The Best 6 Dog Friendly Getaways Near Tampa

Have you been wondering about the best dog friendly getaways near Tampa Bay, Florida?

Planning a weekend escape with your dog near Tampa? Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun, enjoy some quiet nature time, or stroll through lively streets, there are plenty of options for you and your pooch. From the sandy shores of Clearwater Beach where your dog can dash across the waves, to the tranquil trails of Honeymoon Island State Park, and the bustling, pet-welcoming café culture in Miami’s Coconut Grove, every spot offers a unique experience.

We were lucky enough to spend a month in the Tampa Bay area during our cross-country road trip with our two terriers. Being able to spend so much time in the area made for some wonderful experiences.

These destinations are beautiful (for you) and will be a delightful getaway with plenty to sniff out for your pup! We hope you get the chance to explore some these great dog-friendly weekend getaways near Tampa.

Picture of a dog on St Pete Pier

St Petersburg

Why St Petersburg is a great weekend vacation with your dog

Best For: Waterfront adventures, dog-friendly breweries, vibrant arts scene, nature trails, pup-friendly cafes

St. Petersburg is known as one of the most dog-friendly cities in the United States. It’s on Florida’s Gulf Coast and has a lot of cool, dog-friendly spots. There’s Vinoy Park along the waterfront where you and your pup can enjoy a nice walk with views of Tampa Bay. Right next to it is the St. Pete Pier, which is perfect for a stroll with your dog. The pier has great views of the bay, playgrounds, and even some pet-friendly areas.

If your dog loves the beach, there are several dog beaches in the St. Pete area. Our favorite is Fort De Soto Park’s Paw Playground. They have an off-leash beach area where dogs can run and play in the water. Central Avenue is really vibrant and full of life. There are lots of cafes and breweries that welcome dogs.

Green Bench Brewing is a favorite where you can have a craft beer and your dog can chill with you. On Saturdays, the Morning Market is a fun stop with local vendors and live music, and they love dogs there too.

Don’t miss out on the Dog Bar, which is an outdoor bar and dog park with staff there specifically to help watch your pup so you can watch your drink. I don’t think we’ve experienced anything quite like it!

For a bit of nature, the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve is great. They have trails where you can hike with your dog, and it’s pretty peaceful with lots of trees and wildlife. The community in St. Pete is super dog-friendly, and they often have events and activities for pet owners. It’s a relaxed, fun place to spend a couple of days with your dog.

Our experience: why we think this is a fantastic day trip or weekend getaway

St Pete deserves very high praise for being dog friendly weekend getaway. We spent a month in St Petersburg and used it is our hub to explore the surrounding areas in Florida. There were so many places to explore, things to do and natural adventures that I don’t think we even scratched the surface.

Wherever we went out to get a bite to eat, it was very easy to find places with outdoor seating. Most places with patios welcomed dogs, but definitely The Dog Bar is in a league of its own as far as dog-friendly establishments go.

Desoto Park has an incredible dog beach, with the iconic white sand and beautiful water.

Even in November the weather could get surprisingly warm, which was usually a good thing but sometimes proved a bit too much for Denver our Norwich who wilts at temperatures past 75 degrees.

To learn everything you need to know about brining your dog to St. Pete, check out our local guide.

picture of denver, a Norwhich terrier, enjoying a boat ride near Rotonda West

Rotonda West

Why Rotonda West is a great dog-friendly hidden gem

Best For: serene sunset walks, scenic bike trails, pet-friendly parks, peaceful beaches, Spring Training baseball games

A charming spot in Southwest Coastal Florida, Rotonda West could be just the right spot a relaxing weekend with your dog. This unique community has a circular layout and a peaceful vibe, making it a great escape from the hustle and bustle. You’ll love the warm sunshine and gentle Gulf breezes that make every outing with your pup special.

There are a variety of dog-friendly beaches and parks. For instance, Gasparilla Island State Park is known for its stunning sunsets and sandy shores, perfect for an evening stroll with your dog. The Boca Grande Bike Path is a fantastic spot for a long walk (or scenic ride) with your pup,

You can also take your dog out to the ball game! There are Bark in the Park baseball games during Spring Training in February and March.

Just a short drive away, Oscar Scherer State Park offers beautiful trails and picnic spots that are ideal for a day out.

These highlights are just the beginning, so if you would like a local’s recommendations on the best places to stay and eat, check out our dog-friendly Rotonda West guide.

