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7 Dog-Friendly Beaches in Florida

by Barbara Rogers

Jan 25, 2023

© Sergey Mostovoy | Dreamstime.com


When your family includes a dog, you’ll want to be sure the beach you choose for your winter family travels is a pet-friendly one. These beaches all welcome your canine pals, but each has its own rules posted, so be sure to read them before visiting. Some rules protect wildlife, such as turtles that lay their eggs in the sand.


Sanibel Island
The Gulf Coast is a good choice for its warmer waters and gentle waves. On Sanibel Island, look for Gulfside City Park, a 15-mile beach with showers and grills. The beach is less crowded than most in this popular resort area, so you won’t meet as many other dogs here. Do use a leash at all times to protect nesting turtles.


Fort Myers
Dogs appreciate the freedom of the 6.5-mile beach at Bonita Springs Dog Park in Fort Myers because it’s an off-leash beach. The two fenced areas are designated by size, so Corgis won’t be intimidated by Leonbergers. The water is also shallow for safe swimming.


Apollo Beach
The large Fort De Soto Dog Beach Park also features two large off-leash areas designated by size and linked to the beach, as does the spacious Apollo Beach Park in Apollo Beach. This one is a favorite of families with larger breeds, because it is usually less busy than others nearby.


Ormond Beach
On Florida’s Atlantic coast, you’ll find a four-acre dog park at Michael Crotty Bicentennial Park good beach in Ormond Beach, north of Daytona. Your dog can play off leash at the beach and in the dog park area.


In Miami, Hobie Island Beach Park includes an off-leash area with shallow water and soft sand. Get there early to snare a shady spot under the palm trees. Haulover Beach Park in Miami Beach has enclosed areas designated for small and large dogs, as well as dog-friendly drinking fountains. You’ll appreciate the shade from trees as your dog plays.


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