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Hot dog! Northeast Florida beaches that welcome your pooch pals

Just make sure to grab a leash before you and Fido hit the sand

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Many residents and visitors flock to the Sunshine State's beaches in the summertime, but any time of year can be great for enjoying Florida's coast.

The same can be said for our furry, four-legged friends, but the rules vary for which beaches allow dogs and when you can bring them.

We looked into the rules of beaches in Northeast Florida so you don't have to before hitting the sandy shore alongside your dog. And if we missed the beach you frequent in our list below, visit BringFido.com to see whether that beach allows dogs. 

Duval County

Dogs are allowed on Jacksonville Beach, which borders Neptune Beach to the south and stretches from Seagate Avenue to just south of the intersection of Duval Drive and Ponte Vedra Boulevard, at any hour from Oct. 1 through March 31, according to the city.

But from April 1 through Sept. 30, which includes the busy summer season, dogs are not permitted on the beach between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Dogs can be on the beach from 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. during those dates. Dogs must be leashed at all times while on the beach.

Neptune Beach, which borders Atlantic Beach to the south and spans from Atlantic Boulevard to Seagate Avenue, has similar rules to Jacksonville Beach.

According to the city, dogs are allowed on Neptune Beach at any hour from Oct. 1 through March 1. But from April 1 through Sept. 30, you can only bring your dog to the beach between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m.

On Atlantic Beach, which borders Neptune Beach to the north and stretches from Atlantic Boulevard north to Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park, dogs are allowed during the day and evening. According to the city, dogs must be on leashes no longer than 12 feet long at all times unless you and your pet are in the water together. 

On Mayport Beach, which is part of Naval Station Mayport and just north of Hanna Park, leashed dogs are permitted daily until dusk, but Visit Jacksonville advises that you and your dog "don’t stray south of the area around the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society building."

The city of Jacksonville also offers oceanfront parks, though there are some notable rules if you want to bring Fido to one of them. 

Hanna Park off Wonderwood Drive, just north of Atlantic Beach, features 1.5 miles of sandy beach and permits pets in designated areas, as long as the pet is on a leash no longer than 8 feet long, attended and well-behaved at all times, the city says.

If you're only going to Huguenot Memorial Park off Heckscher Drive for the day, according to the city, you are not allowed to bring your dog into the park. If you're camping, you can bring your dog, but you must make sure the canine is on a leash and never left alone.

Duval County beachgoers are reminded to clean up after their dogs.

Nassau County

Dogs are welcome on Fernandina Beach as long as they are leashed and "their waste is not left on the trails," the city says.

Amelia Island is equally dog-friendly. The island's 13 miles of beaches are open to dogs as long as their owners keep them leashed and clean up after them.  

The same rules apply along all of Nassau County's beaches. Just remember, dogs must be on leashes at all times, county officials say.

St. Johns County

St. Johns County public beaches -- including Ponte Vedra Beach, Vilano Beach and St. Augustine Beach -- allow dogs at all times as long as they are leashed.

Unleashed animals are prohibited and pet owners must clean up after the animals, according to the county.

Flagler County

Man's best friend is also invited to Palm Coast and Flagler County beaches.

Visit Flagler says Flagler Beach has pet-friendly access. Dogs are allowed on the beach north of North 10th Street and south of South 10th Street, but they must be on leashes no longer than 5 feet long.

"All that is asked in return is that visitors note the signs and remember to pick up after their pet to keep our beaches beautiful," Visit Flagler says.

Here's a list of pet-friendly beaches on Visit Flagler's website:

  • Varn Park at 3665 N. Oceanshore Blvd. in Flagler Beach
  • Jungle Hut Road Park at 125 Jungle Hut Road in Palm Coast
  • Mala Compra Road Beachfront Park at 115 Malacompra Road in Palm Coast
  • Old Salt Park at 200 16th Road in Palm Coast
  • Flagler Beach South along A1A, between South 11th and South 27th streets, in Flagler Beach
  • Flagler Beach North along A1A, between North 11th and North 23rd streets, in Flagler Beach

Oceanfront state parks 

The exception for the counties' beaches above is that dogs are not allowed on the beaches of Florida State Parks. Those include Big Talbot Island and Little Talbot Island state parks in Duval County, as well as Anastasia State Park in St. Johns County. 

According to Florida State Parks' pet policy, beaches are restricted from pets, with the only exception being the pet beach at Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin, for safety, public health and park preservation purposes.

"Even the most well-behaved pets may be perceived as threats to beach wildlife, which, in turn may prevent them from nesting," reads Florida State Parks' Pets in Parks brochure.

State parks do welcome pets on handheld leashes no longer than 6 feet long in designated day-use areas.

According to Florida State Parks, service animals, which the Revised Americans with Disabilities Act Service Animal Requirements defines as "dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities," are welcome in all public areas of state parks when accompanied by a visitor with a disability and should be harnessed or leashed unless that interferes with the service animal's work or the visitor's disability prevents them from doing so.


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