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Choiceless As A Beach–Waiting For A Gift From The Sea. A Short List of Dog-Friendly Florida Beaches.


The Sea Does Not Reward Those Who Are Too Anxious Or Too Impatient. One Should Lie Empty, Open,


–Anne Morrow Lindbergh


Algiers Beach/Gulfside City Park, Sanibel Island: A pet-friendly escape with picnic tables and restrooms adjacent to a nature preserve. Dogs must be on a leash. SanibelIsland.com/shelling.html


Anne’s Beach, Islamorada: This very secluded beach in the Florida Keys has plenty of shade. Doggy clean-up bags and fresh water bowls for pets are available. Dedicated to local environmentalist Anne Eaton. Florida-Keys-Guide.com/annes-beach.html


Bonita Beach Dog Park, Fort Myers Beach: The dog beach is at Lover's Key State Park along the Fort Myers/Bonita Springs line. There is a portable toilet, but no running water, so bring along some- thing for your pet to drink. LeeParks.org


Brohard Paw Park & Dog Beach, Venice: Dog drinking foun- tains and canine-only showers are among the useful touches. There’s a small-dog area and an additional fenced yard that leads to a pet- friendly beach. Venice-Fla.com/PawParkMap.html


Dog Beach, Panama City Beach: Nestled at the foot of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Cafe, this canine-friendly beach has access to the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico. VisitPanamaCityBeach.com/things-to-do/pet-friendly-spots


Fleet Peeples Park is a dog friendly waterfront park. 2000 South Lakemont Avenue, Winter Park. For more information, visit Friends of Fleet Peeples Park at FFPP.org


Fort DeSoto Paw Playground and Beach, St. Petersburg: The playground has fenced areas for both large and small dogs, with doggy showers. Pets are allowed anywhere in the park, but must be on a six-foot leash. There is a designated leash-free area as well. FortDeSoto.com/PawPlayGround.php


Gulf County: All Gulf County beaches, with the exception of St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, allow pets on a leash. Pet waste disposal stations throughout the public beach access points. VisitGulf.com/pet-friendly-beaches


Honeymoon Island State Park, Dunedin: Located on the south- ern tip of the park, Dog Beach Paradise and Dog Playground offer plenty of space to romp on the beach and in the water. FloridaStateParks.org/HoneymoonIsland/


Juno Dog Beach, Juno Beach: On Jupiter Beach in northern Palm Beach County. Free parking, showers and doggy clean-up bags. FriendsOfJupiterBeach.org


Key West Dog Beach, Key West: Dogs are allowed. CAUTION: This is a rocky beach. Louie's Backyard, next to the beach, is pet- friendly. The oceanfront Victorian home has a cafe-style restaurant with an oceanfront background setting. Fresh seafood and produce, prepared to order. KeyWest.com/Beaches.htm


Sand Key Dog Park, Clearwater: Small and large dog areas, with water stations. PinellasCounty.org/park/15_sand_key.htm


48 THE NEW BARKER www.TheNewBarker.com


Walton Rocks Dog Beach, Jensen Beach: Features an off-leash dog park with covered picnic tables, restrooms and plenty of roaming space for pets and their people. StLucieCo.gov/Beaches/67.htm


(Above): Bark Island at Pine Island, Spring Hill: Open to dogs on a seasonal basis, starting in September 2014 through March, 2015 on select Saturdays.


Beach Safety Tips:


1. Know your dog’s limitations. Not all dogs can swim or are comfortable in the water. The dog paddle does not come naturally to every dog. Consider investing in a life vest for your dogs.


2. Drinking salt water is not a good idea. Be sure to pack plenty of fresh water.


3. Dogs do sunburn. Apply a sunscreen that is specially for- mulated for dogs.


4. Beware of submerged dangers such as rocks, shells, and coral.


5. Watch out for predators like birds of prey and snakes.


6. Don’t overdo it. The sun and sand are fun, but it can be strenuous and watch out for heat exhaustion. Scout out a shaded area or consider bringing a pup tent to give your dog a comfortable spot to relax.


7. Rinse thoroughly. Take time to rinse out the salt, sand and other microscopic organisms from your dog’s coat.


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