Search Sarasota Real Estate on
Contact us: 888-552-5228

Gulf Coast Paradise: Dog-Friendly Neighborhoods

By: | | Share Tweet Email

The Gulf Coast is a great place to call home for a wide variety of people – the year-round sunshine and warm temperatures, the dynamic culture that reflects both a fast and slow pace of life, the multitude of award-winning beaches and golf. We could go on all day, but we won’t. You may not get that hour back in your day, and we want you out and appreciating our wonderful communities or talking with one of our area specialists to help you find your piece of paradise.

Instead, we’re introducing a blog series that explores why our slice of Southwest Florida is ideal through the eyes of our agents and the eyes of buyers like you! This first installment of the Gulf Coast Paradise series is for the dogs…literally. Take a look at what some of our agents (and their four-legged friends) think is wonderful about the communities where they live and work every day.


West Bradenton is a doggie haven for getting out and about on the town or splashing in the water. Owners will appreciate the area’s inclusion for all things four-legged and furry.

Raven enjoying some fetch in Bradenton

Outdoor Adventures

  • The Laurie Crawford Dog Park at G.T. Bray Park – With more than 4 acres of fun, this park allows for four-legged activities, obstacles and agility, and shaded squirrel-watching. Centrally located between Cortez Road and Manatee Avenue.
  • De Soto National Memorial Park – Offering miles of trails through protected mangrove areas and beachy waterfront, this is a great place to experience Old Florida. Many dog visitors enjoy paddleboarding and kayaking on the water or cooling off on the shore and rolling in the soft, fluffy sand.
  • Palma Sola Causeway Park – Just off Manatee Avenue, this strip of waterfront is a great spot to cool off and enjoy grilling by the picnic shelters and always keeps the furry visitors in mind with plenty of water fountains and areas to walk.

Local Amenities

  • Downtown Bradenton – There is always fun to be found downtown. Throughout the year, the calendar is full of activities with many of them being dog-friendly, including some of the shops and restaurants.
  • PetSuites of Sarasota-Bradenton – Offering daycare, boarding and puppy playtimes, your fur-baby will enjoy extra attention during their stay while you are running errands or on a trip.

Nearby Attractions & Places to Go

  • Motorworks Brewing – Live music, movie nights, rotating food truck options, and locally crafted beverages is a hot spot in Bradenton, where dogs and their owners can hang out on the back patio, play cornhole and feel more than welcomed. In fact, each month they have a special Yappy Hour Pet Extravaganza Fundraiser to support local rescue shelters.

Communities to Check Out

East Manatee County/Lakewood Ranch 

Information & photos provided by Lakewood Ranch/Bradenton dog owner and Michael Saunders & Company Communications Specialist Samantha Emelock.

Dunkin’ enjoying one of the many green spaces in Lakewood Ranch with his favorite tennis ball.

Outdoor Adventures: 

As communities west of I-75 in Manatee County continue to develop, there are no shortage of outdoor spaces to enjoy some quality time with your pooch. In fact, nearly all communities in the masterful master-planned Lakewood Ranch offer paw parks in case you want to stick closer to home. Other places to check out beyond community gates are:

  • Heritage Harbour Central Park –Located just east of the highway, Heritage Harbour not only provides a publicly accessed paw park with daily replenished, filtered water for humans and pets alike, but a magnificent lake that offers 2 leisurely miles of walking alongside an array of community activity, including the playgrounds, baseball fields and lighthouse that’s become the neighborhood’s emblem.
  • Greenbrook Adventure Paw Park  Though you’ll pay an annual fee to utilize this paw park, its well-maintained grounds and amenities make it worth the price. Pups that visit are treated to an agility course, drinking fountain and runs for big and small breeds. A time out area is also on hand in case disciplinary action is needed.
  • Greenbrook Park On-leash fun can be had for free here as well. When parking just outside the dog park, hang a hard right over the footbridge for a nice stroll among the trees.
  • Nathan Benderson Park – Next to University Town Center, this three-mile walk around the 400-acre lake is great for sunning, biking, rollerblading and walking with your best friend. Be sure to bring plenty of water for you both, however, as there’s little shade. Dogs must be kept on-leash, and be sure to have waste bags at the ready. Benderson also hosts regular charity walks and events where dogs can participate.

