BRING ON THE DOGS! Rules and Tips for Bringing Fido on the Island

By Katie King

Now that spring has arrived and the days are getting longer and warmer, who doesn’t want to go to the beach with their best friend?

Man’s best friend, that is. Fido, the four-legged, furry kind.

There’s nothing quite like watching a dog run around in utter, unabashed bliss at the beach: splashing in the surf, stalking the seagulls, smelling the seaweed, rolling in the sand. To most dogs, the beach — with all its sights, smells, tastes and sounds — is heaven on earth. So why not bring him along the next time you decide to visit Pensacola Beach?

Recently, the Pensacola Bay Area was named one of the best small cities in the United States by National Geographic Travel. The publication specifically mentioned how pet-friendly Pensacola’s people and businesses are.

It’s true. We love dogs. And with not one, but TWO, designated dog parks along the Gulf for you and your pet to relax, play or swim — Pensacola Beach provides ample opportunity for dog lovers to give their four-legged friends a chance to make their own pawmarks on the sugar-white sand.

So, here are some friendly rules and tips for bringing Fido to the island:

  • Dogs are welcome at the designated dog beaches located at parking lots 21.5 and 28.5 only. All other public beach areas and parks on Pensacola Beach are off limits to dogs.
  • Dog Beach Hours are sunrise to sunset daily, except during turtle season (May 1 – October 31) when open 7 a.m. to sunset daily.
  • Dog Beach 21.5 is located on the west side of the island on Fort Pickens Rd., in the first parking lot past the last set of condos on the Gulf
  • Dog Beach 28.5 is located on the east side of the island on Via de Luna, in the first parking lot past Portofino Towers.
  • Signs are posted to designate the dog beach areas.
  • Both dog beaches are open to dogs only.
  • Dogs must be on leash at all times at the dog beach. This is required.
  • Per Florida law, a current rabies tag must be on the dog.
  • Owners must pick up and properly dispose of their dog’s waste.
  • Doggie bags and disposable bins are available at both locations. But just to be safe – bring your own.
  • Remember, like you, dogs need fresh water and protection from the elements too. Pack a bag with a water bowl and water for them, if you plan on staying awhile.

 

Please remember that dogs are required to be on leash at the dog park and that it’s your job to heed the beach’s flag system for surf conditions. Dogs are just as susceptible to rip currents as humans are.

An animal control officer patrols the beach frequently, so obey these rules to stay out of the doghouse. All in all, be aware of your surroundings. Not everyone wants instant friendship from an 80-pound Golden retriever or even a 5-pound Pekinese. Please respect the rules to help ensure that others get to enjoy their beach time unspoiled too.

And don’t forget our motto: LEAVE ONLY YOUR PAWPRINTS BEHIND.