Florida Dog-Friendly Travel Guide

florida dog-friendly travel guide - bichon frise with red scarf in a carWith miles and miles of beaches, Florida is one of the most well-known US states for “fun in the sun”. When you’re traveling to “The Sunshine State”, don’t leave your furry friend behind. Instead, use this Florida dog-friendly travel guide to help plan your trip, so you can bring your dog along and enjoy the fun together!

3 Dog-Friendly Activities in Florida

Even if you have dog-friendly places to stay, you don’t want to leave your dog alone in the hotel room or have to board them at a kennel. That’s not fun for either of you. Check out these dog-friendly activities you both can enjoy all around The Sunshine State:

1. Dinosaur World

If you are a fan of dinosaurs, this is the perfect park for you and your pooch! Located in Plant City, a midpoint between Tampa and Disney, Dinosaur World features winding trails and 150 life-size dinosaur statues.

It’s free for your dog to get in and they are welcome as long as they are well-behaved and leashed. There are even water stations along the trail, so you and your pup can take water breaks!

2. Fort De Soto Park “Paw Playground”

Located within the Fort De Soto Park is a dog beach called the “Paw Playground”. Dogs are not allowed on the other beaches in Fort De Soto Park, just in the Paw Playground. This stretch of beach is a designated dog beach where they are allowed to run free and off-leash.

Fort De Soto Park has fenced-in dog parks nearby for both large and small dogs. There are also dog showers and drinking water. You can hose your pooch off on a hot day, or after they’ve rolled around in the sand, and keep them hydrated. Dogs are allowed in other areas of the park as long as they are on a six-foot leash.

3. Lazy Dog Kayak

If your Florida travels bring you to Key West, be sure to stop by Stock Island and check out Lazy Dog Kayak. There are “rent on your own” options as well as guided kayak tours available. You can rent a regular kayak, have your pooch hop on board, and start paddling across the channel and canal.

You can also opt for the doggie paddle. Your pup will still take a ride with you on the kayak, but you’ll head to a sandbar that is pretty much a private island dog park. Your dog can run free, go swimming, and more. It’s a great opportunity for your dog to release some excess energy before it’s time to head back to the marina.

3 Dog-Friendly Hotels in Florida

If you’re in Florida for more than just a day trip, you’ll need to find somewhere to stay overnight. Since not every place permits pets, you have to plan ahead a little more when you have your pup with you. These dog-friendly hotels and campgrounds will welcome you and your dog with open arms:

1. Fort De Soto Campground

If you’re an outdoorsy type that enjoys camping and you happen to be near Fort De Soto Park, you can reserve one of their special campsites for campers with pets. Their camping area has 238 sites available and each provides picnic tables, grills, water, and electricity.

Modern restrooms and showers are nearby and even washers and dryers are available. Campsites go fast though, especially the pet-friendly ones, so you’ll want to reserve one ahead of time if this is where you want to stay.

2. La Quinta

This hotel chain can be found in several areas throughout Florida. They’re affordable, you’re likely to find one just about anywhere you go, and the best part? They are pet-friendly!

When you stay at La Quinta, your dog is welcome and stays with you for free. They have locations in all the major metros, like Tampa, Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, and more, plus some in smaller areas too.

3. Aloft Hotels

Aloft Hotels is a Starwood boutique hotel chain with locations in Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Gainesville, Fort Lauderdale, Weston, Delray Beach, Coral Gables, and Sarasota.

They offer hip decor with a sophisticated style and they are pet-friendly. Some Aloft Hotels will even offer a complimentary pet package that includes a bed, bowl, treats, and toys for your dog to enjoy!

The specific pet policies for dogs will vary, especially on weight restrictions, deposits, and any added fees, so you will want to check with specific hotels for their policies. Usually, only one dog is allowed per room, they cannot be left unattended, and dogs should weigh under 40 pounds, but it may vary by hotel.

3 Dog-Friendly Restaurants in Florida

It’s easy to get tired of stopping at gas stations or fast food drive-thrus so you and your pup can eat together. With dog-friendly restaurants on your itinerary, your pup can hang out and chow down with you while you both relax for a meal together.

1. Coconuts Bahamas Grill

Located in Fort Lauderdale, Coconuts Bahamas Grill is a great place to stop for a bite, especially if you love seafood. You may not be able to share the fish with your pup, but they’ll be welcome to hang out with you in the dog-friendly outdoor seating as long as they remain leashed and are well-behaved. Coconuts has dog bowls available, which they will gladly fill with water for your furry friend.

2. Dexter’s Restaurants of Orlando

Dexter’s is a local chain of restaurants located in and around Orlando that provide a fun, relaxed atmosphere. They are popular any time of the day and are a hot spot for brunch any day of the week. Their main menu is full of handcrafted fresh food and their dinner menus change on a monthly basis.

They also offer more than 30 red and white wines, sherries, ports, and champagne by the glass. Most importantly, their patio is dog-friendly and so is their atmosphere. Dexter’s has locations in Winter Park, Lake Mary, Orlando, and Windermere.

3. Tampa Bay Brewing Company

Tampa Bay Brewing Company has two locations, one in Westchase, just northwest of Tampa, and one in Ybor City, near downtown Tampa. Each location has a taproom, a full-service pub, and a dog-friendly outdoor patio. They’re open for lunch and dinner and are a must-stop if you’re a fan of craft beer.

There are a lot of dog-friendly places to explore in Florida. This travel guide will get you started and help you add a few places to your trip. If you’re headed to a different state, check out the other dog-friendly travel guides available.