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Seaside Barks: Dog-Friendly Spots Along the Emerald Coast

The soft sands, crystal-clear waters, and epic sunsets along the Emerald Coast are surely great for you and your family to enjoy. But what about your faithful furry companions?

Well, we say they will love vacationing on the Emerald Coast, too! The region offers plenty of pet-friendly spots, including waterfront dog-friendly beaches, scenic dog parks, outdoor shopping malls, and even pontoon boats where you and your best friends can explore the world-famous emerald waters together.

Many of us love our pets like family members. Still, planning a vacation with them can be challenging. If you’re wondering where to find the best pet-friendly places along the Emerald Coast, worry not. We’ve got you covered.

This blog will bring you a list of several pet-friendly spots along the Emerald Coast, so you can plan your next vacation ensuring your pooch will feel included and happy. 

Let’s “dig” into some seaside adventures with our four-legged pals!

Wet-N-Wild Watersports, Destin

Wet-N-Wild Watersports is one for the whole family. This rental company has dog-friendly pontoon boots available, allowing you to include Fido in a day of water-based activities and exploration. 

The boats are well-maintained and suitable for groups of up to eleven people, with no extra fee for dogs. Whether you choose to rent it for half or a full day, you’ll certainly have a great time with your furry companion exploring the crystal-clear waters of Destin.

If your pet likes to jump into the waters, they can freely swim, as long as it’s all the time under your attentive eyes.

Destin Commons, Destin

Destin Commons is a great outdoor shopping spot with over 95 shops and restaurants. They offer six hydration stations scattered around to make sure your furry friend stays cool and hydrated. 

Plus, all the restaurants with a patio are totally cool with your pup tagging along. Lots of the stores are dog-friendly too, but it’s always a good idea to double-check before you bring your buddy inside.

But wait, there’s more! Dogs can also join in on the fun at Destin Commons events, like the awesome annual Halloween Haunt Costume Contest. Just picture the hilarious photo ops!

The Village of Baytowne Wharf, Miramar Beach

Like Destin Commons, The Village of Baytowne Wharf is a pet-friendly shopping and entertainment destination in Miramar Beach, FL.

It boasts more than 12 restaurants and nearly 20 stores. Doggos are welcome to tag along while you go on a shopping spree, but they must be on a leash, and you must clean up after them.

Some stores allow them inside (but remember to ask before walking in), and the restaurant patios are dog-friendly — some even provide complimentary water bowls for them.

30A Farmers’ Market, Rosemary Beach

Happening every Sunday from 9 AM to 1 PM in the charming community of Rosemary Beach, the 30A Farmers’ Market offers the opportunity to find unique products in a pet-friendly and beautiful environment.

In a small and scenic park along North Barrett Square, you can browse through the local vendor stalls where you’ll find lots of fresh produce, organic and gluten-free products, and even some dog treats, of course. Many pet owners bring their furry friends to the market, so it’s also a great opportunity for them to socialize. Just keep in mind that they have to be on a leash at all times.

Since the market happens close to Main Street, you’re also just a few steps away from pet-friendly restaurants and stores in Rosemary Beach.

Dog Beach Across from Pier Park, Panama City Beach

Located right next to the pier at Pier Park, this dog beach in Panama City boasts clean, pristine white sand and beautiful waters. It’s a great spot for both dogs and families, offering warm waters, expansive sandbars, and gentle Gulf waves.

With parking available across the street and accessible via beach accesses 56 and 57, the beach is very well maintained. Yes, you do have to leash your pup, but this is one of the best pet-friendly spaces in Panama City Beach, FL. It’s also an ideal place for your dog to socialize and meet other canine friends. 

Facilities include a nearby toilet and showers with hoses attached, perfect for rinsing off sand from both you and your pup.

Note: One of the downsides is that they lack pet cleanup bins like those found at campgrounds and other parks, so remember to bring your own poop bags.

Extra tip: If you’re looking to extend your visit and make a full day out of it, you’re in the right place; there are plenty of dog-friendly restaurants nearby.

Pier Park, Panama City Beach

Pier Park is a premier shopping, dining, and entertainment complex in Panama City Beach with a delightful coastal-themed atmosphere and several venues welcoming your pooch with open arms, as long as they are on a leash.

