Located in Sarasota County on the western coast of Florida, Venice is a pet-friendly resort city known for its beaches, specifically Venice Beach. The city has temperatures in the lower 90s in the summer and mid-70s in the winter, so outdoor activities are numerous here. There are many trails along the beach and the Intracoastal Waterway in Venetian Waterway Park, an interactive fountain in Centennial Park, and. Gardens, playgrounds, and fishing in Nokomis Community Park.
Venice is known as the shark’s tooth capital of the world and has a Shark’s Tooth Festival every year to celebrate. But that does not mean you and your dog cannot swim here. The sharks rarely come near the beaches where all the people and pups are. So pack your sunscreen and towels, and don’t forget the Frisbee and balls to play fetch.
We found 15 pup-friendly beaches in and around Venice for you and your canine companion to enjoy.
Brohard Paw Park Beach
As the only official off-leash dog park in the county of Sarasota, Brohard Paw Park can get very crowded at times. Both locals and visitors from all over enjoy this beach with their four-legged family members located just to the south of the Venice Fishing Pier. This pup-friendly beach features all sorts of amenities for dogs and their pup parents, like human and dog drinking fountains, showers for dogs, and even some fire hydrants to make your fur baby feel at home.
You can also get in the water and swim with your canine companion! Besides all of that, Brohard Paw Park Beach has picnic tables as well as beaches for the humans, leash posts, and doggie poo bag dispensers. However, it is always good manners to bring your own from home just in case. The park is open from 7 AM until it gets dark, and you should be sure to pay attention to the signs that tell you where the dog beach ends.
Venice Fishing Pier
If you want to do some fishing, the Venice Fishing Pier is where you want to go. Just north of Broward Paw Park, the 720-foot-long pier lets you fish without a fishing license, and your pooch is welcome to join you if he is on a leash. If you did not bring a pole or bait, don’t worry, Papa’s Bait and Snack Shop has everything you need and then some! Anglers have been known to haul in all sorts of fish, including barracuda, hammerhead sharks, and redfish.
There is even a small section of beach just off the pier where dogs are welcome to swim, but not within 150 feet of the fishing area. Also, by the pier, you can find a tiki bar and casual eatery called Sharky’s at the Pier. It has live bands on weekends and is listed as the best beach bar in the state. Nearby, you and your pup can enjoy a picnic, watch a volleyball game, or just enjoy the view.
Venice Municipal Beach
Up the coast to the north, Venice Municipal Beach welcomes dogs as long as they are leashed or under strict voice control. You do not want to bend this rule at all because unrestrained dogs can cost you a hefty fine. The beach is considered to be a “blue wave beach,” which is an environmental certification given to beaches that provide clean beaches and renourishment. It also means that the beach is kept extremely clean and beautiful.
Please bring doggie cleanup bags so you can keep the beach just as clean and beautiful as it was when you got there. Besides a gorgeous beach, there is a boardwalk to explore, lifeguards to keep you safe, concessions if you get hungry, and restrooms if you need them. Be aware that there are certain places on the beach that your pup is not allowed, which includes the turtle nests from May through October.
Just south of Brohard Paw Park and Venice, Caspersen Beach is often overlooked by travelers who are heading to the more popular and well-known beaches like Venice Beach. This makes it an ideal place for pups and their pup parents. No crowds to annoy your pooch while he plays in the water and on the sand. Although it is not “officially” an off-leash beach, you will not see many dogs wearing leashes here since the locals know how secluded it is. There is really no signs to deter it, either.
However, if your fur buddy is not voice-controlled, you may want to leash him anyway, so he does not get into any trouble. Caspersen has many amenities for, such an overlooked park with restrooms, showers, a playground, and a hiking trail, as well as outdoor gym equipment, a boat launch, and picnic areas with barbecue pits. There is even a fishing pier where you can fish without a fishing license.
Venetian Waterway Park
To the east of Venice Beach, you and your fur buddy are welcome to enjoy a day on the water at Venetian Waterway Park. The intercoastal water here makes the perfect place to spend the whole day and into the evening with so much to do. The trail here is popular with locals who bike, hike and walk their pups daily. The 10-mile trail is broken up into several smaller routes that take you through the downtown area, where you can see murals, historic buildings, and other fun places.
