“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” -Roger Caras
If you are lucky enough to welcome a dog into your home, then you have experienced one of life’s greatest treasures. Filling your world with love, loyalty, and lots of happiness, bringing a dog home has never been a bad decision. No matter how long you’re gone, they’ll always be there to welcome you home with wet kisses.
Whether you are vacationing in paradise or traveling full-time on the road, you know that it can be tough to find places where your pup can roam free. While most van travel destinations are not always dog-friendly, there are a few that will keep your furry companions happy. Read on to discover South Florida’s best trails and beaches to venture with your dog.
Guest Post by Brianna Walsh-Earp
Campground nearby: NorthCoast Park & Marina
Located in The Magic City of Miami Beach, right inside Haulover Beach Park. Strutting its clean ivory-white sandy beaches and gorgeous aquamarine waters, your pup will have the time of its life. The doggy designated area, where your best friend can run free, is open daily from 8 in the morning to 4 in the evening. There are two enclosed areas dedicated to small dogs (under 35 lbs.) and large dogs (over 35lbs.) for dogs that get spooked by others. Featured inside the park are shady trees, picnic tables, water fountains for both humans and canines, as well as doggy bag dispensers and waste containers. Your pup is also welcome outside the bark park but must be always on a leash.
Campground nearby: John Prince Park Campground
Discover the elaborate Town of Palm Beach on this 5.5-mile scenic trail. Welcome to all, this water-front adventure is highly recommended for your family activities. What’s better than going sightseeing with your family’s most cherished companion? Throughout this paved excursion are views of Palm Beach’s most magnificent mansions, plenty of Yacht Marinas, The Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, and so much more. You might want to visit this path early or later in the day to avoid the sun beaming down, considering the pavement can get too hot for your pups’ bare feet. There are trash cans along the trail but you’re responsible for bringing waste bags to clean up after your dog. Even though there is a water fountain, I encourage you to bring a hydro-flask and travel-sized water bowl to ensure your dog stays well hydrated.
Campground nearby: Twin Lakes Travel Park
If your dog loves nothing more than flouncing through clear blue water then this is your ideal place to spend the day. Although you cannot swim next to your pup, you’re allowed to lounge on the sand or wade on the shoreline. Pack a lunch for your family and have a picnic while your dog shows off their special tricks, though they will most likely prefer what you’re eating instead. If your dog doesn’t do well with sharing his toys, has a birthday coming up, or needs some one-on-one dock diving training, you can rent the entire lake for the day. Admission is cash only.
Campground nearby: John Prince Park Campground
Consisting of over 145,188 acres of The Sunshine States’ Florida Everglades ecosystems, this land is home to over 250 species of birds, 60 species of reptiles and amphibians, 20 species of mammals, and the list doesn’t end there. With so much to see, it’s a wonder that this vast land of protected animals is pet friendly. Dogs are permitted at all boat ramp parking lots and all along the perimeter of Levee Trail. Keep in mind that this Wildlife refuge is home to several types of Alligators and snakes, so for everyone’s safety, dogs are required to be leashed.
Campground nearby: Juno Ocean Walk RV Resort
Representing the only state park in Palm Beach County, the “MacBeach” is packed with all types of exciting aquatic activities for you and your kids to experience. Unfortunately, dogs are not permitted on the boardwalk or beach, but there are two fur-tastic nature trails within the park. The distinct trilling of the songbirds inhabiting the trees above will keep your dog’s ears constantly perking up. The trails are exploding with all types of subtropical forestry that your dog may appreciate using as a fancy toilet.
Campground nearby: Sunshine Travel RV Resort
While enjoying your RV vacation in the elegant city of Vero Beach, bring along your four-legged companion for a nice stroll through Lagoon Greenway’s Nature Trail. With a fantastic view of the Intracoastal, the trail takes you about 45 minutes to complete, making it the perfect after-dinner hike. Its terrain is mostly flat keeping your puppy’s paw pads intact and out of harm’s way. Although your pup must remain leashed throughout the 3-mile journey, there are a ton of new fantastic scents waiting to be discovered.
Campground nearby: Long Point Park
In the town of Palm Bay, lies this simply gorgeous little Nature Trail where you can bring your pooch to stretch its legs on its mid-morning walk. A self-guided QR code, installed last year, allows visitors to use their smartphones as a tool to learn about the surrounding nature. If you do not have a QR code reader, simply enter the URL provided into your web browser. This is especially handy to map out any plants or animals that can be dangerous to dogs or humans. Known for its fishing spots, the whole family can enjoy a day at Ais Trail Park casting and exploring while your four-legged companion tags along for the fun.
Campground nearby: Jonathan Dickinson State Park
The sunny beach town of Jupiter, Florida has one of the few off-leash dog beaches in South Florida. Treat yourself to a beach day and load up the car with your loved ones and head to Doggy heaven-on-earth. Totaling 2.5 miles, this vast area of sandy dunes has loads of ground for your canine companion to start sniffing away. The area near the shoreline is your pup’s ideal sweet spot to play, where the damp sand will be a comfortable temperature for their sensitive paw pads.
Campground Nearby: Yacht Haven Park & Marina
Treat your best friend to a day filled with pawsome activities at Snyder’s bark park and dog swim. Just inside this 92-acre site are several off-leash adventures to keep your RV pup busy all day long. The bark park is separated into two fully fenced sections, one side accommodates the tiny munchkins, and the other is for your oversized lapdog. As soon as your canine works up a sweat, bring them over to the dog swim area to cool off from that harsh Florida heat. Be sure to bring plenty of water because the lake water is most likely not the healthiest hydration source for the pooches.
Campground nearby: Phipps Park Campground
Halpatiokee is a state park surrounded by 500-acres of wetlands located in Stuart, Florida. The preserve amounts to 65 acres of recreational activity for your family to include in your itinerary for the day. Hike the many pet-friendly nature trails and let your dog lead you on a wild goose chase to the nearest native animal species. Be careful not to get too close, many of these species are either endangered or can be dangerous if threatened.
Traveling to any one of these destinations will have your fur-baby’s tail wagging and mouth drooling, along with plenty of activities to keep the RV family entertained. South Florida has countless hidden gem locations jammed with activities for your traveling hound. At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to give our dogs the best lives they can live. If you are planning a country-wide adventure, check out our list of Top National Parks That Allow Pets On Trail.