Whether your ideal trip is a relaxing home away from home or an exciting adventure into the great unknown, pet-owners know vacations aren’t the same without their best buddies tagging along. Traveling with your pets can be stressful, no matter how well-behaved they are. And there’s nothing worse than struggling to find pet-friendly accommodations, restaurants, attractions and even parks when you arrive.
But pet-parents rejoice—St. Augustine is a pet-friendly paradise with a plethora of options for you and your pooch to relax, explore and have fun together. Here are the four top reasons you should pack your pooch on your next visit to the nation’s oldest city.
1. Pet-Friendly Accommodations
St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra and their nearby beaches are home to more than 50 pet-friendly accommodations ranging from hotels, to bed & breakfast inns and beach resorts. Some hotels even provide a welcome basket for canine guests. The Holiday Isle Oceanfront Resort accommodates pets on its first floor and features plenty of pet-walk areas in addition to beach access where leashed pets are welcome. Some visitors prefer to pamper their pooches at pet-friendly B&B’s such as Bayfront Marin House. Others can “ruff” it with Rover at campsites available in the region’s many parks, including the tranquil and serene Anastasia State Park, where leashed pets are welcome at no additional fee. You also can release the hounds off-leash at Paws Dog Park, located within the Treaty Park Complex.
2. Pet-Friendly Attractions
In many designated areas of the beach, you can enjoy a morning walk with your leashed dog. The daily ritual you share with your pup becomes a whole new experience when you start your day with a relaxing stroll along the water’s edge. Leashed dogs also are welcome in several of the area’s attractions, including the historic Fountain of Youth, the Colonial Quarter Living History Museum and the Spanish Military Hospital Museum. Dogs are welcome on the grounds of the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum, but they're not allowed to climb the steps to the top. There also are historic walking tours created just for pups and their people. Leash up your pup and embark on a drool-worthy and pet-friendly version of our original St. Augustine Food Tour featuring hearty selections of food and wine, along with special treats from local eateries that cater to pet-lovers. There's also a free, monthly "pup-crawl" on second Saturdays that takes pets and their people on historic walking tours of St. Augustine's timeless streets.
3. Pet-Friendly Shopping
Not only will you find awesome souvenirs, beautifully handcrafted jewelry and treasured keepsakes at St. Augustine’s remarkable shops in and around the city’s historic district, but your pet will be treated to refreshing water bowls outside or even allowed inside. Although pets aren’t welcome in all shops, specialty stores such as Aqua East Surf Shop open their doors to the well-behaved so no one has to wait outside. Treat your pooch to something special at boutiques specifically for dogs, including Faux Paws pet gift shop and Paradise Poochie Gourmet Dog Treats in the Old City or Fancy Bones Pet Bakery at the Old City Farmer's Market, held on Saturdays from 8:30 am - 12:30 pm.
4. Pet-Friendly Dining
The St. Augustine area boasts more than 20 dog-friendly restaurants and cafes. And since this is Florida, many restaurants feature outdoor patios and courtyards where dogs are welcome to dine. When you visit causal eateries such as Cruisers Grill and Salt Life Food Shack, you’ll find entire sections dedicated to serving dogs and their owners. Though there aren’t any specific menu items designed for dogs, water and food bowls are readily available, and your pup will surely appreciate any table scraps you can spare.