CAPE SAN BLAS (Gulf County)
1. All areas of beach in Cape San Blas, in Gulf county in the Panhandle, allow leashed dogs, 24 hours a day.
DESTIN (Okaloosa County)
Dogs are not allowed on any beach in Okaloosa County - applies to visitors and residents alike.
Located at 4100 Indian Bayou Trail, this park is approximately 3 acres and includes separate area for large dogs and small dogs. Offers nice shady areas and watering stations.
Located at 17000 Emerald Cost Parkway. Open 8 a.m. to sundown every day of the year. Per State Park regulations, dogs are not permitted on the beach, playgrounds, or inside buildings. Pets are permitted in the parking lot, on the nature trail and sidewalk in the day-use area of the park. There is a dog walk area in the park's campground area. Dogs must be kept on a leash no longer than 6-feet long. Take along plenty of fresh water for your dog and don't forget the doo-doo bags.
FORT WALTON (Okaloosa County)
Located in Upstate Station Central Park in Fort Walton Beach. Offers separate, fenced areas for large and small dogs, water fountains for dogs, and equipment for agility practice and play.
This park is located on Miracle Strip Parkway (US-98). The dog park is located at the south east end of the park.
Located at 139 Brooks Street, SE. This is not a dog park, but leashed dogs are permitted if you clean up after your pet.
4. City Parks
One of our readers tells us "most every park in Fort Walton Beach allows leashed dogs."
GRAYTON BEACH (Walton County)
Located on S.R. 30-A, south of U.S. 98. Hours are 8 a.m. to sundown.This is a beautiful 400-acre oceanfront park. Pet policy, per the Web site, states, "Pets are not allowed in camping areas, on bathing beaches, in concession areas and may be restricted in other designated areas of the park. Where pets are allowed, they must be kept on a six-foot, hand-held leash and well-behaved at all times."
Reader Notes: "The only dogs allowed on Grayton Beach anymore are those of residents of Walton County who have a special license."
"There has been talk of Walton County constructing a new dog park near State Road 331." (We'll research this, but does anyone have more information about this?
GULF BREEZE (Santa Rosa County)
1. Gulf Breeze Dog Park
Located between the Shoreline South Boat Ramp and Shoreline Drive. This is a 30,000 square foot fenced area. Offers separate areas for small and large dogs, fence, benches, trash cans and doggie bags. Users must register their dogs at City Hall.
LAKE CITY (Columbia County)
1. Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park
Located on Hwy 90, 15 miles E of Lake City in Olustee. Dogs are welcome in the park, but must be on no more than a 6 foot hand-held leash. Humans must clean up after their dogs. Dogs are not allowed in any park buildings.
2. Big Shoals State Park
Located at 11330 SE Hwy 135, White Springs. Dogs are allowed throughout the park and in the campground for no additional fee. They must be on no more than a 6 foot hand held leash and humans must clean up after them. Dogs are not allowed on beaches, swim areas, playgrounds, or buildings.
3. Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park
Located at 11016 Lillian Saunders Drive, White Springs. Well behaved humans and their well behaved dogs are allowed for no additional fee. Dogs must be current on vaccinations, be on no more than a 6 foot hand held leash and humans must clean up after them. Dogs are not allowed at playgrounds or inside buildings.
LYNN HAVEN (Bay County)
1. City Parks, Recreational Areas and Beaches
Lynn Haven City Commissioners decided July 8, 2008 to make Lynn Haven city parks, recreational areas and beaches friendly to leashed dogs. Humans will be responsible for clean up of their pet's waste.
MEXICO BEACH (Bay County)
1. A kind reader tells us there is a beach just east of Mexico Beach that is pet friendly. It offers a dog waste dispenser at the end of the boardwalk onto the beach. The entrance to the beach is across the street from a veterans' park located between Lightkeepers Drive and Burch Street. The coordinates to the beginning of the boardwalk are 29.916755, -85.379898. Parking is allowed on the side of the road and there is a rule sign at this location.
