Central West Florida

Dog Parks & Beaches

WebMistress Note: Thanks to a lovely friend, Amy Elftmann, the Pet Friendly Realtor®, is able to offer a comprehensive list of dog parks in the Tampa Bay area. Amy created the list in loving memory of her beloved canine companion, Kodi the Kuvasz (1988-1999.) With Amy's permission, we are able to offer you information about the following areas: Tampa, St. Petersburg, Madeira Beach, Dunedin, Tierra Verde, Largo, Seminole, Clearwater, Palm Harbor, Tarpon Springs and Indian Rocks Beach.  We've added more cities through the years as information has come our way.  We will give brief descriptions of the parks and sometimes information and opinions from readers and/or city officials. 

APOLLO BEACH  (Hillsborough County)

1. Apollo Beach

Located at 6767 Seaside Blvd. in South Hillsborough County. Directions: Go south on Rt. 41, right on Apollo Beach Blvd. Publix is on the right.  Go to dead end, turn right at dead end and go until you see the dog park parking lot. 

BRADENTON (Manatee County)

1. Happy Trails Canine Park

Located  at 2811 51st St West at G.T. Bray Park, about half way between Manatee Avenue and Cortez Rd. This is a three-acre off leash dog park. Hours: dawn to dusk. Features an 8-ft. fence, benches, tables, handicap parking, free waste bags, trees, parking, restrooms (a short walk outside park,) water and trash cans. Has a separate area for small, young or fragile dogs and a separate doggie "time out" area for rowdy dogs.

2.  DeSota National Monument Park

Well-behaved, leashed dogs are permitted in this park as long as dog guardians are responsible for poop scooping. There are plenty of doggie stations that supply bags and refuse cans. Parking can sometimes be a challenge. 

3. Snead Island

One of our readers tells us they walk their dog at Emerson Point in the Palmetto area (Snead Island.) They said there are trails, off road and beach area. Directions: Take 41 to 10th Ave, go west after you cross over the bridge/marinas, then you'll see signs to turn right and then left again onto the point. 

CLEARWATER  (Pinellas County)

1.  Abercrombie Park

Located at 3800 Park St. N, St Petersburg. The path to get there is a bit long, but you will be rewarded once you find this small but lovely dog beach. Canines must remain on a leash no longer than 6 feet long and the humans must clean up after them. The park opens 30 minutes before sunrise and closes 30 minutes after sunset.  They are not allowed on the beaches or the ferry.  

2.  Gandy

This is a 1.5 mile strip of beach on the St Petersburg side of Gandy Bridge. This area is a wading area that extends for about 20 feet or before the water gets deep. Dogs should be kept leashed because there is no fence and traffic on Gandy Blvd. is busy.

3. Sand Key Park and Paw Playground

Located at 1060 Gulf Blvd. Offers picnic shelters with grills, a playground, water fountains and a restroom. Parking for the Paw Park is about 1 mile through the parking lot of this 95-acre Pinellas County park. There's a parking charge of $1.25 per hour. Note: dogs are not permitted on the beach portion of this park.

4. Crest Lake Park, Doggie Paws

Located at 201 S. Glenwood, on the northeast corner of Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard and Glenwood Avenue. This park opened in 2003. Offers three separate fenced in areas, benches, handy parking, phone, restrooms and trash cans.

5. Belleair Beach Causeway

There is a unfenced dog beach section of the Belleair Beach Causeway where dogs can play if leashed. Belleair Beach is located between Clearwater Beach and Indian Rocks Beach. Reader Notes:" was tough to locate, but for the readers, the causeway is on W Bay Drive (we weren't familiar with the area)... head N on Seminole Blvd then W. Beach was very small and just off the main road. Wear water shoes, lots of rocks and shells. Almost stepped on pull-top can lid. We'll probably not go back as there are better options in the county."

