The Best Dog-Friendly Beaches In Florida, According To Locals
These are a must-visit when in the Sunshine State.
There’s nothing like a trip to the beach with your pup. Letting him run in the sand and splash around in the water can be a super fun experience for both you and him.
And if you’re planning a trip to Florida with your dog in tow, or if you’re already there and just looking for a relaxing beach day, a dog-friendly beach is a must.
Not all beaches in Florida are OK to bring your dog to, though, so if you’re looking for a beach that’ll accommodate your pup, you’ve come to the right place. As a dog parent who’s lived in Florida for over 25 years, I’m here to bring you the best dog-friendly beaches in the Sunshine State.
Plus, I’ve asked a few other locals for their recommendations when they’re looking for a dog-friendly spot on the coast to hang out with their pups.
So get your itineraries ready — you’ll want to add these spots to your list.
The best dog-friendly beaches in Florida
Sanibel Island is a small island off the coast of Fort Myers in southwest Florida. And it’s arguably one of the best places to bring your pup in Florida since all the public beaches are pet friendly. Yep, you heard that right! You just need to make sure your pup’s on a leash and you clean up after him.
That being said, there are some beaches that are more popular among dog parents than others. Gulfside City Park and Bowman’s Beach are both popular spots to bring your pup. Locals love shelling and dolphin-watching at Gulfside Beach and taking their pups down the hiking trails at Bowman’s.
You’ll need to pay for parking at each spot (about $5 an hour), and bring your own poop bags. Thankfully, these beaches all have bathrooms and dog water fountains.
Sanibel is one of the best places to find seashells, and its beaches are filled with amazing natural wildlife, like nesting turtles and shorebirds — don’t be surprised if you see a dolphin, too! It’s even home to some endangered species, so for all of these reasons, dogs aren’t allowed off-leash at any beaches in Sanibel Island, so make sure your pup’s on a leash that’s at least 8 feet long!
Besides the beaches, Sanibel is known for having lots of pet-friendly resorts and some restaurants that’ll allow your pup to hang out on the patio with you while you eat.
Treasure Coast Beaches: Walton Rocks Beach and Jupiter Dog Beach
The beach stretch along the Treasure Coast along Southeast Florida is one of the state’s best-kept secrets. The shoreline is free of litter, the water is super blue and, most importantly, you can let your dog off-leash in some spots.
Walton Rocks Beach in Jensen, Florida, and Jupiter Dog Beach, in Jupiter, Florida, specifically, are two very spacious stretches of beach where your dog’s free to roam around off-leash. Walton Rocks Beach is 24 acres, and Jupiter dog beach is a whopping 2.5 miles long (amazing, right?).
There’s tons of free parking at both locations and even free poop bags. At Walton, there’s even a hose so you can rinse your pup’s paws before he hops in the car.
Key West Dog Beach
Key West is a popular destination for out-of-state travelers and Floridians alike. And if you have your pup with you on the trip, the Key West Dog Beach is a must-visit. It feels super secluded and cozy, adorned with shady palm trees throughout. It’s situated between an apartment complex and popular restaurant Louie’s Backyard (they have ocean views and welcome pups on the patio), and is only a quick seven-minute walk from the historic Southernmost Point of the Continental U.S.
Keep in mind, though, that this spot is pretty rocky (and will occasionally accumulate seaweed, which can be dangerous for pups to eat), so be sure to keep an eye out for your pup.
Hobie Island Beach Park in Miami
You gotta love a beach with a view, which is why we had to include Hobie Beach on this list. It’s a bay beach, located off of the Rickenbacker Causeway, so the water is shallow and calm, perfect for pups to romp around in. The view of the Miami skyline is iconic and can be enjoyed under the shady palm trees while sitting on the shoreline. Plus, parking is free! Afterwards, grab a bite to eat at Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill on their dog-friendly patio.
Before you go, a heads up: You should expect some seaweed and a bit of litter on the beach (so make sure your pup’s well-versed in “leave it!”).
The dog beach at Smyrna Dunes Park
Smyrna Dunes Park in Volusia County, Florida, is great to bring your pup to if you’ll be in northeastern Florida. The park is on the tip of a peninsula and features 184 acres of lush foliage. Pups are allowed on-leash (with no limit on the leash’s length) at the park’s shore along the inlet side, which still gives you and your pup plenty of room to walk around and find the perfect spot. Locals love how well-kept this park is, the lack of crowds (best times to go are weekdays and early morning on weekends) and the view of the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse across the inlet near the northern tip of the park. There’s also a dog-rinsing station and clean restrooms for pet parents, and a staff member will give you poop bags at the entrance if you ask. Plus, since the dog beach is located on the inlet side, the water is super calm, making it easy for pups to swim in.
The entrance fee is $10 for the day ($20 for the year if you plan on being a return visitor). While the park has over two miles of elevated boardwalks that have beautiful views, dogs aren’t allowed on them past 10 a.m. (but if you get there later, you and your pup can take a walkway off of the boardwalk to the beach, no problem).
Dogs who get to experience the natural beauty and good times when they visit Florida’s pup-friendly beaches are truly lucky, and so are their parents! So be sure to make the time to pop in to one of these spots — and get ready to create memories that’ll last forever.