Vacation on the St. Pete/Clearwater beaches and you won't have to leave your dog behind--two award-winning shores are home to some of the best dog beaches around. Here, you and your four-legged friends can enjoy the sand, the surf and the bark.
Fort De Soto Park
Opportunities for four-legged adventure and fun abound at Fort De Soto, a 1,136-acre county park named one of Petside.com's Top 10 Dog-Friendly beaches and one of the South's Best Dog Parks by Southern Living magazine. Dogs are allowed anywhere in the park on a six-foot leash, just not on the main beaches. That's because they have their own beach--in a fenced in Paw Playground that's divided into separate sections for small and large dogs. Here your furry friends can run off leash in the warm Florida sun or go for a splash in the Gulf of Mexico. There are even amenities like cooling stations with showers and dog-level water fountains to keep your pet comfortable.
You'll find the playground just before you reach the turnoff for the fort. Paw Playground is open daily from 7 am to sundown, 365 days a year, unless otherwise posted. Parking is in the Bay Pier parking lot.
Human amenities at Fort De Soto include camping, nature trails, concessions, lifeguards, picnic areas, playgrounds, bathhouses, restrooms, showers and wheelchair access.
Honeymoon Island State Park
A natural barrier island, Honeymoon Island State Park boasts four miles of sandy beaches, miles of nature trails, wildlife, a nature center, concessions and abundant parking. Don't be surprised to hear the call of an osprey or see an endangered gopher tortoise walking across your path.
Head for Honeymoon Island's dog beach to spend time in the water with Fido or take a walk along the shore – just be sure to keep your pet on a six-foot handheld leash. Both you and your pet will enjoy the crystal-clear, shallow water, which is the perfect depth for dogs to wade through comfortably and cool off. Leashed dogs are also allowed on the nature trail.
The dog beach is located at the southernmost tip of Honeymoon Island, which gives you and your dog plenty of room to roam and a beautiful view of award-winning Caladesi Island and the Gulf. Parking is about 500 yards away. Honeymoon Island and its dog park are open from 8 am to sundown, 365 days a year. Human amenities include bathhouses, concessions, nature trails, picnic areas, a playground, restrooms, showers and wheelchair access.