BringFido's Guide to the Florida Keys

Posted by Billy Francis

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Located between the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Keys provide a year-round tropical playground for boaters, adventure seekers, and those who want a taste of island life. Bring your best friend along to bask in white-sand beaches, warm temperatures and turquoise waters at the tail end of the Sunshine State.

Things to Do

“We can use our ears as propellers!” Photo by @sharkbaitkw

Bring Fido to the Florida Keys and unlock the natural world above and below when you meet marine life, take a tiki tour on the open water, and chat with parrots together.

Paddle With Your Pooch

Lazy Dog Adventures invites you and your pooch to explore Key West's mangrove creeks and shallow waters on a kayak or paddleboard. Along the way, you might spot marine life such as jellyfish, conch, sea cucumbers, stingrays, and maybe even a shark or manatee. If you’ve never paddled with your pup before and would prefer to learn at your own pace, Lazy Dog also offers kayak and paddleboard rentals. Their staff will give you tips on how to introduce Fido to the sport and help you select the right board.

Wild Walkies Await

Fido can greet an array of exotic birds at Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden. Nancy has been rescuing and re-homing orphaned parrots for over 35 years, with many of these colorful critters taking up residence in her safe haven in Key West. You’ll marvel at the South American Macaws and other parrots during your self-guided tour, but don’t just take our word for it - ask them yourself!

Take Off in a Tiki

Set sail with Fido on your very own tiki hut with Cruisin’ Tikis Key Largo. Bring your alcoholic beverage of choice as you cruise the Florida Keys on a 120-minute sunset tour. You can also bring snacks or dinner from Snook’s Bayside, where your tiki adventure begins. Choose to stay on the boat and enjoy the sunset, or ask your captain to drop anchor so you and your water dog can take a dip. Bottled water, cups, a cooler of ice and a captain to guide your way are all provided.

Sandy Paws Time

When the sun is shining, you can’t beat a sombrero. Share a stroll through the surf with your leashed Spaniel on Sombrero Beach in Marathon. This hidden gem has free parking and outdoor showers to wash off sandy paws before you head off to the next pet-friendly activity on your itinerary.

“There's something fishy about this place.” Photo by @dogsworldinsofl

Meet the Marine Life

Located near Nancy’s, Key West Aquarium invites dogs to “pawticipate” in one of the guided walks and view the aquatic exhibits. Four-legged guests can join you at the touch tank, jellyfish exhibit and throughout the aquarium, as long as they are leashed.

Cruise Through the Keys

Overseas Highway, also known as Florida Keys Scenic Highway, will make Fido feel like he’s riding shotgun in an amphibious vehicle across the water. Surrounded by ocean on both sides, the southernmost tip of the A1A is a 113-mile scenic road that leads from Key Largo to Key West, crosses 43 bridges and passes through the same number of unique keys along the way.

See the Glass Bottom Half Full

Four-legged Gilligans are permitted on board the 75-foot Key Largo Princess Glass Bottom Boat for a two-hour tour around John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. You and your furry Jacques Cousteau can marvel at the wonders hidden beneath the turquoise waters of the Florida Keys from the comfort of the vessel’s air-conditioned cabin.

Tarpon Feeding With Fido

Waterfront wonders await you and your Weimaraner at Robbie's of Islamorada. Whether you want to hand-feed massive tarpon on the dock, toast with a Bloody Mary on the waterfront deck or browse handmade souvenirs, this one-stop shop is full of surprises that shouldn’t be missed.

Places to Stay

“These are reserved for me and my pack.” Photo by @hoganbennett

Set a course for the Florida Keys to enjoy incredible resorts, “pawfect” private islands and the gentle sway of a pet-friendly yacht.

Lounge With Your Labrador

Islander Resort is the key to a great vacation in the Florida Keys. Located in Islamorada, the resort spans 24 acres of lush tropical landscape, has a private dog park and welcomes leashed pups to join you on its private beach. When it’s dinnertime, walk over to the on-site Tides Beachside Bar & Grill, where you can dine al fresco with your pooch.

Tropical Nights

Set in the heart of the Key West historic district, Ambrosia Key West is a cozy, tropical-themed bed and breakfast. Start your day with a morning meal served poolside before strolling over to Duval Street, Mallory Square, and other island attractions. Upon your return, cool Fido off at the property’s dedicated watering station and let him lounge around the Ambrosia’s lush gardens.

