Astor is a small riverfront town nestled on the western bank of St. Johns River between Lake Dexter and Lake George in central Florida. It’s a sparsely populated area with just under 1,500 residents. In this tiny town, you won't find busy downtown areas with tons of dog-friendly amenities, but don't fret just yet! There’s a veterinarian and pet-friendly eatery right in the heart of Astor! Williams Landing is a casual cafe with a friendly staff and outdoor seating for mutts.
If you and Fido get a little bored while exploring Astor, you'll be glad to know there's plenty of dog-friendly fun nearby. Astor Landing RV Resort & Marina is a great campground and snifftastic place to enjoy Florida's beautiful weather! The campground is set in a picturesque environment, just steps away from walking trails, beautiful springs, and more! You are very welcome to rent a boat and sail with your loyal pup as well!
And, of course, The Ocala National Forest is here, just west of Astor! This vast nature preserve offers 600 (yes, 600!) lakes and springs. The walking trails are perfect for prepared hikers, but you can always find a more accessible path for a little puppy or an elderly one. Always keep Fido on-leash!
Lake George State Forest is a beautiful green area between Astor and Barberville in Central Florida. This humongous state forest covers 21,000+ acres and features a variety of flora and fauna. If you're visiting the park with a pup, make sure to keep a tight grip on your leash -- there’s a good chance of meeting a deer or a squirrel. The recreation opportunities are endless! Although there’s no boat ramp, you can always kayak, but be careful if you decide to doggie paddle instead! There are about 4 miles of natural hiking trails leading through woodlands and fantastic picnic facilities. Bluffton Nature Trail is an excellent place to hike!
Alexander Springs is a small community that's organized around two of the area's most prominent attractions – Alexander Springs Recreation Area and Alexander Springs Ocala National Park. The recreation area is a perfect place to relax! You can camp, picnic and stroll with Fido here. There are RV cabins available and plenty of space for tents if you want to "ruff" it. If you are ready for a hiking adventure, get the leash ready and embark on Florida National Scenic Trail! Be prepared, though; the trail runs through the entire forest, so you'll need paw-lenty of snacks and doggie waste bags!
Magnolia Manor is a residential neighborhood in the northern part of De Leon Springs, Florida. The area is entirely occupied by residential quarters and one church. What can you do here with a pooch? Well, if you head west for a few minutes, you’ll bump into the lush environment of De Leon State Park! This former winter resort is now a beautiful park perfect for aquatic adventures. However, there are plenty of attractions on dry land as well. More than 625 acres of land, in fact! You’ll want to see Spring Garden Creek while you're here. There are also walking trails and picnic facilities with tables and grills.
Located in the northwestern corner of Deland in Central Florida, Cross Creek is a small neighborhood centered on Marjorie Rawlings Drive. Entirely residential, the area is close to Citrus Grove Elementary School, and, just 5 minutes west, you'll find Barkley Square Dog Park. This is a spacious facility for Fido to play and run off-leash! Open from dawn to dusk, the spot is free for everyone, all year-round! The park features about 14 acres in total divided into several areas -- one for small puppies, another for large ones, and an area for training. The big dog park area also features a small pond to cool off and splash in!
Gemini Springs Park, located just a bone's throw away from DeBary's Parkview neighborhood, is a 200-acre attraction with bubbling springs and stunning nature! The area is entirely pet-friendly, and you're also welcome to bring Fido on a leash to hike and camp! Enjoy the strolls and walking adventures on the nature trails (about ¾ of a mile) and a bridge loop. For some off-leash time, head to Gemini Springs Dog Park! This fenced, 5-acre area is just right for your pup! There are two sections here for shy and active pups -- there's no seating in either section, but drinking water is available year-round.