6. Enterprise Dog Park

Located at 2671 Enterprise Road on a 20-acre tract just east of U.S. 19. Open daily sunrise to sunset. There are two fenced areas, looped trails, agility course, exercise equipment, fountains, doggie bags, trash receptacles and a dog washing area. Clearwater Parks and Recreation Department manages this dog park. For more information, call 727-562-4800. Reader note: "While not on the water, this is the nicest dog park I have ever been to – we are regulars there and it is kept in beautiful condition, opened in Nov. 2009, I believe. Friendly people and friendly dogs, for the most part.  But...seems like they are not supplying bags anymore, everyone is bringing their own and stocking the bag dispensers. It is huge and the trails are fun to walk on in addition to the big play areas. The parking lot is not huge for the popularity of the park, on weekends when the bank next door is closed, you can park there."

7. Courtney Campbell Causeway

Located on the Clearwater side of Courtney Campbell, near the intersection of Gulf-to Blvd. & McMullen Booth Road. They charge $10 per car and $15 per oversized vehicles. Reader Notes:"I am sure dogs must be on a leash. Must bring own poop bags and water. There is no concession stand down there, or bathrooms either. Police are on duty there to take your money and tell you where to park. Bring water shoes as there are lots of rocks in the water. Beach sand is nice, and no shade down there at all. Just east on Gulf-to Blvd from McMullen."

Dunedin (Pinellas County)

1. Pet beach at Honeymoon Island State Park

Honeymoon Island State Park is located at #1 Causeway Boulevard in Dunedin. Dogs are allowed in designated areas of the Park, such as the picnic area, the pet beach on the southern tip of the island and on the nature trail. Pets must be on a 6-foot hand-held leash at all times. Direction: Take the Dunedin Causeway/Curlew Road/Route 586 to the Honeymoon Island State Park entrance. One of our readers said Curlew Road dead ends at the park, then just follow the signs for the dog beach. They pointed out Palm Harbor is right next to Dunedin, but technically, this park is in Dunedin.The entry fee for the park is $8 per car. You have to pay this fee to access any areas of the park, including the "dog beach." Dogs are not allowed on the ferry to Caladesi Island because dogs are not allowed on the island. Web Mistress Note: The dog park area has trash cans, a couple of benches and poop bag dispenser and there are phones, picnic tables, water facilities and restrooms around the rest of the island. This is a popular spot, often crowded, but dogs and their guardians are usually well-behaved. Reader Notes: "When we were there it was not at all crowded. Dogs must be on leashes, but they can swim there. They're also allowed on the nature trails. The only thing we were disappointed to see was that a lot of people were not 'scooping' along the pathway leading to the dog beach, that was a shame, but the beach was lovely. Reader note: "The island is quite large, so there is a lot of room and there are numerous stations with restrooms, changing facilities. There is one that has a cafe and gift shop also. Shelling is good there, and just before sunset we watched five dolphin playing offshore, right in front of where a guy was fishing! Although there are facilities, it is large enough that there is plenty of undeveloped area and nature trails, etc.  We thought it was quite enjoyable; we didn't want a place that was just a little fenced in area, to us that is no fun for our [dog]. There is also a ferry to Caladesi Island there, which is really nice, but unfortunately, you cannot take pets on the ferry. One other note is that there is not really any cover there, except for the facilities, so most people should take umbrellas or such if they're planning to stay long."

2. Happy Tails Dog Park

Located on Garrison. To get there, take Belcher Ave. to Solon, located between Curlew and Main Street. Turn west on Solon to Garrison. On Garrison make a right north). Follow sign to Dog Park.


1. Gulfport Dog Park

Located inside Chase Park at 54th Street and 28th Avenue South. Offers separate areas for small and large dogs. For more information, call 727-893-7335. 

HOLIDAY (Pasco County)

1. Anclote Gulf Park Bark Park

Located at 2305 Baillies Bluff Road in Holiday. This off-leash park is open from dawn to dusk and is operated by the Pasco County Parks & Recreation Department. For info, call 727-834-3278 or 813-929-1260.

Reader Notes: "This is a nice park and while it's lacking in shade and seating, it tends to attract a very pleasant (and sometimes quite large) crowd, especially on the weekends."

"Great Bark Park with trees for shade for the critters and covered benches for the people. We visited Memorial Day and my beagle, Dusty had a blast. There are two pens, one for large dogs and one for small. A really nice educational display at the entrance explaining behavioral dog body language and what each gesture means. This park being on the Gulf, although not viewable from the Bark Park area, has a nice ocean breeze. I applaud Pasco County for a very lovely set up."

