Dog-Friendly Vacationing in Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida, is the largest city in the state. It is also the largest American city in terms of land, having incorporated many of the surrounding areas into city limits. The city has some interesting Civil War sites to explore, as well as Plantations to learn about. There are also many natural attractions to explore. Because of such developments, is a pleasant place to check out with your dog, and much less touristy than Miami or Orlando.


Fort Carolina National Memorial

This attraction is a representation of the short-lived French presence in Florida during the 16th century. Though nothing of the original fort remains, there are present-day reconstructions of this period. Dogs on leash can go throughout the fort area, and through the Hammock Trail, which is a one-mile trail loop.

Kingsley Plantation

The Kingsley Plantation represents history from the 18th and 19th century plantation lifestyle. There is also a garden on these grounds. Dogs are allowed to explore the outside area on leash, but are not allowed in the building.

Marjorie Harris Car Cross Florida Greenway

This is a 110-mile stretch of greenway that goes from the Gulf of Mexico to the St Johns River, and it is a great place for viewing the habitats and various wildlife that Florida hosts. There are also several historic sites along the trails. Dogs are allowed on leash; there are many exit and entrance areas to the greenway.


Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve

This is a vast nature preserve that is open from 9:00 AM-6:00 PM daily. Dogs are welcome to hike around with you on leash.

Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park

This park is located near the mouth of the St Johns River, and it used to be a military area during the Civil War. It is now a pleasant place for picnicking and hiking. Leashed dogs are welcome to walk around the park with you.

Outdoor Restaurants


This is a Mexican eatery that has many meat and vegetarian options. Leashed dogs can sit at the outer tables.

Smoothie King

If you are looking for a healthy lunch amidst the heat and humidity of Florida, Smoothie King is a good option. There are also sport beverages, vitamin supplements and other healthy snacks. Leashed dogs are welcome at the outer tables.

Joseph’s Pizza

This place is located in Atlantic Beach, Florida. They offer many fresh and homemade options for their pizzas and other Italian specialties. Leashed dogs are welcome to sit at the outer tables.

Upcoming Dog Events in Florida

If you are going to be around Florida within the next few weeks with your dog, there are tons of fun things to do all over the state, ranging from dinners to wiener races to frisbee competitions to farmers markets!

Wine and Dine with Your K9

Ruby Tuesday

Boca Raton, Florida

March 25

From 6:00-9:00 PM, you’ll be able to eat and drink with your dog. This will be a benefit dinner night in order to help out Animal Aid. Make sure to indicate Animal Aid when you order food, because 10% of the cost of your meal will then go towards them. Ruby Tuesday has some vegan and vegetarian options.

Waterford Lakes Farmer’s Market

Waterford Lakes Town Center

Orlando, Florida

March 27

This awesome farmer’s market happens to be dog-friendly! It features breakfast, live music, corn hole games, farm food from around the world and a covered seating area. There are several vendors with pet products, such as homemade pet treats, clothing, travel supplies and other supplies. “Fringo’s Best Natural Pet Foods” will be there, and you can let your dog sample some foods!

Florida Wiener Dog Derby

The Shell Factory

North Fort Myers, Florida

March 28

Registration for this crazy wiener derby will begin at 11:00 AM and close at 12:30 PM. You can also register the day before (March 27) at the Shell Factory, 10:00 AM-2:00 PM, or 5:00-8:00 PM.

There will then be a pre-race meeting at 12:30, a pre-race ceremony at 12:45 PM, before the race finally starts at 1:00 PM.

Dachshunds of all sizes, hair lengths, ages and colors are encouraged to come race. There will be race divisions based on age. Winners of each division will get a trophy and possibly more.

Dachshunds must be leashed when they are not racing!

Consider taking your dog to Fort Myers Beach where dogs are allowed on the main beach, and there is also a county off-leash dog beach.


Largo Central Park

Largo, Florida

April 3

From 10:00 AM-3:00 PM, there will be a free festival with tons of family and dog activities. It is meant to help support volunteer service projects for the Largo Community and the SPCA Tampa Bay. There will be games and contests for kids and dogs, food and drinks, as well as face painting by clowns!

SkyHoundz Southeast Regional Qualifier

Land O Lakes Recreation Complex

Lutz, Florida

April 10, 11

Registration for this competition will begin at 8:00 AM, and then start at 9:30 AM and go until 5:00 PM. Saturday will feature Time Trials and Freestyle Divisions, and Sunday will feature Pairs Freestyle and All Distance and Accuracy Divisions. Click here for pre-registration.

