Fort De Soto Park, a Gulf Coast getaway that’s home to one of the top-ranked swimming beaches in the country, can be a bit of a tease for ready-to-romp pups. Although on-leash pooches are indeed allowed in this large, birder-beloved park composed of five interconnected keys, they’re prohibited from setting paw on its beautiful beaches. Bummer. But wait … Fort De Soto Park also happens to have its own dedicated dog beach that’s adjacent to the Paw Playground, a traditional, fenced-in dog park.
Within Fort De Soto’s designated, quarter-mile dog beach area, aquatically inclined canines can freely (read: no leashes) sunbathe, dig for buried treasures, practice their doggy paddle, gather driftwood, catch up on back issues of Dog Fancy and make the moves on/drool over their fellow beach-goers. Bring plenty of tennis balls.