Brohard Paw Park. Photo by Eddie Kirsch
Brohard Paw Park. Photo by Eddie Kirsch.

Dog Friendly Travel and Leisure in Sarasota County

From the beachside resorts to sidewalk cafes, dozens of hotels and restaurants in Sarasota County offer a first-class experience to travelers and their four-legged friends.

We believe that the best vacations are the ones that you can take with your best friend—so pet lovers may be thrilled to learn that wet noses and sandy paws are always welcome in Sarasota.

From the beachside resorts to sidewalk cafes, dozens hotels and restaurants in Sarasota County offer a first-class experience to travelers and their four-legged friends. Whether you and your pup are the rugged outdoors adventure types, or pampered poodles that prefer the finer things in life, Sarasota has activities and accommodations to satisfy even the most finicky Fido.

Leash-Free Paw Parks

There's nothing like a little fresh air and freedom—in a safe and supervised environment—to make any dog's day. Sarasota and Venice are home to several off-leash dog parks that allow pups to exercise, explore and play in a fenced environment where owners can rest assured their four-legged friends can't wander too far.

The 17th Street Paw Park is the longest running dog park in Sarasota County, established in 1999. The park comes with all the amenities a pooch could want: doggie drinking fountains, separate fenced areas for small and large dogs, and plenty of waste disposal bags and trash cans so that their caregivers can help keep the park clean. Humans visiting the 17th Street Park without their pups also have access to softball and soccer fields, as well as an archery range.

Arlington Paw Park, near downtown Sarasota, is another popular hangout for Sarasota's canine set. Like other paw parks in the area, Arlington offers separate fenced areas for small and large dogs, as well as access to drinking fountains to help pups keep cool during the ‘dog days' of summer. On-leash dogs can join their owners for a walk in the public park.

Lakeview Park
Lakeview Park

The Lakeview Paw Park  south of the city of Sarasota and the Woodmere Paw Park in Venice both provide a safe space for dogs under owner supervision to exercise and play, with access to water fountains and shady spots.

For beach-loving pups, we've saved the best for last: Brohard Beach and Paw Park is one of the most unique dog parks on Florida's Gulf Coast. An enclosed paw park offers all the amenities of other dog parks in the area, but pups with a taste for sand ‘n' surf will also love the opportunity to splash and romp on the pet-friendly section of the beach. Brohard Beach offers the only dog-friendly, off-leash beach area in Sarasota County. The beach also includes a 740-foot fishing pier for public use.

The Great Dog-Friendly (On a Leash, Please!) Outdoors

From salty beach and bayside havens to the untamed Florida wilderness, there's a bounty of nature to explore in Sarasota County. Fortunately, adventurous pups have access to several of Sarasota's parks and hiking trails—as long as they are on a leash no longer than six feet, and accompanied by a responsible human pal.

Myakka State Park
Myakka State Park

Like all state parks in Florida, Myakka State Park welcomes pets that are leashed, supervised and well-behaved. Located in east Sarasota County and portions of Manatee County, Myakka State Park spans over 58 square miles of pine forest, scrub and prairies. Accessible hiking trails lead to true Florida adventure, where visitors have a chance to encounter native Florida wildlife, like the rare roseate spoonbill, bald eagles, and armadillos. Dogs are welcome, not only on day trips to the trails, but also on Myakka State Park's overnight campgrounds.

Located off of Beneva Road Red Bug Slough Preserve is one of Sarasota's best-kept secrets, featuring 72 acres of natural Florida wilderness in the middle of the Sarasota suburbs. Quiet, unpaved hiking trails wind through Red Bug Slough (pronounced “sloo”), providing paw-friendly passage through the wilderness. Red Bug Slough also features a butterfly garden as well as a fishing dock, picnic tables and restrooms. Just don't forget to bring a bag to collect Fido's waste!

Sarasota's most popular bayside urban park, Bayfront Park is one of the most dog and family-friendly spots in town. Located near downtown Sarasota, Bayfront Park is a 32-acre peninsula with breathtaking vistas of Sarasota Bay and the Ringling Causeway. Leashed dogs are welcome to stroll with their owners through the grassy park and around its paved perimeter, which is bordered by the bay. Bayfront Park features a playground and waterpark for kids, and is home to O'Leary's Tiki Bar— a waterside restaurant that welcomes dogs on its spacious patio.