Even though swimming is not as popular as other activities like kayaking and paddle boarding, there is nothing wrong with cooling off in the water here for you and your dog. However, you should put a doggie life vest on him if you let him go out past the shallows. What’s more, the park also has an off-leash dog park for your fur baby to have some fun off the leash!
Skip Stasko Park
Just over two miles down the waterway to the south, Skip Stasko Park is another fun place to let your dog enjoy the water in Venice. This 6.3-acre park is not as large as the Venetian Waterway Park, and it does not have as many amenities and activities, but it is dog-friendly and has water access, so it is just fine for your fur baby. The trail here actually links to the trail in that park, so you can enjoy both places if you do not mind walking a bit.
The water here is not as rough as it is further up, but there is still quite a current, so keep your fur buddy on a leash and consider a life jacket as well. In this park, you can also enjoy a picnic at one of the picnic tables or the pavilion. Bring your food with you, or grab something delicious at Crave Hot Dogs & BBQ across the road. Just don’t tell your pooch they are “hot dogs!”
Chauncy Howard Park Beach
Less than a mile to the north of Venice Beach, Chauncy Howard Park Beach is a peaceful little park named for an activist who lived nearby. The family donated the money to get this park off the ground and made sure it was handicapped-accessible. You will find that everything here is accessible by all, and that includes pooches and their pooch parents. Your fur baby will love playing in the surf and on the sand even though he has to keep his leash on here.
There is also a boardwalk, which is a fun place to take a walk, and there are benches every few hundred feet to take a break and enjoy the stunning view. There are also drinking fountains, showers, restrooms, and bike racks. Be sure to bring your own pup poo bags to pick up anything your pooch drops. You want to keep the beach clean for other people who visit.
North Jetty Park Beach
Go a little further north across the jetty. You and your pup are welcome to visit North Jetty Park Beach as long as you keep his leash on at all times. This is a popular beach for locals as well as visitors from all over who come to swim and explore the historic trolley car concession. They call it the fish camp, and it has a variety of foods to keep your energy up while swimming. There is a picnic spot nearby where you can eat and watch the sunset.
You will also find excellent fishing spots by the jetty, and with a nearby bait shop, you do not have to bring anything with you. There is also a lifeguard to keep everyone safe but keep an eye on your pup and a leash attached anyway. The park also has horseshoes, a playground, picnic tables, restrooms, and a boat launch for kayaks, which you can rent at the beach too.
Nokomis Public Beach
Known for its large manatee population, Nokomis Beach is popular with all and is Sarasota County’s oldest public beach as well. You will find this large stretch of sand north of the North Jetty Beach between Blackburn Bay and the ocean. On the bayside, you will find the boat launches and marina, as well as docks and restrooms. On both sides, you have to follow the rules about protecting manatees and do not get too close to them. They are timid but large and are protected by both federal and state laws.
Besides swimming, you and your pooch can have a barbecue or grab some food to eat at one of the picnic tables. There are concession stands where you can get a variety of cuisines. The park also has a boardwalk, volleyball, a playground, and the historic Nokomis Plaza, built back in the 1950s by Jack west, a famous architect. Make sure you bring your own doggie bags and clean up after your canine companion.
Manasota Key Beach
Located a few miles south of Venice, you can find Manasota Key Beach, where the Manasota Key Drawbridge crosses. Even if you do not decide to swim here (but you certainly can), this bridge is worth the travel. The 614-foot-long bridge was constructed in 1964 and has a unique bridgetender house and a spectacular view of Lemon Bay and other surroundings. You can even walk across it with your pooch, but keep his leash short for safety. The railings are not very tall.
The white sandy beach has a wilderness-like surrounding covered with all sorts of tropical plants and palm trees. There is a lifeguard here as well as restrooms, a boat ramp, and a rinsing station. There are picnic tables with barbecue pits, shelters and pavilions, and a large swimming area with Lemon Bay on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. Please be aware of manatees and sea turtles, and do not let your dog harass the wildlife.