Even if you and your dog do not want to compete, you can come and watch the action!

Upcoming Bird Events: This Weekend

Many great bird fairs are going on this Saturday and Sunday in the South and Midwest! There are many opportunities to adopt a new bird, or buy discounted supplies.

“Spring Fling” Exotic Bird Fair

Green County Event Center

Tulsa, Oklahoma

March 6

This event will be held by the Oklahoma Avicultural Society from 9:00 AM-4:00 PM. It costs $4, but is free for children under 6. This is the region’s largest bird fair, and there will be local and national bird breeders and vendors on about 100 different tables. There will be many different bird species on display, as well as cages, play stands, toys, food and more. There will also be an abundance of free print-outs about personal bird care, covering topics like nutrition and avoiding toxic substances.

Third Annual Mardi Gras

Elks Lodge

Fairfax, Virginia

March 6

If you are in the area, and interested in adopting a parrot, you should head over between 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM. They will help you choose the parrot right for you.

Greater Chicago Cage Bird Club Fair

DuPage Fairgrounds

Wheaton, Illinois

March 6

This fair will take place from 10:00 AM-4:00 PM. Adults and seniors are $3, and admission is free for children under 12. There will be breakfast and brunch, cages, toys, craft items, seed, food and birds for adoption.

Bird Fair by Parrot Outreach Society

Charlotte County Fairgrounds

Port Charlotte, Florida

March 7

This is the first bird fair by the Parrot Outreach Society, and it will take place from 10:00 AM-4:00 PM. There will  be guest speakers at 11:00 AM, and then another speech at 1:00 PM, as well as children’s activities. Admission is $4, and free for children under 10.

Exotic Bird Fair Expo

Medina Fairgrounds

Medina, Ohio

March 7

This event will go on from 10:00 AM-4:00 PM, and costs $3, or free for children under 9. It is one of the largest bird fairs in the entire state! Vendors will be selling cages, toys, feeds, boxes, food cups, perches and other assorted supplies. Breeders will be selling baby birds and breeding birds.

Madison Exotic Bird Fair

VFW Hall

Madison, Wisconsin

March 7

This exotic bird fair will go on from 10:00 AM-3:00 PM. They feature assorted vendors and breeders, especially from around the Midwest.

Exotic Bird Fair and Sale

Amara Shrine Center

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

March 7

This fun exotic bird fair will occur from 9:00 AM-4:00 PM. Admission is $5, but free for children under 10. There will be a raffle and door prizes as well.

Upcoming Dog Activities in Florida

If you are escaping to Florida this February with your dog, there are all sorts of fun, charitable, artistic and active events to attend! Most of these activities are outdoors, so they are a good opportunity to enjoy the Florida weather.

Woofstock 2010

Largo Central Park

Largo, Florida

February 13

This dog festival will take place from 10:00 AM-2:00 PM, and is free to attend. You can take your leashed dog to the Largo Central Park, to shop around at pet-related vendor stands, or attend training sessions, contests, music and other activities.

Walk for the Animals

John Prince Park

Lake Worth, Florida

February 13

This event will be put on by the Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League. Registration will begin at 7:30 AM, and then the walk will start at 9:00 AM. It costs $30 for individuals, $15 for kids and $25 for team members, and proceeds will go to the rescue league.

Along with the walk, there will be vendors, complimentary breakfast and performances by dogs. Things will wrap up around 1:00 PM.

Doglympics USA

Avalon Park

Orlando, Florida

February 20, 21

This 2nd annual dog event will have all sorts of fun resources and competitive activities for dogs. There will be a 3k race, greatest stay, Dachshund race, hurdles, frisbee contests, flyball tournament, lure course racing, agility demonstration, and more. All breeds, ages and types of dogs are welcome to participate in these competitions.

Aside from athletic opportunities, there will also be vendors selling pet foods, toys, treats, clothes and other services. There will be an assortment of adoption agencies present at Doglympics if you are thinking about adopting a new pet. It is a free event that will take place from 8:00 AM-5:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday.

Levis JCC Dogfest

Levis JCC at the Sandler Center

Boca Raton, Florida

February 21

This Jewish community center will hold a first-ever pet event that will be fun for families and their dogs.