In Venice, the Venetian Waterway Park connects with the Legacy Trail and Caspersen Beach Park. Dogs on leashes are welcome on the scenic 10-mile, paved Venetian Waterway Park trail—but please keep in mind that the pavement can be hot on doggie paws on sunny days! Although some parts of the park are in an urban setting, most of the walking trails on either side of the Intracoastal Waterway offer quiet, peaceful paths where you may spot a native Florida scrub jay, gopher turtles, or even alligators.

Pet-Friendly Accommodations

Finding pet-friendly accommodations for your vacation doesn't need to be a hassle. Sarasota County features a variety of hotels, resorts and beach rentals where you and your pooch are welcome to catch some R&R, and we can help you find the right fit.

Looking for comfort, convenience and affordability? The Holiday Inn Express & Suites in east Sarasota is located just off I-75 and within minutes of Sarasota's beaches and vibrant downtown. Pets under 25 lbs are welcome for a low $25 per night or $75 weekly pet fee. To stay even closer to the beach, stay at the Holiday Inn on Lido, where dogs up to 40lbs are welcome with a $75, nonrefundable fee.

Pets up to 50 lbs are welcome at the Hampton Inn & Suites near the Sarasota-Bradenton Airport, located minutes from attractions downtown Sarasota and Bradenton. Also located near the Airport, Residence Inn allows any household pet, any size, for a one-time non-refundable fee of $75.

Dogs and cats alike are welcome at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Sarasota, where a $100 per room, per stay applies. One dog weighing no more than 50 lbs or two dogs weighing a combined 75 lbs or less are welcome at the Hyatt, where upon arrival pets receive treats and concierge assistance in locating nearby pet services.

The Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton

Pocket-sized pups can vacation in luxury at the Ritz Carlton, where dogs under 20 lbs are welcome with a $250 nonrefundable pet fee. Hotel Indigo in downtown Sarasota also offers upscale accommodations for smaller dogs, welcoming pets under 35 lbs for an additional $100 per stay. Another pet-friendly, high-end option in downtown Sarasota is Aloft, where pets up to 40 lbs are welcome.

Want to be as close as possible to the water? Beau Lido Suites on Lido Key is located just ½ block from the beach and walking distance from pet-friendly restaurants on St. Armand's Circle. Pets are welcome at Beau Lido with a $100 deposit.

Turtle Beach Resort and Inn has been offering pet-friendly accommodations for over 15 years, making it one of the longest-running pet-friendly resorts in Sarasota. As long as your pup is not prone to barking fits, he's welcome at this relaxed resort. Turtle Beach Resorts offers complimentary kayaks and canoes, and welcomes sea-worthy canines to catch a ride on the water with their owners.

Venice's Gulf Surf Resorts on Casey Key offer a variety of comfortable, furnished accommodations for the whole family—including fur friends, with a nominal surcharge. Located directly on the water on the Gulf of Mexico barrier island of Casey Key, Gulf Surf Resorts is the ultimate secluded tropical hideaway.

Hitting the road with your four-legged friend? The Sun-N-Fun RV Park welcomes dogs of all breeds and sizes, so long as they are leashed at all times and never left unattended outside. In addition to being a fully equipped RV resort, Sun-N-Fun offers vacation homes where pets are welcome for $50 for the first 1-7 days, followed by a $7.14 per day pet fee. Sun-N-Fun offers two fenced-in dog runs where pups can run off excess energy.

Doggy Dining

More than 40 restaurants in Sarasota welcome dogs if their owners are dining al fresco—and on Florida's sunny Gulf Coast, there's plenty of patio space to go around. Here are some of our top Fido-approved picks.

Based on its name alone, it should come as no surprise that The Old Salty Dog is one of the most popular spots to dine with a pup in Sarasota County. Best known for its beer-battered hot dogs and bar eats, the restaurant features three popular locations on Siesta Key, City Island, and in Venice.

Owen's Fish Camp
Owen's Fish Camp

For award-winning southern style cooking and seafood, look no further than Owen's Fish Camp in the heart of historic Burns Court in downtown Sarasota. Dogs are welcome on the outdoor patio deck, where the “Old Florida” atmosphere offers a one-of-a-kind experience and people-watching in one of Sarasota's most eclectic districts.

