Panama/Panama City Beach
Bay Families with Dogs, Inc.
This is not a dog park. This is 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 exciting addition to the area will mean a pet-friendly corridor now exists 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.
3. Frank Brown Park
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. Come to Bay County and rent a boat from a pet-friendly boat rental business to 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."
Reader Notes: One of our readers visited this park and said while it's a beautiful park and there is a place to walk dogs, there seems to be a general pet-UNfriendly attitude in this part of Florida. She said she was walking her leashed dog in a regular park and had a poop bag on hand when a very angry man approached her and threatened to call the police if she did not leave. She was told by a staff member of the Chamber of Commerce there are no places in the area for people to exercise their dogs (other than, we assume, the ones we list below.)
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.
"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 to far. But also remember, on the other side of Mexico Beach, it becomes Gulf County. All Gulf County Beaches are pet friendly, accept the State Park on the end of Cape San Blas. And there is a new public facility at both east and west end 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."
A 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."
A reader tells us, "When we stopped in there...and were inquiring about lodging and the beaches we were told more than one time that pets were not allowed on the beach and further, that doing so would carry a $100+ fine. We never actually tested the theory, so I don't know this for certain... but we just thought this imformation might be useful to other readers."
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 Panama City/Panama City Beach areas, please contact FloridaPets.net.