"This park is located in Anclote Gulf Park, in southwest Pasco Co. The park, not necessarily the dog park, overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. To get there from Route 19, go west on Anclote Blvd., then north on Baillies Bluff Road, past Anclote River Park to the Anclote Gulf Park entrance. Your readers should know dogs aren't allowed in regular Pasco County parks at all, not even on a leash. 

2.  Key Vista Nature Park 

Leashed dogs only. Located at 2700 Bailies Bluff Road, not far from the Anclote Gulf Park discussed in # 1 above. This park has over 103 acres. Open dawn to dusk. Offers picnic area, restrooms and nature trails.  

Reader Notes: "Dogs are allowed here on a leash and there is a small area of beach for them to play in the water. The park provides doggy doo bags as soon as you enter the trail. My dog loves this place and it has a beautiful lookout tower onto the Gulf of Mexico."

3. County Parks that allow "leashed" dogs

According to Rosemary Lyons, Education Coordinator for Pasco County, "There are three parks in the county that allow 'on the leash' dogs:  J.B. Starkey Wilderness Park in New Port Richey, Crews Lake Wilderness Park in Shady Hills, and Withlacoochee River Park in Dade City. These parks are located west, central and east.  The telephone numbers for information about the county are 352-521-4274, 727-847-2411, and 813-996-7341. Operators will connect you to the department that can answer your questions."

Indian Rocks Beach (Pinellas County)

WebMistress Note:  We are told that, "No animals, dogs or otherwise, are permitted on any portion of the Gulf of Mexico beach in Pinellas County. "

1. Indian Rocks Beach Dog Park

Located at 107 10th Ave N.  This location is across the street from the beach. Offers lots of shade, a dog bath,  and plenty of space to play. 

2. Indian Rocks Beach Nature Preserve Dog Park

Located between 8th and 9th Avenues, this is a small fenced area of Indian Rocks Beach Nature Preserve. Open dawn to dusk. Since the City of Indian Rocks Beach requires a $50 non-resident fee to use this park, Florida visitors should try the park listed below under "Seminole" - the Boca Ciega Millenium Park, Paw Playground.

Largo  (Pinellas County)

1. Largo Paw Place

Located inside Largo's "Northeast Park" on East Bay Drive. Offers agility equipment, a walking path, bathrooms, drinking fountains and dog drinking fountains. Web Mistress Note: Special thanks to Greg Brown, Park Superintendent for the City of Largo, for providing us with this information.

2. Walsingham Park

Located at 12615 102nd Avenue North. Once you enter the park, travel 0.3 mile to the second stop sign, for parking at the dog park. Offers grills, picnic tables, water fountains, restrooms, and a boat launch area. This is a 354-acre Pinellas County park. You can enter from Walsingham Road or 102nd Avenue North. 

3. Taylor Reservoir Park and Pinellas Trail

Located on 8th Avenue SW. According to a few area residents, this is one of several city and county parks that have a well-marked walking path that people use for their own exercise or to walk dogs on 6' leashes.  It has no official facilities for dogs and no beach, but is a very nice park and has a great walking path and a separate entrance to the Pinellas Trail. Offers parking and picnic/barbecue areas, playgrounds, benches and public restrooms. Directions: Take Duhme Road, travel 7.0 miles north on Duhme/113th/Ridge/Clwr-Largo Road, turn left onto 8th Avenue SW, then travel 0.3 mile to park entrance on left. SAFETY ALERT: Keep dogs out of the water as alligators do reside in this area.


1.  Carolyn Meeker Dog Park

This park opened 10-29-07. Located off US 41 and Lutz Lake Fern Road. The 2-acre park has a small dog section and a large dog section as well as a time out spot. Resident dog lovers have a local elementary school to thank for this park. It started as a class project in 2005 and the fifth grade students involved did all the leg work with surveys and research and presenting the idea to county commissioners. Reader Notes: "It is located near the intersection of Lutz Lake Fern Road and 41, across from the Lutz Library. Across the street from the library on Lutz Lake Fern Road is Second Street. Take Second Street until it dead ends into the dog park." and "The park has "separate large and small dog areas, water for humans and dogs and benches - very nice."

