Pet-Friendly Road Trip: A1A

Posted by Billy Francis

One of the best ways to experience The Sunshine State’s hottest spots is on a pet-friendly road trip down State Road A1A. The historic coastal road passes through quaint oceanfront towns on the Atlantic Ocean for more than 375 miles. From Fernandina Beach just south of Georgia all the way to Key West, here’s our guide to the best places to stay, play and eat with Fido.

Amelia Island

“I like beach mutts and I cannot lie!” Photo by Tiffany Prevatt

Located at the northern end of Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach is the official starting point of the A1A. Here, Fido can enjoy his first taste of Floridian sand and surf with a leashed walk at Main Beach Park. Before putting his “paw-dal” to the metal, he can grab a bumper bag of homemade treats and high-quality swag from Redbones Gourmet Dog Bakery and Boutique.

Located in the center of town, Hampton Inn and Suites Amelia Island Historic Harbor Front is a great first pitstop on your adventure.


“Let’s cancel the road trip and stay here instead!” Photo by

Jacksonville knows how to show dogs a good time. The city is home to the only NFL stadium in the country with an official recreation area for four-legged fans. It’ll take around 25 minutes to reach downtown from the A1A, but you don’t have to stray that far from the coast for fun with Fido. Take “paws” at Neptune Beach, which is home to the canine and human playground, Brew Hound. This professionally developed park is covered in pet-safe turf and has a fenced area for large and small pups, cool shady spots and a splash pad. While your pooch plays and makes new friends, you can sample delicious craft beer. After a brew, make your way to Mickler’s Landing at Ponte Vedra Beach for a leashed puppy paddle in the surf. Nature lovers may also enjoy a morning on the trails at the expansive Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Spend the night in a perfect slice of heaven with views of the beach through French windows. You’ll be within walking distance of South Ponte Vedra Beach Recreation Area where leashed dogs can join you on the sand.

St. Augustine

"Can't you tell we found the Fountain of Youth?" Photo by @settadawgs

America’s oldest town, St. Augustine, is a pet-friendly stop along the A1A. There’s plenty for furry visitors to see and do in the historic city. Start your visit with Ripley's Red Train Tours, and take a narrated journey through the city. Then, dive deeper at The Fountain of Youth, the location of the first settlement, and continue your history lesson with a tour of the Colonial Quarter, a living history museum. If time allows, swing by the Spanish Military Hospital Museum to learn about the Colonial Spanish days of medicine, and take a trip to the Oldest Wooden School House, built in the early 1800s. After seeing the sights, grab a bite at O.C. Whites. The shady outdoor space is great for hot dogs to cool down with a bowl of water after fun in the sun.

Treats, water and bowls await Fido at St Francis Inn, a classic lodging located in St. Augustine’s historic district.

Daytona Beach

“Don’t worry, I’ll never get bored of the beach.” Photo by BringFido/Cayce

After taking in all of St. Augustine’s history, head to Daytona Beach for a more modern adventure. Join Three Brothers Boards for a stand up paddleboard tutorial and tour which caters to canines. Once he conquers the water, Fido can show off his tricks on land using the agility equipment at Halifax Humane Society Dog Park. When it’s time to eat, let your salty "paw-rate" help you sniff (out) the booty and dog menu at Hidden Treasure Rum Bar and Grill.

The beach at Daytona Beach isn’t pet friendly. However, there are some great places a little farther along the A1A. Just 40 minutes south, mucky pups will love getting covered in sand at Smyrna Dunes Park, and owners will appreciate being able to clean them off at the wash stations.

Walton Rocks Dog Beach

"Nothing like the wind in your floof." Photo by BringFido/John

As you head south from Daytona, take a short detour from the A1A to visit some pet-friendly botanical gardens and check out Florida’s flora and fauna. Start with a stroll on the shady pathways at Heathcote Botanical Gardens to see the largest public tropical bonsai collection in the U.S. Then, head to nearby Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens to check out displays of bamboo, hibiscus, roses and orchids. Once you return to Fido’s favorite road in Florida, stop at Walton Rocks Dog Beach in Jensen Beach and allow him to play off leash with other pups along 24 acres.

Jupiter Beach

“Humans, we don’t need you anymore.” Photo by David Scarola Photography

One of BringFido’s favorite East Coast beaches, Jupiter Dog Beach boasts more than two miles of pristine golden sand year-round. Learn to surf with your Shih Tzu at this popular dog beach during a lesson with Salty Dog Paddle. After wiping out all day, your pooch can rehydrate with you at the Thirsty Turtle.

You can’t get much more convenient than this pet-friendly cottage near the beach. Comfortable and affordable, it’s located just a few minutes off the A1A.

Fort Lauderdale

“A much-needed rest.” Photo by Stéphanie

Just over an hour from Jupiter lies dog-friendly Fort Lauderdale. Famous for shopping, beaches and canals along the Intracoastal Waterway, “The Venice of America” offers a chance for you to paddle with your pooch on a pet-friendly kayak tour from Park and Ocean. If kayaking isn’t for your dogs, enjoy a laid-back cruise with Intimate Waterway Tours instead. Or, visit the cleanest freshwater dog lake in Broward County, Performance Pups Freshwater Dog Beach. Afterward, stop by Coconuts Bahamas Grill to refuel on the pet-friendly patio, and at noon you can watch the fish being fed in the marina.

Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach has a grassy space outside and will provide your pooch with a plush bed to relax on after a day on the water.


“Paws next to the palm trees!” Photo by LeoPatrizi

Share a together weekend getaway in dog-friendly Miami. Duck Tours welcomes small lap dogs on an amphibious tour of the city and Biscayne Bay. Or, stay on dry land and enjoy a dog-friendly walking tour for dogs of all sizes with Art Deco Tours instead. Then, enjoy off-leash fun on Bark Beach at North Shore Open Space Park before heading south to Miami Beach for the catch of the day at A Fish Called Avalon.

Pups can enjoy a great night’s sleep at Kimpton Angler's Hotel an IHG Hotel, where canine guests receive treats, beds and bowls at check-in.

Florida Keys

"I'll have another water on the rocks, please." Photo by

Once you’ve left the mainland and you’re making your way through the Florida Keys, pause for a moment at Founder's Park Dog Park in Islamorada for a game of fetch with views of Florida Bay. After driving next to the water for so long, experience driving over it with a cruise along Seven Mile Bridge which connects Knight's Key in the Middle Keys to Little Duck Key in the Lower Keys.

Florida State Road A1A reaches its final destination in Key West. Here, you can park and go for a stroll on a boardwalk through Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden or charter a pet-friendly boat to explore the crystal-clear waters. At the end of the day, dogs are welcome to toast another successful road trip listening to live music at Smokin' Tuna Saloon. Before you leave town, take your pup’s pic next to The Southernmost Point to show all his friends at the dog park.

Book a pet-friendly room at The Perry Hotel & Marina Key West to close out your A1A adventure. This boutique hotel features two on-site dog parks for pups to enjoy.

What’s your favorite pet-friendly road trip? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

Banner photo by Philip Hawkshaw on Unsplash.