New Smyrna Beach
ALERT: According to the Shark Attack File (ISAF), New Smyrna is the, "shark-attack capital of the world." People need to be careful, both for themselves and their companion animals, while in the water at the following locations.
1. Dog Beach - Ponce Inlet
There is a beach in Ponce Inlet (also in Volusia County) where leashed dogs are welcome and even scented clean-up bags are provided. A reader tells us the beach is inside the Ponce Inlet/ Volusia County park which costs $3 to get in unless you have a decal for $30/yr. (The toll booth attendant will give you directions to it.) She said the area is at the west end of the rock jetty and curves around the river. It has a nice grassy area where you can walk for probably a mile down the river. Except for summer, there are very few people with dogs there.
2. Dog Beach - New Smyrna Beach
Update of 04-25-11: A reader tells us there is now a $5.00 charge to enter this beach with your dog.
This is a dog-friendly portion of New Smyrna Beach, at the northern tip of the barrier island. We understand the leash law is enforced here and that warnings are given, followed by a $55 fine.
"To clarify the location, it is across from the Smyrna Dune Park on the opposite side of Ponce de Leon Inlet. You cannot get to one from the other unless you are in a boat."
"The dog beach in New Smyrna Beach is accessible North on Beachside and the other in Ponce Inlet on South on Beachside. Both are county parks and require a fee."
3. Smyrna Dunes Park
Located at Ponce Inlet and Peninsula. Open 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Benches, tables, poopbags, trees, parking, phones, restrooms, water, trash cans, shelter. Space for dogs to run, play on the beach and swim.
"We have confirmed with the park manager that dogs are still permitted on this beach, just not the boardwalk." (See next note.)
"This is not a National Park, it is a County Park. It is owned by the Federal Government, but run by Volusia County Parks and Recreation. Due to irresponsible dog owners who fail to control their dogs, clean up after them, and allow them to run off leash, harrass shorebirds, and run in the dunes, even though the rules are clearly posted throughout the park and poop bags are available throughout the park, the Volusia County Commisioners have voted to ban dogs from the boardwalk, and restrict them to a VERY SMALL beach area along the river from the Coast Guard Station to Walkway #2. NO DOGS beyond walkway 2.
"Dog owners who visit the park almost every day, are fighting to have these new rules overturned. It dosen't look good. Being new to Florida, I have found that, although unleashed dogs swimming and playing frisbie and ball on the beaches are found in many ads for tourists and new residents, this state has turned out to be a very 'unfriendly' place for people and their dogs. Most beaches don't allow dogs at all, and the few that do allow them have leash rules.
"I can't understand how California beaches can set aside up to 3 miles of beach, in one area, where dogs are welcome off leash, and we have to fight tooth and nail to keep about 1/4 of a mile, from the Coast Guard Station to the jetty, open for dogs. Shame on Florida. Enforce the rules you have. Don't make more rules. 'Thank you' irresponsible dog owners, for ruining a wonderful park for all of the responsible dog owners!"
4. Canaveral National Seashore
This National Park is on a barrier island and is spread out over both Volusia and Brevard Counties. Our research indicates dogs are allowed here, but in the parking lot only. It would seem prudent then, to not visit this park if you have your dog with you. It's way too hot in Florida, year-around, to leave pets in your vehicle.
5. Volusia County parks
Pets are welcome at county parks (in addition to the parks listed above) as long as they are kept leashed and under control. Guardians must clean up after their pet and aggressive animals should be left at home.
NOTE: We can't visit every area on a regular basis, so if you have information about any dog parks or beaches, or any other animal recreation facilities, in the New Smyrna/Volusia County area, please contact FloridaPets.net.