Time slows down around the Gulf; there is no hurry, no worry, except maybe about where you'll get your next bourbon slushy. And there is absolutely no reason not to share this outstandingly relaxed state of mind with your pet when it comes to the coastline of the extremely pet-friendly Florida Panhandle. We've got loads of pet-friendly lodgings for you to choose from, whether you're looking for a hotel, motel, inn, bed and breakfast, campground, or cottage.
We know that the third most important thing on your mind (after finding that slushy and a place to stay) is where you can stroll in the sand and frolic in the surf with your canine. For that reason, we've provided you with a pet-friendly guide to the beaches of the Florida Panhandle.
While you and your pet are not permitted on the beaches of the Florida portion of the Gulf Islands National Seashore (located outside of Pensacola), you can both explore more than 35 miles of hiking trails that wind through the beautiful coastal marshes of this park, with your pet on a 6-foot leash. A migratory stopover, the seashore attracts more than 300 different species of birds, so be sure to bring a pair of binoculars. Also, keep your eyes peeled and you might see a river otter, armadillo, or gopher tortoise as you hike along.
If you're in the Panhandle at the end of September/early October, be sure to check out the annual Destin Seafood Festival, which attracts over 30,000 visitors every year. Set up along the length of Destin Harbor, you can bring your pet along (on leash) and sample the fishy delicacies the Gulf has to offer--don't forget to try the local Apalachicola oysters.
Located southwest of Tallahassee and comprised of more than half a million acres, with 67 miles of hiking trails, Apalachicola National Forest offers a wonderful wilderness experience for you and your pet. Explore the Leon Sinks Geological Area, with its caverns and sinkholes or the open prairies of the Apalachee Savannas. Just keep your pup on a leash and away from swimming areas.