Destination Deep-Dive 8 MINS READ

The Ultimate Guide For a Pet-Friendly Holiday in Florida

The Ultimate Guide For a Pet-Friendly Holiday in Florida

Destination Deep-Dive 8 MINS READ

There is a question arising every year when planning a trip with a family: “what about my pet?” Aside from the cost, bringing your four-legged friend on a trip also involves bureaucracy and restrictions. Some countries, such as Indonesia or Thailand, even require a 2-week long quarantine for pets, and this is why so many travelers choose to go on a domestic trip by car.

If this is something you can relate to, a great idea is to either opt for a staycation in the USA. And, in case you’re looking for a destination for a perfect holiday destination for travelers, you might wanna consider going to Florida. Granted with amazing weather all year-round, this location has a range of pet-friendly hotels that welcome dogs and cats, plenty of green spaces, and parks.

But there are a few pieces of information you should know before start planning a trip with your furry friend. Read the full post and learn how to have the ultimate pet-friendly holidays in Florida.

Note: Make sure to double-check COVID 19 precautions, protocols, and operating hours before you visit any of these sites.

Staycation With Your Pet

A golden retriever on a car trunk.

There several benefits of going on a staycation. One of the main advantages of traveling near home or within your country is certainly the fact that it’s much easier to take your pet with you. Since you’re probably not taking long flights, and traveling internationally, there are fewer bureaucracies involved with your pet coming along, which is great. In fact, many opt for going on staycations within their own cities, and if you do the same, you can even take a road trip with your family and four-legged friend!

For the perfect staycation with your pet, make sure you choose a destination wisely. When doing your research, take into consideration factors such as the distance of your home to the final destination, if there are any good places to stay, such as a pet-friendly resort or hotel, for instance, and if there are any pet-friendly activities around, such as a dog park, and a beautiful beach.

Before Your Trip

Entering Florida with Pets

A kitten inside a blue and white pet crate next to a travel suitcase.

There are several requirements for travelers who are entering Florida with their pets. First, they need to take an official certificate of veterinary inspection, the so-called health certificate, with them. The certificate at the date of the arrival must be issued less than 30 days back. This means that, if you’re thinking about going to Florida for Christmas and New Year holidays, it is wise not to wait too long and start preparing in advance. You can get the health certificate in any vet office within a few hours.

Another document you need to enter Florida with your pet is the documentation of the current rabies vaccine. According to state laws, the vaccine must be renewed every 3 months, although the rules vary state by state. If you need your dog to be vaccinated, do not waste any time and get it done as soon as possible. Regarding rabies tag, it is not necessary for your pet to wear it, although there are some counties in Florida that do require pets to wear a rabies tag.

Pet-Friendly Accommodation In Florida

A golden retriever sitted on an hotel bed.

Before traveling with your pet — not only to Florida but anywhere — it’s always good to do some proper research and get as organized as you can. Aside from finding out what are the rules for traveling with your pet by plane, make sure you also look for pet-friendly accommodation in advance. This will avoid unpleasant surprises, and knowing that your pet is safe and comfortable in the hotel will leave you unworried and ready to enjoy your holidays.

Fortunately, there is a range of pet-friendly lodgings in Florida. Some of the top destinations for travelers and their furry friends are Fort Myers and Naples, Palm Beach, South Walton, Miami, Orlando, and Jacksonville. Aside from allowing dogs and cats, some of the pet-friendly hotels in these places don’t charge an extra fee and are located close to great beaches where you can go for a run and play with your pet.

Another great idea for those who are traveling to Florida with their pets is to stay at a vacation home. That way, you can accommodate your family and your pet.

Before booking your pet-friendly hotel, resort, or vacation home, make sure you get all the necessary information about bringing pets along with you. Read about the accommodations policies, and find out if there is a cleaning fee or a pet-fee per stay.

Find Pet-Friendly Hotels in Florida, USA | Find Pet-Friendly Homes in Florida, USA

Popular Pet-Friendly Destinations in Florida

A cocker spaniel watching the sunset at a beach.

There’s a variety of pet-friendly getaways in Florida. If you’re looking for some family adventure time, you can take them and your furry-friend to Orlando. This a great destination because it harbors some of the best pet-friendly hotels in Florida, such as the Walt Disney World® Resort, and the Universal Orlando Resort.

Another great area for traveling with pets in Florida is Jacksonville, which is home to plenty of dog-friendly beaches and even a 42-acre off-leash park, the Dog Wood Park.

