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8 Amazing Dog Friendly Beaches in the Florida Panhandle in 2023

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By Nicole Cosgrove

french bulldog on the beach

Florida’s expansive panhandle is often called the Forgotten Coast because it is not as popular as places like Daytona, Miami, Tampa, or Sarasota. The panhandle is sparsely populated and sleepy, but it still offers some of the best beaches in the world. There are dozens of miles of public white sand beaches stretching from Pensacola to Steinhatchee. These beaches are often less crowded and hectic than other popular Florida beaches.

If you are planning on exploring Florida’s Forgotten Coast with your dog, you are in luck. There are numerous amazing dog beaches for you to experience. From a secluded island only accessible via boat to public beaches located in the heart of some of Florida’s best beach towns, there is a dog beach out there that is perfect for you and your pooch.

Here are nine amazing dog-friendly beaches you can find in the Florida Panhandle.

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The 8 Dog Friendly Beaches in the Florida Panhandle

1. Panama City Dog Beach

🗺️ Address: 📍33753-000-000, Panama City Beach, FL 32413
🕐 Open Times: Always open
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-Leash: Yes, in posted areas
  • Located near the main drag
  • Dogs are allowed off leash within the specified area as long as they are under voice control
  • Part of the main beach, not some grimy side beach
  • Gorgeous views of the scenic Gulf of Mexico
  • Benches, pier, and rentals are available at the dog beach

2. Pensacola Dog Beach East

🗺️ Address: 📍Pensacola Beach Trail, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561
🕐 Open Times: Sunrise to sunset
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-Leash: No
  • Plenty of free parking is available. There is a main lot and a small lot just for the dog beach.
  • Restrooms are available.
  • Be sure to keep your dog within the posted dog beach area. The dog beach is a little way west of the main parking lot.
  • Dogs must remain leashed at all times, even within posted areas.
  • No nearby amenities other than the bathrooms so be sure to bring food and drinks for your day at the beach.

3. Pensacola Dog Beach West

🗺️ Address: 📍1187-1205 Fort Pickens Rd, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561
🕐 Open Times: Sunrise to sunset
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-Leash: No
  • Few amenities are available at the beach, so pack plenty of water for your pups.
  • Close to historic Fort Pickens.
  • Located on a narrow barrier island with water on all sides.
  • Amazing beach will take your breath away.
  • Perfect place to enjoy a sunrise or sunset with your pooch.

4. Dog Island

🗺️ Address: 📍Dog Island, FL
🕐 Open Times: Always open
💲 Cost: Free, but you will need to charter or operate a boat.
🐕 Off-Leash: Yes
  • Secluded spot offers plenty of freedom and adventure.
  • Only accessible by boat.
  • Bring everything you need for the day, there are no amenities on the island.
  • Pets are not allowed on the beaches owned by the Nature Conservancy.
  • Makes you feel like you are on your own private tropical island.
  • What better place is there for dogs to run free at the beach than a place called Dog Island?

5. T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Cape San Blas


🗺️ Address: 📍8899 Cape San Blas Rd, Port St Joe, FL 32456
🕐 Open Times: 8AM – sunset
💲 Cost: $6 per vehicle
🐕 Off-Leash: No
  • Amazing amenities include showers, water, restrooms, rental cabins, boat launches, beaches, and more.
  • Out of the way, the state park avoids the crowds.
  • Beautiful, well-maintained white sand beaches that are dog friendly with a leash.
  • Close to miles of dog friendly beaches that ring Cape San Blas.
  • The whole county is dog friendly, so be sure to check out other amazing sites and coastlines when you visit.

6. Windmark Public Beach Access, Port St. Joe

🗺️ Address: 📍Unnamed Road, Hwy 98, Port St Joe, FL 32456
🕐 Open Times: Sunrise to sunset
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-Leash: No
  • All of the beaches in Port St. Joe are dog friendly.
  • This beach access gets you onto the main beach and allows you to walk for miles.
  • Restaurants and hotels are available near the beach for you to stop at.
  • Beach is rarely crowded.
  • Beach can be rocky and full of shells, be careful if your dog has sensitive paws.
  • Check out other nearby public beach access points for more variety along St. Joe beach.

7. Gulf Beach Park, Carrabelle Beach

Visiting Carrabelle_ Add These 7 Awesome Activities to Your Must-Do List
Image Credit: floridasforgottencoast
🗺️ Address: 📍1740 Carrabelle Beach Dr, Carrabelle, FL 32322
🕐 Open Times: 7AM – 7PM
💲 Cost: Free
🐕 Off-Leash: No
  • Check out the nearby lighthouse with its unique design.
  • Beaches are dog friendly, but all pets must remain leashed while on the beach.
  • Close to Apalachicola and across from Dog Island.
  • Sleepy beach that is rarely crowded, perfect for some secluded time with your pets.
  • Breathtaking sunrises and sunsets.

8. Apalachicola Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

🗺️ Address: 📍240 6th St E, St George Island, FL 32328
🕐 Open Times: 6AM – 10PM
💲 Cost: Free, but you can donate to the nature center if you so choose.
🐕 Off-Leash: No
  • Located on scenic St. George Island.
  • Leashed dogs are allowed on the nature trails and beaches within the reserve but not inside any of the buildings.
  • The reserve manages thousands of square miles of beaches, coastlines, rivers, and estuaries.
  • Tons of nature and natural wildlife to see with your pooch on a daily basis.


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The Florida panhandle has a wealth of riches when it comes to dog beaches. There are sleepy little towns that few people have ever heard of intermingled with some of the southeast’s best beach towns. Your dogs will love to run and play in the surf and sand all day. There are even beaches that allow your dog to run free off leash. All you have to do is pick one of these amazing destinations and start planning your trip today.

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Featured Image Credit: Patryk Kosmider, Shutterstock

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