Our experience: why we think this is a fantastic day trip or weekend getaway

We were close by in nearby Fort Myers to visit with some family during Thanksgiving. They took us out boating up in South Venice, which was a really unique way to spend the holiday!

Our experience in the area was memorable, but limited. That’s why we connected with a local to the area to provide you a detailed dog friendly guide on Rotonda West? Ann and her dog Bo, locals to the area, share their tips on the area to help you maximize your time in Rotonda West with your dog.

A picture of a dog friendly getaway, Honeymoon Island State Park

Dunedin and Honeymoon Island State Park

Why Dunedin and Honeymoon Island State Park is a great dog friendly getaway

Best For: Dog beach playdates, waterfront strolls, art walks, pet-friendly breweries, cozy sidewalk cafes

Dunedin is a great spot if you’re planning a trip with your dog. It’s a small town on Florida’s Gulf Coast with a really laid-back vibe. There’s a nice stretch along the Dunedin Causeway where you can walk your dog and enjoy the sea breeze. The beaches here are dog-friendly, so your pup can run around and play in the water.

Honeymoon Island State Park is a highlight. They have a special dog beach where dogs can roam off-leash. Plus, there are shaded trails where you can take a peaceful walk together. Downtown Dunedin is super welcoming to dogs too. Many of the cafes and breweries have outdoor seating areas where dogs are allowed. You can grab a drink at Caledonia Brewing or have a meal at The Living Room on Main with your dog by your side.

The town also has a fun artsy feel with murals and sculptures scattered around. They even have a Mardi Gras parade that includes dogs in costumes. Overall, Dunedin has a mix of beach fun, good food, and a friendly community, making it a perfect getaway with your dog.

Our experience: why we think this is a fantastic day trip or weekend getaway

Honeymoon Island State Park was a major highlight of our month long trip in Florida. We got hit by a thunderstorm on our way up the coast, but it cleared luckily by the time we got there and we spent the afternoon exploring the beach and beach trails. Denver encountered his first tortoise in the parking lot and he had no idea what to do about such a strange creature!

The beaches are beautiful, though the currents can vary significantly so you might need to be selective about when and where you and your dog swim. There is information posted in multiple locations.

After the beach we enjoyed a bite to eat and a beer at the 7th Sun Brewing Company

Picture of two dogs on the walkway to North Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach

Why Clearwater Beach is a great weekend vacation near

Best For: Sandy paws and sunset strolls, dolphin spotting, dog-friendly cafes

Clearwater is an awesome spot to visit with your dog. The sand is white and soft. The sunsets are some of the best in Florida. You can walk along the Beach Walk Promenade, which is lined with palm trees, shops, and places where you and your pup can grab a bite.

While Clearwater Beach does not allow dogs, just a little up the beach is North Clearwater Beach which is dog-friendly and is just as beautiful as the main beach, the parking can be trickier. Pier 60 is nearby and has a cool sunset celebration every day with street performers and local artists. It’s a fun place to check out with your dog.

Sand Key Park is another great spot, with areas specifically for dogs to run around. Plus, there are boat tours where you can see dolphins. Clearwater Beach is just really friendly for both people and pets, making it a great place for a weekend trip with your dog.

Our experience: why we think this is a fantastic day trip or dog friendly weekend getaway

We parked at the top of the main Clearwater Beach and walked through the North Beach neighborhood to get to the beach with our dogs.

It is a really long beach, really great for a nice long, sunset walk. We snapped some of our best sunset pics and videos of our month in Florida!. The dogs loved it because the sand is soft but firm enough to enjoy a long walk.

There is a lot of space and other dogs to hang out with, though it does require leashes (even while swimming).

Picture of the dog friendly trail at Rainbow Springs

Rainbow Springs

Why Rainbow Springs is a great dog friendly weekend vacation

Best For: crystal-clear spring swims, dog-friendly forest trails, serene canoe rides, tranquil riverfront relaxation

Rainbow Springs is a fantastic spot to visit with your dog. It’s a couple of hours from Orlando and Tampa, so it’s an easy drive for a weekend getaway. The springs have the clearest water you’ll ever see, and both you and your dog can enjoy a swim together. There are plenty of forest trails around the springs too, which are great for long walks and letting your pup explore.