In case you’re looking for some fun at the beach go to Fort Lauderdale, which is an area filled with verdant parks, sparkling lakes, dog runs, trails, and a handful of outdoor activities. Plus, Greater Fort Lauderdale has more than 100 pet-friendly hotels for you to choose from.

Flying to Florida with Pets

A dog with a leash sitted on an airplane seat.

If you are coming a long way to Florida and prefer to not waste any time in the car, then there are some additional things you should consider before going on a holiday. For those who are flying to Florida, then it’s best to contact the airline to make appropriate reservations for your pet. It’s also important to do some proper research and learn everything you can about your airline’s policies. Some companies require a certificate of acclimation or health certificate, but you should check it in advance, as it depends on the airline and type of flight. In both cases, these can be provided by the veterinarian. Some airlines only accept health certificates within 10 days of examination, so make sure to research everything before your trip. 

During Your Trip

Pet-Friendly Beaches in Florida

A dog jumping on the sea while playing with a kid during the sunset.

If you are traveling and sunbathing with your whole family, you don’t want to leave your dog locked at the rental. Florida is quite welcoming in that sense. Having both off-leash beaches and beaches your dog needs to be leashed up, there is a lot to choose from. In Fort De Soto Park, for example, dog owners are allowed to swim together with their pets, and the beaches are adapted to enjoy picnics, play with your dogs, let your dog socialize with others, and have fun. For an added bonus, it was named America’s #1 beach in 2008 and 2009, pushing all records.

If you are in Venice, FL, then Brohard Paw Park may be a good choice. Situated in Sarasota, it is the only pet-friendly beach in the county.

Other great dog-friendly Florida beaches are the Palm Coast and the Flagler, located between Daytona Beach and St. Augustine. You can also take your pet to Sanibel Island & Captiva, which has 15 miles of beaches, many of them being dog-friendly, such as Algiers Beach. For some white fully sand and turquoise waters, head over to Panama City Beach, in Northwest Florida, which is also home to a myriad of outdoor pet-friendly restaurants. At the right side of the Pier Park, there’s a dog-friendly space called Dog Beach, where pets can so run, play, and swim in the ocean.

But, before heading over to the beach with your pet, there are a few things you should have in mind. The first one is to research if there are any pet-policies that owners should know about before visiting the beach. Some beaches only allow dogs on a leash, so you might wanna do some quick research beforehand. Aside from that, please have a few etiquette rules in mind, such as always taking clean up bags with you. Don’t forget to pack an extra bottle of water for your pet, and take water safety equipment, such as a life vest, if necessary.

Public Transport Pet Policies in Florida

Two small dogs inside a blue car looking over the winder.

Thanks to a bill requiring Amtrak to accept dogs and cats as passengers in the trains, now you can travel around Florida with your pet without any problem. Your pet will be welcomed and given a ticket, and you can carry your best friend as carry-on baggage.

However, any dog that is too large to be carried in a bag will not be allowed to ride. To get around by taxi in cities, you can use Uber. There is a special pet taxi service in Florida, in all major cities from Miami to Fort Lauderdale to Orlando, but check properly before booking Uber.

In Miami, it’s unlawful to board an animal on a bus or train when the animal/pet is not in a properly enclosed container or pet carrier.

Eating Out With Your Pet in Florida

A small dog with a leash near his owner inside a restaurant.

Getting around and go swimming with your dogs is not hard anymore, but there are other pet-friendly activicties for you and your furry friend in Florida. In case you’re eating out, for instance, you can also take your pet with you to a also a high-end restaurant, instead of leaving him outside.

Some of the most well-known pet-friendly restaurants in Florida are the Voodoo Dog, in Tallahassee, and the Mad Dogs and Englishmen, in Tampa. The best bet, however, if the hunger strikes when you are out with your pet and have not checked the restaurant selection in advance, is to go for beer gardens that are usually outdoor pubs where you can catch some sun, have a sandwich or burger, and have your dog well-rested right beside you. You should mind, though, that restaurants are still more welcoming to small and medium-sized dogs, so it might be a good idea to always take the leash with you.

Overall, Florida is truly a pet-friendly destination where you can find shops, vacation rentals, and restaurants that are suitable not only for the family but also for your furry friend.

Getting into Florida state should not be a problem if you manage your travels well ahead and try to get your pets’ health statements and travel cards on time. You should also find out the best places to eat out before going on a vacation with a pet, just you do not miss any of the awesomeness whilst on holiday. Plus, make sure to look up the best pet-friendly hotels in Florida before you go.

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