1. Red Bug Slough Preserve
Located at 5200 Beneva Road in Sarasota. This 72-acre wildlife refuge is dog friendly, but dogs MUST BE leashed. An official with the Sarasota Sheriff’s Office Animal Services Section says violaters will be given citations.
2. Sarasota Paw Park
Located at 4570 17th Street, east of Beneva Road, west of Honore Avenue. Hours: Dawn to midnight. Lighted area, 6-foot fence, 7 acres, fenced, benches, tables, handicap, poopbags, trees, parking, restrooms, water, trash cans, dog shower, small-dog area, double-gated entrance, bulletin board. Dogs must be on leashes or under voice command.
Directions: From I-75, take Exit 39 Fruitville Road. Go west on Fruitville to Honore Ave. Take right on Honore. Continue north on Honore to 17th St. Turn left on 17th Street. Continue West on 17th. Pass first entrance to 17th Street. Paw Park is north of Fruitville Road; South of University, on 17th Street between Beneva Road & Honore Avenue.
"According to current news reports, there's a proposal to move this park to another location to make room for more children's football fields. The new location is at Cooper Creek Park, which surrounds a mile-long lake near Interstate 75. Sounds lovely, except this lake has alligators aplenty."
3. Lakeview Park
Located at 7150 Lago Street. Hours: Dusk - Dawn. Offers 6' fenced area, benches, tables, handicap access, poop bags, many trees, parking restrooms, water, trash cans, dog shower, bulletin board, small dog area, double gated entrance. Pets must be on leashes or under voice command.
4. Bird Key Park
Located on the John Ringling Causeway, on the way to St. Armands Circle, just east of the bridge. The kind reader who informed us about this dog-friendly beach says it's Sarasota's only beach allowing dogs and cats! Pets must be on leashes or under voice command.
5. Oscar Scherer State Park
Located at 1843 South Tamiami Trail in Osprey, just south of Blackburn Point Road. Hours: 8 a.m. to sundown. This nearly 144-acre state park allows leashed pets and offers 15 miles of trails, including Lester Finley Nature Trail. Offers trash cans, canoe rentals, children's playground, fishing, swimming, camping, picnic areas, and guided walks. There is a per-vehicle entry fee into the park. For directions, check the Web site above.
6. Sun Circle Park
Located in the city's Indian Beach Sapphire Shores neighborhood. Dogs in Sarasota county are required to be leashed, but the city allows unleashed dogs here if they are "within reasonable voice control" of their guardian and "no more than 100 feet away."
Note: A thanks from us to the kind reader who told us about the following leashed-dog-friendly Sarasota County parks:
7. Woodmere Park
Located on Jacaranda Boulevard, 2 blocks north of U. S. 41.
8. Ken Thompson Park
Located at 1700 Ken Thompson Parkway, on City Island by Mote Marine Laboratory. Pets must be on leashes.
9. Bay Front Park
Located at U. S. 41 & Ringling in the Marina Jack area. Pets must be on leashes.
10. Gillespie Park
Located at 710 N. Osprey, Downtown at Gillespie and N. Osprey. Pets must be on leashes.
11. Arlington Park
Located at 2650 Waldemere Street pets are allowed on trail area only and must be on leashes.
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 Sarasota area, please contact FloridaPets.net.