15 Best Pup-Popular Dog-Friendly Beaches in Saint Pete Beach FL

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Also known as St. Petersburg Beach, this tourist town in Pinellas County, Florida, is a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico surrounded by water. You will find palm trees lining the streets, the parks, and the beaches, giving the whole place a tropical island feel. This is a pretty new city, just incorporated in 1957 as St. Petersburg Beach but was changed to St. Pete Beach in 1994. 

Since it is an island and the name includes the word beach, you know you will find plenty of beaches here! And most of these beaches and parks are dog-friendly, so you and your canine companion will have lots of places to choose from. From St. Pete Beach Dog Park to Indian Rocks Beach Nature Park, there are some awesome places to swim. Whether you are new to the area or have been coming here your whole life, it is always nice to find dog beaches in Saint Pete Beach. 

St. Pete Beach Dog Park

At the top of the island by Devil’s Elbow, St. Pete’s Dog Beach Park is located in Ron McKenney Park. The main park has almost five acres of space along Blind Pass waterway, so you and your fur baby can play in the water and run around in the sand as long as he is on a leash. There are picnic tables with barbecue pits where you can enjoy a meal, a playground for the human kiddos, and a fishing pier for anglers. 

The dog park has plenty of seating in the shade, a high fence, water fountains, and a hose for cleaning your pooch if he gets dirty. Bring along a ball or frisbee so you and your pup can play together, or just sit back and relax while you watch him romp around with the other fur puppies. When you work up an appetite, visit Nikko’s Dog & Sports Bar, where pups are always welcome. 

Walter Fuller Park

Five miles from St. Pete Beach, the 133-acre Walter Fuller Park is just across Boca Ciega Bay and to the north. This park has something for everyone, and your pooch is welcome as long as he is on a leash. You will also need to bring along some puppy poo bags to pick up after your pup. If you like to walk, there are several trails. The 1.9-mile path starts in front of the pool and takes you along the outer rim of the park. Another short trail of just over ½ mile circles the lake. 

Speaking of the lake, you cannot swim, but it is okay if your pooch wants to cool off a bit. Just do not let him aggravate the ducks and geese that live in the lake. There are several playgrounds for the kids as well as restrooms, water fountains, and a rec center with a pool. But no dogs are allowed inside. 

Sunset Beach Park 

Across the Blind Pass Waterway in southern Treasure Island, Sunset Beach loves dogs so much. They do not even have to be on a leash here. The park faces Blind Pass Waterway and has about ½ mile of sugary white sand beachfront to enjoy. If your pooch is not voice controlled or is new to the water, you may want to keep his leash on just in case. There are no fences or boundaries to keep him in. And bring your own doggie bags too. 

This is truly an adorable beach with tiki huts in the sand and cute cottages along the street. But you will not have to worry too much about crowds since they tend to hang out at the more popular beaches that have all the amenities, like concessions, clubs, and shops. It does, however, have restrooms, picnic areas, and showers to clean up before getting back in the car. And don’t forget your camera because the sunset here is beautiful. 

Pass A Grille Dog Beach

Head south, and you will find Pass A Grille Beach, the home of the Pass A Grille Dog Beach. The official name is Passe Aux Grilleurs, and it was given to the area because of the fishermen who would grill up their catch right there, giving the area the wonderful aroma of freshly cooked fish. The main beach spreads out over three miles long, with soft white sand and beautiful blue water. 

At the very end of the island, there is a section of sand just for dogs. Between Third Avenue and Merry Pier, your pup can play off the leash as long as he is voice controlled. He is free to swim, dig in the sand, and join you in a game of Frisbee or catch. Besides sunbathing and swimming, you and your canine companion will have access to dog-friendly shops and eating establishments along the beach, but you will have to put his leash back on. 

Hurley Park Beach

Between the main Pass A Grille Beach and the Dog Beach, Hurley Park is a small city park with a lot of amenities both you and your leashed fur buddy can enjoy. Named for Colonel Frank T. Hurley, a long-time resident of the village who was a lieutenant colonel in the US Army Air Force, the park has several ball fields, a basketball court, pickleball courts, tennis, and picnic areas where you and your pooch can share a meal. They even have four BBQ grills.