    A long walk around the Heritage Harbour Central Park lake always makes Dunkin’ extra happy, but extra tired.

Local Amenities

  • Woof Gang Bakery Run by Dottie DeCarlo, this shop located in the Publix shopping plaza between University Parkway and Town Center Parkway is a local favorite for cookies and accessories.
  • Bayside Pet Resort – One of three locations, this 5-star pet resort offers dog & cat lodging, doggie daycare and professional grooming services. Dogs are separated by size for doggie daycare and have plenty of indoor, outdoor and individual play areas for pups to enjoy, including a courtyard with an in-ground pool designed for canine safety. Lodging amenities can include private patios, TVs and webcams.
  • Woofdorf Astoria  This doggie daycare and boarding service’s name says it all, offering supervised play areas, including an expansive indoor (and air-conditioned) one for hot summer days.

Nearby Attractions & Places to Go

  • BARCtober Fest (October) – Robert (Bob) Gardener Park hosts a fun-filled day of pet-related activities suited for both owners and pets. Owners enjoy the array of food, beverages and live music, while pups can socialize with old and new friends. The event also supports ARC (the Animal Rescue Coalition) to help make high-quality and low-cost spaying/neutering available to everyone.
  • Humane Society of Lakewood Ranch Events – This branch of the Humane Society hosts regular dog-friendly events that support their mission and other local animal-related causes. Some favorites include Putt for Mutts and Racquets for Rescues in May and the Doggies for Duchenne 5K race in February.

While able to bring dogs on a short leash to Music on Main every first Friday of the month, the number of people and loud noise may not be as thrilling for four-legged friends as it is for their owners. 

Communities to Check Out

Contact an East County Real Estate Specialist in Bradenton or Lakewood Ranch for more information on these and other dog-friendly communities.

Longboat Key

Information & photos provided by MSC Agents and dog owners Janet Walter of our Longboat Key South office and Bobbie Banan with our St. Armands Circle I office.

Buck getting his daily sea salt fur treatment and relaxing on his family’s boat.

Outdoor Adventures:

While Longboat Key may have “no dogs on the beach” ordinances in place, that hasn’t slowed down many of the happy pups that accompany their owners on nautical excursions every day.

  • Jewfish Key Sandbar – An island on the Bayside of LBK, Jewfish Key and its adjacent sandbar is a favorite hangout for people and pooches alike. Not only do dogs get to feel the wind in their fur getting to the location but the expansive spit of sand at low tide provides a nice blend of sandbar, turtle grass, water and family fun.
  • Joan M Durante Community Park – Along Gulf of Mexico Drive, this natural retreat full of boardwalks and views of Sarasota Bay is a wonderful oasis to wander with your dog, listen to the array of birds and enjoy Florida’s flora at its best.

Beaux embracing his inner waterdog on Jewfish Key.

Local Amenities

  • Dogs for the Earth – Organic dog food, skin care and aromatherapy
  • 11-mile sidewalk the length of the Key – MSC Agent, Bobbie Banan said her dog Pumpkin loves it. “That is great for long walks with beautiful views. You will make a lot of friends while walking. We also have a dog park that is fenced and divided into two sections.”

Pumpkin, Realtor® Bobbie Banan’s Maltese Poodle

Nearby Attractions & Places to Go

Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant and Pub – Dockside dining at its best and a neighborhood favorite within Longboat Village, Mar Vista has 14 convenient boat slips that allow you to dock with your dog and enjoy some seaside pub fare on a private beach, under the trees or on the covered patio.

