When visiting Naples, Florida, you’ll have to leave the pets at home during most of your trips to the beach. Within the city of Naples, the few places you can let your animals run free are dog parks, all located well inland from the community’s white-sand beaches. However, venturing a little farther afield will get Fido’s tail wagging again; you can bring canine pets to a couple dog-friendly beaches elsewhere in southwest Florida.
Bonita Beach Dog Beach
In Bonita Springs, just north of Naples, dog owners may bring their pets to the area’s only off-leash dog beach. Located between Bonita Beach and Fort Myers Beach, Dog Beach is recognized by Lee County Parks and Recreation, though the park system provides no facilities or amenities. They do set and enforce a number of rules, however. You must be 15 years or older to bring a dog, and may bring no more than two dogs. Children under 5 are not allowed on the off-leash area. Non-neutered, non-spayed, aggressive or sick dogs are prohibited from entering the beach area. The beach is open from dawn to dusk.
Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
While Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park won’t give your furry friends full reign, it does give dogs a chance to splash in the water. Plus, it’s conveniently located in North Naples. You can’t walk your dogs along the beach, whether on leash or off. However, you can lead them, on leashes, to the boat and canoe launch area, where they’re welcome to swim in the shallow water of Water Turkey Bay. You’ll have to wade in, too, as park rules require that you keep your dog on a leash at all times. The park is located off Gulfshore Drive; head due west on Immokalee Road until you reach the coast. The beach is on your left.
Heading north to the beaches of Lee County, your two alternatives to Bonita Dog Beach are rather less dog-friendly and a longer drive from Naples. However, if you decide to spend a day exploring the Fort Myers area, take your pooch for a walk along the public beaches of Fort Myers Beach or the City of Sanibel. Lee County Parks and Recreation lets dog owners walk their dogs, on leashes, in both areas, provided they clean up after their pets.
Elsewhere in Southwest Florida
For the most dedicated dog owners who are willing to take a lengthy trip for their dogs’ enjoyment, several dog beaches exist a few hours’ drive from Naples. The Fort De Soto beach and park, located near St. Petersburg in Pinellas County, permits dogs to run free in designated areas. At Honeymoon State Park, in Dunedin, Florida, pups can run free in the designated dog beach area. Elsewhere in the park, the dogs must stay on leashes.
Source: USA Today
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