The dog days of summer (heat, humidity, 4 p.m. showers and mosquitoes the size of nickels) are nearly upon us. Before it gets too hot for man or beast, it’s time to take your four-legged, furry friends out as much as possible.
Here are some of the best places to hang out for the day with your dog(s).
1. Brohard Beach and Paw Park
Better known as the Venice dog beach, Brohard is the best place to start your dog-gone day. A small, fenced park is located near the parking lot, but the leash-free beach zone is the real attraction. It’s hilarious to watch packs form as they run up and down the beach and crash into the surf. Don’t worry about the deadly combination of wet dog and sand, there are wash stations at the paw park for a quick bath.
2. Sarasota’s Bay Island Park
On any given day you can see obedience classes taking place on the large grass area overlooking the bay. Dogs can stroll around the dolphin statue (on leash) and find plenty of shade around the park. The real draw though is Oleary’s Tiki Bar. It seems like there are more dogs than people at the bar.
3. 17th Street Paw Park
Let your dog off of the leash to socialize with other four-legged creatures. There are agility obstacles, water bowls and a spout, well-used tennis balls and shady spots for owners. There’s a separate area for small dogs that don’t want to run with the big boys. Keep an eye out for your crouching dog and be sure to pick up after them (bags are available) – Elizabeth Johnson
4. Bradenton Riverwalk
Our Frenchies are big fans of the super canine-friendly Bradenton Riverwalk, especially when we take a lunch or dinner break at Fav’s Italian Cucina or YachtSea Grille and then end our stroll over at The Lost Kangaroo for a couple craft beers. The ‘Roo, on Old Main Street, is easily one of the most popular dog-friendly bars in Manatee County. —Wade Tatangelo
5. Sarasota Farmers Market
All you have to do is look down to see how dog-friendly the farmers market is. Bowls of water are scattered every few booths and leashes seem to be hanging off every other hand. Make sure your dog is comfortable in crowds, it gets packed and dogs that are not well-socialized might not like it.