MILTON (Santa Rosa County)
1. Russell Harbor Landing
Located on Old River Road. Readers tell us there is an off leash area where dogs can swim at the northern part of this park. Look for the sign at the road leading to the North landing area. For more information, call 850-983-5420.
NAVARRE (Santa Rosa County)
1. Navarre Central Bark Dog Park Located at 8840 High School Blvd. This park opened in early 2011. Offers about 1/2 acre of romping space for small dogs, under 25 pounds. Offers a grassy area with security lighting and a watering station. Open sunrise to sunset.
2. Navarre Dog Park
This dog park opened in July, 2011. It is also located on High School Blvd. and is across from the Navarre gym. This dog park is for large dogs, those over 25 pounds. Offers a grassy, fenced area with trees, benches, a pavilion and a watering station. Open sunrise to sunset.
PANAMA CITY/PANAMA CITY BEACH (Bay County)
Bay Families with Dogs, Inc.
This is not a dog park, rather a group of people in the Bay County area, based in Panama City, advocating for outdoor recreation opportunities for area dogs and their human guardians. One of the group's goals is "to obtain and maintain recreation zones on area beaches for Bay County families to enjoy responsibly with their dogs." Check out some of this area's pet-friendly locations below.
1. Dog Beach
In October of 2007, Panama City Beach approved a dog-friendly beach on the western portion of the city-owned beach at the Dan Russell Pier - but with 14 rules. Read more here. The dog-friendly beach is at the base of the new pet-friendly Pier Park shopping center. This will give this area a pet-friendly corridor from the beach up through Aaron Bessant Park at Pier Park, and across to Frank Brown Park and Gayle's Trails. Visitors can enjoy the snow-white beach and crystal clear waters with their dogs along, then stroll the beautifully landscaped groups of Pier Park, an outdoor lifestyle concept shopping and dining complex.
2. Aaron Bessant Park
This park adjoins the beautiful new Pier Park shopping and dining complex. It has a lovely area where one can walk their leashed dog and even has waste bags and stations. Actually, all unfenced outdoor areas of Pier Park are pet-friendly for leashed dogs. Also offers a mile or two of paved trails, shade trees, a drinking fountain and restrooms. Summer outdoor concerts under the stars in this park’s amphitheater are dog-friendly, too.
Located at 16200 Panama City Beach Parkway in Panama City Beach. This 200-acre park has a special fenced dog area and a few trails along with all the sports fields. Frank Brown Park is also gateway to pet-friendly "Gayles Trails."
4. Shell Island
This beautiful barrier island is accessible only by boat. The center portion of the island is a popular boater’s anchorage, and is a residential subdivision under the jurisdiction of unincorporated Bay County, according to Bay Families with Dogs - see above. You can rent a boat from a pet-friendly boat rental business and visit Shell Island. (One is Scotty Boat Rentals at 5611 W Highway 98, Panama City. 850-872-1714.)
5. Zollie Young Park
Zollie Young Park is a beautiful 12-acre park in Panama City. It opened 10/08 and is the first public off-leash dog park in the unincorporated area of Bay County. Offers dog waste facilities. Directions: go north on U.S. 231 and turn left on Cato Road. Travel one block and turn left on 43rd Street. Follow the signs to Zollie Young Park.
6. Everitt Dog Park
Located at 1137 Everitt Avenue. Opened 09/10. This is a two-acre, off-leash dog park operated by Bay County. Offers tables, water fountains, and restrooms.
7. Saint Andrews State Recreation Area
Located off SR 392, at 4415 Thomas Drive. Open 8 a.m. until sundown. This park has 1260 acres and is located on a peninsula with over 1 1/2 miles of beach on the Gulf of Mexico. Pet policy, per the Web site, states, "Pets are not allowed in camping areas, on bathing beaches, in concession areas and may be restricted in other designated areas of the park. Where pets are allowed, they must be kept on a six-foot, hand-held leash and well-behaved at all times."