Madeira Beach (Pinellas County)

1. Bicentennial Park

Located between the Tom Stuart Causeway and Madeira Beach Middle School. If you turn into the Madeira Beach Middle School driveway, at the sign reading "School Traffic Only. No Thru Traffic," and turn right again onto the access road, you'll be just a short distance from a nice park on the water. Locals let their dogs run loose here as there's water access that's used for dog-swimming. Web Mistress Note: This is not an "official dog park" and you MUST clean up after your dog at all times -- something you should, of course, do at ALL dog parks, no matter the location. 


1.  Mango Dog Park

Located on Clay Pit Road. Exit I-4 at Thonotossa Exit, go south 1 mile to traffic light at Clay Pit Road, turn left, park at recreation center. Dog Park is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Has separate small dog area, some trees, dog wash station, handy parking, phones, restrooms, trash cans, water Reader Notes: "We were dogging sitting my brother's cocker spaniel and was looking for a dog park near our house and thanks to your website, we found the dog park in Mango. Although we weren't able to get into the dog park (my son was 3 and Hillsborough Parks and Rec had a sign posted that kids must be 6 and older to enter the dog park), the park was very big and accommodating with water play for both large and small sized dogs. It does have a kid park right next door that allowed dogs with a 6 ft leash so we went over there for a little bit before returning home and letting our dog run around our yard to let off some energy." and "There are now many aggressive pit bulls visiting this park and people have been known to drop the dogs off and leave them. I had heard of a dog getting their leg torn off by a stray pit bull that was left there and of two other dogs getting killed. I have been there a few times myself and have seen many pit bull mixes that are very aggressive. We now go to Ott's where it's much safer." and "It is a very nice dog park, well taken care of and is set up really well for the dogs."and "...The Mango Dog Park is as good as a dog park that you'll find anywhere. There are bathrooms for the people and a dog fountain for the dogs. There are two areas for the dogs to refresh themselves in little pools brought in by owners. There are also picnic tables in shaded areas for the dogs and owners to relax on." and "The park is great, with a large running area, watering holes, and a separate large and small dog area."

NEW PORT RICHEY (Pasco County)

1. Meadows Dog Park

Located at Larch and Meadowbrook Lanes. Offers separate fenced areas for large and small dogs, small pools, water fountains. 

2. Port Richey Dog Park

Located at 6333 Ridge Rd. No separate areas for large and small dogs.

Oldsmar (Pinellas County)

1. Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve

Located at 423 Lafayette Blvd. This 300-plus-acre preserve has a fenced dog park and offers picnic shelter, canoe launch, parking, restrooms. 

Palm Harbor

1. John Chesnut Sr. Paw Park Playground

Located at 2200 East Lake Road, adjacent to Lake Tarpon. Opens at 9 a.m. This park offers 255 acres and is used by people from Palm Harbor and Tarpon Springs (north Pinellas county) as well as residents of Pasco and Hillsborough counties. Pets must be on a 6-foot leash in all areas except for the Paw Playground which offers small and large dog areas, lots of shade, a cool off area with water and poop bags. The park offers nature trails, picnic shelters, boat ramp, fishing pier, grills, various sporting facilities, water fountains, and restrooms. Directions: take US 19 to Tarpon Ave head east to East Lake Road, then left, heading south until you see the park on the right. Web Mistress Note: This park had its grand opening August 9, 2003.  DO NOT allow dogs to swim in the lake as alligators have been reported. Thank you to another kind user for more information about this park.

2. Dunes

Web Mistress Note: A reader advised us about this pet-friendly area. From U.S. Highway 19 in Palm Harbor, drive east on Tampa Road to Florida Hwy. 584, to East Lake Rd. The entrance is 2 miles on the left. Note: DO NOT allow dogs to swim in Lake Tarpon or the surrounding ponds in the park as alligators have been reported.