Most restaurants with patios allow you to dine with dogs, and many stores let them inside and provide water bowls at the door. If you need to clean up after your dog, Pier Park has a dog station with poop bags and containers to properly dispose of your trash. Benches and resting areas are also available for you to relax before continuing to explore the huge complex of open-air fun.

Frank Brown Dog Park, Panama City Beach

Frank Brown Dog Park is located within the larger Frank Brown Park and offers two fenced-in off-leash play areas: the “Lazy Dawg Zone” and the “Party Dawg Zone,” designed to accommodate dogs of different sizes and, of course, energy levels.

Overall, it’s a wonderful dog park. There is plenty of room for lots of running and playtime, with a mix of sand and grass for dogs to enjoy. There is even a pool for the dogs to dip in – which they certainly love when the time comes to cool off.

Other nice amenities include drinking water, benches, and poop bag stations for pet owners.

Note: While the dog park itself is off-leash, dogs must be kept on a leash in other areas of the larger Frank Brown Park, but they can still enjoy the area and the nice walking trails.

Conservation Park, Panama City 

With 24 miles of pet-friendly trails and over a mile of boardwalks, Conservation Park in Panama City Beach is a paradise for nature lovers who want to immerse themselves in the great outdoors with their furry friends.

Along the trails, you’ll find fantastic pathways for strolling with your canine companion. The trails offer a variety of widths, primarily wide, and feature a mix of surfaces including dirt, rock, and boardwalk. To suit your preferences, you can also find a selection of trail lengths where your dog will have plenty to sniff and explore.

Poop bags and trash cans are available at the beginning of each route, and picnic tables and restrooms are available at the trailhead. Pets must be kept on a leash at all times.

Extra Tips for a Successful Dog-friendly Visit Along the Emerald Coast 

To have the best experience when vacationing with your pet along the Emerald Coast, try to keep some things in mind:

  • Ensure that your lodging is pet-friendly. More and more hotels and short-term rentals are allowing pets nowadays. At RealJoy Vacations, for one, we have a great selection of pet-friendly units.

  • If you’re traveling by car, secure your pet in a well-ventilated crate or use a pet seatbelt.

  • Just in case, it’s always a good idea to have proper identification for your pet, including a collar with an ID tag containing your contact information.

  • If you are going on holiday with your furry friend, schedule a visit to the vet before the trip to ensure your pet is in good health. Check if vaccinations are up to date, and if there is any new documentation that you need to bring to your destination.

  • Packing essentials for your pet including food, water, bowls, medications, a favorite toy, and bedding. Traveling can be as stressful for them as it is for us, and having familiar items always brings some comfort.

  • Use resources like this blog to research and plan the best pet-friendly activities and spots in the region you are visiting.

  • Always study local pet regulations, including leash laws and any restrictions on pets in certain areas. You don’t want to be caught with fines and unpleasant surprises.

  • Always save the location of the nearest veterinary clinic at your destination and have a pet first aid kit at hand.

  • Be mindful of your pet’s behavior and comfort level in new surroundings. Some pets may need time to adjust to a new environment.

  • While we’re excited about how many local businesses are dog-friendly nowadays, don’t assume without checking first. It’s best to avoid disappointments for you and your furry friend.

  • In Florida, some waterways are home to a familiar wild resident: the alligator. While rarely dangerous to humans (especially adults), gators do pose a risk to dogs. Be cautious along shorelines and pay attention to posted warnings.

  • In many places, you will find doggie bags and other cleaning supplies, but it’s always a great idea to bring your own. Carry waste bags to clean up after your pet and be respectful of public spaces.

Finally, prepare yourself to be flexible and adapt your plans based on your pet’s needs and the environment.

Want more tips? Head over to our destination blog for insights on all things Emerald Coast. From the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants to a nightlife guide and the reasons why you should consider living in Destin all year round, all the info you need can be found — and we have many more juicy blogs coming up soon!

Where To Stay with Fido During Your Visit to Florida’s Emerald Coast?

Stay like a local by booking one of our RealJoy Vacations rentals. From spacious beachfront houses to luxurious resorts, we offer a wide selection not just in Destin but along the Emerald Coast. 

All our properties come with top-notch amenities that will make your experience unforgettable.

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