Finding a Dog-Friendly Beach

[Photo: Santa Rosa Island Authority]

I don't know what made me think my dog Atticus would like the beach. But I once took him to Dauphin Island, and it just wasn't his thing. Maybe he looks at the Gulf as nothing more than a big giant bathtub, and he doesn't like baths. And the dog that also hates to get his paws wet on the grass after it rains, is having nothing to do with the beach. 

But your dog may actually like the water, and see it as the opportunity for FUN that it really is -- for both dogs and their human companions. The problem is there aren't a lot of beaches that allow dogs; and if you don't know where to go, it may be a lot of trouble to find one.

So here are a few:

1. The Dauphin Island Public Beach. WEBSITE 

2. The west end dog park on Pensacola Beach, parking lot 21.5 -- identified as the first parking lot past the last condos.  WEBSITE

3. The east end dog park on Pensacola Beach, parking lot 28.5 -- the first parking lot past Portofino. WEBSITE

4. Walton County lets you take dogs on the beach, but you have to get a permit. But according to Northwest Florida Daily News, Santa Rosa and Okaloosa Counties have no beaches where dogs can go. 

In all cases, dogs much remain on a leash. I suppose that makes sense, but it seems to make swimming more problematic (or I'm overthinking this). Nor are all dogs are the same. My dog Atticus does not need a leash, he's not going anywhere; but I've had other dogs that definitely needed to be controlled a bit more.

Some beaches also have specific hours and dates, so check with each before taking your dog out. 



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