The Best Guide to Dog Friendly Beaches and Activities in the Florida Keys

As I am writing this, I am dog sitting my grand-dog, Mr. Coffee. Which, got me thinking, where is the dog friendly beaches in the Keys? Just in case we wanted to head out on a road trip and take Mr. Coffee with us. So, I did some exploring, and here’s what I found out. First off, state parks in Florida don’t allow dogs on the beach, even if they are on a leash. So, keep that in mind. If you want to read more about Florida’s pet policy… click here.

A general rule of thumb for state parks are pets are not allowed in buildings, beaches, food service areas, playgrounds, cabins, restrooms, and swimming areas. Each state park may of specific rules regarding pets, so be sure to double check before heading out to explore a state park. But, let me try to guide you to some popular stops for dogs in the Keys.

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dog on a chair
Mr. Coffee enjoying the front porch

Overall, the Florida Keys welcome pets, and the further south you go, dog owners will find many more places to explore.

Heading down the Keys your first stop is Key Largo and here you will find great spots to take your furry friend out and about. Check out John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. There are two trails to take your furry family member out to explore. Each is short, about 1/2 mile, but a great opportunity to let your furry friend stretch their legs. If you want to take your dog with you to grab a bite to eat, then check out this list of dog friendly restaurants in Key Largo and the Keys.

Looking for a pet friendly hotel in the Keys?

Stopping in Islamorada? Then head over to Founders Park. They have a one acre fenced dog park. They have a doggy wash, watering station, and agility equipment. There are several state parks here as well. Most are off shore, but Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park offers a nature trail to explore.

Did you know you can bring your well behaved dog into Theater of the Sea?

Want to enjoy a cold pint of amazing locally brewed beer? Then check out the beer garden at the Florida Keys Brewing Company. Love their beer and the garden is an awesome place to take a break.

flight of beer at Florida Brewing Company

Anne’s Beach offers a shaded spot to enjoy the beach and water. There are poop bags available too.

In Marathon, stop by Curry Hammock State Park to enjoy a stroll on the trails. All of the city parks are pet friendly in Marathon. Here’s a full list. A great place to explore the beach in Marathon is Sombrero Beach. As long as your best friend is on a leash, you can take them for a nice walk along the beach. Another dog friendly place is Coco Plum beach.

Marathon has a dog park too. It has designated areas for small dogs and large dogs. The field at Oceanfront Park is also pet friendly. Plan to bring lunch and take advantage of the picnic areas. Most of the parks offer water fountains to help you keep your pet hydrated. Florida weather can be quite warm in the summer and dogs will need to stay hydrated.

If you are planning to stop at Bahia Honda State Park, note, there is limited space for your furry family member. Probably better to pass on this stop. But, you can explore the National Key Deer Refuge, in Big Pine Key, as long as your pet is leashed.

Last stop… Key West. The only dog-friendly beach here is Key West Dog Beach. Located right next door to Louie’s Backyard. So after Fido romps in the shallow water and sand, head over for a cold beverage. Louie’s is also dog friendly and will have a nice bowl of water for them to enjoy too. I would note this beach can be a bit rocky so keep an eye on your dog.

Want to let your dog run while in Key West? Check out Higgs Beach Dog Park. This isn’t on the beach or by the water. But a place your dog can have a great time playing and running around. Lots of shade, grassy areas, and separate areas for small and large dogs.

There are several nonbeach places you can explore in Key West with your dog too. Explore the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Gardens. As long as your dog is on a leash, they are welcome to explore the gardens with you. Fort Zach State Park is another place you can bring your dog. Just like the other state parks, there are limitations on where they can and cannot go. But, they have picnic tables and amazing views while you enjoy a picnic lunch.

key west tropical forest

Other places you should check out that welcomes dogs is the Aquarium and if your dog is small and can be carried, they can go explore the Shipwreck Museum with you.

Want to enjoy the sunset celebration at Mallory Square? Bring the dog. Or, want to head out for a sunset charter? Then I recommend Make it So Charters. They always welcome your dog. Didn’t bring your dog? They might be convinced to bring their dog along on your adventure.

Want to rent a paddle board or kayak and bring your dog along? How about a paddle board or kayak tour? Then head over to Lazy Dog Kayak in Key West. Dogs are welcome!

When it comes to restaurants in Key West, you have a lot of pet friendly places to choose from:

  • Blue Heaven
  • Bagatelle
  • Nine One Five
  • Onlywood
  • Azur
  • Pepe’s
  • Santiago’s Bodega
  • Half Shell
  • Hogfish
  • Salute on the Beach

Can’t make it down to the Keys? There are other areas in Florida you can bring your furry friend. Just south of St Augustine is Flagler Beach. USA Today stated this is the best place to bring your dog on a vacation. If you are in the Fort Myers area (maybe planning to take the Ferry to Key West) check out Sanibel Island. Your dog can help you hunt for seashells on the beach, as long as they are leashed.

Overall, your furry family member will be welcomed on your next trip. I am now pretty excited to take my grand-dog with us on our next adventure.

Looking for more ideas on an epic road trip down the Keys? Check out our must do list for your next road trip.

dog friendly beaches in the keys

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