Florida is a great place to have a memorable getaway with your best friend, a place where you discover that happiness is only real when it is shared. From beach escapes to restaurants galore, these are the top 7 friendliest destinations in Florida to visit with a pet.
A woman jogging with her dog on a beach in Jacksonville.
Known as a mecca of dog-friendly establishments, nearly all malls in Jacksonville welcome pets, along with 200 pet-friendly hotels. There’s always something to wake up to and find a new venture, such as the state’s top dog park and resort, the renowned Dogwood Dog Park. Hundreds of people come daily to the 45-acre off-leash ground to let their pups roam free. With enough room for all the Frisbee and ball-chasing, there’s also an equipped pup playground to “go wild,” a beach for swimming, and shaded areas for relaxation. The active owners will love taking their pets for some exercise or a scenic stroll down the nature trail.
Nearby, the low-cost First Coast No More Homeless Pets clinic is always happy to see visitors lending a helpful hand and paw. Approximately 15 miles east of Downtown Jacksonville, the BrewHound Dog Park + Bar dog park and beer garden are set on an acre of Neptune Beach. There are several fenced areas for unleashed pets and a “Ruffaree” keeping things fair and peaceful. Daily, monthly, and annual passes are available for the park to enjoy local craft beers on tap, specialty coffee from Bold Bean Coffee Roasters, and lawn games while the furry friends run around.
A dog enjoying a swim in the sea with a toy.
The southernmost city in the United States is also known as one of the nation’s friendliest to come with a pet. The vacationers will have a hard time choosing between a lifetime-worth of services and amenities for exciting engagements with their four-legged friends. There are many pet-friendly hotels to set base and head to the dog-welcoming Kimpton Surfcomber, Miami, South Beach, and Kimpton Angler’s South Beach. Among the myriad outdoor restaurants to come with the pooch, Shake Shack boasts an exclusive dog menu. One will find many beach parks for outdoor pursuits, as well as the famous outdoor shopping districts of Miami that let the pooches join in on the fun of a shopping spree for the most memorable getaway together.
Those looking for a luxurious destination and some beach-time pampering with the pooch cannot find a better locale than Miami Beach‘s accommodating premises that cater to all. The pet owners love strolling along the famous Art Deco district on a perfectly relaxing afternoon full of sights and culture. With countless pet-friendly vacation rentals right on the beach, the two can step out to the waters the first thing each morning.
Fort De Soto Park, St Petersburg
Set along the southern coast, Fort De Soto Park is the most impressive seaside destination in Florida, with many thought-out amenities to meet four-legged friends. The off-leash sandy beach here has exclusive spaces for big and small breeds and dog-dedicated water fountains. The popular quarter-mile beach is consistently regarded among the top American beaches even by those without pets. It is a heavenly spot to stretch out on the wide strip of sand for some sun-soaking and swimming in the crystal-clear waters.
With more activities around the beach, one can explore the park’s past as a former historic fort, one of five offshore keys south of St. Petersburg used for coastal defense on Florida’s coast. Boasting over 200 camping sites around, the park offers a whole vacation spent on its premises, with comforts like showers, laundry, electrical outlets on site, and a fenced area for pets. The number one pet-friendly attraction in Florida also comes with the renowned Dog Bar, where the owners can try 30 beers on tap. Meanwhile, the furry friends get to roam the off-leash space, enjoy the playground or the doggie pool, or keep busy with the caretaker on-site.
A sprawling pet store in Orlando to cater to the needs of the city’s many four-pawed residents. Editorial credit: Miosotis_Jade / Shutterstock.com
The top destination for entertainment in Florida is also prepared for all the animal lovers of the nation that make up an ever-increasing chunk of Orlando’s tourists. Aside from a dozen fresh-air dog parks, many come specifically for the truly spectacular Sunset Paddle at the Waterfront. Comprising a perfect bonding place by the water, there are many ways to spend a fun time together, like a sunset kayak ride. The many annual festivals also cater to the four-legged friends with various designated attractions. The upcoming Howl-O-Ween is unlike any other in the nation, where one’s best friend can spend the night trick-or-treating and entering the pet costume contest for endless photo ops and memories of the best Halloween ever spent for both .
The stone-clad shop with a bright blue door of the Cups and Pups Coffee is hard to miss on a morning stroll. Set in the College Park neighborhood, just minutes north of Orlando‘s urban core, the pet-friendly establishment serves drinks like the Honey Nut Cheerio lattes and cold lavender brew with a cute dog sticker on every cup. Set on the southern “tail” of Florida, on the north side of the Overseas Highway, the Baker’s Cay Resort in Key Largo is a four-star hotel offering fantastic views from the rooms. Saturated with doggy charm, one will find pet tikis scattered around the beach, menus for pets, and a “yappy hour” from 4 to 5 pm to wind down and mingle among the two- and four-legged crowd.
Panama City Beach
A dog having a great time at the Dog Beach in Panama City Beach.
Set in the north-western part of Florida on the Gulf of Mexico, the seaside destination is one of the pet-friendliest along the coast. The beloved summertime resort among pet owners has many dog accommodations, campgrounds, and pet-friendly waterfront hotels for any budget. Equipped with 120 stores, the Pier Park outdoor mall is a dream come true for all pet mama and papa shopaholics, those looking for a gift or stopping for a cold drink while on a stroll through with a pet. Following a bite at one of the dozen restaurants on-site, the neighboring Conservation Park’s 11-mile trail is an outlet for the active, with wild turkey, woodpecker, and alligator sightings to keep things exciting for both on the way.
The Dolphin and Snorkel Tours offer a special bonding experience of spearheading the waves via an atmospheric cruise around the gulf. Moreover, the boat stops at Shell Island for dogs and humans to dive into the bright-turquoise waters for more memorable moments together. The city’s own pristine beach offers over 400 feet of white sand for lounging, frisbee, and ball chasing, and sunrise views during a morning walk. The parallel-running boardwalk is lined with pet-friendly restaurants to end the day on a high note over a sunset dinner.
The resort city in north-western Florida is a year-round destination with many pet-friendly beaches for a well-deserved vacation. The notable landmark of the historical Don CeSar, as one of the oldest luxury hotels in the United States, is a must-see even if not staying. Aptly nicknamed the “pink palace” for its flamboyant exterior, the hotel guarantees a princess treatment for both owners and furry friends. Offering exercise and many ways to keep things interesting, there are walking routes, pet-friendly tips, and other lavish surprises. The Postcard Inn is a pet-friendly accommodation for budget-minded travelers, with the nearby Fort De Soto beach and a choice of restaurants, all welcoming the four-legged pals.
Tampa Bay region
Dogs having fun on a beach by the Tampa Bay. Editorial credit: Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock.com
the Tampa Bay region is a chosen spot among the two- and four-legged food aficionados. Offering as many dining al fresco as the vast region reaches, one can choose from the hundreds of dog-friendly restaurants of all styles and for all budgets. Among the notable top spots, there’s the Let it Be Ice Cream in Gulfport for an Instagram-worthy treat of artisanal ice cream cones for both. The area also boasts twenty dog parks, which is the most concentrated amount in the whole state. The Tampa Bay Brewing Company is a beer garden in Tampa offering to end a perfectly-spent day together on a high note over a “shared” drink. For road-trippers, there are the nearby big cities of Clearwater, Sarasota, Dunedin, St. Petersburg, and Bradenton for more pet-friendly exploration and adventures, like the nation-renowned Dog Bar in St. Petersburg.
Florida is a pet-friendly state that is only expanding in catering to four-legged pals through all establishments. These destinations mean that the two can partake in all the adventures together, without waiting around by the doors or back at the hotel.