Whether you’re a longtime dog owner or new parents of a ‘pandemic pup’, you don’t have to leave your best friend behind when staying and playing in Greater Fort Lauderdale.
Must love dogs? In Greater Fort Lauderdale, dogs are warmly welcomed at many of the same places as humans. Fancy hotels, al fresco dining, beautiful stretches of beaches, a lake perfect for dock-jumping, and even exploring our waterways on paddle boards – dogs can have it all.
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Whether you’re jet-setting with a pet or a local who can’t imagine a staycation without your dog, it’s BYOD (bring your own dog) at a variety of pet-friendly hotels, including buzzy new digs like the Hyatt Centric Las Olas and The Dalmar. Luxury travelers gravitate toward W Fort Lauderdale for their standout pet program, and where dogs can chill with their paw-rents in communal spots like The Living Room. Think roomy suites and ocean-facing balconies meant for soaking up the sun, amenities like plush pet beds, and special travel packages such as the ‘Dogs Are A Girl's Best Friend’ package, which includes sweet treats and bubbly for adults as well as dog-friendly Champagne and doggie ice cream. (Yes, some dogs do live as good as humans.) At Plunge Beach Resort in laidback Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, two dogs under 40 pounds are allowed per room and pets can hang at oceanfront Backflip Beach Bar where they’ll receive a complimentary treat and water bowl.
Beach days aren’t just for humans. Leashed dogs are allowed to splash in the surf and play in the sand at Fort Lauderdale’s Canine Beach, located at A1A near Sunrise Boulevard, as well as Hollywood Beach between Pershing and Custer Streets, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at designated times in the afternoon and evening. Again, there are certain restrictions and permits needed, so check the websites before going.
Dogs live the beach and lake life at Performance Pups in Dania Beach. Think of this as doggie heaven, as canines can leap into the freshwater lake from a long dock, doggie-paddle through the calm water, and chase their friends and any toys thrown their way on the beach. While the lake is open to the public during the week, owners can rent the beach and dock for private play, or a ‘pawty’ for dogs and their pack.
It’s not uncommon to see dogs cruising the waterways on boats and yachts, and with SUP PUP Paddleboard, dogs can hop on a paddle board with their owners to explore Fort Lauderdale’s many weaving canals. Owner Natasha Baker Williams created the fun-loving business after she saw how much her Welsh corgi, Mr. Beaches, loved standup paddle boarding with her. Now, she and Mr. Beaches lead SUP tours through Fort Lauderdale’s waterways; or guests can rent a board and take their pup on an adventure.
There’s nothing like enjoying a meal or a cold beverage with your best bud, and the destination boasts numerous restaurants that welcome and even cater to dogs with canine menus. Stroll down Las Olas Boulevard and you’ll often see canines lounging on the outdoor patios of cafes and restaurants like Pan-Asian restaurant Casa Sensei, where they can gobble up dog sushi. Like its dog-centric name, Nauti Dawg tucked away on a marina in dreamy Lighthouse Point treats pups like royalty, offering water bowls and a canine menu featuring chicken breasts, hamburgers, beef filets and more. It’s a laidback place to kick back on the dock for an al fresco meal and watch the boats pull in. Beach lovers can soak up the ocean breezes at Park & Ocean on Fort Lauderdale Beach, and then lead their dog through the nature trails of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. Watch Fort Lauderdale’s active boat show on the Intracoastal at dog-friendly spots like Shooters Waterfront, where they offer gourmet dog dishes made of organic ingredients. Locals-in-the-know post up with their pups at YOT Bar & Kitchen situated on a lively marina; on certain nights, guests are treated to live music and an awesome happy hour. In Pompano Beach, snag an outdoor table at Galuppi’s restaurant for picturesque views of the Pompano Beach Municipal Golf Course. Even breweries like Tarpon River Brewing, LauderAle and 26° Brewing allow dogs to hang in their taprooms or patios, ideal for sipping craft beers and people watching.
Off-leash and thriving. There are numerous parks in Greater Fort Lauderdale for dogs to run free, exhaust pent-up energy and socialize. Some of the top dog parks are Bark Park at Snyder Park in Fort Lauderdale, a sprawling park broken into two sections for small and large dogs and even fitted with agility courses. Another popular perk at Snyder: a lake where dogs can swim and cool off. At beloved Happy Tails in Plantation, five acres and three separate areas are dedicated to dogs of all sizes; and Canine Corner in Pompano Beach offers two sections for small and larger dogs. Other dog parks around the county include Dr. Paul’s Dog Park in Coral Springs and Gary B. Jones Park in Tamarac.
Pack your pet – there’s so much to see and sniff in Greater Fort Lauderdale.