Category: traveling with dogs

West Coast Florida and the Florida Keys – Dog Friendly Beaches

Be a responsible pet owner – follow the rules at each beach and always clean up after your pet!

Pet Chat Beaches gulf 1

Fort De Soto Paw Playground and Beach

3500 Pinellas Bayway S
Saint Petersburg, FL
727- 582-8867

Cost: Free

The Paw Playground has large fenced areas for both large and small dogs, and dog showers. Dogs are allowed anywhere in the park on a six-foot leash, except on any beach, except the Paw Playground area.– dogs are allowed on the beach, and they are allowed off leash on that area of beach. They can also run free inside the fenced areas.

Gandy Bridge Causeway

11231 Gandy Blvd NPet chat beaches gulf 3
Saint Petersburg, FL

Pets are welcome to play and swim on this St. Petersburg beach.

Picnic Island Beach Dog Park

7404 Picnic Island Blvd
Tampa, FL

Dogs can play off-leash – but be aware, the area is not completely fenced.

Gulfside Beach (aka Algiers Beach)

Algiers Lane and Casa Ybel Rd
Sanibel, FL

Cost: parking fee between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (free parking after 7 p.m.)

One of the many pet-friendly beaches of Sanibel Island, Gulfside Beach (or Algiers Beach). Dogs are allowed on a leash, and owner’s must clean up after their pets.

Dog Beach at Pier Park

16230 Front Beach Rd
Panama City Beach, FL

Hours: All Day
Cost: Free

When standing in front of the city pier (on Front Beach Rd), the dog beach is located on the right side of the pier. Dogs must be kept on-leash. Three dogs, per person limit.

Bonita Beach Dog Park

8800 Estero Blvd
Fort Myers Beach, FL

Hours: Sunrise to sunset
Cost: Free includes parking

Dog Beach is a strip of beach land on the outside edge of Lover’s Key State Park along the Fort Myers/Bonita Springs line. It’s an off leash beach. There are no fences, and leashes are not required. Lots of dogs of all sizes.’

Beach is not visible from main road. Follow signs around the trees to Dog Beach.

Jupiter Beach (Off-Leash Beach)

2188 Marcinski Rd
Jupiter, FL

Hours: Sunrise-sunset

Free parking

Jupiter Beach is home to one of Florida’s best off-leash beaches. Dogs are free to roam a designated section of the beach running along A1A near Ocean Cay Park. No dogs near lifeguard towers or Town of Jupiter parks.

Brohard Paw Park

1600 S Harbor Dr
Venice, FL

Hours: Open daily, 7 a.m -dusk.

Brohard Paw Park is the only beach area in the county where dogs are welcome. This dog-friendly beach offers doggy and human drinking fountains, dog showers, fire hydrants, leash posts, picnic tables, and benches.

Keewaydin Island

1490 5th Ave S
Naples, FL

Keeywadin Island is a sanctuary for wildlife and recreation. The 8-mile long barrier island is one of southwest Florida’s largest unabridged barrier islands. A boat is needed to get to the island. Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach.

Salinas Park

302 Cape San Blas Rd
Port Saint Joe, FL

Hours: sunrise-sunset
Cost: free

Wide, white-sand beach. Vehicles are allowed, but not from Salinas Park. Dog and horse friendly. Leashes required. Rules are posted across the street on the info board.

St. George Island Public Beach

2 E Gulf Beach Dr
Saint George Island, FL

St. George Island public beach is pet friendly, includes bath house facilities, covered pavilions, a playground and basketball court. Dogs of all sizes welcome. Must be on-leash OR under direct voice control. Clean-up required.

Pet chat beaches gulf 2

The Florida Keys

Anne’s Beach

Overseas Highway MM 73
Islamorada, FL,
305- 852-2381

Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
Cost: FREE

Anne’s Beach is a very secluded dog-friendly beach with plenty of shade.

Key West Dog Beach

End of Alberta St
Key West, FL

Dogs will have some fun in the sun here, but be sure to keep a close eye on your pup, as this is a rocky beach.

Hobie Beach

Rickenbacker Causeway
Key Biscayne, FL

Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
Cost: Free Parking (Toll $1.50)

Located off the Rickenbacker Causeway, Hobie Beach is Miami-Dade County’s only dog-friendly beach. Dogs are welcome to play in the sand and shallow water.

Ways to make your hotel love you — and your dog

Traveling with dogs has become easier in recent years. Many, many years ago we stayed in a hotel in North Carolina, no mention of our wire haired terrier, we were only staying the night, we were exhausted, and no one would take us in.

