Florida is a beachy paradise for all to enjoy, but not all beaches are made equal--especially so when you want to bring your furry-four-legged friends along for a day of play in the sun. While the majority of beaches in the state are not pet-friendly, all hope is not lost! If you are looking for beaches that allow dogs in Florida, this mapped list of the top 10 dog beaches along the Gulf Coast, ranked by Veternarians.org, will undoubtedly be something you'll want to keep bookmarked!
*Map at the bottom of the article--photos of each place can be found in the reviews on the map.
1. Davis Island Dog Beach
Located in the heart of the Tampa Bay, Davis Island dog beach is beloved by many. It's an enclosed dog park with water access for pups that love to get their paws wet! Because it's enclosed by the bay, waves are basically non-existent, making it the perfect spot for dogs who like water but not the challenge of swimming through waves.
It maintains a 4.5 star rating on Google Maps, with many people siting that it's "clean" and "not too crowded." The park is free to enjoy and there is plenty of parking on-site.
What's more, because it's located in such a close proximity of the city, there's nothing stopping you from grabbing coffee and a lunch on your way to have a day of fun with your pooch. You deserve it (just don't forget to pick up a pup cup for your fur-baby)!
2. Honeymoon Island
This Florida State Park located in Dunedin obviously had to make it onto the list. While it's not free (unless you have a state park pass) it's often regarded as one of the best dog beaches in the state, making the $8 entry fee seem plenty worth it, after all, dogs have their very own beach here!
There is no fenced in area for you to let your dog run around in, so you must keep your pet on a six foot leash at all times--but this doesn't stop people from getting a little exercise with their pet instead of just sitting and watching.
Parking at Honeymoon Island is never a problem, plus they offer amenities like a dog wash station, public bathrooms, and a cafe (though, you can't take your dog to the cafe).
3. Gulfside City Park Beach (Algiers)
If you are looking for a dog beach a little farther south than the two listed above, Gulfside City Park Beach, located near Fort Myers is the perfect alternative.
With beautiful sugar sand and blue waters to match, this southern Florida dog park is perhaps the most scenic option on the list--that said, parking is to match. At $5/hour it's one of the more pricey options, but nothing too crazy if you just want to take your dog out for a couple of hours.
Similar to Honeymoon Island, you will be required to have your pet leashed during your visit--but they can enjoy much of the park in your company this way!
4. Fort De Soto Dog Beach Park
With an unfenced and no-leash required rule at the dog beach, Fort De Soto is definitely up there as one of the best--and most unique--spots to take your pup in the state as they can roam free (see our previous post about it here). That said, if you have a pooch with a tendency to run away, this probably isn't the best option for you unless you'd like to keep him/her on a leash.
It's worth nothing that there is a fenced-in dog park on site, however, it lacks beach access.
Parking at Fort DeSoto is $5 for the day and while there is only one beach your dog can enjoy with you, they are welcome on the trails and other park amenity areas including the fort!
5. Brohard Beach And Paw Park
Have you ever wanted to take your dog shark-tooth hunting? Probably not, but you can at Brohard Paw Park! Located in the "shark tooth capital of the world", this dog beach is a great place to bring dogs that love to dig for treasures.
This is the only dog beach in Sarasota County, making it a hotspot for the local beach-going fur-parents.
6. Bonita Springs Dog Park
Set up similarly to Fort DeSoto, this Fort Myers-local beach is nearly free of restriction! No fences, no leashes, just you, your dog and lots of shallow saltwater to play in. This is another great dog beach for small dogs who have a hard time enjoying deeper waters with big waves.
What's even more exciting is that parking here is free and it's only a short walk to the beach from the parking lot--giving you plenty of excuse to tote along some beach chairs, an umbrella, and plenty of dog treats!
7. Lighthouse Beach Park
If you want to take your pooch sightseeing, Lighthouse Beach Park is a great option. You can enjoy views of the historic lighthouse, pick up shells along the coast, and hang out with your furry friend who's kept on a leash all at the same time.
The only downside to this spot is that parking is limited and is $5/hour. That said, if you get there early you shouldn't have too many problems and you don't have to make a whole day out of it.
8. Pass A Grille Dog Beach
Though Pass-A-Grille's main beach doesn't allow dogs, the town was kind enough to award canines their very own small beach on the bayside. Additionally, the area is extremely dog friendly, boasting several eateries with seating to accommodate hungry humans with friendly dogs.
"Many restaurants (Grace, Berkeley Beach Club, Sea Critters and Hurricane) have outdoor, pet-friendly seating, and Shadrack’s Bar always welcomes a friendly doggo. Coconut Inn and Island’s End are two small inns in Pass-a-Grille that welcome dogs as guests," the Pass-A-Grille's website mentions.
The parking situation here is a little tricky, but not unmanageable. Here's information from the Pass-A-Grille website: 8th Avenue offers FREE 2 Hour Parking from 8a.m.-6p.m. all week long. 9th Avenue, 15th Avenue and 16th Avenue are the only other blocks that offer Paid Parking Spots with PayStations; every other avenue is either "D" Permit parking or sections where parking is prohibited.
9. Bowman’s Beach
Located in close proximity to Lighthouse Beach Park, Bowman Beach is an inviting alternative, offering many of the same amenities and requiring humans to keep their dogs leashed at all times.
With a considerable amount more parking available, it's no wonder Bowman Beach attracts a crowd daily!
Parking is still $5/hour, but it's a small price to pay for a paradise that you can take your dog to.
10. Apollo Beach
Leashed dogs are welcome to enjoy a long walk with you along the bay here at Apollo Beach, but if you'd like to roam freely you can leave them to play in one of the fenced dog parks. Unlike mathe others on this list, this park actually has green grass, agility objects, and cemented walking trails.
Visiting the park is free.