This year, Sarasota County opened 71 parks to dogs accompanied by their owners. In addition, dogs are allowed in designated areas in Myakka and Oscar Scherer state parks. (Go to floridastateparks.org for details about each park and dog-friendly spots.) Here are some top county parks to take your dog.
Brohard Beach and Paw Park
A longtime dog park, this South County spot offers a sandy stretch of Gulf beach and enclosed romping area. 1600 Harbor Drive S., Venice (941) 861-9830
17th Street Paw Park
Another longtime dog park with lots of space for dogs to let off steam and even an agility course. 4570 17th St., Sarasota (941) 861-7275
Bird watchers flock to this park, which attracts common and rare species and also has a manmade hill that will help wear out you and your pooch. 6893 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota (941) 861-5000
Phillippi Estate Park
Enjoy shade and scenic views of the Phillippi River. The Phillippi Farmhouse Market, which returns on Wednesdays this month and runs through April, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., welcomes well-behaved dogs. 5500 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 861-5000
This 37-acre neighborhood park in Palmer Ranch, just behind the Evalyn Sadlier Jones YMCA, is big, beautiful and has lots of trails. 8301 Potter Park Drive, Sarasota (941) 922-9622
In this South County park you’ll see rare scrub habitat and can walk your dog along a 1.2-mile multiuse natural and paved trail that connects to the Venetian Waterway Trail and eventually, the 10.6-mile Legacy Trail. 3900 Shamrock Drive, Venice (941) 486-2706
Nathan Benderson Park
The park has a three-mile loop around a 400-acre lake built for rowing competitions. There’s not much shade, but it’s a great place to take a dog in the cooler months. If your dog likes to socialize, bring him with you to watch the rowing competitions. 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota (941) 358-7275
Check out all the region's dog-friendly parks at scgov.net/parks.