Last updated on April 7th, 2020 at 09:45 am
Bark parks abound, but the challenge is finding beaches in Florida where your dog can frolic in the surf.
Here’s our guide to beaches in Florida where your Fido is welcome on both Florida’s Atlantic Coast and Gulf Coast.
Dog-friendly beaches on Florida’s Atlantic Coast
Hannah Park welcomes dogs on leashes all year long on both the beach and in the park’s campground. The beach is wide with a gradual slope as you enter the water. This also one of Jacksonville’s best surfing beaches. Hanna Park is a 450-acre complex with a water park, fresh water lake and campsites. The beach entrance is at the end of Wonderwood Drive. Parking is $1 before 10 a.m. and $3 per car after 10 a.m.
Be sure to bring plenty of fresh water and an umbrella so Fido can get out of the sun.
Designated beach from just north of Gamble Rogers State Park to South 13th Street (south of the fishing pier). Leash required. Any time, day or night, and it’s free. 2700 Oceanshore Blvd, Flagler Beach, FL 32136
52-acre Lighthouse Point Park on the north side Ponce Inlet is dog-friendly. Dogs can hike and visit the beach, which is bit rocky and the terrain a little rough, but dogs love it. Showers, dog showers, bathrooms and parking ($5) are provided. 5000 South Atlantic Avenue, Ponce Inlet, FL, US 32118
Smyrna Dunes Park is on the south side of Ponce Inlet, accessible for dogs from the boardwalk at the Coast Guard Station on North Peninsula Drive. Admission/parking is $5 per vehicle. Your leashed pet can swim from the beach on the Indian River side of the park. I’ve taken my dogs here many times, and they loved it. (That’s me in the middle with Bear Bear, my wife and brother.) 2995 N Peninsula Dr, New Smyrna Beach, FL
Home of the Florida International Dog Surfing Championship each November, this park does not otherwise allow pets on the beach. However, it does have a fenced, off-leash dog park near the beach. The main reason we mention it is because of the annual dog surfing championship.1500 Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach.
Dog-friendly beach is open from sunrise until sunset, and it won’t cost you a dime. Leash required. Waste bags and receptacles are available. There are also picnic areas for both humans and their pets to enjoy and indulge. 3299 Highway A1A, Indian Harbour Beach, FL
Walton Rocks Dog Beach is an off-leash beach park that sprawls over 24 acres. I love this beach and have brought my dogs here many times. It’s hard to find, but drive slowly along A1A and you’ll catch the small sign on the beach side of the road. This beach can get crowded on weekends, and the dogs really run wild, but it is a lot of fun for your pet. Parking and beach access are free. 6700 South Ocean Drive, Jensen Beach, FL
Dog-friendly beach at Sunrise Boulevard north for 100 yards. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only, 3-7 pm (winter) and 3-9 pm (summer). Annual permits must be purchased in person at Parks & Recreation Administration located at Holiday Park. Single-week permits also available. Canine Beach, A1A & E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. During Daylight Savings Time, the hours are 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. A permit is required, which is available at the Dog Beach for $5 per dog for residents and $10 per dog for non-residents. Proof of vacinations and registration required. Call 954-921-3404 for more information. State Road A1A between Pershing and Custer Street.
Open from 8 am to sunset, seven days a week near the south picnic area. Featuring an enclosure for small dogs (less than 35 lbs.) and large dogs (more than 35 lbs.) with shade trees, picnic tables, drinking fountains, and doggie waste bag dispensers. Plenty of open, grassy space for your pet to play without a leash. Entrance to the bark park is through parking lot #3. Dogs are welcome on thebeach directly across from the Bark Park. $2 user fee, per vehicle (must have dog in vehicle; cash only). 10800 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL
Aggressive dogs should not be brought to the beach at popular times of the day.
You’ll pay a toll to get on the Rickenbacker Causeway where your dog can play in any sandy area on either side of the causeway, and while leashes are not required, you’ll want to keep Fido on a tether so he doesn’t dash into the road. There are no facilities specifically for your dog so come prepared with water, towels, poop bags and shade. Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne, FL
Anne’s Beach is really fun for your pets because it’s shallow and they can romp quite a ways into the ocean. The parking is free, though limited, and there are restrooms available for humans. Bring a poo-poo bag for your pets. Anne’s Beach is located at the south end of Lower Matecume Key, on the ocean side, just before the Channel 5 bridge. Overseas Highway Mile Marker 73, Islamorada, FL
Small dog-friendly beach with plenty of shade and sand. There are no restrooms or facilities. 1500 Vernon Ave, Key West.
