While our gorgeous coastal area provides plenty of fun for those who enjoy the outdoors, fine dining, world-class shopping and some of the most beautiful beaches found anywhere, there are also a number of recreational spots designated and built especially for Fido to get his exercise and socialize with style. After all, it’s important to keep in mind the old saying, “If your dog is fat, you aren’t getting enough exercise.”
So, here are our top 10 places to take your pooch, including beaches, trails and parks where dogs are allowed, but do not feature fenced leash-free play areas. Remember, some locations require leashes, others don’t, so be sure to check the rules before you go.
1. 17th Street Paw Park – Located in north Sarasota, this expansive dog park features acres of grassy and wood-chip-strewn play space for pooches. It provides plenty of room for off-leash play, shade/shelter, pick-up bags, and agility equipment for large dogs. Hours are dawn to dusk. Adjacent to the paw park are baseball, softball and soccer fields, a snack bar and restrooms. Call 941-861-9830 for more information.
2. Lakeview Paw Park – Located next to Lakeview Elementary School off Proctor Road at 7150 Lago St., Sarasota, Lakeview Paw Park offers a cool, shady oasis on hot summer days. This 26-acre park features a picnic shelter, playground and restrooms. Open from dawn to dusk. Adjacent to the paw park is an area with a jogging and fitness trail, restrooms and picnic tables. For more information, call 941-861-9830.
3. Brohard Paw Park and Dog Beach – Located in the southern-most part of the city of Venice, on the Venice Airport property on Harbor Drive, Brohard Paw Park and Dog Beach boasts a watering hole to quench thirst, a penalty box for those that get a little too frisky, a hitching post, and picnic tables. The paw park has a separate area for small dogs, picnic tables, benches, waste disposal. The boardwalk leads pets and their people to the only dog friendly public beach in the area. Dogs are permitted in a restricted area along the beach, but have the run of the Gulf of Mexico. The park is open from dawn to dusk. Nearby you will find a fishing pier, bait shop and restrooms. Call 941-861-9830 for more information.
4. Woodmere Paw Park – Also located in south Venice, Woodmere Paw Park is a 38-acre park located in Venice near the Jacaranda Library. It’s a shady and peaceful dog playground open from dawn to dusk. A community center, playground, tennis courts, basketball hoops, restrooms and a short nature trail are all adjacent to the paw park. Call 941-486-2780 for more information.
5. Happy Tails Canine Park – G. T. Bray Park – Located at 51st Street West in Bradenton, the dog park at G. T. Bray is called the Happy Tails Canine Park. This park is built on 3 acres and considered to be an off-the-leash, fenced-in park for dogs. This doggy park offers an enclosed area that is for small, fragile and older dogs only. There is a drinking fountain and free pick-up bags.
6. Bay Front Park at Marina Jack’s – Not a park built specifically for the dogs, Bay Front Park at Marina Jack’s is a great spot to walk your pet around the shimmering Sarasota Bay right in the heart of downtown. Located at US-41 and Ringling, this park includes pick-up bags and seating.
7. Gillespie Park – Located among historic homes, Gillespie Park offers a quiet, natural respite just a breath away from the action of downtown. The park offers 10 acres of picnicking area with children’s playground and a shaded gazebo. Dogs on a leash are welcome. For more information, call 941.316.1172.
8. Arlington Park – Located at 2650 Waldmere Street in Sarasota, Arlington park offers a shady trail for you to take your furry pal for a walk. Open from 10:30 a.m. – 7:30 pm M-F, until 5:30 pm Saturday, and closed on Sunday.
9. Ken Thompson Park – Set on City Island by Mote Aquarium at 1700 Ken Thompson Parkway, this unique park offers a beautiful, spacious waterfront area for your dog to enjoy. Filled with playful options that can make for a very enjoyable day. Includes pick-up bags and seating.
10. Bird Key Park – This roadside park at the western foot of the Ringling Causeway Bridge provides a great place to stroll along the shoreline with your dog, and go explore Sarasota Bay near downtown. The 3-acre park offers scenic views of Sarasota Bay, downtown Sarasota and Lido Key, as well as occasional dolphin sightings.