You can’t spell Florida without Fido. When it comes to decision time on whether to bring your four-legged friend(s) with you on your next trip to the Sunshine State, don’t overthink it.

Dogs can enjoy many of the definitive Floridian activities their human counterparts do, spanning strolls on the beach, getting spoilt in luxury hotels, and yes, even paddleboarding.

Of course, it's not safe to assume dogs are automatically welcome everywhere that humans are. But, with a little research into the statewide landscape, you’ll learn that there are plenty of dog-friendly destinations and things to do within virtually any Florida destination. Here are the best ways to make memories with your dog in Florida.

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Paddle Fort Lauderdale’s canals with Mr. Beaches the corgi

Brace yourself – this adventure may be the one time your dog is not the cutest pooch around. That honor always goes to Mr. Beaches the corgi, who, with his owner Natasha Baker Williams, leads leisurely tours on a paddleboard through Fort Lauderdale’s famous canals. SUP PUP offers several different tours, spanning sunrise, sunset, kid-friendly (those aged between two and six years old can paddle with a parent), and even yoga-infused experiences. And, yes, you can bring your dog, too.

There are more water adventures in other parts of the state. In Key West, you can em-bark (sorry...) on a similar escapade with Lazy Dog Adventures. In Marion County, Get Up and Go Kayaking and Rainbow River Kayak Adventures have various packages for you and your pup. In Orlando, Epic Paddle Adventures offer paddle-with-your-pup packages with city skyline views.

A labradoodle is lying on a white hotel bed with its tongue poking out
Florida's luxury hotels are just waiting to welcome your four-legged VIP © Lim Tiaw Leong / Shutterstock

West Palm Beach is the destination of choice for pampered puppies

For smaller pups, the waterfront and luxurious The Ben in Downtown West Palm Beach will not only pamper your pooch but will provide photo opportunities of a lifetime. Dog-friendly staples at The Ben include souvenir dog bowls and water pouches and – prepare for cuteness overload – a white doggie robe you can dress them in. As you order room service, there’s even a section of doggie morsels for your pooch.

The doggy love at The Ben seems to come naturally. The property, which opened in 2020, was named after the local Ben Trovato Estate that was previously owned by author Byrd Spilman Dewey, who wrote a best-selling book about her dog, Bruno. Throughout the property, see how many paintings and statues of Bruno you can count – there are a lot.

Down some brewskis and let them off the leash at BrewHound Dog Park + Bar in Jacksonville

This is the dog-park meets beer garden that animal lovers’ dreams are made of. On an acre in Neptune Beach – approximately 15 miles east of Downtown Jacksonville – is BrewHound Dog Park + Bar. There are multiple fenced areas for unleashed shenanigans, while owners can enjoy several local craft beers on tap, specialty coffee offerings from Bold Bean Coffee Roasters and lawn games. Daily, monthly, and annual passes are available. To help keep things peaceful, there’s a “Ruffaree” that upholds the rules of the park.

Start the day with a puppuccino and end it on the beach

With a name like Cups and Pups Coffee, there are no prizes for guessing this is where many dog-friendly mornings in Orlando begin. Tucked minutes north of Orlando’s urban core in the College Park neighborhood, this stone-clad shop with a poppin’ blue door has a Honey Nut Cheerio latte, lavender cold brew, and an adorable dog logo donning all its cups. If you and your pup can’t find a spot to lounge inside, the shop has regular pop-up events throughout the community, too.

For the “tail end” of the day and on the southern tail of Florida, Baker’s Cay Resort in Key Largo is about as pet friendly as it gets. The four-star hotel tucked just north of the Overseas Highway has pet tikis scattered on its beach, pet-friendly menus and even has a director of pet relations, Maya the “Cay-9.” Hit its daily “yappy hour” from 4 to 5pm where your pup can wind down and get as social as you do.

Group of dogs sitting on the beach in Fort de Soto, Florida
Lots of doggy friends await you on Fort de Soto Beach in Central Florida © meaghanbrowning / Getty Images / RooM RF

Visit our pick of the best dog-friendly beaches along the Florida coastline

Florida has nearly 1350 miles of coastline, with many pet-friendly beaches dotted along the way. With any dog beach, make sure to note hours, leash requirements, and required vaccinations as they are often patrolled regularly. In Northern Florida, white sand spots with plenty of open space include Atlantic Beach and Jacksonville Beach in Jacksonville, Crescent Beach in St Augustine, and the appropriately titled Dog Beach across from Pier Park in Panama City.

In Central Florida, Smyrna Dunes Park in New Smyrna Beach, Davis Islands Dog Beach in Tampa, and Fort De Soto Dog Beach are the go-tos. South Florida staples include the Fort Lauderdale Canine Beach, Jupiter Beach and Miami Beach’s Haulover Beach Dog Park.

Book a hotel that caters to your four-legged friend

After all the fun in the sun, you and your pup will need a spot to crash, too. In the Florida Panhandle and minutes east of Destin, Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort has miles of walking trails, the pet-friendly Marina Bar & Grill, a dog park, and its own pet resident, Maryann the Macaw.

The Barrymore Hotel in Tampa has its own leashed pet area that is lovingly known as the “Doggie Business Center.” For urban adventures, there are three dog parks within a half-mile of the hotel. East of Tampa, in Orlando, select Walt Disney World resorts have pet-friendly floors and/or sections of hotels, including Port Orleans Riverside Resort, Yacht Club Resort and Art of Animation Resort. Disney’s “Pluto’s Welcome Kit” includes some branded keepsakes such as bowls and mats that will be the envy of all the dogs back home.

In South Florida, The Betsy in Miami Beach welcomes dogs of all sizes and its two CEOs (Canine Executive Officers), Betsy and Rosa the golden retrievers, often greet guests upon entry. On-site, there is a dog photography exhibit from Carlos Andrew Cruz and you can even get a couples massage with your dog, too.

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