One of the best things about Rainbow Springs is the canoeing. You can rent a canoe and paddle down the Rainbow River with your dog, enjoying the calm and beautiful surroundings. It’s a peaceful way to spend a day.

Not far from Rainbow Springs, about a 40-minute drive, is Crystal River. This area is famous for manatees and offers even more water activities. Combining Rainbow Springs with a visit to Crystal River makes for a great weekend full of outdoor fun and water adventures. Your dog will love all the new smells and sights, and it’s a great way for both of you to unwind and enjoy nature.

Our experience: why we think this is a fantastic day trip or dog friendly weekend getaway

We loved this area of Florida and were able to visit the Rainbow Springs on a day trip from St Pete, but it would be even better to stay for the weekend in a river front rental.

Both Crystal Springs and Rainbow River have water that you really have to see it to believe it. It makes for stunning pictures and an unforgettable visual experience. While dogs are not allowed to swim in the headwaters area of the Rainbow Springs park, we enjoyed hiking on the trails with our pups. There is a kayak and canoe rental inside the park, and dogs are allowed in the canoes.

Just outside the headwaters of the park are a number of vacation homes that line the Rainbow River, it is definitely a place I would want to go back to and spend a weekend just relaxing on the river.

Picture of a dog in the brightly lit night on Miami Beach


Why visit Miami for a vacation with your dog

Best For: pups night out (outdoor nightlife), waterfront dog walks, mural sniffing

Miami is such an icon, it can make for a memorable weekend with your dog.

Famous for the nightlife, there are some outdoor areas along Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, where your pup can be along for the party. Of course there are the incredible beaches, but choices might be limited. Your dog can enjoy places like Hobie Island Beach Park, where your pup can play in the sand and water. The most iconic beaches and even places like the famous South Beach promenade have dog restrictions, so be sure to double check dog policies for some of the famous spots ahead of time.

The Wynwood Arts District is a sight to behold, you can take in the street murals and then grab a bite at one of the many dog-friendly cafes.

To stretch your legs and paws, head over to Bayfront Park or Margaret Pace Park. These parks are perfect for letting your dog roam off-leash and enjoy some green space. Plus, the views of Biscayne Bay are stunning and make for a great backdrop to your day.

Our experience: why we think this is a fantastic day trip or weekend getaway

We spent a couple nights in Miami with Sam and Denver and there is a lot to love in Miami

Spending an evening in Miami Beach with the dogs was an unforgettable experience for us. We were able to hit the town, enjoy the cool night air and the energetic vibe that is Miami. It was pretty overwhelming for Denver, who can be a bit sensitive to lots of noise and activity but Sam seemed to have a blast.

The Wynwood Art District blew us away. While we were there, several of new murals were being finished, so murals must always be evolving. It is probably a new experience with each visit, so we will definitely be going back if we get a chance to visit Miami again.

Some of the dog restrictions (like the South Beach promenade) are unfortunate, but there are still plenty of places to enjoy with our dogs. We also found some unexpected workarounds, one was a cafe with outdoor seating on the South Beach promenade, so even though dogs aren’t allowed on the promenade itself it, we could still enjoy the area because the cafe we ate at (right on the promenade).

Final Thoughts: Best weekend getaways near Tampa

As we’ve explored, whether you’re strolling through the vibrant streets of St. Petersburg, unwinding by the crystal-clear waters at Clearwater Beach, trekking along the scenic trails of Rainbow Springs, or soaking up the lively culture in Miami, each location offers a memorably dog-friendly getaway packed with activities you and your dog can enjoy together. Maybe you’ll find yourselves chasing waves on Honeymoon Island or discovering the quaint shops and eateries in Dunedin. Each destination is a treasure chest of new sights, smells, and experiences, ready to make your weekend getaway with your dog as enjoyable as it is unforgettable.

The Top 12 Dog-friendly Cities in the United States

I looked into what the data said and I surveyed people who regularly travel with their dogs to come up with the most dog-friendly cities in the US.

A Norwich terrier is happily running in a dog-friendly park

Best Dog-friendly cities on the East Coast

Best Dog-friendly cities on the West Coast

Best Dog-friendly cities in the Southwest

  • Austin, Texas
  • The Greater Pheonix area including Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Santa Fe including Taos, New Mexico
  • Denver, Colorado

If you have been to one of the places on my list or if you have a suggestion of another fabulous pet destination, I’d love to hear your story on our review page for the United States.

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