North Central Florida

Dog Parks & Beaches


CARRABELLE (Franklin County)

1. Carrabelle Beach

According to a few readers, this is a beach right out of town where dogs are allowed on leash when there are other people around. If your dog can follow your voice instructions, you may let him off leash if no one else is around. 


Gainesville (Alachua County)

1.  Dog Wood Park

Located at 5505 SW Archer Road, one mile west of I-75. Hours: 7 a.m. to sunset for members; Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m for non-members. This is a membership park and there is a charge for non-members to use the park for the day. Features: 15 acres, completely fenced with 6-foot high chain link fence, all entrances and exits are double-gated. The park has a jogging trail, hammocks, picnic tables, lounge chairs, swinging benches, regular benches, two huge dog swimming ponds, kiddie pools, a fountain, a gazebo, an agility course, a sunny small dog area, a shady small dog area, a dog shower, indoor restrooms, soft drinks for sale, free bottled water, agility-type obstacles in the main park, park-provided tennis balls, multiple poop clean-up stations with bags and scoopers provided. Dog Wood Park is part of Dog Central Station which includes a do-it-yourself dog wash called "The Dog Wash", a doggie boutique, called "The Spot Shop", a doggie day care, agility training, and obedience training.

2.  Squirrel Ridge 

Located at  1603 SW Williston Road. Offers separate fenced areas for large and small dogs.  Look for park improvements in the early part of 2019.

3. Forest Park

Located at 4501 SW 20th Avenue, just a bit north of all the apartment complexes on SW 20th. This dog park is also part of a larger park, which has several different sorts of playing fields. The dog park is on the west side of the park and is fairly open. It is completely fenced with two single gate entrances. This park is popular, due to its location near a lot of apartment complexes, and is a bit on the small side. No entrance fee. There are some nice old shade trees, a few plastic lawn chairs, water fountains for people and dogs and poop bags.

4. Northeast Park

Located at 1700 NE 16th Ave (adjacent to the northern edge of the Duckpond neighborhood.) If you live in the Duckpond area, you can walk to this park if you go north towards 16th Ave. Northeast Park has several different sorts of playing fields, a running track, and trails. The dog park is on the south side of the park, where it meets the northern side of the northeast historic district (i.e. the Duckpond). It’s smaller than Squirrel Ridge (see above) and is mostly wooded, which can be a really good thing during those hot Florida summers. The park has a double gate system (to prevent dogs in the park from escaping when other dogs are entering) and trash cans for dog waste. No entrance fee. There are poop bags, an active water spigot, bowl and short hose available for pets. There are two benches for people to sit on while the dogs romp. There are always plenty of tennis balls and sticks available.

5. Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

Located at 4700 S.W. 58th Drive. The entrance is on S.W. Archer Road (State Road 24) and is 1 mile west of I-75. This is not a dog park, but a lovely 62-acre facility developed and operated by the North Florida Botanical Society. Reader Notes: "The gardens offers beautiful, wide walkways, and dogs are permitted on-leash in the park. They even provide water for dogs at several spots along the trail. Kanapaha was one of the first dog-friendly places to visit in Gainesville."

6. Possum Creek Park

Located at 4009 NW 53rd Avenue in Gainesville. Offers separate areas for large and small dogs. This park was opened in 2010 and is slowly adding amenities. Reader Notes: "A very good new park--we go several times a week.  In the official dog park, there are separate areas for large/small dogs, double gates for each, waste bags and cans, and dog-height water fountains. Young shade trees have been planted, but they're still pretty small. In the meantime, there are shade canopies with benches. Lots of tennis balls and Frisbees live there. The area also serves as a retention pond for the adjacent skate park, so the bottom can have up to 6 inches of water after a big storm, and is very sandy when dry. The higher ground ground is grassy and stays dry.  The rest of the park has a great skateboard facility, a playground, restrooms, picnic area, several open fields and (on-leash) trails. A fine park for the whole family."

CEDAR KEY  (Levy County)

1.  Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve 

Located 6 miles NE of Cedar Key on Hwy 24, this State Reserve allows leashed dogs if accompanied by well-behaved humans who clean up after their pets.

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