For animal lovers, Higgs Beach Park hosts a large and well-used dog park with separate runs for small and large dogs. Higgs Beach also has a Civil War-era fort, a beachside café and an African Refugee Burial Ground, as well as one of the largest Aids Memorials in the country. 100 Atlantic Blvd, Key West
Dog-friendly beaches on Florida’s Gulf Coast
Fenced dog park that includes access to a sandy beach open to the water for off-leash play. Drinking water and rinse station on site. This park also has benches, tables, water fountains, and a washing area. East Blount Street & North 20th Avenue, Pensacola, FL 32501
Dogs are allowed on the beach at Access Point No. 3 from 6 a.m. until 10 a.m. daily. Parking and admission is free. Dogs will be allowed without a leash until April 30 – but they must be under their owner’s control and supervision at all times. From May 1 through Sept. 30, during the busy season, dogs must be leashed. Gulf Access #3, 14767 Perdido Key Drive, Perdido Key, FL
Doggie Beach, Panama City Beach
Doggie Beach is located across from Pier Park and west of the City Pier. The 400 foot beach is open to dogs on leashes, and they love strolling the beach and enjoying the waves in Panama City. 16230 Front Beach Road, Panama City Beach, FL
Open sunrise to sunset, Salinas Park offers an unspoiled beach that is dog (and horse) friendly. Leash required. Admission is free. 302 Cape San Blas Road, Port Saint Joe, FL
All of the beaches on St. George Island are pet-friendly, provided they are on a leash and well-behaved, and that the owners clean up after them. If your dog(s) responds well to commands, they can be released for an untethered romp through the surf. Doggie bags, water spigots and showers are spread along the shoreline. The only exception is within the boundaries of St. George Island State Park. You can, however, have pets in the campground at the state park.
Share the beach. Don’t let dogs play where people are fishing, and anglers should avoid areas where dogs are playing.
Port Tampa and offers an off-leash beach for your pet. There are also picnic areas, a children’s park and picnic areas with water for both dogs and their human companions. Park also has boat ramps and ramps for launching kayaks and canoes. Picnic Island Dog Park, behind Port Tampa, 7404 Picnic Island Blvd, Tampa, FL
Dog Beach on Davis Island is a 1½-acre waterfront park with grassy areas and 200 feet of sandy beach. The park on the south end of the island past the Peter O. Knight Airport on Severn Avenue. The park is fully fenced, even down to the water. There is an adjacent picnic area, canoe launch and boat ramps. A Florida Rambler reader says it’s very popular with locals. 864 Severn Ave., Tampa, FL
Dogs have their own beach on the southern tip of Honeymoon Island, and they are also permitted on the nature trail. Leash required. Admission to park is $8 for vehicles up to 4 people. Open from 8 a.m. until sunset. #1 Causeway Boulevard, Dunedin, FL
While there are many dog parks in Pinellas County, there is only one park where your pet is allowed on the Beach, and that’s at Fort Desoto. There are two large fenced areas for large and small dogs, and access to the beach is at the southwest end of the park. The beaches here are among the best in the state, and Fido will not be shortchanged. 3500 Pinellas Bayway S., St. Petersburg, FL
Popular campground and park on the eastern shore of lower Tampa Bay, and a ranger told me it is are definitely pet-friendly. Pets are allowed throughout the park with the exception of the designated swimming beach. No pets allowed there, but there is plenty of shoreline throughout the rest of the park where pets are permitted. Pets must be leashed. The ranger says the Hunters Pass section has 200-300 yards of sandy shoreline popular with pet owners (and fishermen), 2401 19th Ave NW, Ruskin, FL
National Park Service beach goes a step beyond “dog friendly” — visiting canines can become B.A.R.K. Rangers. The park has several small beaches where dogs can roam on leash, but shallow (and sheltered) Cove Beach on the south side of De Soto Point may be best for small dogs. Be careful of currents at the other beaches. 8300 Desoto Memorial Hwy, Bradenton, FL
Not exactly a beach but but it’s sandy, and your pet can jump into the water in this causeway park, which has picnic tables, a dock and water fountain in addition to being dog friendly. You’ll share the park with equestrians. 9000 Manatee Ave. West, Bradenton, FL.
Many pet-friendly beaches provide dog-waste bags, but bring your own just in case.
Dog park with beach access, showers for dogs, dog drinking fountains and even fire hydrants! The dog park is fenced, and a section is set aside for small dogs. Open from 7 a.m. until sunset. Parking is free, as is access to the park and beach. South of the pier at1999 Harbor Dr S, Venice, FL
Dogs are allowed on a leash, and owner’s must clean up after their pets. There are picnic tables and restrooms available, and an hourly parking fee is charged from 7 am to 7 pm (free after 7 pm). 2100 Algiers Lane, Sanibel.
Off-leash beach area on the south end of Lovers Key, adjacent to the state park, just west of the New Pass Bridge, north of Bonita Beach. There are no amenities, other than a beautiful beach, and there is no freshwater available, so bring your own. It’s on county land and maintained by volunteers, the “Friends of Dog Beach.” 8800 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach, FL
Eight-mile long barrier island is one of southwest Florida’s largest unabridged barrier islands. Dogs are allowed on the beach. Leashes are required. You can only get there by boat. Water shuttle service is available from Marco Island. Keewaydin Island, Naples, FL