Blind Pass Beach
Keep going south down the beach, and you will come to Blind Pass Beach, which is a thin stretch of white sand with the gulf on one side and Lemon Bay on the other. This part of the bay has a popular isthmus where you can explore a lagoon brimming with all kinds of wildlife, from alligators to zebra tilapia. So it has everything from A to Z! However, most of the marine animals stay clear of the beach because it is frequented by visitors all year long.
If you want to see some wild critters, take a walk along one of the mangrove trails on the beach. The Fred Duisberg Nature Trail is a short walk through the mangroves along Lemon Bay. It is less than half a mile and leads to a great overlook of the bay and surrounding areas. The park also has access to a boat launch, restrooms, shelters, a playground, and several beaches.
Lemon Bay Park Beach
On the other side of Lemon Bay, Lemon Bay Park has a natural beach where your pup can play in the water as long as you keep his leash on at all times. You will also need to bring your own doggie bags. The fishing here is great, according to the locals, and there is a rental shop where you can get what you need for fishing, kayaking, or picnicking. This is also a nice place to see a variety of birds, from pelicans to vultures.
The park has several trails, the main one being the Lemon Bay Preserve Loop. It is just over three miles long and takes you through the mangroves and along the water. Be sure you keep your fur baby on a short leash because alligators and mountain lions have been seen here. You can also rent a kayak or canoe to explore the bay with your pup.
Oyster Creek Environmental Park
Right across the bay from Lemon Bay Park, Oyster Creek Environmental Park is a huge environmental green space with 250+ acres on Oyster Creek. This includes scrubland, Flatwoods, swamps, and salt marshes. In fact, it is one of the last remaining undeveloped areas in the area. If you take one of the park’s trails, you may even see some blueberry plants, wineglass, and st. John’s wort. One thing you will see a lot of is tortoises, including the gopher tortoise.
Make sure you keep your canine companion on a leash and do not let him get too close to the wildlife. This is a great place to launch a kayak, canoe, or paddle board too. Or you and your furry four-legged friend can go fishing too. Since you are likely to get hungry, bring a sack lunch and enjoy a picnic at one of the picnic areas. Don’t forget to bring doggie waste bags.
Ann & Chuck Dever Regional Park
Located just east of Lemon Bay Park and southwest of Oyster Creek Environmental Park, the Ann & Chuck Dever Regional Park includes both Lemon Bay and Oyster Creek, so your dog has two choices of where he wants to swim. The park is actually connected to Oyster Creek Park and shares a total of almost 316 acres. In fact, you can take the Oyster Creek Waterfront Trail to the park here, which is great for your pup because there is an off-leash dog park for him to enjoy!
Although there is a pool and a recreational center, you cannot bring dogs in either so just ignore them. This unique pup paradise has three sections for small dogs, large dogs, and a separate agility course section for all dogs. There are Mutt Mitt dispensers and water fountains, but it helps to bring your own doggie bags and water. And remember to have your dog’s rabies tag on his collar.
Stump Pass Beach State Park
Across from Cedar Point Environmental Park, you can find Stump Pass Beach, State Park. Although this park does not allow your fur baby to play on the beach, he is allowed in other areas of the park where you and he can have lots of fun. There are several green spaces where your fur baby can get into the water on both sides of the isthmus. He will have to remain on a leash at all times, but there is plenty of things to do that do not require him to be off his leash.
One thing that the park is famous for is its trail. The 1.3-mile hiking path takes you on a trip through five ecosystems that house a plethora of different wildlife. Along this path, you are likely to see fiddler crabs, bald eagles, terns, ospreys, and tortoises. You and your canine companion can also enjoy a picnic at one of the picnic tables along the hiking trail, so pack a lunch as well as pup cleanup baggies.
The Final Woof
Venice also has its share of dog parks that are just as fun as the beach but do not have water access. For example, Woodmere Park has an off-leash park for pooches featuring water stations, benches, shade, and plenty of space to run. Or you can visit Arlington Park Dog Park in Sarasota. There is a leash-free park as well as a huge community park with all sorts of ball fields, picnic areas, an outdoor fitness center, and a playground for the kids. Hungry? Head to BrewBurgers in Venice for a burger and a brew or the Old Salty Dog in Sarasota for some delicious seafood.