There will be contests, demonstrations, craft projects, a leash-free play area, a dog wash, food, vendors, music, raffles and more. They will have many activities for children, including a picture frame booth, a dog painting booth, toy-making and face painting. There will also be assorted dog experts present whom you can ask questions. This event will take place from 11:00 AM-4:00 PM, and costs $10 for parking. Dogs cannot be on retractable leashes, and they must be under all current vaccinations.

Upcoming Bird Expos and Fairs in the USA

The weekends of February 2010 are certainly not short of bird fairs, in all different parts of the country!

Some of them have a variety of birds for sale, and all have discounted products.


Northern California Exotic Bird and Supply Exposition

Alameda County Fairgrounds

Pleasanton, California

February 7

This huge exposition will take place from 9:00 AM-4:00 PM, and will cost $7 for adults, and free for children 12 and under. There will be a free gift for the first 100 people to walk through the door, as well as a door prize. This expo will offer wholesale prices of all sorts of bird products to the public, such as wooden and plexiglass toys, feeders, cages, cooked food, perches, books and jewelry. There will be bird grooming on site, and some reptiles will also be available.

Madison Exotic Bird Fair & Sale

VFW Hall

Madison, Wisconsin

February 7

This fair will take place from 10:00 AM-3:00 PM, and it costs $2 for admission. Vendors will have all sorts of discount products for birds. There will also be many different birds at this fair, such as parrots, Cockatiels, finches and lovebirds.

Morning Star Exhibitions Bird Mart

Will Rogers Memorial Center-Amon Carter Exhibits Hall

Fort Worth, Texas

February 13, 14

There will be a bird fair in Fort Worth, from 9:00 AM-5:00 PM on Saturday, and 9:00 AM-4:00 PM on Sunday. The show will have birds, cages, food, toys and supplies for sale at discounted prices.


Rolling Meadows Bird Fair and Sale

Rolling Meadows Community Center

Rolling Meadows, Illinois

February 13

This huge bird fair will have vendors who carry a variety of birds, like cockatiels, conures, macaws, canaries and more. They will have excellent prices on great products for humans and for birds, including cage covers, T-shirts, bird toys, embroidered items, personalized items, perches, supplies for wild birds and other assorted products. It will go on from 10:00 AM-3:00 PM; it is $3 admission, but free for children under 9.

Mo-Kan Cage Bird Club Winter Bird Fair

Executive Conference Center

Springfield, Missouri

February 14

This bird fair will go on from 9:00 AM-3:30 PM, and it costs $5 per person. It will host all sorts of national and local vendors, who will have all sorts of birds, and supplies like toys, cages, feed and more. They will also have raffles every thirty minutes.

Exotic Bird Fair & Sale

National Guard Armory

West Palm Beach, Florida

February 14

This bird fair will take place from 9:00 AM-4:00 PM. General admission is $10, but it is free for children under 10. There is free parking, and there will also be door prizes. This event will hold many different exotic birds, toys, cages and food for good prices.

Upcoming Dog Events in Florida

If you are in Florida the next two weekends, there are lots of fun dog events around the states! There is a low-cost vaccination clinic, along with an exercise event, adoption opportunities and other fund raising activities.


CPR’s 2nd Annual Pugs and Pooches WinterBark

South County Regional Park

Boca Raton, Florida

January 23

This event will occur from 10:00 AM-4:00 PM. It costs $5 to park, but the event itself is free. There will be many vendors around, so that you can shop for your pet, and also take advantage of some educational resources. There will also be children’s activities, like a bounce house and a slide.

If you are looking to adopt a dog, there will be many breeds there. There will also be K9 demos. Leashed, well-behaved dogs are allowed to accompany you. All of the proceeds will benefit the Compassionate Pug Rescue, an organization to help pugs and other homeless pets.

Low Cost Pet Vaccinations

Woof Gang Bakery

Sarasota, Florida

January 23

This session will take place from 2:30-3:30 PM at this great pet store. No appointment is necessary. Rabies vaccination costs $12, and there are other packages available from State Licensed Veterinarians.


2nd Annual Rescuefest

Pookie’s Pet Nutrition and Bow Wow Bakery

Winter Park, Florida

January 30

This is a party day for the animals in the back of this bakery, which will take place from 10:00 AM-4:00 PM. It will have music and food. If you are interested in adopting a dog, there are many opportunities available with the local rescue groups.

