Here are some of our favorite dog-friendly parks in the Tampa Bay area.
Fort De Soto Paw Playground and Beach
3500 Pinellas Bayway S, Tierra Verde
Two words: doggie paradise. This fenced dog park opens onto a public beach and even has fire hydrants in the play area. Out of the gated area, dogs can run free as long as they respond to voice commands. Owners do a great job of cleaning up after their dogs.
Done playing in the water? Back into the fenced area for a shower and a drink from the dog-height water fountain. The play area is fenced off into two sections, one side for small dogs and one for large.
1.5-mile area on the St. Petersburg side of the Gandy Bridge
This mixture of beach and mangroves is a nonstop party for families and their furry friends. Feel free to bring grills, campers, tents, kayaks and boats.
Dogs love it here. The wading area extends 20 feet or more before getting deep, so big dogs and little dogs can have fun in a large area. It’s best to keep dogs leashed because of heavy traffic on Gandy Boulevard.
Though watch for trash. There are plenty of cans, but when we visited, they were overflowing, sending garbage into the mangroves and along the shoreline.
3800 Park St. N, St. Petersburg
This beautiful city park opens 30 minutes before sunrise and closes 30 minutes after sunset. Rules are clear: Keep dogs on a leash no longer than 6 feet. Clean up after your dog.
A quarter-mile paved path lined by low-hanging oaks leads to the small dog bathing area. The beach is disappointing for swimming, but the view of dolphins and birds in the water is tranquil. Broken shells cover the wading area, so wear shoes and check the dogs’ paws after playing in the water.
Honeymoon Island State Park and Pet Beach
1 Causeway Blvd., Dunedin
Pack a picnic basket and head to Honeymoon Island. Dogs are allowed on the pet beach, on the nature trail and in the picnic area. Dogs must remain on a leash no longer than 6 feet. Park entry fee is $8 per car.
Belleair Beach Causeway
Specifically, between West Bay Drive and Gulf Boulevard. Leashed dogs can play in this unfenced area of the causeway. Water shoes are suggested.
Davis Island Dog Park
At Severn and Martinique avenues in Tampa
This dog park has its own beach. It is fenced on three sides; the fourth side is the water. Dogs safely run free. The shore is rock-lined and the water is shallow. Another dog park is located across the parking lot, but it’s not on the water and there’s no shade.
Ferg’s Dog Park and Grill
1320 Central Ave., St. Petersburg
Dogs must be accompanied by a human to play in the fenced-in dog park adjacent to Ferg’s restaurant and bar. Barking and digging are discouraged. Collars or harnesses must be worn at all times. Note: As of March 18, the restaurant was open for take out service only.
6901 S MacDill Ave., Tampa
Find large trees for shade, picnic tables, a water spout, bucket and poop bags. There’s also a track around the lake to walk your leashed dog.
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa
A fenced dog park is located behind the Tampa Museum of Art. It offers off-leash play, separate sections for large and small dogs and a doggie water fountain.
Anclote Gulf Park Bark Park
2305 Baillies Bluff Road, Holiday
Pasco County Parks and Recreation Department operates this off-leash park. There isn’t much seating, so take a folding chair.
Carolyn Meeker Dog Park
102 SW First Ave., Lutz (off U.S. 41 and Lutz Lake Fern Road)
The 2-acre park has separate sections for small and large dogs, as well as a time-out spot.