Located in the downtown theatre district, Bijou Cafe is steeped in history: it was originally a pumping station in the 1920s, and was converted into a restaurant in the 1980s. Today, this charming, award winning continental eatery remains a local favorite, providing ample patio seating for patrons who enjoy dining with their dogs.

Looking to bite into one of the best burgers in town? Patrick's 1481 offers a generous amount of dog-friendly sidewalk seating, and grills up some of the most sought-after burgers in town at the heart of downtown Sarasota.

Located just next door to Patrick's on the corner of Lemon and Main, Mattison's City Grille is a prime location for people-watching—and a great spot to bring your pup. Mattison's al fresco dining area offers shady, covered dining at what is arguably the most bustling corner in downtown Sarasota.

Is your dog—or shall we say, chien—a francophile? Sister restaurants C'est La Vie and Lolita Tartine in downtown Sarasota,offer up popular French cafe bites, from fresh croissants to tartine sandwiches and croque monsieurs, in pet-friendly sidewalk cafe settings. The people-watching is just as delightful as the cafe au lait.

Cafe L'Europe
Cafe L'Europe

In St. Armand's Circle, Cafe L'Europe and the Columbia Restaurant are two longstanding local favorites for human patrons and pups alike. Cafe L'Europe offers up an array of award-winning European cuisine, while Columbia provides a Floridian-Latin flair with its delectable Tampa-Cuban dishes.

Take your pup on the town for a Sunday brunch date at Libby's Cafe + Bar in Sarasota's Southside Village, or Station 400 in the Rosemary District. Both restaurants offer some of the most sought-after brunch items in town. Another great option is State Street, where dogs are welcome in the sidewalk dining area.

Located on City Island near the (on-leash) dog-friendly Ken Thompson Park, New Pass Grill is a circa-1929 bait and tackle shop that boasts oodles of ‘Old Florida' charm. Enjoy affordable pub bites, including award winning burgers, deckside, with your pup by your side.

In Venice, the Back Eddy Bistro is one of the most popular dog-friendly eateries in south Sarasota County. Enjoy umbrella-shaded al fresco dining with your dog at the Back Eddy, which specializes in New American bistro fare.

Pamper Your Pooch

Perhaps someone got a little too wet, wild and sandy at the Brohard Paw Park and dog beach… Or maybe your dog is simply feeling overdue for a spa day. Pamper your pup at Sarasota's fine pet spas.

Wet Noses Sarasota offers full grooming services to get your pup squeaky clean and feeling fancy in downtown Sarasota. In addition to grooming services, Wet Noses offers an extensive retail selection with canine-themed gift items, dog accessories, and gourmet treats.

The Bayside Pet Resort has three locations in Sarasota County, in Sarasota, University Park, and Osprey. Bayside Pet Resort offers canine lodging and daycare, as well as grooming services and dog training.

For top of the line treats and pet supplies visit the posh Woof Gang Bakery on St. Armand's Circle. Dogs are welcome in the store, which features premium house-baked dog cookies and other treats, top dog food brands, accessories, stylish doggie outfits, and dog-related gifts. The Woof Gang Bakery celebrated its grand opening in February, 2016 and has quickly become one of the most popular hangouts for the trendy, discerning pups of St. Armand's Circle.

In Case of Emergency

Of course no one expects or hopes for a medical emergency when they're away from home, but it's always a good idea to have a plan in case the unexpected occurs. Unforeseen pet emergencies, just like human emergencies, can happen any time, and may require immediate assistance.

If you're traveling with your pets in Sarasota, it's a good idea to keep the contact info for the Sarasota Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center on hand—just in case. The SVE hospital is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a week, and is centrally located at 7417 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34231.

To reach the hospital, call 941-923-7260.

Enjoy Dog-Friendly Sarasota

We've got you set with the top accommodations, restaurants, outdoor excursions, and pooch-pampering amenities in Sarasota… So get out there and have a blast with your furry bestie.

Please keep in mind that Sarasota gets lots of sunshine, especially during the summertime. Keep your pet cool by carrying bottled H2O and a travel water dish for your pup at all times, and pay attention to the pavement heat—if it's too hot for your bare feet, it's too hot for Fido's, too!

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