PALMETTO (Manatee County)

1.  Dog Leg Park at Buffalo Creek

Located at 7550 69th Street in East Palmetto. This is a 3-acre off leash dog park. Offers doggie drinking fountain, free waste bags and separate fenced in area for small, young or fragile dogs. There is also a shaded area with benches and picnic benches for the humans. 

PARRISH (Manatee County)

1.  Dog Leg Park

Located at 7550 69th Street at Buffalo Creek. Offers separate area for small or fearful dogs. Directions: Take 301 N, go left at the lights at Albertson's, which is Erie Road. Follow to golf course. Pass golf course then take a left over the rail road tracks. Continue on until you see a big water tower on your right. Dog park is to the right of the ball field. 


1.  Howl at the Moon Cruise

At the southern tip of Pass-A-Grille, there are several barrier islands. One is Shell Key, a preserve that is home to many shore birds and turtles. There is a catamaran that shuttles humans to Shell Key and back to the mainland, but pets are not allowed on the beaches here. However, there is a special "Howl at the Moon" cruise that is pet friendly and lots of fun, according to some of our readers. There's a limit of one pet per person. You can make a reservation by visiting the link above.


 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 violators 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, poop bags, 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. Reader Notes: "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 <b>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." 

Web Mistress Note: Thanks 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.   

St. Petersburg

Reader Note: Here's a great map of dog parks in St. Petersburg

1. Abercrombie Park

Located on Park Street at 38th Avenue North. This park goes 1/4 mile to the water, with a small beach. There is a boardwalk over a small woodland area. Local dog owners let their dogs run loose on the beach, but has been told guests should keep their dogs on a leash to keep nearby residents happy. If you want to wade in the water with your dog, wear shoes (old sneakers, sport sandals, etc.), as there are lots of rocks and broken shells under the water.  Web Mistress Note:  This park is open sunrise to sunset. Offers benches, tables, handicap access, trees, parking, poop bags, restrooms, water, trash. This is a beautiful public park donated by a founding area resident.  

2. Fort DeSoto Paw Playground and beach

Located at Pinellas Bayway off Anderson Road, past the Tropicana dome, at the far end of the pier's parking lot in Ft. DeSoto Park. The dog portion of Fort DeSoto beach is a beautiful, unfenced 200-yard stretch. The Paw Playground park itself is nice and basic, although most people rank it as the best dog beach in the Tampa Bay area. Showers and drinking water are provided. Enter the front gate by the parking lot, take your dog off-leash, walk through the L-shaped park to the back gate. Go out the back gate, down a short sandy path and onto the perfect beach for dogs and people. NO LEASHES REQUIRED! Reader note: There is now a $5 entry fee to this dog park and we thank Amy for the heads up on this matter. Web Mistress notes: A) We saw a posting on a dog-related message board which praised this park, but suggested those going bring their own water as it's "a bit of a walk from the beach to get the park's water." B) A reader said this park offers benches, tables, trees, parking, phones, restrooms, water, trash. They said it is a very scenic park with lots of things to do. Reader note: "There are new rules in the Shell Key Preserve near Fort DeSoto Park. According to law enforcement officials, no longer will alcohol or pets be permitted inside the preserve boundary, whether visitors are 'in a boat, in the water or on land.'" Reader note: "This is the largest, cleanest leash free beach on the west coast of Florida. It's great for families as well as their behaved pets. Just make sure you pick up after yourselves and your dogs to keep it that way!" A kind reader reports this park is developing a problem with humans not cleaning up after their dogs. She said dogs have a great time here and it would be a shame for discourteous humans to cause the area to be closed to canines. We agree. Come on, folks, if your dog poops, you scoop -- that's the deal! Reader note: "Our visit to this park was, "the best.... no leashes required... your dog can run in and out of the water on the beach. All of the other dogs there are under voice control and behaved. There is a fenced in area to bath your dog after playing in the sand and water." Webster the Goofy Golden note: "My family and I had a wonderful time. I LOVED romping with my new friends in the park while on vacation and then I had a big beach to run, run, run on. I gave it two paws up, since I don't have thumbs. We are going back there next month and I will be bringing my sister Felitia. She is a Sheltie and likes to swim after me. Weird, I know. So for all my canine friends... make your humans take you here."

