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December 30, 2012

Florida is a vacation paradise for dogs


Lincoln Road, Miami: Located on South Beach, this pedestrian-friendly shopping area is the place to watch all of the beautiful people and their designer dogs. Outdoor restaurants and tropical drinks abound.

Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Hobe Sound: This sprawling park on Florida’s East Coast, north of tony Palm Beach, offers miles of trails that showcase how Florida looked before development. Dogs must be leashed. Admission is $6 per vehicle.

Panama City Beach dog playground: This Florida Panhandle spring break favorite offers 400 feet of beachfront for leashed dogs and the new Panama City Beach Conservation Park with 12 trails (dogs must be leashed there).

Miccosukee Canopy Road Greenway, Tallahassee: This park in the state’s capitol is popular with local dog owners because of its beautiful trails and secluded grassy areas.


Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, Lake Buena Vista: Located on 750 acres near the theme parks, this campground allows RVs with full hookups and tent camping. Some spaces allow pets, but those spaces are limited and should be reserved well in advance. Leashed dogs are allowed on some trails near the campground. There is also an off-leash dog park, Waggin’ Tails Dog Park, within the campground.

Best Friends Pet Resort, Lake Buena Vista: Best Friends provides day and overnight care for pets (not just dogs) in the Orlando area. Discounts are available for Disney World Resort guests, but anyone can use the service, which starts at $27 for doggie daycare.

Loews hotels at Universal Orlando Resort: All three are pet-friendly.

La Quinta: This ubiquitous and affordable chain, found throughout Florida, is probably the best-known pet-friendly chain, with free stays for dogs.

Aloft Hotels: This Starwood boutique hotel chain offers hip decor and sophisticated style and it’s also pet-friendly. Aloft offers two locations in Jacksonville (one not far from Dog Wood Park), one in Tallahassee and several opening in Miami and Orlando in the coming year. A recent weekday room rate in Jacksonville was $69, not including taxes.

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