Beach access is just across the road and down the steps. The soft sand beach is both wide and long, with tons of space for everyone to visit without getting in the way. There are benches right on the sand set back by the grass so you and Fido can watch everyone enjoying themselves while you take a break. Then, bring your fur puppy to the dog park, where you can let him run leash-free. Hurley Park has everything and then some!

Maximo Park Beach

Take Pinellas Bayway across the bay to the mainland to get to Maximo Park on Highway 275. Surrounded by the waters of the Boca Ciega Bay, Sunshine Skyway Channel, Maximo Channel, and Frenchman Creek, this 70-acre recreational area is the largest of the four archaeological sites in St. Petersburg. Your canine companion is welcome here as long as you keep him on a leash at all times and do not let him get close to the historical Indian midden site. 

Named after Antonio Maximo Hernandez, the first European settler on the peninsula, Maximo Park has a fantastic sandy beach all along the western side of the park that covers about a half mile. The water is usually calm but it is best to keep your pup in the shallows. You can also enjoy the trails, do some fishing, play disc golf, or enjoy a picnic while you are in the park.  

Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

Boyd Hill Nature Preserve has 245 acres of dog-friendly space for you and your fur baby to explore and enjoy. Less than three miles north of Maximo Park, this huge expanse of natural swamps, pine flatwoods, sand scrub, and hammocks, as well as the 362-acre Lake Maggiore. Your canine companion is welcome as long as he is leashed, and you keep him from all of the endangered areas and rare plant life. 

The lake itself is not exactly a great place to swim, but your pooch will love getting his paws wet and muddy here. The banks of the lake are mostly sandy, but there are many parts where you will come upon mucky and swampy areas you need to avoid. Keep your pup close by as you may encounter some dangerous wildlife like gators and snakes. Also, make sure you bring along some doggie cleanup bags to pick up after your pup. 

Lake Maggiore Park

Right across the lake from Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, heading northeast, Lake Maggiore Park is a nice secluded space for dogs that do not like crowds. Although the 380-acre park has lots of waterfronts, a playground, boat ramps, and 10 picnic shelters, many tourists and even the locals tend to go to the more beachy parks on the oceanfront. The main reason is that Lake Maggiore is not a good place to swim, and alligators are spotted frequently. 

However, don’t let a few gators keep you away! Just keep your fur puppy on a short leash and keep your eyes open. Alligators are not known to attack people or dogs. You may not see any at all because they hide. But just to be safe, be aware. The beach is still fun to play at, with its soft sand and plenty of space to run around. Just don’t forget the puppy poo bags. 

Bartlett Park 

Not even a mile to the northeast, also in St. Petersburg, Bartlett Park is about 20 acres of green grass and a large lake where your pup can splash and play as long as you keep his leash on while you are there. Also, bring dog cleanup baggies to pick up anything he drops. In the park, there is a playground for the human kids if you bring some tennis courts, ball fields, basketball courts, and open spaces. 

You can also take your canine companion on a stroll through the park on the nature trail or use the gym equipment at the outdoor exercise zone. When you get hungry, grab a bite from the concession stand or food truck and relax with your pup at one of the picnic areas. There is also a recreation center in the park, but they do not allow dogs inside, unfortunately. However, there are public restrooms and water fountains. 

Crescent Lake Dog Park

With almost 60 acres, Crescent Lake Park is a nice clean place to let your fur baby play in the water just three miles north of Bartlett Park. It was sold to the city to be a park in 1919, and the city started work on it in 1920. Finding alligators, fish, birds, ducks, and monkeys living in the thickly forested area, the city was careful to plant native trees and other foliage to support the wildlife. 

One of these popular trees is the Great Banyan Tree, known by the locals as a living jungle gym that kids have always loved climbing. There is also a trail that goes all the way around the lake and passes the playground, tennis courts, pickleball courts, and dog park. This fenced park for pups is right behind the tennis courts, so there are always stray tennis balls lying around. Pup parents can enjoy watching their fur babies from the shaded benches. 