3. Walter Fuller Park

Located at 7901 30th Ave. N. Directions: Go 8 blocks south of Abercrombie Park (See #1 under St. Petersburg above) and turn left onto 30th Avenue. This road leads in a few blocks to a free parking lot. Park the car and walk the dogs to the right of the parking lot to the fenced dog park. This dog park is in a busy, popular local park. The sidewalk around the perimeter of the park is marked as a 2.5 mile walking trail.

4. Crescent Lake Park and Huggins-Stengel Baseball Complex

Located at 1320 5th St. N., off 15th Avenue, the fenced dog park is in a nice residential neighborhood park with a lake and plenty of watering stations for the dogs. Directions: Go west on 22nd from 4th Street and take a right on 7th Street. The dog park area is at the back of the park, between the tennis courts and ball field. Be careful. Alligators are possible here!

5. Coquina Key Dog Park

Located at 3595 Locust St. SE, off Wahoo Drive. Enter park, drive past fields, playground, and skateboarding area, and turn left. Dog park is to the right of the tennis courts. 

6. North Shore Park

Located at 7th Avenue and North Shore Dr. NE. This park is one in a series of beautiful waterfront parks facing Tampa Bay. There's about 3 miles of paved sidewalk along the waterfront, from Vinoy Park to Coffee Pot Bayou, for a beautiful walk with your dog. There are some walking trails beyond that. Offers drinking fountains, benches and nearby public restrooms.

7. Freedom Lake Park, Paw Park

Located off 102nd Avenue. Reader Notes: "This park is like a big, fenced in backyard with some trees and benches. Poop bags and trash cans are available along with a water fountain for people and dogs and shower spigot. There is a small dog section and a large dog section separated by one wall of  fence. The park itself has nice walking trails that surround two small lakes. There is a playground and lots of covered picnic areas on the park grounds. She said this park is a nice place to take your dog to run in the fenced area or to walk around the lakes. 

8. Lake Vista Park

Located at 1401 62nd Ave. S. The dog park entrance is on the left.


1. Boca Ciega Millenium Park, Paw Playground

Located at 12410 74th Ave. N. (Old Oakhurst Rd.) This Pinellas County park sits on 184.6-acres. 


1. Al Lopez Park

Located at 4810 N. Himes Avenue. Alligator warning! Use extreme caution if you visit and never allow your dog to roam off leash here. This is a nice large park where all dogs are allowed if on a leash. There is a good size dog running/leash free area with limited seating, water and shade. The park has water and restrooms and free parking. It is a nice area to bring the whole family. There's a great trail to walk or run with a leashed dog.

2. Gadsden Park

Located at 6901 S. MacDill Avenue. Offers large trees for shade, picnic tables, a water spout, bucket, and poop bags. Has a nice track around the lake where you can walk your leashed dog. 

3. Davis Island Dog Park

Located near the boat ramps on the east side of the Seaplane Basin in south Tampa. This dog park/beach is fenced on three sides, the fourth side being the water of Tampa/Hillsborough Bay. At this beach, your dog can have the freedom and safety to run while having access to the water and you can relax and enjoy yourself without worrying about your dog running away. This dog park has a small beach of white fluffy sand with some small rocks going out to the shallow rock-free water of Hillsborough Bay. It has no time-out or small dog area and it's a popular park with limited seating. NOTE: There's another separate dog park across the parking lot, but it has no water access or shade. Web Mistress Note:</b> As further clarification of the reader below, we contacted Tampa Parks & Recreation Department and this is what they told us about dogs and Davis Island: "There is a public beach area on Davis Island as well as a dog park, which includes an area for the dogs to play in the water. The signs which state 'No Dogs On Beach' refer to the public beach area, as we do not allow dogs on any of our public beaches. The dog park has a dry area, and to the left of that area on the other side of the driveway is the area where dogs can play in the water. This area is on the channel side at the end of the airport property."

