Old walls with palm trees
The Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest and largest masonry fort in the continental United States and is dog-friendly.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

5 Pet-Friendly Cities in Florida You and Your Dogs Will Love Exploring

Vacation Fun for Pups and People

Known for its year-round sunshine, pristine white beaches, and world-class theme parks, Florida has rightfully earned its title as one of the top tourist destinations in the world. However, the state’s sunshine-soaked riches aren’t just exclusive to humans. In fact, there are many wonderful pet-friendly attractions in Florida that offer plenty of exciting things for you and your canine companions to experience together.

After traveling to several corners of the Sunshine State with my own dog, here are some of our favorite dog-friendly cities that your entire family, including the furry members, will want to visit again and again.

St. Augustine

Also known as the Ancient City, St. Augustine, FL is the oldest continuously populated city in the nation, making it a bucket-list must for history buffs. Families and dogs that enjoy the great outdoors will also find their fix in the Ancient City thanks to the area’s natural subtropical scenery and oceanfront location.

Whether you spend your days wandering through the cobblestone streets of downtown or soaking up that famous Florida sunshine on the beach, a visit to St. Augustine is sure to be one for the books.

Where to Stay

Southern Oaks Inn warmly welcomes two dogs of any size for an additional $20 USD per night. The Kenwood Inn and St. Francis Inn also provide pet-friendly accommodations for small dogs within a unique and historic setting.

Dog-Friendly Activities

Leashed dogs are more than welcome to join you on St. Augustine’s Atlantic beaches (excluding Anastasia State Park) and the streets of historic downtown. History enthusiasts and their pups may want to visit the legendary Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park and the Castillo de San Marcos, while avid outdoorsmen will love a pet-friendly kayak or boat tour.

Lake with fountain in middle and palm trees in front with skyscrapers behindLake Eola Park is located in downtown Orlando and is a great place to go for a walk with your dog.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Orlando

While Disney World and other sought-after theme parks reign supreme in this city, animal lovers and their dogs will also find a slew of unique and exciting things to do together.

If you’ve been thinking about a family vacation to Orlando, don’t leave Fido behind! You’ll find something new to do and experience around nearly every corner.

Where to Stay

Orlando has no shortage of hotels and resorts, but that’s not even the best part. A decent percentage of these hotels are dog-friendly!

The Wyndham Orlando Resort and Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate are ideal for families in search of a more luxury hotel experience, while pet owners on a budget may benefit from booking a room at a dog-friendly hotel chain.

Don’t forget to also check out the best pet-friendly resorts at Walt Disney World that are perfect for a truly magical vacation to the parks and other Orlando attractions.

Dog-Friendly Activities

When searching for dog-friendly attractions in Florida, you’ll find a wide variety of options in and around Orlando!

Lake Eola Park is located downtown and provides a wonderful spot to take a walk around the lake with your pups. This is also the site of several major events, including Paws in the Park, Orlando’s largest pet festival.

Wekiwa Springs is Orange County’s longest-running tourist attraction and is an outdoor oasis for both humans and canines with its gorgeous emerald spring, cool rivers and lush natural wilderness.

Be sure to check out even more amazing places to take dogs in Orlando, FL!

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Bridge going over a lake with reeds along the edgeLake Parker is one of many lovely lakes to visit with your dog in the Lakeland area.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lakeland

This small Central Florida town is located right in between Orlando and Tampa and packs a wealth of artistic charm into one small area. It has also been rated as one of the top pet-friendly cities in Florida.

Lakeland is mostly known for its population of resident swans (all of which just happen to be descendants of Queen Elizabeth’s royal swans), but pet parents will be delighted by the ample number of lakeside walking trails, lush parks, dog-friendly restaurants and more. If you’re searching for the perfect day trip destination or a unique spot to enjoy a relaxing weekend getaway, The Swan City is a great option!

Where to Stay

La Quinta Inn and Suites boasts two locations in Lakeland, both of which will never charge a pet fee. For those interested in accommodations unique to The Swan City, The Terrace Hotel is located right in the heart of downtown and allows two pets up to 20 pounds.

Dog-Friendly Activities

A visit to Lakeland is nearly wasted without seeing the lakes, so lace up your walking shoes and bring your dog for a leisurely stroll around the beautiful Lake Hollingsworth or Lake Morton.

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to downtown Lakeland to take advantage of the dog-friendly restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, boutique stores and art exhibits.

Check out our list of even more dog-friendly things to do in Lakeland, FL!


Stretch of beach with some foliage and a towerSanibel Island is the perfect place to spend some time playing on the beach and in the water with your dog.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Fort Myers Beach/Sanibel Island

Also located on the Gulf Coast, Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island reign as two of Southwest Florida’s most visited coastlines. Prepare to be transported to a tropical paradise when you see the expansive white-powdered beaches dotted with stunning seashells and realize the plethora of pet-friendly activities on offer.

Where to Stay

Waterside Inn at the Beach, located on Sanibel Island, has several pet-friendly beachside cottages to choose from. Lighthouse Resort Inn and Suites is nestled right on Fort Myers Beach and offers accommodations for guests and their four-legged friends.

Dog-Friendly Activities

The main beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel Island are all pet-friendly. Spend your days soaking up some sun on the shoreline or check out the dog beaches in Bonita Beach or Lovers Key State Park. Paddleboarding and kayaking in the Gulf’s calm and clear waters is another very popular activity, and Yolo Board Adventures and Holiday Water Sports are proud to offer rentals for visitors and their dogs.

Be sure to check our list of even more pet-friendly things to do in Fort Myers and Sanibel.

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Narrow street lined with old but well-maintained buildingsWalk Duval Street, the main street in Key West, with your dog and take in the may sights, sounds and foods.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Key West

Key West is Florida’s southernmost city and a tropical paradise of natural beauty, culture and history. The island’s colorful and vibrant atmosphere has attracted thousands of vacationers, artists, musicians and writers throughout the years, including the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Jimmy Buffett and Robert Frost.

You and your furry best friend are invited to be immersed in this lively and carefree town. The only rule is to leave your worries behind!

Where to Stay

The Old Town Manor is the top-rated bed & breakfast in Key West and welcomes dogs of all breeds and sizes. Plus, they’ll even provide dog beds, food bowls and dog waste bags for your pup upon arrival.

The Margaritaville Key West Resort pays homage to Jimmy Buffett’s iconic tune by offering luxurious accommodations with stunning views, many of which are open to dogs up to 45 pounds.

Dog-Friendly Activities

Take your dogs for a walk down Duval Street, the main hub of Key West, to admire the town’s architecture, grab a bite at one of the dog-friendly restaurants, and of course, indulge in the island’s signature dessert at the Key Lime Pie Co.

Active pups may also enjoy exploring the nature trails at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park or seeing native fish at the Key West Aquarium.

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