For many families, a vacation isn’t a family vacation unless all members of the family are present, including the four-legged ones. These families look for vacation destinations that promise good times and home-away-from-home accommodations for humans and canines alike — vacation destinations such as Panama City Beach. In this gorgeous beach town, your pup can frolic in the waves, join your family for an al fresco lunch at a pet-friendly restaurant, run off-leash in the doggie enclosures at a city park, tag along on a stroll through a popular shopping and entertainment district — and more. The pet-friendly locations and venues listed here are a just a sampling of the many that are available in Panama City Beach.
Located across from Pier Park and on the west side of Russell-Fields Pier, lies a 400-foot stretch of white sand that comprises Dog Beach — the dog-friendly section of City Beach. Dogs on leashes are allowed here, but there is a limit of three dogs per visitor. Visitors can enter the beach via Public Beach Accesses 56 and 57. There is no fee, and the beach is open from sunrise to sunset. To ensure that your memories at Dog Beach are happy ones, you may wish to pack an extra collar for your dog. A collar that becomes wet with saltwater can be itchy and become very painful. It’s also wise to bathe your pet in fresh water after he or she spends time in the Gulf. In addition, be aware of the temperature of the sand. If it’s hot on your bare feet, it’s sure to be uncomfortable on your dog’s paws.
Your dog won’t be the only member of your family to drool at the sight of the scrumptious cuisine offered at Panama City Beach’s restaurants, many of which welcome canines on leashes in their outdoor dining areas. Try Pineapple Willy’s: Servers provide pets with lots of fresh water, and a few have been known to give out treats and belly-rubs. I scream, you scream, even Fido screams for ice cream. The Pink Pelican Ice Cream Bar has two outdoor tables where dog owners can sit, relax and possibly (probably) share a slurp of ice cream with their pet. This fun ice cream parlor is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., every day. If you’re headed out the door late for drinks, visit Angry Tuna Seafood Company in Pier Park, across the road from Dog Beach. The outdoor dining area is shady and gated-off from the rest of the Pier Park foot traffic. For early morning coffee, head to Starbucks: They have 10 dog-friendly, outdoor tables and even offer coffee-free “Puppaccinos” to fur-babies.
Frank Brown Park boasts a fenced-in, leash-free puppy playground. The park also has 1.5 miles of trails and greenways that are perfect for strolling with leashed companions. Aaron Bessant Park, next to Pier Park, is another pet-friendly city park. Dogs are even welcome at the park’s “Summer Concert Series,” which is held every Thursday night throughout the summer at the park’s outdoor amphitheater. Just remember to keep your dog on a leash and clean up after him or her. Panama City Beach Conservation Park is a pet-friendly wilderness park that contains miles of trails and boardwalks perfect for dogs on leashes. These trails are open every day — as is the rest of the park — from sunrise to sunset.
Dogs that are on leashes are welcome in Pier Park; however, with the exception of Ron Jon Surf Shop, they are not allowed in the stores or restaurants. No matter — there is an endless variety of things to do and see at this deluxe outdoor venue. Pier Park often hosts entertainment from local music groups, too.
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