Jacksonville is brimming with dog-friendly spots that are perfect for you and your furry friend. And of course, nothing is better than a day with your pooch on the beach.
Jacksonville’s weather is mild, so most of the year you can enjoy the beach. It’s very hot for probably 2-3 months out of the year, and some years it’s pretty cold for 1-2 months. But in the 6 years I lived in Jacksonville, the rest of the year you could generally enjoy being outside.
Just keep in mind, these beaches (and communities) typically have leash laws that require your dog to be leashed while on the beach. Also, don’t forget to bring poop bags and everything you need to clean up after the dog.
That being said, this article will guide you through some great dog friendly beach spots in the Jacksonville area so you can plan the perfect day out for you and your pet.
Mgreason at English Wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
First up on the list of Jacksonville beach dog friendly spots is Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park. This is one of the most popular parks in North Florida, and for good reason. The park offers 1.5 miles of sandy beach where your dog is allowed to play and frolic, provided they are on a leash.
But the fun doesn’t stop at the beach. The park also boasts off a 60-acre freshwater lake where your dog can take a dip to cool off. Lastly, don’t miss out on the 20 miles of trails for both hiking and biking – just be on the lookout for mountain bikers and follow the right of way rules on the trail.
Both RV and tent camping are available here, and the lake in particular is a popular spot for camping.
Next up is Neptune Beach. This laid-back seaside community is another great place for dog-friendly beaches. With its wide sandy beaches and gentle waves, it’s a haven for dogs that love to swim or just play in the water.
One of the best things about Neptune Beach is its quiet, welcoming community. You’ll often find other pet parents with their dogs, giving your furry friend plenty of opportunities to socialize.
Hoplophile, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Ponte Vedra Beach is known for its picturesque views and pristine conditions. The beaches in this community are a favorite among both locals and tourists. And yes, it’s also a fantastic Jacksonville beach dog friendly spot.
One of the most popular spots at Ponte Vedra is Mickler’s Landing Beachfront Park. The beach is clean and the water is clear, and there are also picnic areas and restrooms available for your convenience.
Like Ponte Vedra Beach, Amelia Island is a quiet, upscale community that offers some fantastic beach spots. The beaches here are spacious enough for your dog to run around and burn off that pent-up energy.
While I didn’t have a dog while living in Jacksonville, I did often love to go to Amelia Island to visit both the beaches and the Shops at Omni Amelia Island. I ate with my then-2 year old once inside the general store there and the food was very great. They were also extremely nice to a family with a toddler! The shops have a pond where you can see the resident turtles and fish, so if you’re going with kids too then it’s just a good place for some window shopping and lunch.
Atlantic Beach, Florida (not to be confused with Atlantic Beach, North Carolina) is located between Neptune Beach and Kathryn Hanna Park. There are plenty of access points here too, and they tend to be less crowded than other beach spots like Jacksonville Beach or Ponte Vedra.
Be sure while you’re there not to miss out on the Atlantic Beach Dog Park. The park has two separate areas, one for small dogs and another for larger breeds. It has plenty of space for your dog to run around, play, and socialize with other dogs. There are also several benches and picnic tables where you can sit and relax while your dog has fun.
It’s worth noting that the Atlantic Beach Dog Park requires a membership for access. The membership fee helps to maintain the park and ensure that it remains a safe and clean environment for dogs and their owners.
Jacksonville Beach is one of the most popular places in Jacksonville for all beachgoers, regardless of whether or not they are dog owners. So depending on the season you’re going to see crowds here. Between the heat and the crowds, I typically didn’t bother going to Jacksonville Beach in the summer, for example.
Just drive up and down the main strip and you’ll run into numerous beach access points. Most of them are just small parking lots with no amenities, but there are a few exceptions. One is on 2nd Avenue, and also restrooms at the largest parking lot in Jacksonville Beach on 5th Avenue.
The largest public parking spot in Jacksonville Beach, on 5th Ave., also has public restrooms.
In addition to the access points, you may want to check out Paws Dog Park. It’s a membership-based dog park in Jacksonville Beach with separate areas for large and small dogs, watering bowls, and benches.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for a good place near Jacksonville to take your dog to the beach, you’re in luck. There are lots of options, and this list gives you just a sampling of the best areas to go. While you’re there, be sure to take advantage of the many great local dog parks and of course of all that Jacksonville has to offer!