The Paw-fect Fort Lauderdale Getaway with Your Dog
Finding a pet sitter is always a daunting task when planning travel. So, why not plan a vacation with your dog? That’s what makes a getaway in a pet-friendly city paw-fect. There aren’t many places you and man’s best friend can jump from high-end shopping to a National Park Swamp in less than 15 minutes with great weather year-round, but you can in Florida.
The greater Fort Lauderdale area offers many outdoor activities to enjoy the beautiful Florida weather like beautiful beaches, outdoor parks, and dining featuring international cuisines.
Tip: Shoulder seasons, which are periods of travel between peak and off-peak seasons, are a great time to visit Florida. October through December are great months because the weather is starting to cool down, so it’s not too hot to stay outside with your pup throughout the day. It’s at the end of hurricane season, so you are less likely to have your plans altered due to an unforeseen storm. Also, it’s a great time to find hotel deals since it’s right before Florida’s high travel season.
Las Olas is one of the most popular streets in Fort Lauderdale, featuring amazing restaurants and shopping. One of the most popular restaurants, Louie Bossi’s, also happens to be the most pet-friendly. Dogs are welcome on the outdoor seating in the front of the restaurant on Las Olas. Inside, you’ll find a second outdoor space with tables spaced along a grass and paved area with an array of comfortable patio furniture. Bonus: there’s a gelato cart there. It’s great for lunch or dinner – we recommend Italian classics pizza or pasta.
You can find the Shops at Pembroke Gardens due west of downtown Fort Lauderdale. It’s a large outdoor shopping mall that’s great for shopping and dining with some restaurants allowing pets on their outdoor patios. Great options are local Lime Fresh Mexican Grill as well as Brio Tuscan Grille.
There are several dog-friendly parks in the greater Fort Lauderdale area perfect for your morning walk. Consider options like Markham’s “Barkham” Dog Park in Sunrise, CB Smith Park and Johnson Street Dog Park in Pembroke Pines, or the Riverwalk Park in Fort Lauderdale. The Riverwalk Park is near Las Olas, so you can stop walk from the park to lunch easily.
Pets are also allowed in some areas of the Everglades, the largest national park in Florida and home to unique wildlife like gators, panthers, birds, snakes, and more. It’s about a 50-minute drive to the closest Everglades Visitor center called Shark Valley.
Great accessories to pack for your dog include biodegradable waste bags, a water bottle, leash, and harness for long walks or days out. Oh, and treats, of course!
After a long walk in the sun, a day at the beach, or playtime in the grass, your dog inevitably will need a bath. If you spoil your pet(s) as I do, you like to give them the five-star treatment. There are several local grooming shops where your pup can get cleaned up. You can bring your dog by somewhere like Patty B’s Pet Spa, where your dog can be washed, get their hair trimmed, or get their nails cut by local pros. Or, you can also use your hotel’s bathroom for grooming. You’ll need to pack your own shampoo and brushes. Luckily, you can ask your hotel for extra towels!
Before your trip, research online for local pet-friendly events on Bring Fido or Google. Every month, a local group called Florida Dog Events hosts a Dogs, Beaches, and Brews event at the Parrot Lounge. In the fall, you can attend the annual Mutts and Martinis fundraising event held at Fort Lauderdale’s Riverwalk Park. This is one of the largest in the area and includes all sorts of fun like a fashion show and a peanut butter eating contest.
Make sure your accommodations are pet-friendly, like the Home2 Suites by Hilton. Each guest room is a suite and comes equipped with a full kitchen. It’s great to store your animals’ food and treats, as well as any treats for you. If you are a paw-rent to other species like cats or birds, they are also welcome at this pet-friendly hotel brand.
Know Before You Go:
- Plan your trip during a shoulder season such as October – December.
- Don’t forget items such as waste bags, water bottles, shampoo, and brushes for your pet.
- Book a pet-friendly hotel such as Home2 Suites by Hilton.