We had a crate where Buttons would stay the night, we would be with him the whole time, and there was a discreet place to walk him.  As we were settling in my husband read the information on the back of the door. You know that white piece of paper some hotels post that no one reads. Well he read it, and apparently in North Carolina at that time, it was against the law to have a dog in a bedroom, or even to pass through the bedroom, with a dog, like on the way to the bathroom where we put his crate.

I do not recommend sneaking a dog into a hotel. As I recall we did not sleep well, and it just isn’t necesary any more. All La Quinta’s allow pets at no extra charge, and many Best Westerns welcome pets, though they charge usually about $10 a night. Best Western has the better breakfast, sorry La Quinta, so it’s worth it to us.

These two seem to be confused, but you get the idea. This was taken right after we arrived, so Kodi’s crate hadn’t been set up with blankets. Notice how I placed the crate in the far corner of the room next to the sliding door. We were on the 2nd floor. This was the Marina Best Western in Corpus Christi, Texas. Excellent place to stay with pets.
  1. Walk your dog into lobby and  introduce him, especially if you are staying a few days, and will be leaving him alone in the room. Of course the staff likes dogs, their hotels encourage pet owners to stay. In my experience, most of them remember Kodi’s name.
  2. Let the housekeeping staff know that your dog is in a crate. This helps them when they want access to your room. I don’t know about your dogs, but mine are going to bark if you knock on the door (which they do).
  3. Some hotels do have size and breed restrictions – ask when you make the reservation. We have stayed at a LaQuinta in Daphne, Alabama several times and I have seen all breeds and sizes. So I am guessing this chain doesn’t have restrictions. Best Westerns vary, some — like the one in Daphne, do not allow pets – which is why we ended up at the LaQuinta across the street. It’s up to each individual Best Western.
  4. These two are not the only pet friendly places to stay. Choice, Marriott, Holiday Inns, Extended Day, and others often offer this option. is a good site to check on accomodations in the U.S. and Canada.
  5. Keep your dog on a leash at all times. Even if you have the best behaved dog on the planet, follow this advice. There are too many unknowns while traveling, including other dogs, and your well behaved dog may bolt.
  6.  Clean up after you dog. You know those security cameras at the front desk? They can see you and your pup. They probably aren’t going to say anything, but they are going to be far more attentive if they see you being responsible.
  7. Don’t leave your pup all day. Try to arrange activities so that you can pop in every couple of hours and let him out.
  8. Leave the t.v. on low. Kodi likes kid shows. It’s basically company for him and helps to buffer outside noice.
  9. Leave them a safe toy and make their crate as comfy as possible with blankets from home that have familiar smells. It’s a good idea to remove their collar when they are in the crate, and you are out of the room. This eliminates the chance off them getting it caught on the crate.
  10. Set their crate up in an area away from the door and hallway traffic. This will help reduce the barkig. Placing a second blanket or towel, (yours, not the hotels) over the top of the crate so it covers two sides can offer comfort in a strange place.

So there are some of my tried and true tips. More to follow.

Next installment: What is it about corgis?

5 reasons you should vacation with your dog

When we travel, Kodi (and now Buddy) go with us. The only exception is if we have to fly, very rarely, and then they have to be left at home.

Over the Christmas and New Year holiday we drove cross county to Arizona, back to Texas and home. Getting to see family along the way. Our pups are part of that family. And we were not the only ones on the road with our pooches.

Here are my top 5 reasons it’s good to travel with your dog:

  1. It’s good for your circulatory system. If you tell your doctor you are driving long distances she will probably tell you to stop often. But you’re trying to make time, so you pass the rest areas. But with a dog you stop every couple of hours and when he stretches his legs, you stretch yours. This is good for your circulation, not to mention your mood.
  2. More hotels are welcoming dogs and it is less expensive than boarding. The most I paid was $20 on one night. Most were $10 per night, and if you are staying multiple nights you may be able to make a deal. The hotel charges because their housekeeping staff has to clean a little longer in a room that has had a pet, before the next occupant (and wouldn’t you want them to?), but if you are there several nights they aren’t going to do that every day so you may be able to get a discount. Can’t hurt to ask.
  3. You save money on meals on the road. Since your pup can’t go into restaurants, and you are not going to leave them in the car no matter how low the temperature is, you will pack a picnic. This is much nicer than sitting in a restaurant, and it saves time.
  4. Nice to come home to. After a day visiting family, or sightseeing, coming back to your pup waiting for you in the hotel is a slice of home. Don’t forget to have a nice crate for him to stay in.
  5. Tired drivers tend to smile at you, and you them, and that’s good for your health. Kodi received a lot of attention, I find corgi’s often do, had his photo taken multiple times by other travelers, and even if nothing was said; smiles were exchanged.So there are my five top reasons. Tomorrow I will give you tried and true tips to make your pup a favorite with the hotel staff.

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