Three Reasons the St. Petersburg, Largo & Clearwater Beach Areas of Florida are the Ultimate Dog-Friendly Cities
Beautiful Gulf Coast beaches for man and his best friend? It’s not a myth in St. Petersburg, Florida and the surrounding areas of Clearwater and Largo. If you have your sights set on a vacation with your pup, give these Florida beaches a look. St. Petersburg, Largo and the Clearwater area ranks high on the pet-friendly scale, with plenty of attractions and beaches that welcome visitors of the four-legged variety. You're also just a short drive from Tampa and other pet-friendly Florida West Coast towns.
Sunshine and Great Weather – World Records
It's no fun when someone rains on your parade or vacation. If plenty of sunshine is important to your dog-friendly vacation mojo, a visit to St. Petersburg isn’t likely to disappoint. On average, there are 248 sunny days each year in this Florida City. In fact, the area earned Guinness World Record recognition for logging the most consecutive days of sunshine with a mind-blowing 768 days! That’s right, from Feb. 9, 1967 through March 17, 1969, St. Pete’s skies were rain free, earning the nickname “The Sunshine City” for the destination. Great weather makes the area an ideal destination for dog lovers who enjoy plenty of outdoor recreation with their pooch. Clearwater and Largo also get their fair share of sunshine each year and are only a 35-minute drive from “The Sunshine City.
Dog-Friendly St. Petersburg, Largo, Clearwater Beaches and Parks
Fort De Soto Park may just be one of the most dog-friendly beaches we've found, yet! If fun in the sun is on the agenda, this dog park is a must-visit! In fact, on TripAdvisor it'S ranked #1 of 11 things to do in the area. One TripAdvisor reviewer said, "We took our two golden retrievers and border collie/lab to the beach for the day. What a treat! Everyone was great. The dogs had plenty of shared water and treats and played during our stay. We had a wonderful time!
Fort De Soto Dog Beach offers side-by-side, fenced parks for small and large dogs. There is also a section of beach where dogs can play without a leash. Dog owners can soak up the sun on white-sand beaches while the pups socialize. A cool-down area inside a fenced park features a hose and water fountains, perfect for getting a drink of water and rinsing off the sand when it's time to leave. In the main Fort De Soto Park area are canoe, kayak and standup paddleboard rentals that are dog friendly. Paddle along with your pooch and take in the scenery and wildlife. You may even see a manatee! Self-guided nature trails meander through the park and are a great way to explore and stretch everyone's legs. The actual Fort located on the park grounds is a dog-friendly St. Petersburg attraction, as well. Be sure to check out Batter Laidley built in 1895 for a great view of the beaches.
Just north of St. Petersburg and Clearwater in Dunedin, Florida, is Honeymoon Island State Park Dog Beach. This park is a must-visit for those who want spacious beaches and clear-blue water. You’ll find plenty of dog-lovers at this beach. However, prepare yourself ahead of time, as there is a long nature trail you have to walk through before arriving on the beach. When rains are heavy, the trail can turn muddy and may not be pleasant for hiking to the beach. However, once you arrive, you’ll forget about the trail. A leash rule is enforced and all dogs must be on a six-foot leash. The water in this area is generally calm and is perfect for wading in with your pup. In addition to splashing in the surf, Honeymoon Island also boasts a dog-friendly nature trail, not to be confused with the trail to the dog beach. The Honeymoon Island Osprey Trail is one of the few remaining south Florida virgin slash pine stands and offers 2.5 miles of walking.
If you’re trip takes you to Largo, add a stop at John S. Taylor Park to your itinerary. This lakeside park is a great spot with scenic trails for hiking with your pup. The park is listed number 9 out of 33 things to do in Largo on TripAdvisor and received a 4.5 star rating.
In all, there are eight St. Petersburg dog parks. Several offer beach or lake access, including Gandy Bridge Causeway Dog Park, Coquina Key Dog Park and Crescent Lake Dog Park. Parks without beach access include Kenwood, Walter Fuller, Lake Vista and Northshore Dog Parks. If you’re dog-friendly rental is in Clearwater, the nearest dog parks include Crest Lake Dog Park, Enterprise Dog Park and Sand Key Dog Park. If you’re in search of a dog park in Largo, you’ll have plenty to choose from, including Walsingham Paw Playground, Fred Marquis Pinnellas Trail and Eagle Lake Park.
Visit Dog-Friendly Attractions and Restaurants
Next to the Fort De Soto Dog Beach, The Dog Bar may just be our favorite attraction. We give The Dog Bar five bones for catering to both the pooch and the pup parent. The bar’s indoor space offers plenty of seating, TVs, ping pong, corn hole and more. The bar offers 20 beers on tap, including craft varieties. The outdoor space features an off-leash park with separate areas for small and large dogs, swimming pools, tunnels and cots. The outdoor space is supervised. Planning tip! You must bring proof of vaccinations and dogs over 1 year old must be spayed or neutered.
We also give Nikko Mussonlini Dog Boutique and Spirits a thumbs up. It’s a great spot to meet the locals, listen to music and have a beer, cocktail or coffee. It’s a small spot, but well worth the visit.
In Clearwater, be sure to include a stop at Island Way Grill. Not only is it a pet-friendly restaurant, it’s a boat-friendly restaurant, as well. Outdoor seating provides peaceful waterfront views and is perfect for enjoying the sunset with your pooch. Fresh fish is the Island Way Grill’s specialty and most of the preparation is done over open pit giving dishes a distinct smoky flavor.
If you don’t eat anywhere else in Largo, make Savory your breakfast destination. Feast on omelets, biscuits and gravy, eggs benedict and a full menu of breakfast items. Can’t make it for breakfast? No problem. Savory also serves a full lunch and dinner menu. Your pup is welcome to eat alongside you on the outdoor deck.
St. Pete/Clearwater and Largo Pet-Friendly Vacation Rentals
Now that you have the “why,” it’s time to book the “where.” Gain peace of mind with a dog-friendly rental that is booked directly through the owner. Browse the selections at PetFriendlyRentalsByOwner.com for a condo or house you and your pooch will enjoy along the Florida Gulf Coast. Then, pack your bags and dog treats for a vacation filled with fun and Florida sunshine!