Stay in an Oscar Winner With Your Wiener

Tennessee Williams is responsible for some of the most well-known plays of the 21st century, including the Rose Tattoo. His much-loved stageplay found its way to the silver screen in 1955 and was filmed on location in Key West. Spend the night with your pooch in the 100-year-old building near the old town where the movie was shot.

“Easy breezy.” Photo by @willifordelena

Private Pet-Friendly Island

All aboard your complimentary Carolina Skiff to the tropical paradise of East Sister Rock Island. This exclusive private islet lies just off the coast of Marathon, a chain of 13 islands in the Florida Keys. Get out on the water during the day, then hang out on the veranda and listen to the waves lapping against the manmade moat when the sun finally sets.

Dog Menu With a View

Fido can enjoy his own daily Yappy Hour with a special pet menu during your stay at Baker’s Cay Resort Key Largo. You’ll both enjoy the views of Florida Bay from your private balcony, and your pup will receive an engraved pet tag, waste bags and a water bowl. You might even meet the Director of Pet Relations, Maya the Husky.

Sail Away, Sail Away, Sail Away

If you’ve never been lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking of the waves before, reserve a stay on Sea Raven Six and sleep above the fishes. This 32-foot yacht is equipped with everything you need for a comfortable stay within walking distance of Duval Street downtown.

Dock Dive With Your Dog

Tranquility awaits at this waterfront fisherman’s paradise in Islamorada. Wake up and enjoy coffee on the upstairs balcony before heading down to the dock to dip a paw in the water and make friends with the manatee population who regularly pop up to say hello.

Dog-Friendly Restaurants

“Where everybody knows Fido’s name.” Photo by @thebestweim

Tropical “Grrrills,” musical thrills and laid-back chills make the Keys’ food scene both filling and fulfilling.

Live Music on the Water

Fido can sit back and cross his paws beneath the shade of a parasol at Schooner Wharf Bar, situated a couple of blocks from the most westerly tip of Key West. The harborwalk will lead you to this historic restaurant, and the buzzing atmosphere, live music and frozen drinks will keep you here all afternoon.

World-Famous Ocean Flavors

Thanks to its position between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, Islamorada is known as the sports fishing capital of the world. Gather with your family at Islamorada Fish Company and enjoy ocean delights on the plate and all around. The nautical-themed restaurant is decorated with a bounty of items from the deep, including a huge saltwater fish tank inside. Find a spot on the pet-friendly patio and enjoy the sunset with your pup.

Hot Diggity Dogs and More

Home to the town’s only miniature golf (unfortunately not pet-friendly), Boondocks Grille & Draft House in Ramrod Key offers a hole in one if you're craving flatbread, cheesy mac and more. Your canine caddie can enjoy items from the pet menu like a Hot Diggity Dog, Woofer Burger, “Barkin” Breast of Chicken, French Poodle Fries and Beggin’ Bacon Strips.

Hanging out like a local. Photo by @bizzybambam

Wild West in Key West

Mosey on down with your mutt to Smokin' Tuna Saloon, where a doggone good time is guaranteed. Sidle up to the bar and find a good spot to listen to one of the local bands that play here regularly. If your dog doesn’t like crowds, you may want to skip this lively courtyard bar.

It’s Tiki Time

Before you set off on the Overseas Highway, fuel up with your pup at The Buzzard's Roost in Key Largo. Join them for sit-down Sunday brunch and a complimentary mimosa, or hang out at the tiki bar together when the sun goes down. Hungry hounds can enjoy a saltless patty.

The “Pooch Patio” Awaits

You don’t have to leave your Italian Greyhound at home or say “ciao” to your Chow Chow when you pay a visit to Ciao Hound. Four-legged patrons will feel right at home on the "Pooch Patio" outside with a personalized menu of beef, chicken and seared steak.

Dine in Heaven

Breakfast at Blue Heaven is a Key West staple, drawing crowds to the expansive patio each morning with delicious pancakes, Benedicts, bowls and more. Late risers can enjoy Caribbean classics from the lunch or dinner menu instead.

What are your favorite dog-friendly things to do in the Florida Keys? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

Banner photo by @soulshineadventures.