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Home > Dogs > Top 9 Dog-Friendly Beaches in the Florida Panhandle in 2023: On & Off Leash Places to Go

Top 9 Dog-Friendly Beaches in the Florida Panhandle in 2024: On & Off Leash Places to Go

maltipoo in the beach

The Florida Panhandle is somewhat of an enigma for dog owners. There are hundreds of miles of beaches and dozens of individual spots to visit. However, only some of them are truly dog-friendly. Despite the miles of pristine sand, the Florida Panhandle has relatively few legitimate dog beaches, especially in the western Panhandle. But the good news is that the beaches that are dog friendly are absolutely gorgeous, secluded, rugged, and enjoyable. If you want to explore Florida’s Forgotten Coast with your dog, you will need to do a little bit of planning ahead of time. But once you find a good dog beach, nothing beats a day out with your furry friends.

Here are the top nine dog-friendly beaches for you to explore in the Florida Panhandle.

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The 9 Dog-Friendly Beaches in the Florida Panhandle

1. Panama City Dog Beach

🗺️ Address: 📍33753-000-000, Panama City Beach, FL 32413
🕐Hours: Always open
💲Cost: Free
🐕Off Leash Allowed?: Yes, in posted areas
  • Located near the heart of Panama City Beach.
  • Dogs are allowed off leash as long as they are under strong voice control.
  • Part of the main beach and not tucked away on the Intracoastal like some dog beaches.
  • Gorgeous views of the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Benches, pier, and rentals are available for use on site.

2. Pensacola Dog Beach East

🗺️ Address: 📍Pensacola Beach Trail, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561
🕐Hours: Sunrise to sunset
💲Cost: Free
🐕Off Leash Allowed?: No
  • Plenty of free parking is available, including a dedicated lot just for the dog beach.
  • Restrooms are available in the parking lot.
  • Dogs must remain leashed at all times, even if they are good under voice command.
  • No nearby amenities, so you will have to pack plenty of food and water for you and your pup.

3. Pensacola Dog Beach West

🗺️ Address: 📍1187-1205 Fort Pickens Rd, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561
🕐Hours: Sunrise to sunset
💲Cost: Free
🐕Off Leash Allowed?: No
  • Beach is not close to any restaurants or shops.
  • Beach is close to historic Fort Pickens.
  • Water on all sides thanks to its location on a scenic barrier island.
  • Stunning views will take your breath away.
  • Great place to enjoy a sunrise or sunset with your pooch but it is especially great for sunsets.

4. Dog Island

🗺️ Address: 📍Dog Island, FL
🕐Hours: Always open
💲Cost: Free, but you will need to charter or operate a boat.
🐕Off Leash Allowed?: Yes
  • Isolated island is great for some truly memorable adventures with your dogs.
  • Important to note that the island is only accessible by boat.
  • Bring everything you need for the day, including food, water, dog bags, dog treats, sunscreen, and more. There are no amenities on the island, including bathrooms.
  • The secluded spot makes you feel like you are on your own private tropical island.
  • Dog Island is the perfect name for a place where dogs can run free.

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

🗺️ Address: 📍8899 Cape San Blas Rd, Port St Joe, FL 32456
🕐Hours: 8 AM – sunset
💲Cost: $6 per vehicle
🐕Off Leash Allowed?: No
  • Amazing amenities include showers, water, restrooms, rental cabins, boat launches, beaches, and more.
  • Not as well-known as other areas of Florida, so there are few crowds.
  • Some of the best quality sand for any dog beach in Florida.
  • There are miles of dog friendly beaches nearby for plenty of options.
  • The whole county is dog friendly, so do not be afraid to explore the area with your puppies.

6. Windmark Public Beach Access, Port St. Joe

🗺️ Address: 📍Unnamed Road, Hwy 98, Port St Joe, FL 32456
🕐Hours: Sunrise to sunset
💲Cost: Free
🐕Off Leash Allowed?: No
  • Port St. Joe is entirely dog friendly.
  • Miles of walkable beach accessible from one entrance.
  • Restaurants and hotels are available nearby and are also dog friendly.
  • Beach is lightly populated.
  • Beach can be rocky and full of shells which is good for collectors but can be bad for small paws.

7. Gulf Beach Park, Carrabelle Beach

🗺️ Address: 📍1740 Carrabelle Beach Dr, Carrabelle, FL 32322
🕐Hours: 7 AM – 7 PM
💲Cost: Free
🐕Off Leash Allowed?: No
  • An interesting lighthouse is available to see nearby.
  • Remember that the beach closes at 7 PM which is earlier than some other places and might be before sunset during certain seasons.
  • Located nearby to popular Apalachicola and across the water from the aforementioned Dog Island.
  • Large beach rarely has many people, which is good for dogs who don’t like strangers.
  • Spectacular sunrises and sunsets.

8. Apalachicola Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

🗺️ Address: 📍240 6th St E, St George Island, FL 32328
🕐Hours: 6 AM – 10 PM
💲Cost: Free, but you can donate to the nature center if you so choose.
🐕Off Leash Allowed?: No
  • Located on scenic St. George Island.
  • Dogs are not allowed in any of the buildings even though they are welcome outside.
  • The reserve manages thousands of square miles of beaches, coastlines, rivers, and estuaries that are dog friendly along marked trails.
  • Tons of nature and natural wildlife are available to see. Repeat trips will often yield new and exciting animals to spot.
  • More to do than just the beach.

9. Bald Point State Park

🗺️ Address: 📍146 Box Cut Rd, Alligator Point, FL 32346
🕐Hours: 8 AM – Sunset
💲Cost: $4 per vehicle, $2 per pedestrian
🐕Off Leash Allowed?: No
  • Plenty of nature trails lead to various sections of the beach.
  • Showers, restrooms, picnic areas, and kayak launches are available.
  • Most beaches are secluded and separated by natural barriers.
  • No nearby amenities like stores or restaurants, so plan ahead.
  • Please pick up after your pet in the park.



There are plenty of unique and beautiful places to discover with your dog in Florida’s Panhandle. One thing to note is that the entirety of Gulf County is dog friendly. All public beaches in and around Port St. Joe are open to dogs year-round which is a big plus. If you don’t want to visit Gulf County, there are plenty of other amazing locations, including state parks, city beaches, and research preserves for you to explore.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Trevor Fairbank, Shutterstock

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