Pet-Friendly Travel and Leisure in Sarasota
Leash-Free Paw Parks
There's nothing like a little fresh air and freedom—in a safe and supervised environment—to make any dog's day. Sarasota and Venice are home to several off-leash dog parks that allow pups to exercise, explore and play in a fenced environment where owners can rest assured their four-legged friends can't wander too far.
17th Street Paw Park
The 17th Street Paw Park is the longest running dog park in Sarasota County, established in 1999. The park comes with all the amenities a pooch could want: doggie drinking fountains, separate fenced areas for small and large dogs, and plenty of waste disposal bags and trash cans so that their caregivers can help keep the park clean. Humans visiting the 17th Street Park without their pups also have access to softball and soccer fields, as well as an archery range.
Canine Club at Gillespie Park
Located on the corner of North Osprey Ave & 10th St, this dog park provides two fenced areas for pets near the basketball courts. This canine club is the most recent addition to the Gillespie Park, which is named after Sarasota's Scottish first mayor: John Hamilton Gillespie. Other park amenities include picnic tables, a playground, fitness trail, three tennis courts, outside fitness areas and a pond. Leashed pets are also allowed outside of the dog park.
Arlington Paw Park
Arlington Paw Park, near downtown Sarasota, is another popular hangout for Sarasota's canine set. Like other paw parks in the area, Arlington offers separate fenced areas for small and large dogs, as well as access to drinking fountains to help pups keep cool during the ‘dog days' of summer. On-leash dogs can join their owners for a walk in the public park.
Lakeview & Woodmere Paw Parks
The Lakeview Paw Park south of the city of Sarasota and the Woodmere Paw Park in Venice both provide a safe space for dogs under owner supervision to exercise and play, with access to water fountains and shady spots.
The Dog Beach
For beach-loving pups, we've saved the best for last: Brohard Beach and Paw Park is one of the most unique dog parks on Florida's Gulf Coast. An enclosed paw park offers all the amenities of other dog parks in the area, but pups with a taste for sand ‘n' surf will also love the opportunity to splash and romp on the pet-friendly section of the beach. Brohard Beach offers the only dog-friendly, off-leash beach area in Sarasota County.
More than 40 restaurants in Sarasota welcome dogs if their owners are dining al fresco—and on Florida's sunny Gulf Coast, there's plenty of patio space to go around. Here are some of our top Fido-approved picks.
Based on its name alone, it should come as no surprise that The Old Salty Dog is one of the most popular spots to dine with a pup in Sarasota County. Best known for its beer-battered hot dogs and bar eats, the restaurant features three popular locations on Siesta Key, City Island, and in Venice.
Owen's Fish Camp
For award-winning southern style cooking and seafood, look no further than Owen's Fish Camp in the heart of historic Burns Court in downtown Sarasota. Dogs are welcome on the outdoor patio deck, where the “Old Florida” atmosphere offers a one-of-a-kind experience and people-watching in one of Sarasota's most eclectic districts.
Located in the downtown theatre district, Bijou Cafe is steeped in history: it was originally a pumping station in the 1920s, and was converted into a restaurant in the 1980s. Today, this charming, award winning continental eatery remains a local favorite, providing ample patio seating for patrons who enjoy dining with their dogs.
Looking to bite into one of the best burgers in town? Patrick's 1481 offers a generous amount of dog-friendly sidewalk seating, and grills up some of the most sought-after burgers in town at the heart of downtown Sarasota.
Located just next door to Patrick's on the corner of Lemon and Main, Mattison's City Grille is a prime location for people-watching—and a great spot to bring your pup. Mattison's al fresco dining area offers shady, covered dining at what is arguably the most bustling corner in downtown Sarasota.
Is your dog—or shall we say, chien—a Francophile? C'est La Vie in downtown Sarasota offers up popular French cafe bites, from fresh croissants to tartine sandwiches and croque monsieurs, in pet-friendly sidewalk cafe settings. The people-watching is just as delightful as the cafe au lait.
In St. Armand's Circle, Cafe L'Europe and the Columbia Restaurant are two longstanding local favorites for human patrons and pups alike. Cafe L'Europe offers up an array of award-winning European cuisine, while Columbia provides a Floridian-Latin flair with its delectable Tampa-Cuban dishes.
Take your pup on the town for a Sunday brunch date at Libby's Brasserie in Sarasota's Southside Village, or Station 400 in the Rosemary District. Both restaurants offer some of the most sought-after brunch items in town. Another great option is State Street, where dogs are welcome in the sidewalk dining area.
Located on City Island near the (on-leash) dog-friendly Ken Thompson Park, New Pass Grill & Bait Shop is a circa-1929 bait and tackle shop that boasts oodles of ‘Old Florida' charm. Enjoy affordable pub bites, including award-winning burgers, deckside, with your pup by your side.