4. Mango Dog Park

Located off exit 10 of I-4 and I-75. Local folks refer to this as the "Mango Recreation Center Dog Park in Seffner." Offers two fenced acres, one for small dogs, the other for large dogs, pavilions, picnic tables, a dog wash/pool area, drinking fountains for both dogs and their people, some shade trees, poop bags. To get there after coming off exit, go to second stoplight, which is Clay Pit, turn left, make the first right into the Mango Recreation Center which is also the parking lot for the dog park. Reader Notes: "We have just returned from Florida and visited Mango Dog Park every day with our two golden retrievers. What a wonderful park. Lots of room to roam and play with water pools for the dogs to cool off, drinking dishes and toys to play with. It is very clean and the people we met were very friendly and very responsible dog owners who always kept an eye on their dogs." 

5. Palma Ceia Park

Located at the intersection of West San Miguel & Marti. The dog park is positioned on the North East corner of the grounds. This park is about 3/4 of an acre and is surrounded by a four-foot chain link fence. Offers a double gated entry with a concrete slab, dog and human drinking fountains, dog doodie pickup bag dispensers and waste containers and shade trees. (We are told to beware of parking illegally here as police sometimes show up to write tickets!) Reader Notes: "The dog section is on the small-ish side and does not have separate sections for large and small dogs. There was a large amount of poop in the back of the park. If someone in Tampa was looking for a dog park, I would not recommend this one - tell people to go to West Park [see #7 below]. The people there are much more conscientious about their dogs."

6. Picnic Island Beach Park

Reader Notes: "This park has a leash-free area near the boat ramp. While a great addition, it still needs improvements. After opening, a water station with a hose (no concrete slab) and trash cans with doggie bags were added. The main downfall of this dog park is that it is not completely fenced in so you must have a well mannered dog to avoid having to chase him/her down. On the other hand, the advantage to this park over Davis Island Park is that it is bigger and cleaner and a lot less crowded, although that could change as more people find out about it."

7. West Park Dog Park

Located at 6402 Occident Road. This Hillsborough County dog park is about 5-acres and offers separate large and small dog sides with separate entrances. Has a grassed area, wading pools for the dogs, water fountains, picnic tables for guardians to sit, covered shelters, clean up bags, trash cans. Volunteers are on duty to help enforce rules which include: 1) Dogs must wear current rabies tags. 2) Children under 6 are not permitted. 3) Children ages 6 to 15 must be accompanied by an adult. 4) Humans in park must be accompanied by a pet. 5) No food or treats allowed in park. Reader Notes: "The volunteers take excellent care of this park. I have been in Tampa since 1979 and I think this is the best dog park I have ever been to. I don't know what day that other person visited, but I have seen almost everyone picking up after their dog and being very courteous to other people. Must have been an off day for them." Another reader wrote, "We visited this park recently, but we only lasted about 10 minutes. People don't pick up after their dogs. It was like land mines of dog feces everywhere I looked. Not only that, but it was split up into 2 sections of course - one for 30 pound dogs and under, but there were a lot of larger dogs in that area. My [small] dog likes to socialize, but when a 50-60 pound dog comes barreling up to him it's little intimidating. I won't be returning anytime soon. [In my opinion], West Park Dog Park, definitely not the best in Tampa." Another reader says, "The regular attendees [of this park] managed to get the county to give them money for their own riding lawn mower so they could cut the grass and keep up the grounds on a regular basis. The park is closed on Wednesday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for lawn and ground maintenance.  Another reader says, "Since the regular attendees took over the maintenance the grass looks and feels like a carpet. It is very well maintained now and a very welcoming to newcomers. In my opinion it is probably the best dog park in Tampa at this time. There is also a children's playground and little league baseball field, all in the same complex."

8. Hillsborough River State Park

Leashed pets are welcome, with restrictions, at this state park located about 12 miles north of Tampa and six miles south of Zephyrhills on U.S. 301. Open 8 a.m. until sundown 365 days a year. For more information, call 813-987-6771. Reader Notes: "This is a great place to take your dogs. They have several trails of varying lengths, and it provides a great place for leashed dogs to romp around! If you do visit the park, you’ll need to bring your own bags as they don’t have any there. We also bring bottled water for our dogs on the trails because there are limited fountains once you start. Don’t forget mosquito repellent for your pets if it has recently rained."

