Sarasotans have a reputation for going above and beyond for their pets. (Who remembers when Leona Helmsley bequeathed $12 million to her dog Trouble?) You're always sure to spot walkers downtown with dogs in strollers or dressed up in the flashiest harnesses and leashes. You can even visit a local hotel, store, restaurant or park where our four-legged friends are welcome.
Canine Fitness Month this April.
400 Apex Road, Sarasota
Ackerman Park is a free, public park that allows dogs as long as they are on a leash at all times. Owners can also enjoy fishing, picnicking, a pavilion for breaks in the shade and a trail for you to walk with your dog. There's also a playground for kids.
4301 Ashton Road, Sarasota, (941) 861-5000
At Ashton Trailheads, you can grill, picnic, cool down at a pavilion and play with your kids. There is also a paved trail to walk your dogs. Dogs must remain leashed at all times. and are not allowed in playgrounds, athletic fields and other areas not designated for dogs.
300 Bay St., Osprey, (941) 861-5000
Bay Street Park is both a dog park and dog-friendly, meaning that there's a dedicated dog park on-site where dogs can play off-leash. Dogs must be leashed in all other areas. This park has an area for picnicking, an on-site restroom, pavilion, and an unpaved walking trail.
4052 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key, (941) 316-1999
Bayfront Park on Longboat Key offers a lot of activities for pets and their owners to enjoy. It also has a designated dog park where your pup can run off leash to their heart's content. For owners, there are numerous activities, too, including a fishing pier, picnic area, boat and kayak launch sites, a paved trail, and playground for kids.
4430 S. Lockwood Ridge Road, Sarasota, (941) 861-5000
Bee Ridge Park is dog-friendly, meaning dogs are welcome but required to be leashed at all times. This park has a lovely community garden, grills, a picnic area, softball and volleyball fields and a playground for children. Dogs are not allowed on playgrounds, athletic fields and other areas not designated for dogs.
Brohard Beach and Paw Park
1600 Harbor Drive S., Venice
The county’s only dog-friendly beach is in a pretty park between Venice and Caspersen beaches. A good-sized, fenced- in grassy area allows dogs to romp off-leash. They can also race up and down the beach and plunge into the Gulf to retrieve balls or just cool off. No lifeguards, but there are picnic tables and restrooms along with hoses to wash off dogs and showers for their humans.
67 Cherokee St., Englewood
Cherokee Street Park is another dog-friendly location, so dogs must be on leash during their entire visit to the park. Take your dog out on a walk around the grounds then relax for some water and picnic. There are grills on-site, along with a fishing pier and a pavilion.
5300 Colonial Oaks Blvd., Sarasota, (941) 861-5000
Colonial Oaks Park is considered dog-friendly, so your dog must be on a leash during your visit. This park has several amenities, like a basketball court, pickleball area, picnic zone, multi-purpose field and a playground for children.
>7255 Hand Road, Sarasota, (941) 861-5000
This public park has a fenced-in dog park where pups can run off-leash and dog-friendly trails where you can run and walk with them on-leash. There are spots for picnicking, a disc golf zone, canoe and kayak launch sites as well as a pavilion where you can cool down.
10201 S. Tamiami Trail and 7001 Forbes Trail (North Entrance)
This dog-friendly Venice park has an unpaved trail to walk your dog on-leash. Afterward, take a rest under the shaded pavilion and picnic area. And this park is unique because there's a separate equestrian trail where can ride your horse.
2300 N. River Road, Venice
Jelks Preserve is another free, public park located in Venice. While your dog must remain on leash, there are some trails for you both to walk and run. You can also enjoy fishing and picnicking areas.