There will also be resources like pet sitters, vendors, photographers, pet communicators and trainers, as well as an abundance of grab bags and raffles. This event is free and open to the public.

Catch for the Cure” Fundraiser Dog Disc Event

Land O Lakes Recreation Complex

Lutz, Florida

January 30

This event’s registration opens at 8:30 AM, and awards are at 3:00 PM. Activities start at 10:00. You can pay a $10 donation to have 2 60-second Toss n Fetch Rounds, or just come watch the dogs catch frisbees. The proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society, the Australian Shepherd Rescue of Central Florida, and the Southeast Border Collie Rescue League.

Dog Parks Around Miami, Florida


Miami, Florida, is one of the most visited locations in all of the United States, and its greater area has many dog-friendly facilities. To use these off-leash dog parks, all dogs must be sociable, be licensed and be up to date with all vaccinations.

Tropical Park

This greater park in Miami has recently opened an off-leash dog area. The park is open from sunrise to sunset. It has two acres that are divided into big and small dog areas. They both have playing equipment, like a tire jump, window jump, king of the hill ramp and more. There is also a shade structure, waste scoops, dog drinking fountains and dog water sprays for the hot weather.

Flamingo Bark Park

This is a wonderful off-leash dog park that is located in Miami Beach, Florida. It is open daily from 7:00 AM-9:00 PM. This park has been renovated after Hurricane Wilma. Today, it features two double gated runs for dogs that are newly sodded. There is also agility equipment, drinking fountains, and waste bags.

Pinetree Bark Park

This off-leash dog park is within the greater Pinetree Park in Miami Beach, by Indian Creek. It has been re-sodded, and there are two dog runs. There are benches, drinking fountains and waste bags. It is open daily from sunrise to sunset.

Washington Avenue Bark Park

This off-leash dog park is located in Miami Beach, by the Police Department substation. There are two double gated dog runs, as well as benches, water fountains, drinking water and waste bags.

Dog Chow Dog Park

This park is located in Kennedy Park, which is in Coconut Grove, Florida. It is a fenced-in area that is open sunrise to sunset for dogs to roam and play off-leash. It has shade trees, as well as benches, bathrooms, water, parking and handicap access. There are separate areas for large and small dogs.


Bark Park

This off-leash dog park is located in greater Amelia Earhart Park, in Hialeah, Florida. It is a large fenced-in park that takes up five acres. There are separate areas for large and small dogs. The Bark Park includes paved walkways, trees for shade, waste bags, paved walkways, drinking fountains and spray fountains for dogs and for humans.

You have to pay to park in the parking lot, but using the actual dog park is free. The greater park includes a skate park, lakes, a playground, bike trails and picnicking. Dogs must be on leash to go to the remainder of the park.

Dog Parks in Sarasota, Florida

The Sarasota area in Florida has a number of lovely parks and dog parks, including a beach. Be aware that this area only allows pets at certain parks. They are prohibited at any that are not listed here. No aggressive dogs are allowed in any of the parks.

Lakeview Park


This off-leash dog park is also called “Paw Park,” and it takes up two acres. It has six-foot fencing, double gates, a dog shower, a time-out cage, a hitching post, shade trees, waste bags, dog drinking fountains and picnic tables for humans. The greater park is situated in Lake Sarasota, and is open from 6:00 AM until sundown.

17th Street Park

This off-leash dog park is in North Sarasota County. It is sometimes called “Paw Park North.” It features acres of grass and wood chips for dogs to play upon. It even has a red hydrant! It is open from 6:00 AM until sundown. The rest of the park has facilities for softball, soccer and archery.

Brohard Park


This is the area’s newest off-leash dog park, located in Venice, Florida. There is a fenced-in area, where dogs can run around, and there is also access to the beach (the only dog-friendly beach in the county). It is located south of the Venice Fishing Pier, near the golf course. It is open from 7:00 AM until sundown.

Woodmere Paw Park

This off-leash dog park is located in Venice, Florida, and is about three acres in size. There are separate areas for large and small dogs. The park includes much open space to run around, waste bags, a time out cage, bushes and trees, dog water fountains, and picnic tables for humans.

Bird Key Park

This Sarasota Bay park takes up three acres, and allows leashed dogs. People go there to enjoy swimming, windsurfing, picnicking, kayaking, canoeing and fishing, along with playing with their dogs. The park has scenic views, where you can sometimes watch dolphins. It is good for late-nighters, as it’s open from 6:00 AM to midnight, and is close to downtown.