The Old Salty Dog  Located on City Island and featured on Man v. Food for its iconic fully loaded Salty Dog, the mix of views and prime seafood has turned patrons into loyalists. What’s more, they’re dog-friendly – with a name like that how could they not be? In addition to hosting pups and their owners for lunch and dinner on an oversized and sunny deck daily, the Old Salty Dog website has a Dog of the Month page that features some of their favorite canines. You can also check out local dog events around City Island like Howl-o-Ween.

Fourth of July Parade  – Before the fireworks terrorize the majority of our furry friends, the annual Freedom Fest and Hot Diggity Dog Parade hosted by the Rotary Club of Longboat Key invites owners to get in the patriotic spirit and dress themselves and their canine companions up for a brief stroll down Bay Isles Road to Bicentennial Park where more fun, games and food await.

Communities to Check Out


Sarasota offers a lively urban atmosphere for the coastal-loving pooch, from luxury condominium lifestyles for the pampered to the rural cul-de-sac where everyone knows your name.

Outdoor Adventures

Bentley enjoying a long walk at the Celery Fields

  • Bird Key Park – On the waters’ edge of Sarasota Bay, dogs of all sizes enjoy relaxing waterside at the picnic tables or going for a jog. For the more adventurous waterdogs, there is a kayak and paddleboard launch for cruising the bay.
  • Celery Fields – For the true outdoorsy and adventurous dog-owner, the Celery Fields east of I-75 in Sarasota offers flat and hilled terrain for you and your dog to hike and see for miles.
  • 17th ST Paw Park – Dogs large and small will love the spacious fenced area where there are numerous covered picnic areas, large shade trees, plenty of fresh water and an agility course.
  • Arlington Paw Park – Repurposed from a baseball field, this is the ideal location to throw some tennis balls and let your dog run. Nestled within Arlington Park, you can also take your dog on a half-mile walk.

Local Amenities

  • Camp Bow Wow While you’re away, let your pup play! Camp Bow Wow treats your pet like their own, offering multiple playrooms and outdoor areas.
  • Buddy Brew – When a dog is the logo for the company, you know it’s bound to be a pooch-friendly place. Pair a bakery item with freshly brewed coffee, then you and your dog can get comfortable in the couches outside watching shoppers stroll downtown.

Nearby Attractions & Places to Go

The Bayfront – With generous shade trees, grassy areas and O’Leary’s Tiki Bar & Grill – where furry patrons are welcome guests on the patio, dogs and owners live their best lives by the bay.

Bear enjoys watching the boats cruise by with his mom, Torri, at the Bayfront

Communities to Check Out





Information & photos provided by MSC Agent and dog owner Margaret Kennedy of our Venice office. 

At Brohard Beach in Venice, Daario enjoys some sunbathing after a refreshing swim in the Gulf

Outdoor Adventures

  • Brohard Beach and Paw Park – The only beach in the area where dogs can enjoy the waves, sun and sand completely off-leash. There is also a fenced large and small dog area.
  • Woodmere Dog Park – Dogs and their owners seeking a good shady area or a nice trail to walk will enjoy this fenced, off-leash park

MSC Agent Margaret Kennedy and her dog Harry Potter enjoy the water opportunities of Venice

Local Amenities

  • Pawprint Essentials – Organic and gentle, this grooming and health spa for dogs will leave your pup feeling ‘pawsh’ and pampered.
  • TJ Carney’s Pub & Grille – Enjoy live music, watching the game on big screen TVs and the Florida air on the dog-friendly patio dining area of this town favorite restaurant.

Nearby Attractions & Places to Go

  • Farmers’ market – There is a pet stand every Saturday morning to stroll
  • Venice Ave Creamery – Offers dog-friendly ice cream
  • Downtown – Local restaurants offer “pet dining” outside and most of the shops keep water bowls outside for those hot sunny days

Communities to Check Out

Let us know in the comment section below how you and your pup like to enjoy your Gulf Coast neighborhood, and stay tuned for more from the Gulf Coast Paradise series, as we continue to explore the areas and amenities that make living in the Sunshine State sublime.

Gulf Coast Paradise: Dog-Friendly Neighborhoods was last modified: May 31st, 2019 by Samantha Emelock