Can you bring your dog to Pensacola Beach? You can! But there are some pesky rules and regulations we should chat about first.
Dogs tend to love the beach, even if they are petrified of bath time at home or refuse to go outside when it’s raining.
If you’ve considered taking your dog to the beach, there are more accommodations for your four-legged friend than you might realize.
Pensacola Beach is open for business for dog owners.
In fact, they have two sections of beachfront that are entirely dedicated to your pup and you.
That includes Pensacola Beach East Dog Park, Pensacola Beach West Dog Park, and Perdido Key River Road Park.
Summer is getting hot.
And we haven’t even hit August yet so you would be surprised how excited your dog will be to hit the waves, even if they seem to be terrified of anything H2O-related on regular days.
If you decide to take your pup along with you, however, you should be aware of the ground rules in place at all three parks.
Pensacola Beach East Dog Park
Pensacola Beach East is basically just what it says it is, a stretch of Pensacola Beach that is located on the eastern side of the island.
The parking lot that you are looking for is lot 28.5 and you have to go past Portofino to get there.
As you make your way out to the beach, you will see signs that indicate where the section of the beach that is set aside for dog owners.
There is nothing about Pensacola Beach East Dog Park that separates it visually or otherwise from the West Park.
They both look the same and both of them have the same accommodations.
Pensacola Beach West Dog Park
The parking lot number for access to West Park is 21E. As we mentioned above, there is really nothing to differentiate the two parks from one another.
The only difference is that one park might be a lot more crowded than the other, so you can choose the less crowded option if you want.
Both parks are located on the gulf side, not the sound side.
So, if it’s your first time going to the beach with your pup, they will have an opportunity to tackle some waves.
Of course, you should keep an eye out for the flag colors, indicating the strength of the rip current.
Perdido Key River Road Park
Perdido Key is not technically Pensacola, nor is it Pensacola Beach.
However, Johnson’s Beach in Perdido Key is considered to be a part of Pensacola, at least as far as the local residents are concerned.
It’s a good thing that it’s there too because you will often find that Pensacola Beach is very densely crowded.
If you have the kind of dog that is not the most social dog in the world or maybe it gets nervous when there is a lot going on, Perdido Key River Road Park is a good option.
Just as you take Hwy 98 eastbound to head to Pensacola Beach, crossing the three-mile bridge overlooking Pensacola Bay, 98 will also take you out to Perdido Key.
Just head west like you are on your way to Orange Beach, Alabama, or Gulf Shores and you have no choice but to cross through Perdido Key to get there.
Perdido Key River Road Park lacks the space of the two Pensacola Beach sections.
However, it is completely fenced in, so your dog is allowed to come off the leash when you are inside the fencing.
There are no water sources for either yourself or your dog so you need to bring your own water bowl.
If you’re not in the water at the beach, it gets hot very quickly so your pup is going to need plenty of water.
Rules for Bringing Your Dog to Pensacola Beach
However, regardless of what section of beach you head to, you will have to abide by the same rules, and that means you need to bring some things along for the ride.
- Dog Collar
- Doggie bags
- Disposable bins
- Handy wipes
Since your dog doesn’t know any better, they may need to stop and drop off their chow.
You need to have a means for scooping it up so you can place it in a disposable doggie bag.
Escambia County has a Florida ordinance (Chapter 10, Article 1) so you can be fined if you fail to clean up after your dog.
When it comes to this rule and the others to follow, animal control keeps these two beach sections monitored so you don’t want to break the rules.
- Do not take your dog(s) outside of the designated areas
- Dogs are not allowed on Casino Beach or Pensacola Beach proper—only in the designated areas and no more
- The hours at the dog beach are sunrise to sunset
- Both dog beaches are for dogs only and no other pets are allowed
- Your dog(s) must be on a leash for the entirety of your stay
- Your dog(s) have to have an up-to-date rabies tag on their collar
- Owners have to pick up their dog’s waste and properly dispose of it
- Bring your own disposable bags or bins
- There are public disposable bins but Escambia and Santa Rosa County strongly advise you to bring your own
- If you are going to stay for a while, it’s imperative that you bring fresh water along
- If your dog is inside of your parked vehicle without you, you can be brought up on charges
Heed the Flag Conditions
There are four flag colors on all three of the above beaches that you need to be aware of.
Dogs are every bit as susceptible to rip currents as we are, perhaps even more so.
- Green Flag Conditions: Danger of rip current is very low
- Yellow Flag Conditions: Rip current is moderate, swim at your own risk
- Red Flag Conditions: Rip current is powerful and swimming is strongly discouraged
- Purple Flag Conditions: The number of jellyfish in the water is extensive
If you’re new to the area and have never been to the beach, (a rip tide often called an undertow) how strongly the current below your waist is pulling towards the Gulf and away from the beach?
You will notice that the flags are usually red or yellow when the waves are high.
This is generally the most fun but the strong incoming waves also mean a strong outgoing current.
If you get swept up in a rip tide, you and your dog can end up thousands of feet from the shoreline, possibly a mile or more.
It’s a major concern during the summer season and it’s one of the biggest reasons that people drown at the beach.
Your dog is just as susceptible and if your dog is on a leash, anyone who is holding onto the leash is going with the dog if it’s caught in the rip current or vice versa.
All Things Considered
If you think it would be a fun idea to take your dog to the beach, Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key are accommodating enough for you to do so.
As long as you are willing to abide by the rules.
While Pensacola Beach is far more popular and exciting, you have fewer rules at Perdido Key and a little more freedom.
Just remember to observe and obey the rules and guidelines and always pay attention to the flags.