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Family & Pets

Best Off Leash Dog Areas In Tampa Bay

July 30, 2013 8:00 AM

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File photo of dogs. (Photo Credit: Mike Hennessy)

File photo of dogs. (Photo Credit: Mike Hennessy)

There are plenty of places around Tampa Bay where you can take Rover and let him run off leash. Some of the locations are little more than fenced-in yards with a water hose while others are more elaborate, with obstacle courses and beaches where dogs can get exercise and a refreshing swim. We’ve found some of the best places to take your best friend for some leash-free activities and we’ve even spotlighted a hotel on St. Pete Beach that rolls out the red carpet for dogs. Wherever you go, remember to practice basic good manners. Keep your dog on a leash if he/she gets overly excited or aggressive with other dogs and be sure to clean up after your beloved pooch.

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Kids and dogs can spend time together (Credit, Mike Hennessy)

Enterprise Dog Park
2671 Enterprise Road
Clearwater, FL 33761
(727) 562-4800
www.clearwater-fl.com

Enterprise Dog Park gives dogs and their owners a great opportunity to enjoy some quality time together without the restriction of a leash. If just playing fetch or tag isn’t enough stimulation, this park offers an agility/obstacle course that’ll test your pet’s balance and problem-solving ability. There are plenty of water fountains to quench everyone’s thirst and there’s even a rinsing station to help get the top layer of dirt off before heading home. Hours are sunrise to sunset. Located just off Main Street on Enterprise Road in the heart of Clearwater, Enterprise Dog Park is a perfect place for residents to enjoy some quality time with their canine family members.

Fort DeSoto Park Paw Playground
3500 Pinellas Bayway S.
Tierra Verde, FL 33715
(727) 552-1862
www.fortdesoto.com

Fort DeSoto Park covers more than 1,100 acres of five tiny islands along the Pinellas County coastline. The park is already dog friendly, allowing your four-legged friends anywhere except the open beaches on a six-foot leash. But one of its new additions is a dog park where you and your best friend(s) can romp leash free. The Paw Park is split into two areas for small and large dogs. The Paw Park even has its own beach where dogs can enjoy a swim or water-borne version of fetch with their owners. Located just minutes off I-275 on Pinellas Bayway, Fort DeSoto does have a $5 entry fee.

Picnic Island Beach Dog Park
7404 Picnic Island Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33616
(813) 832-1222
www.tampagov.net

Located in Port Tampa, Picnic Island Dog Park is just part of the nearly eight-acre beachfront park. The park gives a beautiful view of Tampa’s ever-growing skyline and dogs are allowed to run off leash, although the area is not fully fenced. The park has bathrooms and tables. Reviewers note that the beach has lots of shells and rocks so shoes or at least sandals are a must. There is also a children’s play area, so there’s plenty for everyone to do. Just follow West Shore Boulevard until it turns into Commerce Street and keep going until you hit Port Tampa Drive.

Related: Tampa Bay’s Best Hiking Trails

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Davis Island Dog Park
1002 Severn Ave.
Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 274-8211
www.tampagov.net

The Davis Island Dog Park is located next to the famous Seaplane Basin. It currently fits the definition of “bare bones” with 200 feet of beach, a small fenced-in area with a few benches and a minimum of shade. There is doggie-level water fountain and just enough room for a game of frisbee. However, the park is due for a summertime makeover with a beach clean-up and replenishment in the works. Artificial reefs designed to stop beach erosion are also part of the master plan. The dog park facelift is part of a quarter-million-dollar upgrade that also includes improvements to the Davis Island boat ramp. It is closed for renovations until December.

Trade Winds Island Resorts
5500 Gulf Blvd.
St. Beach, FL 33706
(727) 367-6461
www.tradewindsresort.com

When friends come to visit, finding accommodations that will make the four-legged member of the family feel welcome can be a challenge. Located on Gulf Boulevard in Pinellas County’s beachfront community of St. Pete Beach, Trade Winds prides itself on being pet friendly. An entire section of rooms is set aside for guests with dogs and cats. There is a leash-free play zone on the grounds, pet-sitting services are available and a Doggie Accessory Station. There’s even a special package available for pet owners. Location is a big plus as the hotel itself is just minutes away from Fort DeSoto Park park playground and many other top Tampa Bay attractions.

Related: Getaway Guide: Weekend Trip To Sanibel Island

Mike Hennessy is a veteran news man who has won Florida AP awards for feature reporting and covered almost every kind of story imaginable from on-the-scene coverage of Hurricane Andrew, to some of the highest profile murder and corruption trials in Florida history. Mike is versatile and has the curiosity it takes to get to the bottom line of any story. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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