Photo credit: Nicole Coudal

Paw-Friendly Attractions to Pal Around Town

Sarasota County is more than pet-tolerant; it's pet-welcoming, with plenty of places to explore with your beloved buddy.

Sarasota, with its balmy weather and beautiful beaches, is a paradise for more than just humans. It's also a paradise for our four-legged friends. In this pet-friendly city, there's no need to leave your faithful companion behind. From dog-friendly beaches and markets to pet-welcoming parks and cafes, Sarasota offers a wagging good time for both you and your furry buddy. 

So grab the leash, pack some water and snacks, and head out to enjoy Sarasota's beautiful scenery and lively culture – all with your best friend at your side. It's a dog's life, indeed!

Paws in the Sand: Dog-Friendly Beaches

brohard park

The only dog-designated beach in Sarasota County is located at South Venice Beach, known as Brohard Beach & Paw Park. There, find a small and large dog park with fountains, a shower, picnic tables and benches. Watch your pup's eyes light up as they experience the feeling of sand beneath their paws and meet lots of other happy doggos playing catch in the Gulf of Mexico.

Though a much smaller stretch of sand, head to Bayfront Park and the marina on the outskirts of Downtown Sarasota and find O'Leary's Tiki Bar & Grill. There, locals and visitors alike gather every evening for sunset drinks by the water to dig their toes in the sand under the hanging lights and umbrellas. 

Paved or Marked Trails for Pooches

bay park

Your dog's tail will wag with delight at the parks Sarasota has to offer. Urfer Family Park's network of walking and hiking trails, as well as a dedicated dog field to run, romp and socialize, will be your dog's new favorite play date spot. Remember to bring a ball for a game of fetch! In Payne Park, a 1/2-mile paved track winds its way through the beautifully landscaped downtown park, making it a fun spot to rollerblade, bike or run with your furry friend. 

Other beautiful public parks to walk your dog through perfectly manicured grounds are The Bay Park, Lemon Bay Park and Bird Key Park, where paved walkways make for a scenic and easy stroll for both you and your doggo. Enjoy the sights of the shoreline at both and find drinking areas specially designated for thirsty canines. 

For more adventurous dog owners, the Legacy Trail offers a scenic hike or bike ride with your pup. This 10.6-mile trail is a former railway line turned pet-friendly pathway. Just remember to keep your dog on a leash and clean up after them to keep the trail pristine for all users. Dog-drinking fountains can be found at most of these locations, too, to keep your pup hydrated on a hot sunny day!

Dog Parks Galore 

There are over 80 designated dog parks for you to check out during your visit to Sarasota County, or to start checking off the list if you're a local! They were built specifically to accommodate the needs of dogs and their owners, where 4-legged friends can run and play off-leash in a controlled environment, under your supervision. Each has amenities like fenced-in areas for large or small dogs, water fountains, waste disposal bags, trash cans, and seating.

Pawty at Breweries & Beer Gardens

Sarasota County loves its craft brew scene – with several microbreweries and beer gardens to bring Fido and enjoy a few local creations. Big Top Brewing Co. and Sun King Brewery in Sarasota and Motorworks Brewing in Bradenton both offer large outdoor areas to post up for the afternoon or evening and enjoy the fresh Florida air with your drinking buddy. 

Even more pet-friendly, head to Boos Ice House & Dog Bar, a newly opened dog bar on the edge of Downtown Sarasota – for both pet owners and pets! Anyone without a dog is also welcome to visit the indoor restaurant, outdoor dining deck or off-leash dog parks to eat, drink or mingle with the pups. To bring your dog, he or she must be a Boo’s Pack member or guest.

Re-tail Therapy: Pet-Friendly Markets

sarasota farmers market

There are a bounty of farmers markets around Sarasota County, both seasonal and year-round. From the Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market and Venice Farmers Market on Saturdays to the Lakewood Ranch Farmers Market and Siesta Key Farmers Market on Sundays, head out for an early morning outing to scope out food trucks, farm stands and local vendors selling artisan-made goods. 

And around the holidays, especially Halloween, many pets come dressed to impress for a festive "dog-o-ween" costume contest!

Pampered Pooch: Pup-Friendly Eateries

cha cha coconuts st armands

Many restaurants and cafes in Sarasota County offer pet-friendly seating areas – especially in downtown districts and eateries on the keys, where there is ample outdoor seating. Some establishments even offer special doggy menus so your pup can dine in style. 

St. Armands Circle is particularly pet-friendly, with water bowls outside many restaurants and shops and almost every restaurant around the Circle with outdoor seating available. Further south, Historic Downtown Venice offers two main streets lined with restaurants and cafes with patio seating for you and your pooch to enjoy a bite or bev.

Stay at Pet-Friendly Accommodations

hotel indigo

Don't want to leave the pup behind on your weekend getaway or week-long vacation? There are an increasing number of home rentals, hotels and resorts in the area that are more than happy to accommodate your pooch during a stay. Make yourselves at home at dog-friendly accommodations such as Homewood Suites by Hilton Sarasota, The Sarasota Modern, voco Sarasota, Even Hotel Sarasota-Lakewood Ranch, Aloft Sarasota, Hampton Inn & Suites Sarasota, Sandcastle at Lido Beach, Hyatt Regency Sarasota, The Westin Sarasota, Hibiscus Suites, Tropical Breeze Resort and plenty more. 

Before you and your furry friend embark on your Sarasota adventure, be sure to check local regulations or business guidelines for pets. Leash laws and restrictions can vary, and it's important to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.