By Beth A. Freely
It may only be February, but it’s never too early to start planning your family vacation. And when we say family, that includes the four-legged family members. Vacationing in Florida has just gotten easier for pet parents who want to bring their tongue lolling, tail wagging, catnip sniffing fur children. We’ve found some pet friendly accommodations, beaches and restaurants for you – and your four-legged buddies – to check out.
Dog Beach at Pier Park: This dog-friendly beach is part of Panama City Beach. Your pup can run off the leash in the surf, although guests are encouraged to follow the rules when the beach is crowded. Info: visitpanamacitybeach.com/articles/post/petfriendly/.
Residence Inn Sandestin at Grand Boulevard: Situated between Miramar Beach and Santa Rosa Beach in Destin, this hotel will let you bring not one, but two pets of any size during your stay. They will pamper your pet with treats, pats and even a guest “Pet of the Month” award. Info: marriott.com/hotels/travel/vpsri-residence-inn-sandestin-at-grand-boulevard/.
Surf & Sand Hotel: Furry, four-legged friends are welcome here 365-days a year on every floor and the pet-friendly beach. Just minutes from the Pensacola Beach Dog Park and the pet-friendly Island Culture Tiki Bar and Red Fish Blue Fish Restaurant. Info: surfandsandhotelpensacolabeach.com/.
Bayview Dog Park & Beach: This dog park in Pensacola is an acre of park and beach that is fenced in, keeping your pets safe as they romp and play. It also includes walking trails, dog showers, waste stations and a shaded pavilion for pup parents. Info: cityofpensacola.com/Facilities/Facility/Details/Bayview-Park-21.
The Henderson: This awesome hotel has a Canine Ambassador Program and pampers your pups with their own souvenir dog toy. Dog beds, and bowls are provided for their visit. Info: hendersonbeachresort.com/stay/dog-friendly.
NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA
St. George Island: Situated along the “Forgotten Coast” about an hour and half outside of Tallahassee is St. George Island, a pet-friendly island perfect for vacationing families. It even has grooming spas and boutiques for pet pampering. Info: ficklingvacationrentals.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/pets_vacation_too.pdf.
One Ocean Resort & Spa: This resort just outside of Jacksonville will pamper your pooch with their own complimentary pet bowls and a gourmet pet room service menu. Dogs are welcome on the Atlantic Beach if they are on a leash. Info: oneoceanresort.com.
Dog Wood Park: Considered an epic dog park with 25 acres of land for your pooch to explore, Dog Wood Park is a must see. Let your pup have fun romping through the on-site obstacle course and large swimming lake that has a beach and rinse station. Info: jaxdogs.com/about.html.
CENTRAL WEST FLORIDA
Dinosaur World: Go on a Jurassic adventure with your pooch. With 150 life sized dinos, your leashed pup will enjoy the park’s pathways and pictures with beasts of old. There are even water stations for your dog, so they don’t get dehydrated. Info: dinosaurworld.com.
Don CeSar: Known as Florida’s “Pink Palace,” your pup will enjoy specialty treats, custom water bowls, pet placemats and plenty of walking trails and pet friendly beaches. Info: doncesar.com.
Fort De Soto: Let your dog roam the Paw Playground and Dog Beach to their heart’s content before heading down to the The Dog Bar which features its own off leash dog park. Info: visitstpeteclearwater.com/profile/fort-soto-park/831.
TradeWinds Islands Resort: Featuring their own “Sit. Stay. Play. 3-Night Pet Package,” you and your dog will enjoy the pet friendly suite and a Bow Wow Pet Amenity that includes a bandana, frisbee, collapsible water bowl, treats and one meal from the Paw Court bistro, among other fun things. Info: tradewindsresort.com/index.
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Riverside: Even the Magic Kingdom wants you to bring your four-legged family on vacation! Your pup will get spoiled with their very own Pluto Welcome Kit that has placemats, bowls, an ID tag and their very own charm for their collar. It has a pet park on the property, and you can bring two dogs of any size to the resort for an additional nightly fee. Info: disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/port-orleans-resort-riverside/?CMP=OKC-wdw_lodging_gmap_21.
CENTRAL EAST FLORIDA
Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa: With no additional cost for your four-legged family members, the Kimpton will spoil your pooch with treats in the lobby, a variety of pet amenities, a bed, bowls and more. It’s close to 21 dog friendly restaurants and the Vero Beach Dog Park. Info: verobeachhotelandspa.com.
The Island Cow: Located in Sanibel, the pet-friendly restaurant is a must visit when you are vacationing in Florida. The wait staff will spoil your pooch with treats and a cold bowl of water as you dine on the covered front patio. Info: sanibelislandcow.com.
Brazilian Court Hotel: Your pup can enjoy the “Bark Butler” at this hotel, giving them their own BarkBox when they arrive, daily walking services, their own spa service, a photo session, hand-delivered treats, and so much more. Part of the fee for this package goes to the Humane Society of Broward County. Info: thebraziliancourt.com.
Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa: Man’s best friend gets the Opal Paws accommodations here. They get their own gift bag and an Opal Paws bed that they get to take home. Info: hutchinsonshores.com/accommodations/opal-paws/.
Banana Bay Resort & Marina: Great for short- and long-term guests, pet lovers will get treated to a grand old time with a welcome package. There are pet friendly watersports available at the resort for you and your pooch to enjoy. Info: bhotelsandresorts.com/banana-bay/amenities.
Blue Heaven: Bring your furry friend with you to the outdoor seating area of this restaurant for an enjoyable meal in the Bahama Village district of Key West. Info: blueheavenkw.com.
Pier House Resort & Spa: Situated on the lush Key West waterfront, this resort offers your pets the same hospitality as their human parents. It is close to a variety of dog parks, restaurants and shopping. Plus, the Key West Aquarium and Mallory Square are pet friendly so they can join in the fun. Info: pierhouse.com.
Old Town Manor: Located in a historic mansion, this highly pet-friendly B&B just steps from Duval Street doesn’t require your pets to be crated or have a size restriction. It’s located near pet-friendly restaurants and attractions and there doesn’t seem to be a limit on how many pets you bring. Info: oldtownmanor.com.