9. Rowlett Park

Located off 26th Street and Yukon. Reader Notes: "I must tell you there is no sign or if there is one, it is not easy to find. It truly is a nice place. They have all the amenities that you would want. They have the dog bag distribution, water places and even a bath type of receptacle. They have various dog obstacles too. It has picnic tables under shade and is safe and nice."

10. Land O' Lakes Recreation Center

Reader note: "This park is behind the recreation center, by a basketball court and soccer field. There are small signs with arrows, sort of providing directions. The dog park isn't very big, but it's clean and does have separate sections for large and small dogs. It also has nice grassy areas for the dogs, baggies for pickups and bowls of water. She said the dog park is fairly new and sponsors are being sought to put in benches."

11. Giddens Dog Park

Located across the street from Giddens Park, near the intersection of 12th St. and E. Giddens Avenue in Seminole Heights. Note from a reader: "It's small, but a good place for locals and their pets to meet on a regular basis. It has one section for all dogs and it offers benches, poop bags, a water fountain with a bowl, lots of shade and toys left by the locals, like tennis balls, soccer balls, footballs. Most of the pet guardians are very friendly, courteous and pick up after their pets. It gets busy on the weekends and after work on the weekdays."

12. Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park

Located at 600 N Ashley Drive, behind the new Tampa Museum of Art. There is a fenced dog park within this park where dogs can run off-leash. Offers toys, doggie water fountain, but no doggie waste bags, so take your own. There is no separate section for large/small dogs. 

13. Herman Massey Park

Located at 1002 N Franklin Street. Offers a small, but shady area for your on-leash dog to get some exercise.

14. Lykes Gaslight Park

Located at 410 N Franklin Street. Offers a nice wide open space, but still requires your dog be on-leash.

15. MacDill Park on the Riverwalk

Located at 100 N Ashley Drive. Offers 3/4-acres of grassy comfort for feet and paws, benches and poop bags. Dogs must be on-leash.

16. USF Park

Located at 233 S Ashley Drive. This is a riverfront park with great paths and doggie waste stations. Dogs must be on-leash. 

17. Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park

Located at 601 Old Water Street. This is the second largest park in downtown Tampa. A nice, open space, but dogs must be exercised on-leash. 

18. Meridian Street

Located along Meridian. Not an official park, but has an open area for you and your leashed dog to romp a bit.

19. Dinosaur World

Located between Tampa and Disney World in Orlando. This is an outdoor park with big dinosaur statues and lots of walking trails. Leashed dogs are welcome on the trails. Tickets are $14.95 for people; dogs get in free. This location is open daily. 

Tarpon Springs

1. PAWS Playground in Anderson Park

Located off 66th St./Route 19. A.L. Anderson Park is a Pinellas County park located on Lake Tarpon with 128 acres. Hours: 7 a.m. to sunset. Web Mistress Note: PAWS Park is the second drive on the right once you enter Anderson Park. Has fence, separate areas for small and big dogs, water fountain, benches, handicapped access, lighting, parking, poop bags, restrooms, picnic tables, shelters, grills, water, trails and access to the lake. Users tell us pets are permitted throughout the park. Reader Notes: "One of our readers says she is a daily user of this park and it is very well maintained."  Reader note: "Aggressive dog alert! My puppy was attacked in this park by an aggressive pit bull. I was told the guardian of this dog brings him to the park often and that most people then just leave. My dog plays with other pit bulls, but this one is obviously trained to be aggressive. I'll go back here one day, but I'll just have to make sure I keep an eye out for the other dogs." 

Tierra Verde

1. Shell Key

Although dogs were once permitted part of the year on this small island located a few miles south of Treasure Island, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has approved a total ban. Officials say there will be a couple of months grace period before people with dogs will be ticketed to give officials a chance to provide adequate signage. 

Note from There are many more parks throughout the Tampa Bay area that are not official dog parks and have no water access, but they are still enjoyable to visit with your (leashed) dog. 

Special Note from Amy and Yes, there really are alligators in the fresh water of Florida and they really do kill dogs or bite their legs off. They do the same to humans, too. So keep your dog on the paths and don't let him or her try to drink out of or wade in rivers. And both of you should always stay a safe distance from shore. 

About the area

Central West Florida is