Ken Thompson Park

This park allows leashed dogs, and there is also access to playgrounds, fishing spots and picnic tables. It’s a great place to walk around and watch the water. There are assorted restaurants and bars on the waterfront, but you should ask first if they are dog-friendly.

Dog Friendly Parks in Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida, has tons of access to great nature and sandy beaches. It also features Dogwood Park, which is always rated as one of the best American dog parks!


Dogwood Park Lake Bow Wow

This is a wonderful choice of a dog park! The entire park is 42 acres, and 25 of those are fenced in. Dogs are allowed off leash in the entire park, making it one of the biggest dog parks of the country. It’s a perfect place if your dog loves the water, because there are separate ponds for large and small dogs, dog showers and warm water baths. Otherwise they can run around on the grass, walk on the trails, dig holes in the sand pile, play frisbee or fetch, or exercise on the agility course. They have waste bags available, and a shop that sells merchandise. They even offer obedience training and puppy kindergarten. They sell daily passes, or yearly passes if you live by Jacksonville.

Paws Park

Paws Park is a free off-leash dog park that is part of Jacksonville Beach. It is a city park that is maintained by volunteers. It features separate grassy areas for large and small dogs, benches for humans, waste bags, and watering bowls. It is closed on Thursdays for maintenance.

Huguenot Memorial Park

This is a beachfront park where you can hang out on the beach or go in the water. There are also opportunities for bird watching, or walking around in nature. Dogs are allowed in the park and on the beach, so long as they are leashed and cleaned up after.

Katheryn Abby Hanna Park Beach

This park is located on the ocean, about 17 miles east of Jacksonville. It takes up 450 acres, and 1.5 miles of sandy beach. The park has facilities for hiking and picnicking; the beach part is a popular place for surfers. Dogs are allowed in the park and on the beach, so long as they are leashed and cleaned up after.

Fort George Island Cultural State Park

This is a wonderful park if you want to check out the nature in Florida and get some exercise. This park has evidence of human occupation for over 5,000 years, ranging from Native Americans to colonists to vacationers. They do offer tours, but there is plenty to explore on your own with your dog. Leashed dogs are allowed in this park throughout its hiking trails, paved roads, parking lots and shorelines.

Upcoming Pet Events in Florida


Heading down to Florida in January? Make sure you hit up one of these fun pet events. They range from dog socials to charities, and even a race you can run with your dog! You should enjoy the nice weather and do some fun stuff!

Pet Supply Drive

Raymond James Stadium

Tampa, Florida

January 3

This is a pet supply drive for the Humane Society of Tampa. It will be there from 12:00 noon-4:00 PM, at the entry gate for the Buccaneers vs. Falcons Game. It is sponsored by the Glazer Family Foundation. Bring supplies for those who need them!

Posh Pets in the Park

Ave Maria Town Center

Ave Maria, Florida

January 23

This is a fund raising event for the Humane Society located in Ave Maria, a new town just eat of Naples, Florida. There will be all sorts of vendors with all sorts of pet products, as well as adoptions. Other entertainment will include a dog agility course, a dog fashion show, raffles with great prizes, pet photography, food, drinks, music and more. Admission is free for all, and it will occur from 12:00 noon-3:00 PM.

Run for the Paws

Naples Municipal Airport

Naples, Florida

January 30

This is the fourth annual Run for Paws Run/Walk, which will begin at 8:00 AM. Registration is open now until 7:45 AM on the day of the event. It costs $20 per person before January 20, then $25 from January 21-29, then $30 on the 30th. There will be discounts for families and high school students.

It will be a 5k race that will start on North Road. At that location will be parking, registration, finish line and refreshments. Pets can race with you, so long as they are on a non retractable leash, have proper vaccinations and can run the whole way with you. You can bring supplies to donate to the Humane Society Naples, such as canned food (not dry), hand sanitizer or laundry detergent.

Dog Bowl IV

TY Park

Hollywood, Florida

January 31

Dogs are welcome at this crazy event, which is a day of activities for humans and pets alike. It is hosted by Boxer Friends, Inc. It will go on from 10:00 AM-3:00 PM. Some of the activities include best dressed contest, bobbing for hot dogs, silly pet trick contest, best tail contest, dog massages, best howl and more. There will be a raffle with great prizes. Dogs must be well-behaved, under current vaccinations (with proof), and must get along with other dogs.