Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dog Friendly Florida Keys

Please please please be considerate and pick up after your dog.  You may just be visiting, but there are many who make the Florida Keys their home.  One of the reasons dogs are banned from many places is that inconsiderate owners don't pick up after them and/or allow them to disturb other guests.  Dogs will continue to be welcome in special places only if their humans are considerate of others.

Many amazing and wonderful creatures live in the Keys.  Most dogs want to chase and eat these creatures.  Please don't let them.  There are also iguanas and large geckos which may bite if cornered, so don't let your dog get close to them.  In Blue Hole on Big Pine Key, there are alligators -- my parents have seen them -- so no swimming in Blue Hole!

Key Largo

Places to walk:

Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, County Road 905, Key Largo, FL - Leashed dogs are allowed on the nature trails, many of which are paved.  This is a great place to walk with your dog, but you will likely need plenty of bug spray.

Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock

Key Largo Community Park has a wonderful walking trail around the park and there's no cost for admission.  There is no fenced, off-leash dog park area.

Dog-friendly restaurants and bars:

Key Largo Conch House has excellent food and is extremely dog-friendly.  It's family-owned and is one of my parents' favorite restaurant in the Upper Keys.  Key Largo Conch House

Sharky's is a cool diver hang-out, dog-friendly and with good food.

Pilot House seems to draw quite a crowd of dogs.  Maybe they like to watch the fish through the glass-bottom bar.

Caribbean Club is dog-friendly.

Sunset view, Caribbean Club

Places to stay:

Hilton Key Largo Resort allows dogs in the hotel, however dogs are not allowed on the hotel's beach.  The large parking lot can function as a dog potty area, but you have to cross a busy road and walk down the bike path in order to have a real walk.


Places to play:

Founder's Park (MM 87, Bayside) has a dog park, however there is an admission fee of $8 per person for non-residents, so we have not been there.

Anne's Beach (MM 73, Lower Matecumbe Key, oceanside) has a boardwalk and beach area.  Dogs are allowed, and the shallow, sandy bottom makes it a great place for romping.  There are two parking areas, one at each end.  If the beach area near the parking lot is too crowded, just walk down the boardwalk to find a less crowded area.  There are pavilions along the boardwalk, which look like a great place for humans to have a picnic.

Boardwalk at Anne's Beach
Anne's Beach

Dog-friendly restaurants:

Lorelei is a wonderful restaurant and is one of my parents' favorite restaurants in the Keys.  There are signs that say "no dogs", however when mom and dad asked the wait staff, they said it was fine.  Lorelei


Places to shop -- or not:

Worldwide Sportsman is dog-friendly -- to a point.  The sign at the door says you must either carry your dog or put them in one of the "dog carts" provided.  So if you can lift your dog into a shopping cart, your dog can accompany you shopping.

Key West

Note:  Key West has a very healthy population of feral chickens that roam the streets and alleyways.  Their frequent appearance can excite even the most well-mannered beast.  You may want to be prepared with some really yummy treats to distract your dog.

A Key West chicken

Places to play:

Higgs Beach Dog Park is at the corner of White Street and Atlantic Boulevard, across the street from the White Street Pier.  It has an area for big dogs and an area for little dogs.  For more info, see Key West Dog Park.

Dog Beach is at the end of Vernon Street, between South Beach and Casa Marina.  It's a very small beach, but it's very nice to have a beach where dogs are allowed as well as people.  You can romp with the local dogs and watch them do stand-up paddleboarding with their parents.

Dog Beach

Stand-up Paddle Boarding at Dog Beach

Dog-friendly restaurants:

Pepe's is very dog-friendly.

Schooner Wharf is dog-friendly.

Blue Heaven said they have only two dog-friendly tables.

Louie's Backyard and the Afterdeck Bar are right next to Dog Beach, and dogs are allowed on the deck, at the Afterdeck Bar.

Places to stay:

The Westin Key West Resort and Marina allows dogs, and there are great places to walk -- along the dock, on the side streets, or along Duval Street.  The location can't be beat.  It's right at Mallory Square and a very short walk from Duval Street.

There are a number of other dog-friendly hotels and guest houses in Key West, but we haven't tried them.

No representations or warranties are made as to the accuracy of this information.  After all, I am a dog.

For more detailed information (and a human's perspective), Mom has reviewed most of these places on Trip Advisor as labnut or Garth Riley.


  1. I think I commented on this when you posted on FB but just looked through it again. When my tummy is better I am totally going to Anne's beach. This is a super post and I will send people here for your list!

  2. Yes, you MUST go to Anne's Beach! Glad you enjoyed the post. Mom likes reviewing places on Trip Advisor but I thought readers would benefit from my perspective as well. Plus we met lots of people who missed their dogs because they "had to" leave them at home. We found the Keys to be very dog friendly -- at least in November when it wasn't too hot or too crowded -- and we were all very glad I got to come along for the trip this time.