North Shore Park

North Shore Park is another fantastic place to spend the day on the water with your fur baby. It is only a few minutes east of Crescent Lake Dog Park and boasts several parks that cover almost 15 acres. This park is a local favorite because of the excellent fishing, clean white sand beaches, and crystal clear blue waters. There is also an aquatic complex (although dogs are not allowed), arboretum, tennis courts, an outdoor exercise zone, and volleyball nets on the beach. 

Inside North Shore Park, you will also find Vinroy Park, Elva Rouse Park, and Flora Wylie Park. They each have their own highlights. But the most important to your pup is the two dog parks. The largest one has an agility course with obstacles, weave poles, and tunnels, and the smaller one has a section for small and shy dogs. You can also swim, take out a kayak, or just hang out on the beach and soak up the sun. 

Coffee Pot Park

Head north of North Shore Park to get to Coffee Pot Park. The park may be small, but Coffeepot Bayou is huge! This is one place where you will always be guaranteed to see some manatees. You can let your fur baby play in the water but do not let him get too close to these majestic creatures. They are harmless and protected, so keep your pup on a short leash by the waterside. 

For a small park, it sure has a lot going on. There is a pirate-themed playground for young humans, picnic areas, a kayak rack, and a boat ramp. One small path takes you along a section of the bayou, and another one meanders through the park and out both sides. You will need to keep your pup on a leash and bring plenty of doggie bags to pick up anything he drops while you are there. 

Sawgrass Lake Park

Keep going north a few more miles to find Sawgrass Lake Park, which has two lakes that your fur baby can enjoy as long as you keep him on a leash. The 400-acre recreational space in St. Petersburg is home to one of the largest maple tree swamps on the Gulf Coast. This means there is a wide variety of flora and fauna to discover here. The main attraction here is the mile-long boardwalk that takes you around the park. 

Some of the fascinating wildlife you can see along the water include herons, egrets, ibis, gators, turtles, and snakes. Although they usually do not bother people or pets, it is a good idea to keep your pup on a short leash. The northern section of the park has a sandy beach where you can let your dog explore a little bit while you keep an eye on him. Do not forget to bring your own doggie bags to clean up whatever he drops. 

Gandy Mangroves Beach

Take your fur baby on a walk through the mangroves at Gandy Mangroves Beach on the causeway.  You will find Gandy Boulevard at the northern entrance to Sawgrass Lake Park. Just take that northeast a few miles until you get to Old Tampa Bay and the South Gandy Channel. Put his leash on and bring some puppy poo bags as well as some water and snacks to enjoy about two miles of beach along either side of the Gandy Bridge. 

This is not a park or a beach, so you will not find a bunch of amenities like concessions, restrooms, and water fountains. Bring your own drinks and food in a small cooler, and you and your pup can spend the whole day here playing in the water, fishing, sunbathing, or just relaxing if you did not bring food, head to The Getaway at the end of the bridge. This tiki bar has an outdoor area where your dog is welcome to join you. 

Picnic Island Park

Right after you cross the Gandy Bridge, hang a right and go south to Picnic Island Park, where dogs are always welcome. And they even have a section of beach where you can let him play without being held back by a leash. He can romp and splash in the waters of Old Tampa Bay all day long. But make sure he is voice controlled because there are only three fences on the beach. There are no fences to stop him from going out too far. 

If you have a boat, bring it. The pier and boat ramp are open 24 hours, and the water is calm and clear. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy a meal with your furry pal at one of the tables in the shade. There is also an outdoor fitness path, disc golf, and a playground for the human kiddos. For your convenience, the park also has public restrooms and outdoor showers. 

The Final Woof

After you enjoy the beach, stop by the Dog Bar in St. Petersburg, where you can have a cold brew while your fur baby plays with his puppy pals. It is an outdoor bar with a huge fenced dog park that includes obstacles and a pool. Or you can get out on the water with your canine compadre at Tampa Bay Sunset Eco Tour, also in St. Petersburg. The two-hour tour includes a host who tells great stories. If you want to see some dolphins, take the St. Pete Beach Dolphin Tours right on St. Pete Beach. You are almost guaranteed to see some dolphins and maybe sharks and other marine creatures. 

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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