7. Naju Dog Park
There is a no-leash area located behind Naju Grooming. Open dawn to dusk. Offers fenced area, benches, handicapped access, lighting, parking, phones, restrooms, shelters, water, dog pool and digging area and separate area for smaller dogs.
8. Mexico Beach
Located next to Tyndell Air Force Base. The reader who informed us about this pet-friendly beach said it's a nice, private area. As you can tell from the notes below, we've gotten conflicting information about dogs being allowed on this beach. Our suggestion is to take the word of the residents, but be careful.
Reader Notes: "I am a resident near the Mexico beach area and I want to set the record straight about the pet access beach's. MEXICO Beach is NOT pet friendly at all, but the beach between Mexico Beach and Tyndell Air Force Base is private property open to the public. You must drive along the water way canal from Hwy 98 at the west end of Mexico Beach and park at Canal Park with picnic tables along the canal at the beach. It is an off leash, completely uncontrolled section of Beach for about 2 miles then becomes Tyndell Air Force Base, and Tyndell does NOT allow Pets on their beach, but there is a sign to warn you on the beach if you walk too far. But also remember, on the other side of Mexico Beach, it becomes Gulf County. All Gulf County Beaches are pet friendly, except the State Park on the end of Cape San Blas. And there is a new public facility at both the east and west ends of the Windmark Beach resort open to the public with restrooms and miles and miles of beaches. Gulf County does require a leash, but it is not enforced unless your pet becomes a problem."
Another resident of the area tells us there is an area of this beach where dogs are allowed, "I live here and there is definitely a specified beach that allows pets. It is on the northern end of the beach, just north of the one gas station and water inlet. All other beaches in the area are not pet friendly."
Another reader tells us, "When we stopped in there...and were inquiring about lodging and the beaches, we were told more than once that pets were not allowed on the beach and further, that doing so would carry a $100 plus fine. We never actually tested the theory, so I don't know this for certain... but we just thought this information might be useful to other readers."
NICEVILLE (Okaloosa County)
This is a unsupervised off-leash pet walk area located at the Mullet Festival fairgrounds, just north of Niceville on Florida Hwy. 85. It is open dawn to 10 p.m., at which time lights will shut off automatically. This is a completely fenced-in (double gates), shaded area of about 5-acres with large oak trees, lawn chairs and two picnic tables. Reader notes include:
"People with small dogs should be careful at this park; people with large, aggressive dogs commonly show up, let their dogs off leash, then let them run around unsupervised."
"This park has a cool water fountain for dogs. but the place would be nicer if people cleaned up after their dogs."
"The park was wonderful. I am so glad I found it and I will be going back on the weekends from now on. However, I was surprised to see how many people didn't pick up their dog poop. Usually people are more conscientious than that."
Note: This entire area closes for the week of the Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival which is not pet-friendly.
TALLAHASSEE (Leon County)
1. Tom Brown Park
Located at Easterwood Avenue, off 319. Hours are dawn to dusk. This park is operated by the City of Tallahassee. Offers two fenced areas; one for large dogs, another for small dogs, picnic area, benches, poop bags, children's play areas and nature trails, trees, parking, water, trash. Directions: Capital Circle S.E. to Connor Blvd. East on Connor Blvd. To enter the park, turn left on Easterwood Drive. Take the first right to the park's lake and playground area. The dog park is past the playground, across the bridge and to the right.
2. San Luis Park
Located on San Luis Road, off Tharp Street. This park has a good-sized fenced in area for dogs to play and explore and dogs are allowed to go around the other areas of the park as long as they are leashed. Directions: From the Capitol, take Monroe Street North to the Tharpe Street intersection. Take a left onto Tharpe. Go 3 or 4 miles down, past Godby High School, then take a left onto San Luis Road. The park will be on the left at the bottom of the hill.
Northwest Florida is also known as the Florida Panhandle and West Florida. Cities include Apalachicola, Cape San Blas, Destin, DeFuniak Springs, Fort Walton Beach, Marianna, Panama City, Panama City Beach, Pensacola, Pensacola Beach, Tallahassee, and more.