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Beautiful Lake Placid, located in central Florida, is a popular stop as tourists and Floridians traverse the long expanse of Highway 27. This small town Caladium Capital of the World with a population density of 645 is full of charm, and you and Fido will keep busy exploring the dozens of murals located all over the buildings and visiting the 27 freshwater lakes!
While there multiple pet-friendly hotels that you can choose from during your stay, there are also a few AirBnBs you may prefer for their relaxing location on one of the many lakes. All of the hotels are central to the two vet clinics in this city, so you can rest assured knowing that if Fido needs urgent care, you can get it from an expert veterinarian.
Whatever you choose to do during your stay, you have many options for dining where pets are welcome. The Havana Nights Cuban Cafe and Dock 633 are both locally owned and operated, and you and Fido can enjoy a peaceful, delicious meal on one of their outdoor patio tables. For a healthier option for you both, you can try the Good News Juice & Smoothie Cafe and Coffee Shop, where you'll find many vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options on their menu.
Just off of Highway 27 is the neighborhood of East Interlake, the perfect spot to park your car and take Fido on a casual stroll up and down the sidewalks to get a feel for this quaint southern town. Here, you will find many of the murals that Lake Placid is famous for, and an abundance of family-run shops with that friendly, personal touch. Fido will enjoy Stuart Park, where pets with leashes are allowed, and you may run into some festive events that occur many times throughout the year. You can grab a meal to-go from a nearby restaurant, then relax with Fido on a bench or picnic table to enjoy your grub and the scenic atmosphere.
Lake Placid is also home to another gorgeous neighborhood, Lake June. Here you can visit the Lake June-in-Winter Scrub State Park (yes, that's the actual name), the 845-acre preserve with the specific purpose of protecting the endangered natural sand scrub. You and Fido will enjoy hiking through the scrub, but remember that the sugar sand can get very hot on sensitive paws. The park is a full natural experience without amenities, so plan ahead with lots of water and clean-up bags! If you prefer your outdoors experiences to have more in the way of amenities, you can visit Lake June Park, where you can enjoy the lake atmosphere with quick access to bathrooms and water.
Seven miles down the road from Lake Placid is another treasure of nature, Lake Istokpoga Park. This 26,762-acre lake spreads across the entire county, but you can access it out of the park in Sebring. You and Fido will enjoy fishing off of the docks, exploring the surrounding trails, or hopping on an airboat to immerse yourselves in nature. When you are on your way there, stop in at the local's favorite Italian food found at Roserio's Pizzeria. This family owned and operated restaurant has outdoor patio seating so that you and Fido can fill your stomachs after a long day on the lake!
Highlands County is known for its unique ecosystem, the Lake Wales Ridge. Here in Lake Placid, you can explore the tracts of land along the designated trails, where dogs are allowed as long as they are on leashes at all times. Be sure to only visit the Lake Placid Scrub and Carter Creek tract, as hunting is allowed on the Royce Unit tract during certain seasons. There are no restrooms or basic amenities on these trails, so be sure you plan ahead for you and Fido to stay hydrated, as the sugar sand and arid ecosystem can get very hot and humid quickly.
A bit of a hike (figuratively speaking) about 20 minutes from Lake Placid is the famous Highlands Hammock State Park. This nature preserve is 9,000 acres of land set aside for wildlife preservation and public nature exploration. A small fee is required to enter, at which time you can park at the pavilion area or drive through the park and search for other trails. Once you find one of the dozens of intersecting and independent trails that you are interested in, simply park off of the road and take Fido to explore the gorgeous natural outdoors found only in Florida. Be sure to take Fido on a leashed stroll down the catwalk!
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