinks inside the dog park. 

River to Sea Preserve

Surrounding the A1A at Marineland, the River to Sea Preserve boasts 90 acres of a protected maritime scrub environment with pup-friendly public beach access, several nature trails, and a picnic area where you can have a barbecue or packed lunch. The trails include five easy walks of less than one mile each and the Matanzas Hammock Loop, which is about one mile. Do keep your pup leashed, bring doggie poop bags, and do not let him irritate the wildlife. 

If you have a kayak or canoe, feel free to launch at Matanzas River or into the coastal waterway. There are boat rental places, but you will have to inquire about their pet policies. No matter what you do here, whether it is on land or in the water, you and your pup are sure to have a blast. The coquina outcroppings here make sensational backdrops for selfies and photos to share on social media.

South Ponte Vedra Beach Recreation Area

You will find South Ponte Vedra Beach Recreation Area across the street from the South Ponte Vedra Fire Station, just over two miles south of the GTM Research Reserve. Leash up your pup and pack a picnic lunch before heading out to South Ponte Vedra Beach where they have picnic areas with tables and grills, miles of sandy beach, and even some shipwreck items washed to shore. 

You will not find any eateries nearby so be sure to bring some snacks and extra water for both you and your canine companion. Across the A1A, the Guana River flows with swift currents but it can be a nice place to go fishing or let your pooch cool off at the shoreline. Just keep him leashed at all times. If you and your pup want to take a walk, head south down the beach to Castle Ottis, which is a modern building built in the 1980s to look like an Irish castle. 

Vaill Point Park

Donated to the city by the Vaill family in 1918 and located on the Matanzas River across the highway from Crescent Beach, Vaill Point Park boasts 23 acres of green space with a playground, tennis courts (lots of extra tennis balls), and basketball courts. In addition, there is a 1.5-mile paved nature trail for walking or biking where you and your pup can take a hike. One of the playgrounds has a rock-climbing wall for kids if you have them with you. 

This is a popular spot for birdwatchers due to the abundance of water birds like great blue herons, snowy egrets, and bald eagles as well as over 20 types of wood warblers. You may see some rare birds like the blackburnian or Cape May on your visit. Please keep your dog on a leash and do not let him aggravate the wildlife. Also, bring doggie poo bags for easy clean up. 

Joe Pomar Park

You can find this hidden gem along the San Sebastian River across from Fullerwood and Nelmar Terrace Parks. Dogs are welcome in the whole park as long as he is on a leash but there is also a fenced dog park with water where Fido can run off his leash for a while. Besides all that, the park has baseball, soccer, and football fields as well as a concession stand where you and your pup can grab some grub. 

You can bring your food back to the park where you can enjoy a peaceful meal at the picnic area or just have a seat at one of the tables by the stand. The restrooms and water fountains are nearby as well. The dog park features a small pond for pups to splash about and plenty of green space to run. For pet parents, there are shaded benches and other seating. Don’t forget to bring doggie clean up bags!

Palm Coast Dog Park

You do not need the ocean to have fun in St. Augustine, Florida! Inside the 26-acre James F. Holland Memorial Park, you will find a variety of fun activities for everyone to enjoy. You can take a walk on the ¾-mile nature trail running all around the outside of the park, cool off at the splash pad, watch other park-goers play pickleball, tennis, bocce ball, or basketball. You can even try to join in a game of sand volleyball. 

James F. Holland Memorial Park also has a unique playground with a sugar mill plantation theme that features coquina rock sculptures as well as a treehouse, sand pit, zip line, and a climbing wall. This park is also the home to the Palm Coast Historical Society headquarters where you can learn more about the history of Palm Coast and the significance of the Bulow Plantation Sugar Mill. After playing, clean your pup for the drive home at the dog washing station. 

Saint Augustine Beach

Just south of Anastasia Park on Anastasia Island, you will find a long stretch of beautiful sandy beaches stretching almost two miles down the coast aptly named Saint Augustine Beach. As it is the main beach in St. Augustine, this sandy seashore is often crowded so if your pup does not like crowds, go early on a weekday. The large park boasts a fishing pier, pavilions, volleyball courts, and a laid-back vibe. 

What’s more, this beach has a splash park, picnic tables, restrooms, showers, and a visitor center. However, your pooch cannot go inside the center. There are lifeguards on duty during the summer season so you and your canine kid can feel safe in the water. But if you plan to go out in the ocean, your dog will need a doggie life vest no matter how good a swimmer he is. After working up an appetite, you will not have to go far to get food and drinks. 

St. Johns County Ocean Pier

In the middle of Anastasia Island, between Anastasia Park and Saint Augustine Beach, the St. Johns County Ocean Pier is a wonderful place to chill out with your pooch after a long day of sightseeing. The park surrounding the pier is four acres of coastal land with clean sandy beaches where you and your dog can swim, play fetch, or build a sandcastle. Well, you can build a sandcastle so he can knock it down. 

The Pier Gift Shop has everything you and your fur baby need to have the perfect day at the beach. They rent umbrellas and chairs for relaxing while your pup digs in the sand and fishing poles so you can try your luck at catching a whopper. The shop also has food, drinks, ice, and other beach needs like sunscreen, towels, and beach toys. After playing all day, you and your pup can rinse off in the outdoor showers before heading home. 

Matanzas Islet Bridge Beach

At the spot where the river meets the ocean at the southern tip of Anastasia Island, you will find two large beaches. One of them is on the ocean and the other is on the river. If you like to swim and are not a fan of salt water, join your pooch on the Matanzas River side of the inlet. For those who like a little more surf, the ocean side of the inlet is perfect. Both of these beaches have restrooms, a dune walkover, and lifeguards but there are no concession stands or eateries here so bring your own snacks and drinks. 

You will have to keep your pooch on a leash at all times, but you can let it out as long as you wish so he can run, play, and swim. This is typically a peaceful beach as most of the tourists and locals like to stick to the beaches further up the coastline. Fort Matanzas National Park is just north of the islet and has 300 acres including the 1742 fortress. You can take a hike in the park, but dogs are not allowed inside the visitor center or inside the fort. 

The Final Woof

Besides these fantastic beaches, there are plenty of other things you and your pup can do in St. Augustine. Some attractions welcome pets including the Spanish Military Hospital Museum, tours of the San Sebastian Winery, and some ghost tours and mystery hunts. 

Take your fur buddy to the Fountain of Youth as well where you can see peacocks, gardens, and take a drink from the fountain for a long life. 

When you get hungry, the city has over two dozen dog-friendly eateries like Kingfish Grille near the Vilano Bridge, Hurricane Patty’s at Oyster Creek Marina, and The Reef at North Beach.

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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