Is your pup the first one in the water, doggie-paddling his way across the pool? If so, you might want to check out the sunny shores of Saint Pete Beach, Florida. Tucked on the west coast of the peninsula, this sea-sprayed town faces the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, offering a dog-friendly vacation town where you can thaw out your ‘pupsicle’ from the northern snow! Saint Pete Beach has all the vacation offerings of a spring break, without the hectic crowds of larger Florida vacation spots. No need to "paw-nder," your dog will be barkin' at the bit to take a splash in the shores of Saint Pete Beach!
The town hosts everything from dog-friendly ice cream spots to a majestic sunset cruise, with a high chance your doggo might see the pups of the sea: dolphins! Across the bridge in St. Pete, you can visit the Dog Bar—half bar, half dog park! Enjoy a cold one while Fido plays with local pups from across the bay. Best of all, Saint Pete Beach is super dog-friendly, and most hotels have open doors for our four-legged friends.
Does your dog love sand underneath his toes? Head over the Corey Causeway and Down Gulf Boulevard into a 20-mile long stretch overlooking the surf. Your best bet is to stay at a pet-friendly hotel like The Lorelei. The hotel has a swimming dock for dogs to jump into the water! After all the excitement of playing in the sun, you and your dog are probably hankering for some fresh seafood—with doggie dining of course! Look no further than Skidder's Restaurant, a Mediterranean- inspired local favorite serving up everything from broiled grouper to rack of lamb. Your dog can pull up a wagging tail onto the patio as you enjoy great service and tasty Florida eats.
In the mood for something sweet? Another local favorite a few blocks up on Madeira Beach is Candy Kitchen. This family-owned purveyor of sweets has been serving taffy, fudge, ice cream, and more since 1950. The all-desert joint even has dog treats made with all-natural, healthy ingredients! Further up Gulf Boulevard, you'll find another local favorite for humans and canines. The Brown Boxer Pub & Grille is a lively bar and restaurant with a dog-friendly back deck. The name was inspired by the owner's Boxers, and the pet-friendliness is a staple at this fetching pub. Water bowls for dogs are always provided, and on Tuesdays, the whole family can enjoy $1 tacos for Taco Tuesday!
Ready for a splash in the shallows? The Pass-a-Grille dog beach is a small beach with a giant view. Dogs from all over come to play in this off-leash paradise. As you throw tennis balls, you can wave at passing boaters and gaze into the channel overlooking Tierra Verde. There are no facilities, so make sure to bring your own water! We also recommend visiting during low-tide for more beach and less current. After crushing the shoreline with Fido, you both can walk down to Paradise Grille, an outdoor deck right on the beach that serves up everything from crab-cake sandwiches to fruit salads. There is running water on the deck to spray the sand off your feet and give Fido a drink!
Ready for some coastal nature scenes? Head into Tierra Verde's Fort Desoto Park, a 1,136-acre park made up of interconnected keys. The park offers guided nature tours, campgrounds, kayak rentals, a historic fort, fishing piers, and a dog park! The dog park has two fenced-in areas: one for big dogs and one for little dogs. On top of this, there are two nature trails. The first is the 7-mile multipurpose paved trail, which connects the North and South Beach. The other trail, a 2,200-foot barrier-free nature trail, offers stunning views of the amazing Florida landscape. After a salty day in the park, it might be time to head back inland for some grub. One of the most pet-friendly spots along Tierra Verde is Cordon Bleu—an authentic French restaurant filling your cravings for dishes like Duck a L'ornage or fried Camembert. Take your pup around back for a candlelight dinner on the deck.
Is your dog ready to earn his sea legs? Climb aboard the Shell Key Shuttle Sunset Cruises tour boat for a cruise down the waterways south of Saint Pete Beach. You can see breathtaking views of the sunset and maybe even catch a sight of dolphins breaching! Dog treats are included, and all dogs must be up to date on their vaccinations. Also on Sunset Beach is Rick's Reef. This casual dining spot has a dog-friendly patio and some dog-o-mite fish tacos! The seafood's always fresh and the tails are always wagging!